The Four Last Things: Reflections on Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell

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How will we face the end? On whom does our hope finally depend? In short, what are the last things ever to be remembered? These are the questions examined in this course, whose lectures abound with insight and imagery drawn from the rich patrimony of the Church's wisdom and experience.

What can we know from the lives of saints and sages - sinners, too - that will illumine the mysteries surrounding our lives?

In this course, Dr. Regis Martin presents a comprehensive overview of the finalities that frame our human story and how our action (or inaction) when faced with the end will determine where we spend eternity. It is essential to the Christian vocation that we always be mindful of our end. Whereas the world persists in denial of death, in flight from God and the judgment that follows, the Christian looks forward to both his death and the resurrection of all the dead. A lively interest in death and the life to come is necessary to the maintenance of our identity as Christians.

"Nothing is more certain than death," declares St. Anselm, "nothing more uncertain than its hour."

Faced with the inevitability of death, we all share that deep and persisting need to know what comes after. While others recoil from the prospect of death, preferring the false comforts of denial and flight, we who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ remain serene in the knowledge and practice of hope, which alone enables us to face the end with joy and gratitude.

Professor Martin identifies the Last Things each of us is destined to face - namely, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell - reviewing them in the context of Christian hope, which is the virtue most necessary to the happy outcome of our journey home to God.
  1. Introducing the Study of the Last Things
    • This lecture proposes prayer, especially the Our Father which voices Christian hope, as necessary to understanding the end of life and what comes after.
  2. The Christian Conception of Time and Its Relation to the Last Things
    • Understanding time and our journey home to God allows us to avoid unreal fixations and to grasp the key to a life of sanctity.
  3. Exploring the Nature and Dynamism of Hope
    • This lecture discusses both natural and supernatural hope, distinguishing it from ordinary desire, and shows that the outcome of our hope depends on the grace of God.
  4. On First Opening the Door of Death
    • Death is recognized and contemplated by man alone among all living things. The prospect of death fills him with dread, yet man persists, perhaps unreasonably, in hope.
  5. On Seeing Death as a Christian and the Consolation It Brings
    • The lecture reveals the Christian view of death which relieves our fear and helps us live well, always preparing for the end.
  6. The Jig Is Up: On Judgment and the World to Come
    • Simply put, Christian existence is relationship with Christ. According to Hans Urs von Balthasar, “Gained, he is heaven; lost, he is hell; examining, he is judgment; purifying, he is purgatory”.
  7. On Going to Hell
    • The nature of Hell can only be understood in relation to God, from whom the damned have willingly separated themselves forever.
  8. On the Reality and Nature of Heaven
    • Only the merest glints of future glory may be glimpsed amid the shadow world we inhabit. Nevertheless, we all desire the unending joys of Heaven.

Lecture Sample


Meet Your Professor
Dr. Regis Martin is a longtime Professor of Systematic Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he teaches courses on God and Grace, Christ and the Church, and Mary and the Sacraments. Professor Martin holds both a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Sacred

Theology from the Angelicum—the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy.

He is the author of several books, including
The Four Last Things (TAN Books, forthcoming)
The Suffering of Love: Christ’s Descent into the Hell of Human Hopelessness (Ignatius Press, 2007)
What is the Church? Confessions of a Cradle Catholic (Emmaus Road, 2003)
Flannery O’Connor: Unmasking the Devil (Sapientia Press, 2005)

Professor Martin has lectured across the country and his articles have been published by the National Review, Commonweal, Crisis, Lay Witness, and Magnificat Prayer Book. Professor Martin is currently featured on EWTN with Fr. Michael Scanlon and Dr. Scott Hahn in a popular, long-running series titled Franciscan University Presents.

Homeschooling Products

The Homeschooling Set includes the Streaming Video and Homeschooling Course Guide. Each Course Guide contains everything needed for a student to complete the course, including:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Quizzes
  • Final Essay
  • Lecture Notes
  • Answer Key


Fr. Regis Martin, STD
Catholic Courses
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