Reading Matthew 12:32 at face value, it seems that it's telling us that forgiveness can be obtained after death but Jesus won't contradict himself in Luke 16:20-25 (I mean, the rich man could easily repent and be forgiven to cross the un-cross-able Abraham's bosom).

Matthew 12:32 (Westcott and Hort 1881)

καὶ ὃς ἐὰν εἴπῃ λόγον κατὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ· ὃς δ' ἂν εἴπῃ κατὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι.

Matthew 12:32 (English Standard Version)

And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

2 Answers 2


In "On the City of God against the Pagans" (De Civitate Dei Contra Paganos), Book 21, Ch. 24, Augustine wrote,

For some of the dead, indeed, the prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not spend their life so wickedly that they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be considered to have no need of it. As also, after the resurrection, there will be some of the dead to whom, after they have endured the pains proper to the spirits of the dead, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment of the eternal fire. For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said (Matt. 12:32), “They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come.”

Nam pro defunctis quibusdam vel ipsius Ecclesiae vel quorumdam piorum exauditur oratio sed pro his, quorum in Christo regeneratorum nec usque adeo vita in corpore male gesta est, ut tali misericordia iudicentur digni non esse, nec usque adeo bene, ut talem misericordiam reperiantur necessariam non habere; sicut etiam facta resurrectione mortuorum non deerunt, quibus post poenas, quas patiuntur spiritus mortuorum, impertiatur misericordia, ut in ignem non mittantur aeternum. Neque enim de quibusdam veraciter diceretur, quod non eis remittatur neque in hoc saeculo neque in futuro, nisi essent quibus, etsi non in isto, tamen remittitur in futuro.

Source: English | Latin


No, it is not a valid assumption that because certain sins won't be forgiven in the hereafter then some will. Pointing out that it is not a crime to drink alcohol in France does not mean that it is a crime here. Nor does it mean that it is also a crime here. Simply put it makes no assertion about anything than that which it affirms.

Inference, without an explicit affirmation is of little value.

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