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Heaven, is it a physical or a metaphysical reality?

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by martha dodge, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    Quoting from Revelations 21 "I,John, saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And also there was no more sea. Then, I, John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, from God, prepared as a bride for her husband.

    I have been taught that the translation of the word new in this verse should be renewed. I have also been taught that we must consider the mindset of John as being one of middle-eastern mentality. He did not see as a westerner sees on a moment by moment basis but looked at whole events as like in a mural and describing the impact of that on the mind.
    What John is describing is an event which, in my opinion, cannot take place in the physical realm of existence which we know today. The impact on our minds would be such as to cause insanity. We are required to inhabit new spiritual bodies in order to inhabit a new Jerusalem.
    I have read in the Word that Paul describes an assent to the 7th heaven,
    Do you think it is possible for Christians to acheive such a level of spiritual conscience, that would allow a glimpse into this new reality plane which must exist. I say must because Father God says that no one can look on the face of God and live and in Revelations He plainly says we will see Him.
     
  2. Lightkeeper

    Lightkeeper Well-Known Member

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    "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. When we deal with our issues, clear ourselves of baggage, keep an open mind we can reach high levels of conciousness. Meditation is one good way to achieve this.

    1Cor 4:16 ...we are renewed inwardly daily...
     
  3. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    Thank you for reminding me that it is a daily thing to do as Paul said and think on whatsoever things are true and just and pure. My Lord Jesus also said that the cares of today are sufficient. There are times when I wonder at the teaching about a new body and a life lived forever. I glory in My Lord's words, I will come again and receive you unto myself. I get goosebumps when reading John's discription in Revelations 20. Haven't you ever wondered about the Holy City? What do you think we will be like there?
     
  4. Lightkeeper

    Lightkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I truly think it is within us and it is more beautiful than we can imagine.
     
  5. Tom Davidson

    Tom Davidson Member

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    Hello Martha -

    "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
    1 Corinthians 13:12

    "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
    1 Corinthians 15:50-53

    St Paul alludes to this state in the above - but precisely how remains a mystery - but 'then I shall know even as I am known' might mean that we know ourselves as God knows us.

    The key hinges on who we consider 'we' are - are we our bodies, or are we our souls? Now Doctrine states that body and soul are one, that the soul must have a body, and the body must have a soul. But we also know the soul is superior to the body, and the body is the 'form' or manifestation of the soul under physical conditions.

    Presently we are bodies aware (to a greater or lesser degree) that we have a soul - in a twinkling we shall become souls, aware that we have bodies, but that body will be as the soul chooses, not as physical conditions determine.

    *****

    "All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him." Luke 10:22

    Thus, no-one can look upon the face of God, but that which man sees is the Father through the Son - the Greek philosopher Anaximander had the arche (principle) and apeiron (boundless), which correspond to Son (Logos or principle) and to the Father who is beyond all forms. The Fathers worded it as 'arche' - the Principle (Son), and arche anarchos Principle without Principle (Father).

    Of course, the Son, 'in whom all things subsist' (Colossians) thus reveals the Father in and through all creation, the things seen, as well as through faith, things unseen, the latter being more immediate and more direct.

    Thus when Paul was taken up into the 'third heaven' he lost all sense of things seen, including himself.

    And yes, this is possible for each and every one of us.

    Thomas
     
  6. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    Makes sense that I would, in reaching for more Christ in me, become more soul than body oriented. My daughter has suggested that perhaps Adam once possessed a body like that of Jesus after His ressurection. As it is recorded, He told Thomas to touch Him. There was flesh and bone there but it was the incorruptible kind. She suggest that Adam and Eve were not supposed to die and Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden. There must have been a big change in the make-up of their incorruptible bodies when they ate from the forbidden tree. This led to decay and disease in flesh which we have inherited to this day. I am pondering the validity of this and as I seek to know Jesus better and more completely, this becomes more valid. I have always believed that man was more mental that physical.
    As for Paul and the 3rd heaven, sorry about that. I could not find that reference in scripture and was taking someone elses word. Can you please tell me where it is found. Thank you.
    As a Catholic, or am I presuming wrong there also, do you have access to documents concerning the Didacae of Peter and the Apostles and the Church legend concerning Mary Magdalene and the Church in Antioch-Africa?
     
  7. Tom Davidson

    Tom Davidson Member

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    My daughter has suggested that perhaps Adam once possessed a body like that of Jesus after His ressurection.

    Adam and Eve represent humanity in its primordial or original perfection - Christ is beyond this, being God in human form. Also, Christ bears ther wounds of the cross, which A&E did not carry.

    As it is recorded, He told Thomas to touch Him. There was flesh and bone there but it was the incorruptible kind.

    In fact when he first appeared to the disciples He made them touch him too.

    She suggest that Adam and Eve were not supposed to die and Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden.

    True

    There must have been a big change in the make-up of their incorruptible bodies when they ate from the forbidden tree.

