How could Elijah be taken up to heaven when Christ had not yet open the gates of heaven?
As I understand it, Elias wasn’t taken up into the kingdom of heaven. The footnote in my Bible says that he was taken up into the sky and carried off alive. Without dying he was taken away from earth to a place unknown to us, from where he will come again before the last judgment.
Some theologians would say that he was free of original sin in a way similar to Mary.
I take it you mean free from actual sin? The chain of original sin was first broken in Mary.
Didn’t Paul speak of 3 heavens? Could that speak to this?
No I was referring to original sin. How could Elijah have been free from actual sin if he was not free from original sin?
Original sin is just the fallen state of man which is solved by regeneration, so if you want to follow the bible your best example would be John the Baptist because hes the only one the Bible actually explicitely says was regenerated at conception (Jesus did not need to be regenerated, for obvious reasons).
Original sin is the disturbed relationship with God that has been passed on since the primal sin of Adam from generation to generation. Elias would have been born in original sin.
Actual sin is the sin we commit ourselves. I’m not saying, by the way, that Elias never actually sinned, I was just trying to make sense of your statement.
I know the difference. I’m simply pointing out that it would be theologically problematic for someone to avoid all actual sin while still being in a state of original sin.
P.S. I assume that you’re talking about Elijah.
John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb, not at his conception. Elizabeth had already been pregnant with him when Mary visited her. (That is when the infant leaped for joy in his mother’s womb.)
Enoch too was taken away by God and in his case St. John Chrysostom considers the possibilites that he might have gone to the Paradise of Adam and Eve or some other delightful place. Haydock Commentary says some thought the location might be an unknown place of the earth, a place above the sky, or in the bosom of Abraham.
Haydock Commentary (Gen. 5:24):
“Though it be not an article of faith, whether Henoch be now in that Paradise, from which Adam and Eve were driven, or in some other delightful place; yet the holy Scriptures affirm, that God translated him alive, that he might not experience death,” S. Chrys. hom. 21. with whom the other fathers agree, cited in the Douay Bible
Haydock Commentary (2. Kings 2:1):
To decide where the paradise which they inhabit, (H.) is situated. would be rash. S. Chrys. hom. 21. in Gen. &c. Some suppose it is still in some unknown region of the earth: others place it above the sky, (M.) or in the bosom of Abraham. C.