Eternity, Judgment, Heaven and Hell

Limbo

  This is another word not found in scripture. And Webster says it literally means "in or on the border," before giving the following definitions:

   "1. In some Christian theologies, a region bordering on hell, the abode of the souls of good men who lived before the coming of Christ and the souls of unbaptized babies.

   "2. A prison or imprisonment.

   "3. A place or condition of neglect or oblivion to which unwanted things or persons are relegated."

   Again, Cardinal Gibbons, in his Question Box (pages 390-91), in which he distinguishes "Limbo of the Fathers" and "Limbo of the Children, corroborates as follows:"

  "Our Lord himself frequently refers to the Limbo of the Fathers, where the just were detained until Ascension Day, under the figure of a banquet (Matt. viii. 43), or of a marriage feast (Matt. xxv. 10). He also calls it Abraham's bosom in (Luke xvi. 22), and paradise™ in (Luke xxiii.43). Once Christ appeared, the just souls began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and Limbo was at once changed into heaven.

   "The Limbo of Children means the state of natural happiness enjoyed by all those who die in original sin, without ever having been guilty of grievous personal sin. St. Thomas holds that these enjoy a positive happiness, being united to God by a knowledge and love proportionate to their capacity (De Malo, art. iii.)."

   OBSERVATION: Again, the scriptures do not accord with the concept that the place of departed spirits of the righteous before the ascension of Christ became heaven either then or afterward, the apostle Peter saying on Pentecost the days after Ascension Day that "David ascended not into the heavens" (Acts 2:34) equivalent to saying he was not yet in heaven. Moreover, the "Paradise" where our Lords soul went at the death of his body was in Hades (Acts 2:27,31), and Hades was not to be done away with (cast into the "lake of fire") until after the general resurrection, when physical death would be no more (Revelation 20:11-15) – that being a resurrection of both the just and unjust (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15) at the second coming of Christ and the end of earthly history (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

   Moreover, the souls of children are not charged with sin, either "original" (the sin of Adam) or personal, so as to remain in "Limbo" in eternity. For, from Hebrews 12:9 it would seem that our souls (spirits) do not come through Adam as do our bodies. And Jesus said, "Verily, I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). And, again: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for to such [as they are] belongeth the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).

   "Limbo" is therefore a human fiction, not a biblical doctrine.

Cecil N. Wright