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Ultimate Concerns features interviews and discussions with religion experts about their research. Insights from these discussions are applied to contemporary cultural and political questions. Topics are related to many different religions (such as Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism) and methods of study (such as literary studies, history, theology, and philosophy). Ron Mourad, professor of religious studies at Albion College, hosts the show.

Oct 6, 2016

What happens in heaven and hell? Catholic theologian Paul Griffiths discusses his speculations about the afterlife. Our conversation is based on his book, Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures (Baylor, 2014). We move through four main topics and a conclusion.

We begin in part one with the Catholic story about death, the soul, and resurrection. Then we discuss four possible final destinies for human beings.

Part two is about heaven. We talk about what time, freedom, self-awareness and seeing God might be like in heaven.  Griffiths defends the idea that time in heaven could be a cycle rather than a straight line from past, to present, to future. He also speculates about how we might experience ourselves and freedom differently than we do in ordinary life on earth.

After that, we briefly discuss the claim that hell might be annihilation or nothingness, rather than a place of eternal physical torment. That’s part three.

Our topic in part four is the final destiny of non-human creatures, including angels, animals, and inanimate objects. Do angels have bodies? Are their final destinies different from human ones? Will heaven include animals, plants, and houses?

We close with a discussion of contemporary Christian speculations about the end of the world and the biblical book of Revelation.