Re: [asa] Inquiry about Orthodox view of heaven

From: George L. <>
Date: Wed May 30 2007 - 22:12:25 EDT

<p>This is not really an answer to David's question but may be worth noting.  The Lutheran (aka correct) view, based on important sacramental &amp; christological considerations, is that Jesus' Ascension to the &quot;right hand of the Father&quot; does not mean that he took a localized position in heaven but that he exercises divine power throughout the universe.  Thus the Copernican revolution produces no problems at all for this doctrine.  Unfortunately Lutheran Orthodoxy got so tied in with Aristotle &amp; concerns about inerrancy That it didn't take advantage of this insight.  </p><p>Shalom, George </p><p>&gt; &gt; &gt; ASA member David Snoke (physics, Pitt) sent me an interesting post this &gt; morning, which he is allowing me to reproduce here. I won't comment further &gt; on it myself, except to say that in Galileo's day, it *was* an issue for &gt; some that Christ &quot;ascended into heaven,&quot; and that Copernicanism seemed to &gt; make this somewhat problematic. I
 t clearly was not an issue for a lot of &gt; people for a long time, however--unlike evolution has proved to be. I know &gt; only a little about science and Orthodox faith, and this topic does not fall &gt; into that little box. Comments are solicited. &gt; &gt; Ted &gt; &gt; Here now is David's inquiry: &gt; A few years ago I was in Moldova, visiting an atheist scientist, and &gt; he took me to see a monastery. There we got into an interesting &gt; discussion with the monks. The monk asked him why he wasn't a &gt; Christian, and he said because he knew about outer space and there &gt; was no God up there. I asked him where he got that silly belief, that &gt; God was sitting up in the stratosphere. He said it is the universal &gt; teaching of the Orthodox church. I asked the monk if it was true, and &gt; he said yes-- and then he launched off into a diatribe that sounded &gt; just like a young earther-- the appearances to the contrary were a &gt; conspiracy by atheist scient
 ists, etc. They both agreed this was the &gt; teaching of the Church. It shed light to me on Yuri Gagarin's &gt; statement, &quot;I don't see God up here&quot;-- I always thought that was just &gt; facetious, but apparently it was a real issue in the Russian orthodox &gt; church. &gt; So, here is my question. It seems at one time it was a universal &gt; interpretation of the Bible based on Jesus &quot;ascending&quot; to heaven, God &gt; speaking from the sky, Jacob's ladder, etc., that heaven is &quot;up&quot; in &gt; the skies. In the West this belief seems to have passed without a &gt; whimper, while in the East it is still alive with young-earth like &gt; fervor. When did it pass away in the West? Why? Clearly by the 1800's &gt; it was a nonissue in the West, long before there was space flight. &gt; This is relevant today because I was just having a discussion with an &gt; intelligent young earther and he asked whether it makes God a &gt; deceiver to give us a text that e
 veryone universally read as meaning &gt; literal 24 hour days until science came along. But by the same token, &gt; everyone read the Bible to mean that heaven was &quot;up&quot;. If you argue &gt; the one is deceptive, you have to argue the other, it seems to me. &gt; Perhaps this issue is already well documented, and you can give me a &gt; reference. &gt; &gt; &gt; To unsubscribe, send a message to with &gt; &quot;unsubscribe asa&quot; (no quotes) as the body of the message. &gt; </p>
George L. Murphy

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Received on Wed May 30 22:13:05 2007

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