EWTN Catholic Q&A
people before Christ
Question from anon on 01-25-2014:

Hi did people who came before Christ have the same results after judgement as Heaven or Hell because often it is mentioned in the Old Testament the phrase the World of the Dead giving the impression that life ended there...?

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 01-30-2014:

Dear Anon,

The pagans before the coming of Christ had a sense of the One God and His Judgment in the afterlife, as St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans Chapter 1, verses 18-28. This sense was evident because the very existence of the world showed God's power and holiness. But many darkened this sense by their sins, particularly of homosexuality and of creating idols to worship. In the eyes of such sinners the dead were simply dead or only pale images of living souls. In contrast the Jews clung more faithfully to the notion of judgment in the afterlife because God revealed himself as Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Although the great Patriarchs died, they were not dead. They lived in the bosom of God forever.

Dr. Geraghty