Re: [asa] Inquiry about Orthodox view of heaven

From: Merv <>
Date: Wed May 30 2007 - 23:19:50 EDT

George L. wrote (or maybe was quoting someone else):
> So, here is my question. It seems at one time it was a universal >
> interpretation of the Bible based on Jesus "ascending" to heaven, God
> > speaking from the sky, Jacob's ladder, etc., that heaven is "up" in
> > the skies. In the West this belief seems to have passed without a >
> whimper, while in the East it is still alive with young-earth like >
> fervor. When did it pass away in the West? Why? Clearly by the 1800's
> > it was a nonissue in the West, long before there was space flight. >

I'm pretty sure it didn't "pass away" here. It just hasn't received
the attention that has been diverted to the evolutionary front. I'll
bet if we put this question to most literal inerrantists here and now
(on this side of the puddle), they would give you a surprised glance
that you could have ever thought otherwise if you take Scripture
seriously. While the Bible often uses the phrases "up" and "from
above", Acts 1:9-11 isn't written so as to invite metaphorical
translation. The disciples stare at the sky where He disappeared into
clouds, and are then told by angels that He will come back in just that
same way. It's all very clear if one only takes Scriptural statements
and doesn't start trying to investigate with scientific thought

I'll wager it certainly is still understood as literal by the same folks
who read creation passages literally. They would insist that our
understanding of "up" continues to mean away from the center of the
earth and towards the cosmos. And this conceptualization is not
affected by the Copernican revolution. But they wouldn't think of
Jesus as still up in orbit somewhere literally -- i.e. they too would
think Gagarin's provocation to be silly. But just where would they say
Jesus' physical body is? Where do any of us say He is? (I agree with
George Murphy's answer, but it sidesteps the physical aspect of the
resurrected body.) --that would be an interesting question.
Another sleeping dog to poke?


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Received on Wed May 30 23:14:36 2007

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