Heaven Permanently Closed?


#1

After the Fall…was Heaven permanently closed to humans until Jesus in essence re-opened the pathway to Heaven? Someone claimed that Mary did not need Jesus’ sacrifice to attain Heaven. Their argument was that if she had died sinless and without original sin prior to Jesus’ death, that she would still go to heaven because she would have been perfect. I claimed that Heaven was closed to all mankind until Jesus’ sacrifice regardless of the person’s sinful nature. Is this a correct statement? Where in the Bible is this discussed? Why could Mary not gain Heaven in her sinlessness prior to Jesus’ sacrifice? Thanks for the comments.


#2

Heaven was closed until Jesus died for the sins of mankind. That’s what “He descended into Hell…” means in the creeds - that interpretation of Hell is really not the same Hell we think of today, the interpretation is different and I suspect someone else can clarify. But Jesus went there to liberate the souls who died prior to His crucifixion.

The important thing - it’s open for business now :slight_smile:


#3

[quote=awalt]Heaven was closed until Jesus died for the sins of mankind. That’s what “He descended into Hell…” means in the creeds - that interpretation of Hell is really not the same Hell we think of today, the interpretation is different and I suspect someone else can clarify. But Jesus went there to liberate the souls who died prior to His crucifixion.

The important thing - it’s open for business now :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Are there any Bible passages that state Heaven is closed to all mankind, without the distinction between sinners or the sinless?


#4

Wasn’t Enoch assumed into Heaven? I don’t know if permantly closed is the right term, but let’s just say God became extraordinarily selective until Christ opened the doors.


#5

I think you are right that Heaven was closed to mankind until Christ’s redeeming sacrifice opened it for us. I’m not sure where that leaves Enoch, but keep in mind that time doesn’t necessarily flow in a consecutive manner in the afterlife. In any case, he also was saved by Christ.

As was Mary. Jesus is her Savior too. It is only because of His redeeming death and resurrection that she gained the fullness of grace which preserved her from original sin.

The effects of Christ’s sacrifice reached back and touched her at the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, thereby preserving her from original sin, because of the sacrifice of her son, who is also her Savior.

As I said, God’s application of grace does not necessarily work in a temporal and consecutive manner.


#6

Good point Jimmy G…I was thinking linear.


#7

There’s that whole “bosom of Abraham” thing, which might explain the Enoch question. Of course, Enoch came before Abraham…
I do think that the eternity/outside-of-time argument is the most valid. I also have always believed that Adam and Eve could not have entered Heaven, even before they sinned, because they were only “innocent,” not “perfect.” I think God had a process in mind to get them there. But, that could be heresy, so don’t listen to me.
I really don’t know. Are there any official church documents on all this?


#8

[quote=Kristina P.]There’s that whole “bosom of Abraham” thing, which might explain the Enoch question. Of course, Enoch came before Abraham…
I do think that the eternity/outside-of-time argument is the most valid. I also have always believed that Adam and Eve could not have entered Heaven, even before they sinned, because they were only “innocent,” not “perfect.” I think God had a process in mind to get them there. But, that could be heresy, so don’t listen to me.
I really don’t know. Are there any official church documents on all this?
[/quote]

I’m not sure of the process by which Enoch was “assumed into heaven” (or if he just went to the “Bosom of Abraham”) but Adam and Eve, before their sin against God - to my knowledge - would’ve been able to go directly to heaven because God created them without sin. ADAM committed (or at least is credited with) the first sin. There was no sin before that.

I’m not even sure there would’ve been a heaven as we now know it because sin would not be in the world. God walked freely with them - isn’t that what heaven is - being in the presence of God? Adam and Eve were in the presence of God, i.e. heaven. So, after they sinned, God banned them from the “garden” (closed the gates of heaven) and sentenced them to toil on earth. We were then redeemed by the blood of Christ and the gates were once again opened for us. Knowing we could never, by ourselves, atone for the grave sin against God that Adam and Eve committed, God sent His Son to do that for us. We now have hope of attaining the “garden” once again.