    The fruit of the tree was duality - good and evil, life and death - body and soul. Prior to this man only knew good and life, although he was possessed of a body, and a soul. In eating of the fruit he elected to become separate from God, to view the world as something other than a divinely ordained being, and thus to act contrary to the divine will (much in the way our children go against us to prove to themselves they are self-determining people).

    This led to decay and disease in flesh which we have inherited to this day.

    That's the way I see it. This separation - necessary to conceive self as an independent being - means separation in every domain of our existence. The first result of eating the fruit was the perception of himself as 'naked' and a sense of 'shame' - thus he was aware of his error before God spoke to him. Thus I see all pain, illness, wrong, etc., as separation or a privation of the good. The 'Prince of Privation' is death itself.

    I have always believed that man was more mental that physical.

    More spiritual then physical. Mental - the psychic realm - is the source of all the problems.

    As for Paul and the 3rd heaven ... Can you please tell me where it is found?

    "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
    2 Corinthians 12:2-4

    It is believed that Paul is talking of himself.

    As a Catholic, or am I presuming wrong there also,

    No - Catholic I am.

    Do you have access to documents concerning the Didacae of Peter and the Apostles

    The Didache? You can view it on my website:
    http://www.theveil.net/trad/did/did.html

    I have no details on your other two points - but will help where I van if you have a specific inquiry.

    Thomas
     
  8. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    I have read that Mary Magdalene founded a church in the city of Antioch, which is in Africa. I have read that this is why the Didache copies have been found in that part of the world. She is supposed to have moved to Spain afterwards and founded a church which is supposed to still exist. She is supposed to be buried there. I have been told that there are also papal library documents which support this information. Wondering if you knew anything about them.??????
     
  9. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    I also wanted to tell you that I have become enthralled with your web-site. I ask permission to visit it often and to make queries concerning what I find. So many of the authors you present are unfamiliar and yet topics are so familiar. The exploring of many of them is on the Holy Spirits agenda for me at this present time. Thank you in advance for permission.
     
  10. Tom Davidson

    Tom Davidson Member

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    Hi Martha -

    The Orthodox Church holds that the Magdalene retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved.

    According to popular legend, she as the wife of Lazarus, led a mission to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. She supposedly retired to La Sainte-Baume (a hill outside Marseilles) where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, and she was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. In 1279 Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, and there a shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why the body of the Magdalene was hidden (to preserve it from invading Saracens). In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.

    Another holds that Christ and the Magdalene were married; that He survived ther cross and fled to France, and that they are the originators of the Merovingian Dynasty, the first French royal bloodline (nonsense, of course).

    Thomas
    (glad you like The Veil)
     
  11. harold e. rice

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    The heavens is sometimes used to refer to the sky, celestial sphere, and/or outer space. Indeed, sky is the original meaning of the word "heaven."
    While there are abundant and varied sources for conceptions of heaven, of varying degrees of authority, the typical believer's view appears to depend largely on his particular religious tradition. Various religions have described Heaven as being populated by angels, demons, gods and goddesses, and/or heroes. Heaven is generally construed as a place of eternal happiness. The relationship between this concept and the celestial sphere is generally believed to have been first proposed by the ancient astronomer-priests. No one, absolutely no one can live or exist in the sky without a space suit and oxygen. This concept was very believable until Christopher Columbus, Copernicus and Galileo proved the Church doctrine to be wrong. If the earth were flat it was be easier to understand a rooftop above us.

    Paul spoke of a 3rd heaven when he was dreaming, not a 7th heaven.

    2Co 12:2
    I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

    Remember that the book of Revelations was written to the 7 churches on the Mediterranean Islands and not to those living 2000 years later. The very first verse state that he?s writing of things soon to come, not 2000 years later.

    Re 1:1
    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    Re 1:11
    Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

    Heaven is a condition or a state of mind. You need to enjoy your heaven while you are living on this earth because you will never see it up in the sky. There is no pie in the Sky.

    BTW, I have been to the Isle of Patmos and down in the cave where John was said to have written the book of Revelations.

    The heaven that's spoken of in the bible is neither physical nor metaphysical.
     
  12. martha dodge

    martha dodge Member

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    As Jesus said, "With God a day can be a thousand years or a thousand years, a day" And as Jesus said" I go to prepare a place for you and if I go, I will return again to receive you unto myself so that where I am there you may be also." Thank you for the advice but I would rather trust Jesus's words.
     
  13. true blood

    true blood Active Member

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    I believe its a physical place in the heavens. In the bible the word heaven is translated any place above the earth. Jesus Christ led the apostles from Jerusalem to the other side of the Mount of Olives, as far as Bethany on the eastern side. Jesus Christ here was blessing the disciples and while blessing them he was taken up into heaven (any place above the earth like sky, outerspace) and a cloud received him out of their sight. He went to prepare a place for the true believers. Personally I'm thinking it will be on another planet in another galaxy. It's interesting what our bodies will be like. After God rezzed Jesus from the dead I noticed some interesting characteristics like the wrappings around his body had not been disturbed indicating our bodies will be able to pass through objects. Jesus also could change his appearance, travel great distances like teleporting almost, fly, truely amazing. God's end for mankind will be awesome, this is His plan.
     
