Re: [asa] Inquiry about Orthodox view of heaven

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Thu May 31 2007 - 01:14:37 EDT

Now, now, George--we all know that the ubiquity of the body of Christ
is one of those Lutheran errors that Reformed theology corrected.



On May 30, 2007, at 8:12 PM, George L. wrote:

> This is not really an answer to David's question but may be worth
> noting. The Lutheran (aka correct) view, based on important
> sacramental & christological considerations, is that Jesus'
> Ascension to the "right hand of the Father" 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 & concerns about
> inerrancy That it didn't take advantage of this insight.
> Shalom, George
>>>> ASA member David Snoke (physics, Pitt) sent me an interesting
> post this > morning, which he is allowing me to reproduce here. I
> won't comment further > on it myself, except to say that in
> Galileo's day, it *was* an issue for > some that Christ "ascended
> into heaven," and that Copernicanism seemed to > make this somewhat
> problematic. It clearly was not an issue for a lot of > people for
> a long time, however--unlike evolution has proved to be. I know >
> only a little about science and Orthodox faith, and this topic does
> not fall > into that little box. Comments are solicited. > > Ted >
>> Here now is David's inquiry: > A few years ago I was in Moldova,
> visiting an atheist scientist, and > he took me to see a monastery.
> There we got into an interesting > discussion with the monks. The
> monk asked him why he wasn't a > Christian, and he said because he
> knew about outer space and there > was no God up there. I asked him
> where he got that silly belief, that > God was sitting up in the
> stratosphere. He said it is the universal > teaching of the
> Orthodox church. I asked the monk if it was true, and > he said
> yes-- and then he launched off into a diatribe that sounded > just
> like a young earther-- the appearances to the contrary were a >
> conspiracy by atheist scientists, etc. They both agreed this was
> the > teaching of the Church. It shed light to me on Yuri Gagarin's
>> statement, "I don't see God up here"-- I always thought that was
> just > facetious, but apparently it was a real issue in the Russian
> orthodox > church. > 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. > This is relevant today
> because I was just having a discussion with an > intelligent young
> earther and he asked whether it makes God a > deceiver to give us a
> text that everyone universally read as meaning > literal 24 hour
> days until science came along. But by the same token, > everyone
> read the Bible to mean that heaven was "up". If you argue > the one
> is deceptive, you have to argue the other, it seems to me. >
> Perhaps this issue is already well documented, and you can give me
> a > reference. > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to
> with > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the
> body of the message. >
> George L. Murphy

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Thu May 31 14:56:24 2007

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