God had that “plan” in mind - see Gen 3: 14-19. Mary was saved by the sacrifice of her Son. His sacrifice is not bound by time as evidenced by what God said in Genesis. Mary benefited by that sacrifice. If she had died before the actual dying on the cross, she would’ve gone to the “Bosom of Abraham” were all the righteous souls went prior to the sacrifice to wait for Jesus to free them to go into heaven. The unrighteous, would’ve at that time been sent into hell.

What ifs can be very confusing - so don’t take my word - why don’t you ask an apologist and see what they give you?
Good question, though.


#9

No, Enoch was not assumed into the Heaven that God dwells in. Enoch was born in original sin, and he could not enter the Heaven of the Blessed because he still suffered the effects of original sin.

Enoch and Elijah were both taken from earth while they were living in their mortal bodies with souls in a state of original sin. Abraham’s bosom is a place where the souls of the righteous dead dwelt waiting for the Gates of Heaven to be opened. Scriptures state that Elijah ascended into the sky, not descended to the dead.

There are Church Fathers that teach that Enoch and Elijah were taken to the terrestrial Paradise that Adam and Eve were cast out of after they rebelled against God. Enoch and Elijah will come back to earth from the terrestrial Paradise in the time of the Antichrist to be martyred in Jerusalem. Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3.

Mary was born without original sin. That is the dogma of the Church, and that dogma does not teach that Mary was born a Catholic, or that she was born fully divinized. Adam and Eve were also without original sin before the fall, but that does not mean that Adam and Eve possessed the holiness of the souls in Heaven. Indeed, the Church teaches that Adam and Eve were destined by God to become fully divinized, but they failed to achieve what God predestined them for because they rebelled against God.

Mary, like Adam and Eve before the Fall, could also grow in grace, and she too needed Jesus as her savior.And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
Luke 1:46-47Mary did not need a savior from sin, she needed a savior that could bring her the sanctifying grace that would elevate her soul from the state that she was conceived in, to the state of being fully divinized.


#10

[quote=DianJo]I’m not sure of the process by which Enoch was “assumed into heaven” (or if he just went to the “Bosom of Abraham”) but Adam and Eve, before their sin against God - to my knowledge - would’ve been able to go directly to heaven because God created them without sin. ADAM committed (or at least is credited with) the first sin. There was no sin before that.

I’m not even sure there would’ve been a heaven as we now know it because sin would not be in the world. God walked freely with them - isn’t that what heaven is - being in the presence of God? Adam and Eve were in the presence of God, i.e. heaven. So, after they sinned, God banned them from the “garden” (closed the gates of heaven) and sentenced them to toil on earth. We were then redeemed by the blood of Christ and the gates were once again opened for us. Knowing we could never, by ourselves, atone for the grave sin against God that Adam and Eve committed, God sent His Son to do that for us. We now have hope of attaining the “garden” once again.

God had that “plan” in mind - see Gen 3: 14-19. Mary was saved by the sacrifice of her Son. His sacrifice is not bound by time as evidenced by what God said in Genesis. Mary benefited by that sacrifice. If she had died before the actual dying on the cross, she would’ve gone to the “Bosom of Abraham” were all the righteous souls went prior to the sacrifice to wait for Jesus to free them to go into heaven. The unrighteous, would’ve at that time been sent into hell.

What ifs can be very confusing - so don’t take my word - why don’t you ask an apologist and see what they give you?
Good question, though.
[/quote]

I don’t think Adam and Eve would have ever died at all if they didn’t cause the fall. I think everything on earth would have just lived forever. (I might be wrong) This is what I base this idea on. I don’t know if the Catholic Church teaches this or not.

Genisis:
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 3:4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

I always thought as soon as they ate the fruit they began to die.

Revelation:21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


#11

The Catholic Church teaches that Adam and Eve were born with the preternatural gift of bodily immortality. So yes, if Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have never died. But Adam and Eve were also destined by God to grow in holiness in the terrestrial paradise, and to eventually become fully divinized beings.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

398** In that sin [original sin] man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God”.


Theosis, also called divinization or deification, is the process of becoming more like God and more united with God. This “becoming more like God” is to be understood as becoming more like Jesus Christ (who is God), not as the wish for power and knowledge that motivated Adam and Eve to sin. Theosis is the goal of the Christian life. It means becoming all that people were originally created to be. It is not something to wait for passively, but something to be taken by force, by hard work done in one’s soul.

