Purgatory: Is it Biblical? If not, what is its Origin?

I've heard of this concept before. I think it needs a full airing, given that it was raised in a recent post. To avoid stepping on the flow of the Universalism discussion, I ask it here:

  1. What is Purgatory?
  2. Where did it come from?
  3. Who's in charge of it?
  4. Where is it?
  5. Does Purgatory exist today?
  6. What qualifies one for purgatory?
  7. How and when is one release from Purgatory?
  8. Does the Bible teach it?

These and other questions can, and should, be asked of this subject. What is your understanding? CM


  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,969
    This heresy is of Catholic origin. It came about to justify those who are not so righteous, they go into some halfway house called purgatory where they are purified and made ready for paradise.

    On December 19th, 1513 at the Fifth Lateran Council, Pope Leo X issued a Bull (Apostolici regimes) declaring,

    “We do condemn and reprobate all who assert that the intelligent soul is mortal”.

    This was directed against the growing “heresy” of those who denied the natural immortality of the soul, and the avowed conditional immortality of man. The Bull also decreed that those who adhere to such erroneous assertions should be shunned and punished as heretics.

    At death, there is no surviving entity called the soul. The soul is dead; it is not immortal. In other words, the soul is simply the person, not a part of the person. It does not and cannot survive death. The person in this state is totally unaware of anything; the Bible calls it a sleep. The soul is not in hell, heaven, or purgatory because it doesn’t exist. At the resurrection, the person is raised again from the dead and becomes a living soul. This concept was held at the time of Luther and exposured by English reformer William Tyndale who argued against Thomas Moore in favor of soul sleep.

    There are generally two views concerning the state of the dead among Christians. The first view asserts that when a person dies, his soul survives death and continues to exist in someplace. For those who are saved, they go straight into paradise. For those who are not so righteous, they go into some halfway house called purgatory (Catholic view) where they are purified and made ready for paradise. For those who are rebellious sinners they go straight to hell to suffer in the eternal flames, but never able to die. For most Protestants, there is no intermediate place; one goes to hell or heaven after death. More later. CM


    • Heinrich Denzinger, ed., The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: Herder, 1957), 237, 238.
    • William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue [1530] (Cambridge: University Press, 1850), 180
    • Michael R. Watts, The Dissenters: From the Reformation to the French Revolution (Oxford: University Press, 1985), 119
  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,368

    No purgatory found in the Bible. I don't know about its origins ...

  • JMJJMJ Posts: 1


    The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory was not invented but it dates to ancient Judaism. Please see the following article,


    As an observant Jew, Our Lord would have believed in Purgatory. Now, can we see evidence of this in His teachings? The answer is, yes. He teaches it both implicitly and explicitly.


    In Matt. 12:31-32 we read the following,

    31 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

    Now, Our Lord suggests that some sins can be forgiven since He states, "but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." This suggests that some sins can be forgiven in the next life. Let's eliminate a couple of possibilities. He cannot be referring to Heaven since those in Heaven are already forgiven and He cannot be referring to Hell since those in Hell are beyond forgiveness. The question now becomes, how is a person forgiven in the next life and where does this forgiveness take place? The only answer is Purgatory.


    In Luke 12: 40-48 we read the following,

    40 "You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." 41 Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."

    What can we gather form this passage?

    1. This passage is referring to the time of death as is evidenced from v. 40

    2. In verses 43-44 if the servant has been faithful to the master then he gets a good reward(Heaven).

    3. If the servant was not faithful to the master then he will get Hell(verses 45-46.

    4. Our Lord also offers two other possibilities. In verses 47 and 48 one servant got a severe beating while the other did not get a severe beating. These beatings are finite in nature. If this is not in reference to either Heaven or Hell then where are these beatings carried out in the afterlife? The only answer is Purgatory. 

Sign In or Register to comment.