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Chapter 13. Our Eternal Destiny • 155

failed to love God. Persistence in a state of serious sin reflects a choice

to reject God’s love and an intention to separate ourselves from him.

Freely chosen eternal separation from communion with God is called


. While images of fire have been used traditionally to picture hell, for

example in the Scriptures, the reality exceeds our ability to describe the

pain of isolation that comes from rejecting God’s love.

Scripture and the teaching of the Church regarding heaven and hell

emphasize a call to personal responsibility by which we use our free-

dom, aided by divine grace, to respond completely to God’s love. There

is always an urgent call to conversion and repentance. “God predestines

no one to go to hell” (CCC, no. 1037).


The profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son,

and the Holy Spirit . . . culminates in the proclamation

of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in

life everlasting.

—CCC, no. 988

Faith in the resurrection of our bodies is inseparable from our faith in

the Resurrection of Christ’s body from the dead. He rose as our head, as

the pattern of our rising, and as the life-giving source of our new life. “If

the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the

one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies

also, through his Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).

Belief in the resurrection of the body already existed in Christ’s time

among the Pharisees. Jesus performed miracles of raising the dead to

life as symbols of his future Resurrection, and he associated these events

with himself: “I am the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25).

Christ, “the first-born from the dead” (Col 1:18), is the principle

of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our

souls (cf. Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart

to our bodies (cf. Rom 8:11). (CCC, no. 658)