Wikipedia

I don’t think Adam and Eve would have ever died at all if they didn’t cause the fall. I think everything on earth would have just lived forever.

If Adam and Eve had not fallen, their progeny would have also possessed the preternatural gift of bodily immortality.ORIGINAL SIN. Either the sin committed by Adam as the head of the human race, or the sin he passed onto his posterity with which every human being, with the certain exception of Christ and his Mother, is conceived and born. The sin of Adam is called originating original sin (originale originans); that of his descendents is originated original sin (originale originatum). Adam’s sin was personal and grave, and it affected human nature. It was personal because he freely committed it; it was grave because God imposed a serious obligation; and it affected the whole human race by depriving his progeny of the supernatural life and preternatural gifts they would have possessed on entering the world had Adam not sinned. Original sin in his descendants is personal only in the sense that the children of Adam are each personally affected, but not personal as though they had voluntarily chosen to commit the sin; it is grave in the sense that it debars a person from the beatific vision, but not grave in condemning one to hell; and it is natural only in that all human nature, except for divine intervention, has it and can have it removed only by supernatural means.

PRETERNATURAL GIFTS. Favors granted by God above and beyond the powers or capacities of the nature that receives them but not beyond those of all created nature. Such gifts perfect nature but do not carry it beyond the limits of created nature. They include three great privileges to which human beings have no title:[INDENT] infused knowledge
 absence of concupiscence
 bodily immortality. Adam and Eve possessed these gifts before the Fall.

*Pocket Catholic Dictionary * - John A. Hardon, S.J.[/indent]


#12

The terrestrial paradise where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall was not Heaven. Adam and Eve did not behold the beatific vision in the terrestrial paradise, but they were destined by God for that glory. By committing rebellion against God, Adam and Eve deprived themselves and their progeny of what we were all destined for - the beatific vision.

God, in his mercy, has opened a way for us to regain what Adam and Eve lost though sin.


#13

[quote=Matt16_18]The terrestrial paradise where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall was not Heaven. Adam and Eve did not behold the beatific vision in the terrestrial paradise, but they were destined by God for that glory. By committing rebellion against God, Adam and Eve deprived themselves and their progeny of what we were all destined for - the beatific vision.

God, in his mercy, has opened a way for us to regain what Adam and Eve lost though sin.
[/quote]

That was interesting, I thought they would live in the Garden of Eden forever. :slight_smile:


#14

I think it is clear that Adam and Eve would have and could have entered heaven without Jesus’ Sacrifice if they had not sinned (or technically they were already there, as was said above). Through Adam’s sin however, heaven was closed, though it seems that heaven was closed to mankind entirely through original sin…and anyone born without that stain would not be barred from heaven as the rest of mankind. In what ways was Mary incapable of attaining heaven, despite her sinlessness, without Jesus’ sacrifice? Can this teaching be found Biblically? Just as Adam and Eve would not have needed Jesus’ sacrifice had they remained unsinful, so too would be the same for Mary correct? This can’t be correct, I’m just looking for clear reasoning why.


#15

[quote=Matt16_18]No, Enoch was not assumed into the Heaven that God dwells in. Enoch was born in original sin, and he could not enter the Heaven of the Blessed because he still suffered the effects of original sin.

Enoch and Elijah were both taken from earth while they were living in their mortal bodies with souls in a state of original sin. Abraham’s bosom is a place where the souls of the righteous dead dwelt waiting for the Gates of Heaven to be opened. Scriptures state that Elijah ascended into the sky, not descended to the dead.

There are Church Fathers that teach that Enoch and Elijah were taken to the terrestrial Paradise that Adam and Eve were cast out of after they rebelled against God. Enoch and Elijah will come back to earth from the terrestrial Paradise in the time of the Antichrist to be martyred in Jerusalem. Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3.

[/quote]

I’m pretty much in agreement with you until your third paragraph where you put Enoch and Elijah in the Garden of Eden. That seems like a stretch. I’m also not sure we can definitvely state that they are the two witnesses of Rev 11:3. I’m not saying you’re wrong…I just need to do some more reading to be convinced. A reference would be most appreciated.