  14. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    If Heaven is physical, then what parts of our bodies go there, as the 'soul' has no physical reality?
     
  15. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Think about this. Christ refers to Himself as having "flesh and bone." Adam and Eve are referred to as having "flesh and bone." All other humans are referred to as having "flesh and blood." What is blood? In the Old Testament it is the giver of life, but what kind of life? Mortal life. Adam and Eve did not have blood coursing through their bodies. They were "quickened by the spirit" as was Christ after His resurrection. The Fall of Adam broght mortality to the scene. How? It put blood in their veins.

    One of our prurposes here on earth is to learn to overcome the physical and let the spiritual reign. We have a dualistic nature. We have a carnal side and a spiritual side, but our carnal side is the ruler by default. If we struggle and fight we can help our spiritual selves overcome the natural man. C.S. Lewis said one time, "You do not have a soul; you are a soul, you have a body." We are spiritual beings sent here to gain a body so that we might progress spiritually towards our Father in Heaven. The Garden of Eden is a prototype for Heaven. We will live there as physical beings, but our spirits will reign over our perfected bodies.
     
  16. Tom Davidson

    Tom Davidson Member

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    Hi Dan -

    We have to tread carefully here ... '"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (neshamah); and man became a living soul (nephesh). Genesis 2:7

    Many problems arise because in translating the Hebrew 'nephesh' into the Greek 'psyche', then into English 'soul', the commonly received definition of soul is the Greek sense, which is entirely different from the Hebrew, and thus different to the manner in which Scripture uses the term.

    The Greek reflects the Platonic view of the soul (psyche) as something incorporeal, (possibly) immortal, an essence (of the person) that is no part of the physical body, and likewise the physical body is no part of the soul.

    This leads to an inherent dualism of body and soul, and sets the two in opposition. In the Greek worlds the soul is good, the body is evil. By extension, the spiritual is good, and the physical is evil, which again is a Platonic viewpoint that entirely contradicts Scripture, for God made the world and saw that it was good, as were are told in each successive day in Genesis 1 (except the second), but the place of the world, as a place and source of good, drops from sight from there on.

    In the Hebrew view - as C S Lewis testified - the soul and body are one - and as the soul IS its body. Scripture uses the word nephesh to describe both men and creatures as 'living' but translators used the word 'soul' for man and 'creature' for animal. The Hebrew phrase should be translated exactly the same way in both cases, and to do likewise is to mislead those who do not read Hebrew. By nephesh Scripture means 'a living being', so in a sense nephesh means 'life'.

    I do have a problem with your take on blood. In Leviticus 17:11, we read: "For the life (nephesh - soul) of the flesh is in the blood" and later "For the life (nephesh) of every creature is the blood of it; therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood (17:14).

    So the soul is linked with the blood - and it's worth noting that we should not eat any creature that has blood in its veins (tough on fish) and one can at least sympathise with J Witnesses who refuse to allow transfusions...

    Lastly I would say that to deny the physical and live in the spiritual is correct in the sense that we must overcome the base aspects of ourselves (which exist in body and soul) and unite body and soul in the spirit into one wholistic being, but the source of the problem is the soul spirit, the body is the helpless victimm in all this - we have to differentiate between the physical body and 'the body' or 'flesh' as referring to the base instincts, as St Paul said:

    "and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23
     
  17. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I see where you're going, and I think I need to make a few more things clear.

    I do not subscribe to the neoplatonic idea that physical is evil. The body was created by God and is one of our greatest blessings, but we must condition it to obey the divine, and not the carnal. I agree with you that much of the Greek text has a platonic undertone to it.

    As far as nephesh goes, I like to think of a "soul" as a living being, a body and a spirit. The spirit being seperate does not, in my mind, constitute a soul. A soul is when the body and the spirit have come together to create a living being; thus, when I say that blood gives us life, albeit mortal, I am in no way betraying the relationship between blood and the soul.

    Nephesh, by the way, has several meanings, one of which being "soul." Observe.

    1. soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
    a. that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
    b. living being
    c. living being (with life in the blood)
    d. the man himself, self, person or individual
    e. seat of the appetites
    f. seat of emotions and passions
    g. activity of mind
    1. dubious
    h. activity of the will
    1. dubious
    i. activity of the character
    1. dubious

    The Bible is replete with refences to flesh and blood, but there are only two instances in which "flesh and bones" appear, and they are in reference to a resurrected Christ, and a pre-fall Adam and Eve. The Bible also tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christ shows us that flesh and bone can. Paul tells us we will be quickened by spirit in heaven. I think my conclusions are well-enough grounded in logic and reason.
     
  18. harold e. rice

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    Heaven = outer space
     
  19. harold e. rice

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