Eastern Orthodox/Hell


What is the view on non christian in the afterlife? Will they go to hell?
Thank you

Non-Christian views on the after life break down to the following: (1) reincarnation, where the individual repeats life after each death till perfection of character is achieved. The difficulty with reincarnation is that there is no first life where reincarnation begins. The path is endless in the backward direction. And where there is no first life, there can be no second. That means there can be no life at all because there is no first life in the reincarnation path. (2) Immortality of the soul only, where the body is left behind. This is the view of Plato. (3) Buddhism speaks of existence after death as a union with the cosmos (which is the divine in their system of thought), where individuality ceases. This is an immortality without individual personhood or individual memories.  Other far eastern religions are a variant of this. (4) Total extinction, where the body decomposes such that bodily decomposition is the end of all that you were on earth, there being no soul in such a view that perdures bodily disintegration. Judaism holds this view. (5) Naturalistic religions appear to hold that immortality is where the soul becomes perhaps like the wind or the skies or the power of the waves in the ocean in an endless panorama of a Nature that never ends. This seems to be what the some native American beliefs hold, as well as South American Incas and the Mexican Aztecs. (6) All these views go contrary to the Gospels where Christ glorified in the truth of human immortality redeemed on the Cross. The Holy Orthodox Church teaches that Christ is our surest sign of immortality in the human being. Philosophers for centuries have tried to “prove” the immortality of the human person, but Christ is our real tangible sign that those who follow Him on the way that is narrow (Mt. 7:14) have the assurance of eternal happiness in a resurrected body that never dies again.

On your question, will one who does not believe in Christ go to hell? Christ said “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (Jn. 14:6; Jn.6:44 ), and “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6). Our Church teaches that only if you are baptized into the communion of believers, which means changed into a new man (Colossians 3:10) through the water of Baptism, do you have membership in the communion of Orthodoxy. There is the argument among the Patristics on baptism of desire and baptism of blood, but in Jn. 6:44 Our Lords says that His Father draws one to His Son. On judgements as important as an eternity in hell or heaven one must leave that up to God, although it is clear what Christ has said and it is in following what He has said that we are assured of being in the truth about our eternal end.  

Eastern Orthodox

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Chrysostomos Robert Geis


I am academically and canonically qualified to answer all questions on ethics, ritual, and questions of philosophy as it regards Eastern Orthodoxy. I see that some questions answered here in the site on Eastern Orthodoxy are given a black and white tone. My approach is more [pastoral, which would acknowledge that the human situation does not always come in answers of black and white.


I am a Prelate Protosyncellus in the Eastern Church, and oversee a community of Priests in the Society of Saint Basil, an autocephalous congregation established and approved under Russian Orthodox Primate in the US in 1917.

I have published thirteen books on Philosophy and Theology (see Robert Geis at Barnesandnoble.com or Amazon.com) and have published in scholarly journals

BA, MA, and PhD, as well as DD

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.