#16

No problema.
The History of Joseph the Carpenter

Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 8

… And I say to you, O my brethren, that they also, Enoch and Elias, must towards the end of time return into the world and die–in the day, namely, of commotion, of terror, of perplexity, and affliction. For Antichrist will slay four bodies, and will pour out their blood like water, because of the reproach to which they shall expose him, and the ignominy with which they, in their lifetime, shall brand him when they reveal his impiety.

  1. And we said: O our Lord, our God and Saviour, who are those four whom Thou hast said Antichrist will cut off from the reproach they bring upon him? The Lord answered: They are Enoch, Elias, Schila, and Tabitha. When we heard this from our Saviour, we rejoiced and exulted; and we offered all glory and thanksgiving to the Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920

Whether paradise was a place adapted to be the abode of man?

Reply to Objection 3.
Paradise did not become useless through being unoccupied by man after sin, just as immortality was not conferred on man in vain, though he was to lose it. For thereby we learn God’s kindness to man, and what man lost by sin. Moreover, some say that Enoch and Elias still dwell in that paradise.


#17

I am not sure about Enoch either, here is the relevant Bible verse that sure sounds like they were taken to heaven:

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.%between% %between%

michaelgazin, your question about Bible verse on the Gates of Heaven, check out the CCC paragraphs 631-637, but 637 being the most specific. Eph 4:9-10, Acts 3:15, Rom 8:11, 1 Cor 15:20, Heb 13:30, 1 Pet 3:18-19 are among the footnotes in the Bible cited; there are others, these are the ones I have seen referred to most even in non-Catholic commentaries.


#18

The problem I have is that virtually all references about Heaven’s gates being closed presuppose the existence of original sin and sin. I have yet to see any specific addressing of the unique issue found in Mary’s case by the Bible, Catechism or other. Such occurrences in the Catechism and elsewhere that appear to address the issue, when the proper meaning is understood, shed little light on the situation, i.e. CCC 637 “He opened heaven’s gates for the just (a.k.a. those who died in a state of grace, though still captive to original sin and sin) who had gone before Him.” What about Mary’s unique situation? I understand that her salvation is entirely dependent on the being of her Son, but is it dependent specifically on the sacrifice of her Son, as is everyone else’s?


#19

[quote=seashell]I don’t think Adam and Eve would have ever died at all if they didn’t cause the fall. I think everything on earth would have just lived forever. (I might be wrong) This is what I base this idea on. I don’t know if the Catholic Church teaches this or not.

Genisis:
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 3:4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

I always thought as soon as they ate the fruit they began to die.

Revelation:21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
[/quote]

Yeah - that’s what I was saying (I thought?)- that had they not committed the first sin they would not have died. They were already in “heaven” or paradise, whichever you want to call it, they already walked with God.

Did I miss your concern? I think we’re saying the same thing?

Thanks to everyone for the clarifications. I don’t particularly like specualting on something like this. There’s a good chance that when you specualte, you can go off in some strange directions! Thanks for the references to the CCC.


#20

Let us look at what the Catechism says:**Catechism of the Catholic Church

MAN IN PARADISE

374** The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.

375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice”. This grace of **original holiness ** was “to share in. . .divine life”.

376 By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man’s life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die. The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman, and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called “original justice”.

The Catechism affirms that if Adam and Eve had not fallen, “man would not have to suffer or die.” In other words, Adam and Eve possessed the preternatural gift of bodily immortality before the Fall. If Adam and Eve had brought forth children in the terrestrial Paradise, their children would also have possessed the preternatural gift of bodily immortality.

Now note that before the Fall, Adam and Eve possessed the “grace of original holiness” and they were also predestined to “to share in. . .divine life”. This is why Adam and Eve’s life in the terrestrial Paradise is not the same thing as the life of the Blessed in Heaven. Life in the terrestrial Paradise was a life free from sin, a life that was good (very good) but it is not the highest life that a human can live – the glory of the new creation in Christ surpasses the glory of original justice.

That is why it is important not to mistake life in the terrestrial Paradise with the life of the redeemed in Heaven. The Saints are destined to live in the **new creation ** that will appear at the resurrection of the dead, and this new creation will surpass the glory of original justice.


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