Did the concept of punishment and judgement in Christianity originate from the teachings of Plato as expressed in this article? Thanks


The simple answer to this question is no, the concept of punishment and judgment in Christianity did not originate with Plato. This idea came to Christianity from God–the one who inspired the Bible. Even if we reject the obvious proof of the inspiration of the Bible, the idea that this came from Plato is, from a historical perspective, blatantly false. It came to Christianity from Judaism! Paul, Peter, Matthew and all the New Testament writers except Luke were Jews and were raised in the Jewish tradition. The learned about God’s justice and about judgment from the Old Testament scriptures. These scriptures were all composed before Plato wrote his works. Plato’s career was at the end of the 400’s BC, whereas the book of Isaiah was written in the 700’s BC. The idea of punishment and judgment is found on nearly every page of the book of Isaiah, as anyone can tell if the simply read the book. Obviously, Isaiah did not get his idea of punishment and judgment from Plato, who lived three hundred years after he died.

This is just one example. We can read Ezekiel or Jeremiah (late 7th and early 6th century BC) or Deuteronomy (late second millennium BC) or Zechariah (6th century BC) and several other books which antedate Plato to disprove the rather obviously false claim that the Jewish idea of punishment and judgment came from the Greek philosopher Plato. Paul was steeped in the Old Testament from an early age. He was a student of Gamaliel, a Jewish rabbi who certainly did not get his teaching on judgment from Plato. No student of the history of religion could buy this obviously false claim.  In Daniel 12:1-4 we can read about a final resurrection and a judgment, followed by eternal life or shame and everlasting contempt.  This and other Old Testament passages are the source of the Christian idea of judgment.  This, combined with the inspiration of God who is the ultimate author of the New Testament is the source of the teaching about judgment in Christianity. The fact that there are parallels in Greek ideas are not proof that Jesus borrowed his teaching about heaven and hell from Plato.   Jesus was God-in-the-flesh and he did not need to learn about heaven and hell from Plato.  Jesus, the greatest teacher of all time, was the source of the Christian teaching on heaven and hell.  This teaching can be found in the gospels.

John Oakes

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