Next life, afterlife

  1. What’s the difference between next life and afterlife?

  2. Is the opposite of next life past life or last life?

Thank you!!!

  1. I think in general those two terms are equivalent. It might depend on your belief system (religion). I think almost anyone would consider “afterlife” as some spiritual existence. Some might consider next life the same…or they might refer to reincarnating in a new physical form as a next life.

  2. I don’t really know about these terms…past life, again probably refers to some existence before reincarnation (if you believe in that sort of thing). Don’t think I’ve heard of “last life”. There may also be a term that religious people use for their physical life form vs. the “afterlife” spiritual form., it’s not coming to my mind though.

1 Like

I think of afterlife as the soul’s continued existence in heaven or hell after physical death on earth. I think of next life as another physical life on earth after reincarnation.

I’ve never heard the term “last life.” Past life, to me, refers to prior physical lives on earth that represent your historical existences.

1 Like

I agree.
The ‘afterlife’ refers to the idea of a continued existence after this one. Somewhere in the starry abode or anywhere but in the flesh here on Earth. The Norse (Vikings) believed in Valhalla, a great hall above Midgard (Middle yard, i.e. world or earth) where war heroes, slain in battle, go to live. Midgard is where J.R.R. Tolkien got the idea for Middle-earth.

Whereas a ‘next life’ or a ‘past life’ refers to the idea of reincarnation: living or having lived another life (or other lives) here on Earth in the flesh of a human being or other animal. A popular notion is having lived in Ancient Egypt or Ancient Rome.“in%20one%20of%20my%20past%20lives”&src=typed_query

If someone talks about their ‘last life’ or ‘prior life,’ it’s also the idea of reincarnation: the life they lived prior to this one. “I love the ocean. I must have been a mermaid in my prior life.”

Be mindful though: ‘Prior life’ (or more rarely ‘past life’) is sometimes used to refer to one’s area of study or occupation prior to one’s current occupation or retirement. “I’m still very proud of commissioning The Little Inventors Handbook in my prior life as a children’s non-fiction publisher.”

1 Like

While both indicate a “life after death” in our ordinary “real life” or “life on earth”, there are fairly clear nuances between the two. They have different implications.

After life, strongly implies something like a more or less traditional “heaven” or “hell” though it leaves plenty of room for existences that are different from those commonly accepted by people of faith.

“Next life” somewhat strongly implies another existence that might be more or less like current life on earth, perhaps reincarnation as another human being on this earth, reincarnation as an animal (or even plant though that is less common), with room for a traditional heaven or hell interpretation but that is not the main idea it brings to mind.

Reincarnation is a pretty strong implication of “next life”.

But each term has room at the edge for the main meaning of the other.

Next life also has a bit more of a whimsical and metaphorical meaning for most people, more like a “what if” than a real belief is implied unless the context is among people who believe in reincarnation.

If someone says “the afterlife” it usually means some, at least tacit, belief in heaven and hell, or something similar.

If somesays, “in my ‘next life’ I am coming back as a dophlin so I can swim, and play, chat with my friends, and er…‘do it’ all day long” then we don’t generally assume it’s any sort of religious statement about the person.

Almost no speaker of English thinks about this difference and it’s not in prescribed “regulation” anywhere including dictionary definitions.

We typically only pay conscious attention to such fine distinctions if someone asks, unless we are linguists.

[Way more than you probably wanted to know or need to know. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: ]

1 Like