Over the past couple of years, the doctrine of aerial toll houses has come under critical blog scrutiny, prompted especially by the publication of Departure of the Soul According to the Teaching of the Orthodox Church. The doctrine enjoys a long, interesting, and problematic history in the Eastern Church. On occasion, some Orthodox have sought to elevate it to the level of dogma, despite the absence of ecumenical consent and explicit attestation in Scripture.
The toll house teaching functions similarly to the Latin doctrine of retributive hell-fire: to inspire terror and summon to repentance. Both doctrines inevitably raise questions about the divine love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. These questions do not go away when toll house defenders explain that the teaching should be interpreted as an allegory of the particular judgment.
Here are links to four articles you may find helpful on this topic.
“Nor Height Nor Depth: On the Toll Houses” by David Bentley Hart
“Aerial Toll Houses, Provisional Judgment, and the Orthodox Faith” by Stephen J. Shoemaker
“Orthodox Theologies of the Afterlife” by Paul Ladouceur
“Aerial Toll-Houses” by Ambrose Andreano
“On the Toll Houses Again” by Eirini Afentoulidou
For a scholarly discussion of Byzantine understandings of the intermediate state of souls, see “‘To Sleep, Perchance to Dream’: The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature” by Nicholas Constas. Dr Ladouceur’s above blog article is based on his review essay published in the St Vladimir’s Journal.
I also bring to your attention to my own series on toll houses:
Personally, I like my titles better than the titles of the other guys. 😎
If you’d like to read articles that present the arguments in favor of the toll house teaching … well, that’s what Google is for.