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Eschatology

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Influence of Zoroastrian Eschatology Having faith in things that happens after life in this world is one of the teachings that are brought out in the Zoroastrian scriptures as from the beginning. This faith that started during the ancient times continued growing and finally it became the pillar of the later Zoroastrian hence the basis of almost all the aspects of human religious life. As a result of this faith other religions also felt its impact more specifically on Judaism then later on Christianity and Islam. Zoroastrian eschatology basically brings to conclusion the creation story, how the world exists as is depicted in the sources from the later Zoroastrian and this formed the basis for Ohrmazd and Ahriman’s battle. Contrary to this, monotheism brings out the existence of only one supreme that has control over everything. This paper will discuss the influence of the Zoroastrian eschatology and the impact it had on religious life afterwards. Conclusion of human existence comes when life on this world comes to an end; this eschatological period brings to an end the cosmic struggle and brings out the fruits of the efforts of Ohrmazd, having the assistance of other humanities hence bringing out the notion that there is victory in the good deeds (Faith 19). On the other hand eschatology is used to reflect the moral life and religion on earth, this has been compare to the justice courts where motivation and punishments are rewarded and implemented respectively. Contrary to the frequent injustices which are quite normal and evident in the real world, real moral and religious values are addressed in the eschatology. The allotment of reward and punishment is administered in two ways. First the divine judges provide a verdict which automatically determines a person’s fate through the ordeal judgment. This shows that the responsibility that a person had while still alive is deprived from him and the person has no worth after death (Faith 52). This same judgment is brought out in the eschatological narrative where it takes into consideration the individual person and humanity race as a whole. After everyone is contended with justice being done whereby the righteous are rewarded and motivated while the wicked receive their punishment, then comes the end of the world where Ohrmazd’s cause is vindicated. This is the stage when the disturbing cosmic order is done away with and the world is made to exist in a different form where evil has no interference at all and from this point onwards man is regarded as a tool in front of the supreme powers although man is still regarded as important. There are two conceptions from the Zoroastrian eschatology that seem to correlate. One is the fact that justice is administered to the individual based on the merits and the other one is that human fate is determined as a result of the struggle between the evil and the good spirit. The second conception gives a chance to friends and family members of the bereaved to intercede on behalf of the dead (Langley 90). In most cases the eschatology is quite confusing as much as it is wide. For clarification purpose it is important to differentiate the following notions, the first one is between the individual fate after death and the fate of the whole humanity when the world comes to an end, secondly, it is how humanity is going to be divided after judgment and the various ways in which souls will be allotted after death and lastly it is between the real events that lead to the dissolution of the world as brought out in the prophecies concerning the end of world and what will be of the world after its reconstitution. The first two basically talks about the distinction between an individual and the universal eschatology and the latter brings out the difference in eschatology and apocalyptic. When a righteous person dies the soul sits in the head of the corpse for the first three nights chanting joyfully, the soul also enjoys the company of the demon together with his associates. It is at this state that the Ahriman tries to take the soul to hell while the angel protects it. The soul of a wicked person also sits around the head but it mourns and wails knowing what awaits it. After the time elapses the soul of the righteous gets itself surrounded by good fragrance and wind from the south. A form of a young maiden is presented to the soul and the soul gets to engage her in a conversation and this is believed to take place during the crossing of Cinwad bridge. Contrary to this after the three nights the soul of the wicked is escorted by the demon across the Cinwad bridge and is forced to go into darkness, this is accompanied with great lamentations (Langley 45). The soul is then led by a maiden who identifies with the demon through an entrance at the bridge where the entrance is guarded by two dogs and the soul is led to face the trial. Zoroastrianism is quite evident that it is one of the oldest religions which existed during the time of Jesus and there was no other powerful religion than it. The influence it impacted on other religions is still practiced up to date. This influence is evident in the Western Abrahamic and Eastern Dharmic which include Christianity, Islam and Hinduism among many others. No other religion has influenced the life of mankind than the Zoroastrianism since it was the first religion to indoctrinate judgment upon death of an individual, the resurrection of the body, hell and heaven, the final judgment and the everlasting life where there is a reunion of the body and soul. All these doctrines later formed the basis of almost all the faith and religion and yet it is only the Zoroastrian that had the innermost understanding of these doctrines (Langley 72). For instance, Zoroastrianism believes that both the good and the evil are the creations of God and this is one of the basic doctrines in Christianity whereby it is also widely spread that your actions in this world will determine your fate after death. It is believed that it is only the righteous that will inherit the kingdom while the wicked will be burnt in hell. Currently it is only the Parsee and the Sunni Kurds from India that still celebrate Zoroastrianism holidays and still trace back to the roots of the religion, Zoroastrianism as a religion tolerated other cultures and coexisted well with the other faith which is something that is very rare in modern religions although it is one of the teachings (Rose 44). Zoroastrianism taught the equality of genders, races and religions something that is quite evident in the current teachings in the different faiths. It went ahead to state that all the living things should be treated with respect and this led to the extinction of animal sacrifice. Whether directly or indirectly all the modern faiths and religions can trace their roots to Zoroastrianism religion since most of the religions adhere to the teachings and their doctrines.

Works cited

Faith & Philosophy Of Zoroastrianism. Kalpaz Publications, 2009. Print.
Langley, Myrtle. Religion. Rev. ed. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2005. Print.
Rose, Jenny. Zoroastrianism an Introduction. London: I.B. Tauris ;, 2011. Print.

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