Now that I’ve spent some time going over the fact that physical existence is a natural and good part of what God’s created, I also want to take a moment to examine some of the faulty assumptions that Christians make when they don’t have a Biblically-informed worldview just yet.
This is a question that people wave off and simply assume the Bible does not give an answer for. And that’s, thankfully, not the case.
- Here’s the question: Is Heaven a material or non-material place?
- Related to it: If we believe in the bodily resurrection, where is Jesus now?
The answer is that of course Heaven IS a physically-composed place. Jesus is in heaven right now! We believe in the resurrection AND the ascension.
Heaven & Earth are not “far away” from one another. Heaven is not a strictly non-material Realm, while Earth is a strictly material realm. That’s not the case at all.
This isn’t brand new to Jesus, either. In the Temple in Jerusalem they believed that Heaven & Earth were there together. It wasn’t treated AS IF you were in Heaven – you were in Heaven! God’s space had come to overlap with the Human’s space! This was the case only in the Tabernacle and then the Temple.
However, in Acts 1, Jesus ascends into Heaven. There is at LEAST that much physicality in Heaven already. And I’m sorry if that blows up your categories, but your categories weren’t Biblical to begin with.
There is a whole school of thought in Biblical studies that if something is physical then it can’t be Spiritual, and if it’s Spiritual then it can’t be physical.
So when you read about things like a throne in Heaven, and existing Spiritual beings with bodies filling that space, we are using the language of space-time.
If fire can come down from Heaven, or physically-visible angels, then it can’t just be a mental or spiritual place.
The Bible is inviting us to rethink our entire cosmology. Not only is God’s plan for eternity physical in nature, God’s own space is physical in nature as well as Spiritual!
In our last video we talked about the basics of the Platonic worldview that has snuck into the church. Platonism, in a nutshell, is the Greek idea that physical = bad and spiritual = good and ne’er the twain shall meet. The Greek ideas we have in our minds are fundamentally misconceived, and it’s good to be able to identify them so that we can uproot them in favor of better categories.
We don’t have to enslave ourselves to a Platonic Heaven. A body is not out of place there. It’s not poetry or figurative language to say that there is physicality in God’s realm. There is. He made it. He called it good. He’s rather fond of it. And He intends to make it all new again.
The fact of the Ascension is that now a part of Earth is in Heaven.
Then, in Pentecost, the Spirit comes from Heaven to animate and empower us.
There’s a new temple launched in the world – it is the whole of God’s people in the church.