BOOK OF LIFE. Man’s destiny is written in the rolls in heaven. This was the religious sense of the ancient peoples, while civil communities compiled lists of citizens, indicating their name at birth and canceling it upon death. Karachi Metro Map The Bible introduces the possibility that the names of the just would not be canceled but remain eternally written in the book of life. This is the spiritual book in which are written the names of the members of God’s family, as the names of the descendants of each family were written in the book of the genealogy Ps 69:28 68:29 LXX; Phil 4:3; Rev 21:27 et passim; cf. Ex 32:32-33; Is 4:3; Ez 13:9; Dan 12:1; Heb 12:23 and, for the genealogies, Gen 5:1; Mt 1:1-17. The name wishes well to its bearer. The name is life. It is God who keeps the book of the living. Christ will open it on the judgment day to announce the citizens of heaven Rev 5:1-5; 20:12; cf. Lk 10:20.
In the Christian tradition baptism was inscription in the book by the gift of grace: If you are inscribed in the people of God, heaven is your homeland and God your lawgiver Clem. Karachi Metro Map Al., Protr. X, 108,4; cf. Tertull., Bapt. 17,2; Basil., Bapt. 13,7; Greg. Nyss., Bapt.: PG 46, 417; Apos. Con. VII, 39,4. To remain inscribed is the fruit of perseverance in justice Clem. Rom. 45,8 and a life of penance and ascesis Hermas, Shepherd, Vis. I, 3,2; Mand. 8,6; Sim. 2,9. Origen says that the book of the living is the knowledge of God, from which are excluded those who do not have a pure heart Orig., Sel. in Ps. 68,29; cf. Basil., In Is. 136; Cyr. of Jer., Cat. 14,30; Apos. Con. VIII, 9,3; Aug., Civ. Dei 20,15 and In Ps. 68,2,13. Jesus’ census becomes a symbol of the book Orig., In Lc. 11; Ambr., In Lc. 2,36. The pagan tradition of inscription into Roman citizenship, obtained as a gift and kept by merit Tertull., Cor. 13,1; Greg. Naz., Or. 19,15; Paul. Nol., Ep. 13,15, contributed to the appearance of baptismal registers in churches.
The liturgical diptychs, with real and symbolic value, attested membership in the churches and indicated the communion between the earthly communities and the heavenly community. Good wishes for the deceased were often written on Christian tombs with: God knows his name. F. Cabrol, Diptyques Liturgie: DACL 41, 1045-1094; G. Schrenk, bibli,on: TWNT 1, 615-620; L. Koep, Das himmlische Buch in Antike und Christentum, Bonn 1952; Id., Buch himmlisch: RAC 2, 725-731; J. Campos, El libro de la vida: Helmantica 21 1970 115-147, 249-302; U. Burkard, Livre de vie: DSp 9, 942-947.