If God is the ground of being, is heaven a location or a dimension?

Hey guys,

I’ve really been mulling this over. My view of God is changing much since I’ve come into the Church. Before, I thought of God as essentially a being who was “up,” spatially “above” the creation, which is where heaven is.

Now, as I get more into apophatic theology, I’m seeing the issues with such a view. I heard Bishop Barron say that heaven is a dimension, not a spatially located place out there somewhere. This view is very intellectually and spiritually satisfying!

Are there any statements on this from the magisterium of the Church, officially?

I’ve always considered it a state of being. I would guess that human language is not adequate to the task of describing it.

Since there are, or will be spiritual BODIES therein, there is an aspect of place to it.

Dimension is as good a word as any to describe it.

Who is Bishop Barron?

ICXC NIKA

Father Robert Barron

Pope Francis appointed Father Robert Barron auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA

In answer to the OP regarding where God resides, Paul(formerly Saul) caught a glimpse of this other dimension/third heaven he recounts in 2 Corinthians 12:1-2

1 If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed), but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven.

The Navarre Bible commentary explains that Jewish traditions spoke of a first heaven, the earth’s atmosphere; a second heaven, the place of stars; and a third heaven, the dwelling place of God.

I had thought the same as you, wondering if the hubble spacecraft would catch a glimpse of God (or Jesus, Enoch or Elijah who all ascended bodily into the heavens.)/

Wasn’t that in the Our Father and in the creed originally? Our Father who art in the heavens? He ascended into the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God?

That’s what I’m struggling with. The idea is that if we fly high enough, we’ll see God. That’s precisely the god atheism mocks, and not the God of classical theism, the God of Aquinas, etc. People like David Bentley Hart and Bp. Barron assert the spatially located god is not the God of true Christianity - I would love to know this for sure.

This.

It is a place as well as a state of being since the bodies of Our Lord & the Blessed Virgin are there. In the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Hence there seems to be no sufficient reason for attributing a metaphorical sense to those numerous utterances of the Bible which suggest a definite dwelling-place of the blessed. Theologians, therefore, generally hold that the heaven of the blessed is a special place with definite limits. Naturally, this place is held to exist, not within the earth, but, in accordance with the expressions of Scripture, without and beyond its limits. All further details regarding its locality are quite uncertain. The Church has decided nothing on this subject.

I have read elsewhere that it is the opinion of many theologians that Heaven is somewhere among or beyond the stars, not in a different dimension. To me, it doesn’t make sense to bring in dimensions, it sounds more like science fiction than religion. We can’t see it because God hides it from us. As the Catholic Encyclopedia says, there is no definitive Church teaching regarding the location of Heaven.

God hides it from us - that’s my point; that’s what I mean when I say dimension. It’s like energy and matter. Energy slows down and manifests as solid objects; it speeds up and is invisible to the eye. Yet it’s there. Also an analogy, which falls short at some point. Angels are all around us, but we can’t ordinarily see them. That’s not sci-fi. Maybe dimension was a poor word choice.

We cannot see spirits because corporal eyes cannot perceive them, not because of energy. I doubt God is speeding up the energy of Heaven to make it imperceptible. It seems superfluous. Instead of saying dimension, we can simply say that Heaven is hidden from us.

Did I say it was energy and matter, or analogous? You’re misrepresenting me, friend.

My apologies. I am not very sophisticated in this area of science.

I’m sorry - I was harsh. You didn’t mean it. I’m a jerk. I’m having an awful day, but that’s no excuse. Please forgive me.

Your response wasn’t harsh, don’t worry about it. :slight_smile:

This post by Tim Staples answers my question, and it was the answer I was hoping for!

catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/what-is-heaven

Even if you had a space ship able to travel to the ends of the universe, you would still not physically be able to ‘travel’ to heaven, its a different plane of existence, best way to describe it is another dimension.

I heard a good description long ago about what the transition feels like…its similar to someone switching stations on a radio.

I believe you are correct. It is unfortunate that God has been reduced to a guy in the sky (or threw guys in the sky in your case).

Only God can really be called a being (pure being) or declare being for himself (say I AM) since his being is uncaused. Our being is conditioned upon his being (or grounded in it as you rightly put it). In some really mystical sense we are empty of being…? The entire creation for that matter is conditioned upon the uncaused reality of God…

As to where be is located spactially is probably as nonsensical as picturing him in the sky…God who is ‘spirit’ cannot be placed in space/time terms. However in the Catholic sence with the incarnation, there is probably more to search but cannot answer that for you

Thanks for your input! When I was Muslim, I was very leery of the “philosophers.” :wink:

ismailignosis.com/2014/03/27/he-who-is-above-all-else-the-strongest-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/

Take a look. It explains the classical concept of God you mentioned…not trying to prove the ‘Muslim God’ but using various sources including David Bently Heart to show that this God is not unique to only one religion

Thanks. I know what you’re saying. I have his book, Being, Consciousness, Bliss.

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