How can there be a general judgment and a particular judgment?


Full Question

Why do we consider the general judgment as a judgment if we have already been judged? The particular judgment cannot be reversed.

Answer

The purpose of the general judgment is not to redetermine one’s standing with God but to reveal the full ramifications of all our good and bad deeds in relation to other people. Although we will know instantly all the good and the bad we have done at our particular judgment, only at the general judgment will we see what effect the way we lived had on others and thus truly understand the ultimate significance of our moral acts. The Catholic Encyclopedia says:

Those who depart this life sometimes leave behind them children who imitate the conduct of their parents, descendants, followers; and others who adhere to and advocate the example, the language, the conduct of those on whom they depend, and whose example they follow; and as the good or bad influence or example, affecting as it does the conduct of many, is to terminate only with this world; justice demands that, in order to form a proper estimate of the good or bad actions of all, a general judgment should take place.


Catholic Answers Staff