Shepherd of Hermas
“Because,” said he, “these, the apostles and the teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after they had fallen asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached also to them that had fallen asleep before them, and themselves gave unto them the seal of the preaching. Therefore they went down with them into the water, and came up again. But these went down alive [and again came up alive]; whereas the others that had fallen asleep before them went down dead and came up alive. So by their means they were quickened into life, and came to the full knowledge of the name of the Son of God. For this cause also they came up with them, and were fitted with them into the building of the tower and were builded with them, without being shaped; for they fell asleep in righteousness and in great purity. Only they had not this seal. You have then the interpretation of these things also.” “I have, Sir,” say I.
For reflect upon the end of each of the preceding kings, how they died the death common to all, which, if it issued in insensibility, would be a godsend to all the wicked. But since sensation remains to all who have ever lived, and eternal punishment is laid up (i.e., for the wicked), see that you neglect not to be convinced, and to hold as your belief, that these things are true. For let even necromancy, and the divinations you practice by immaculate children, and the evoking of departed human souls, and those who are called among the magi, Dream-senders and Assistant-spirits (Familiars), and all that is done by those who are skilled in such matters–let these persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation.
The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. – ibid
For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians. – ibid
Christ declared that ignorance was not on His side, but on theirs, who thought that He was not the Christ, but fancied they would put Him to death, and that He, like some common mortal, would remain in Hades. – ibid
But these men are in all points inconsistent with themselves, when they decide that all souls do not enter into the intermediate place, but those of the righteous only.
The Lord has taught with very great fullness, that souls not only continue to exist, not by passing from body to body, but that they preserve the same form [in their separate state] as the body had to which they were adapted… in that narrative which is recorded respecting the rich man and that Lazarus who found repose in the bosom of Abraham. By these things, then, it is plainly declared that souls continue to exist that they do not pass from body to body, that they possess the form of a man, so that they may be recognized, and retain the memory of things in this world; moreover, that the gift of prophecy was possessed by Abraham, and that each class [of souls] receives a habitation such as it has deserved, even before the judgment. – ibid
In paradise certainly, as the Scripture declares, “And God planted a garden [paradisum] eastward in Eden, and there He placed the man whom He had formed.” And then afterwards when [man] proved disobedient, he was cast out thence into this world. Wherefore also the elders who were disciples of the apostles tell us that those who were translated were transferred to that place (for paradise has been prepared for righteous men, such as have the Spirit; in which place also Paul the apostle, when he was caught up, heard words which are unspeakable as regards us in our present condition), and that there shall they who have been translated remain until the consummation [of all things], as a prelude to immortality. – ibid
If, then, the Lord observed the law of the dead, that He might become the first-begotten from the dead, and tarried until the third day “in the lower parts of the earth;” …how must these men not be put to confusion, who allege that “the lower parts” refer to this world of ours, but that their tuner man, leaving the body here, ascends into the super-celestial place? For as the Lord “went away in the midst of the shadow of death,” where the souls of the dead were, yet afterwards arose in the body, and after the resurrection was taken up [into heaven], it is manifest that the souls of His disciples also, upon whose account the Lord underwent these things, shall go away into the invisible place allotted to them by God, and there remain until the resurrection, awaiting that event; then receiving their bodies, and rising in their entirety, that is bodily, just as the Lord arose, they shall come thus into the presence of God. – ibid,
Clement of Alexandria
If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel, as He did descend; it was either to preach the Gospel to all or to the Hebrews only. If, accordingly, to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there; since God’s punishments are saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion, and choosing rather the repentance than the death of a sinner; and especially since souls, although darkened by passions, when released from their bodies, are able to perceive more clearly, because of their being no longer obstructed by the paltry flesh.
So I think it is demonstrated that the God being good, and the Lord powerful, they save with a righteousness and equality which extend to all that turn to Him, whether here or elsewhere. For it is not here alone that the active power of God is beforehand, but it is everywhere and is always at work… For it is not right that these should be condemned without trial, and that those alone who lived after the advent should have the advantage of the divine righteousness. – ibid
You have a treatise by us, (on Paradise), in which we have established the position that every soul is detained in safe keeping in Hades until the day of the Lord.
Our answer to this is, that the Scripture itself which dazzles his sight expressly distinguishes between Abraham’s bosom, where the poor man dwells, and the infernal place of torment. “Hell” (I take it) means one thing, and “Abraham’s bosom” another. “A great gulf” is said to separate those regions, and to hinder a passage from one to the other…It must therefore be evident to every man of intelligence who has ever heard of the Elysian fields, that there is some determinate place called Abraham’s bosom, and that it is designed for the reception of the souls of Abraham’s children, even from among the Gentiles…by Abraham’s bosom is meant some temporary receptacle of faithful souls, wherein is even now delineated an image of the future, and where is given some foresight of the glory of both judgments? – ibid
Therefore as it has acted in each several instance, so proportionably does it suffer in Hades, being the first to taste of judgment as it was the first to induce to the commission of sin; but still it is waiting for the flesh in order that it may through the flesh also compensate for its deeds, inasmuch as it laid upon the flesh the execution of its own thoughts. This, in short, will be the process of that judgment which is postponed to the last great day, in order that by the exhibition of the flesh the entire course of the divine vengeance may be accomplished. Besides, (it is obvious to remark) there would be no delaying to the end of that doom which souls are already tasting in Hades, if it was destined for souls alone. – ibid
For who is there that will not desire, while he is in the flesh, to put on immortality, and to continue his life by a happy escape from death, through the transformation which must be experienced instead of it, without encountering too that Hades which will exact the very last farthing? Notwithstanding, he who has already traversed Hades is destined also to obtain the change after the resurrection. For from this circumstance it is that we definitively declare that the flesh will by all means rise again, and, from the change that is to come over it, will assume the condition of angels. – ibid
For man had been made a middle nature, neither wholly mortal, nor altogether immortal, but capable of either; so also the place, Paradise, was made in respect of beauty intermediate between earth and heaven. And by the expression, “till it,” no other kind of labor is implied than the observance of God’s command, lest, disobeying, he should destroy himself, as indeed he did destroy himself, by sin.