Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Death and Afterlife 17 - What is issue with Toll Houses?

Have you heard about the idea of toll houses? What are they? 

This concept is promoted by some Orthodox teachers and denied by others. So we cannot say it is a Orthodox doctrine. There is no agreement. The idea is that there are demons who man stations, like toll houses. There is a series of these that we must pass through on the way to Paradise. These booths  are there to expose our sins and block our entry. This idea was developed in Russia during the period of Roman Catholic influence. It is very legalistic and based on worldly images.

Some reasons that many do not agree with this idea. 

First, it violates the idea of an immediate transition. Also Scripture is clear that we are judged only by Christ, not demons.

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son. (John 5:22 

It also close to the Roman Catholic idea of purgatory that Orthodox do reject. There are no Biblical reference for this. Further it is based on a story told by a monk who had a vision 1000 years ago. It violates the idea that the soul can't be judged separate from the body. It is also very legalistic and does not consider God’s mercy and love.

Some documents are thought to be forgeries.

Saint Cyrl is quoted teaching this theory, but this part of his work is thought by some to be a forgery.

There will be a struggle between good and evil

As we discussed in the previous section, there are demons who want to discredit our faith and temp us to j one with them. We also know that there is some kind of judgment where everything in our life is exposed for all to see. This is not arbitrary, but based on the choices we have made. It’s also known that we will be supported by angels who will lead us to Paradise unless we are enticed by one of the demons. There may be sinful tendencies that we still have we are not willing to let go and therefore follow the demon promising these.

Toll houses are a way of thinking about the informal judgment often referred to as the particular judgement. Remember our soul will retain its character that it had at the time of death. The Final Judgment will come after the General Resurrection when we are rejoined with our spiritualized bodies. This occurs after the Second Coming of Christ.

We are destined to either Hades or Paradise.

Archimandrite Tikhon from Russia who writes in his book, Everyday Saints and Other Stories:

"Regardless of the situation a person may face, a decision will still have to be made. All who neglected to enjoy a life within the loving embrace of Christ, whose life indicated an affinity for works of darkness, will find themselves in Hades. Those who know and love Christ, have followed His commandments, and are righteous will enter into Paradise."

Sant Paul says:

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Gal 6: 7–8)

Saint Justin the martyr writes:

"Each man goes to everlasting punishment or salvation according to the value of his actions.”

Confession and Holy Communion do purify

There are many in the Orthodox Church who believe that those who partook of the Body and Blood of the Lord immediately before death will be granted a direct transition to Paradise. When the book of life is opened there will no longer be any entries. In a less legalistic view there will not be lingering passions that the demons can use to tempt us to flow them.

Our path is personal and unique

The experience one has in passing into the crossover realm and onto his final destination will differ for different people. Those who live pious lives with total faith and have confessed their sins will have an easy transition as there will not be much of a struggle in the transition. The angels will be able to clear a path without much difficulty. We will be oriented by our pure nature to flow the angels and ignore the pleas of the demons who will be tempting us. What is clear is what we have done in our lives will be visible for all to see, including ourselves. Based on our life, this transition will lead us either to Paradise or to Hades.

Be prepared

Now is the time to prepare by purifying our soul through confession and virtuous living drawing on the help of the Holy Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.