[quote=piety101]I certainly believe in a literal heaven, as there is a literal hell. Why shouldn’t we? Jesus said, I go to my father’s house and I go to prepare a PLACE for you. Also in the revelation of John, John saw a city with walls and a river, clear as crystal, with trees on both sides of this river. John also said the city has 12 gates which have inscribed in them the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps the streets are gold, for that indeed is a pure metal.
There also is a temple in heaven and the the ark of the covenant resides within that temple. Also myriads of angels and other heavenly beasts inhabit heaven. Heaven is a real place, with buildings, water, trees, light, angels and the saints of God.
John the apostle said someday that same city which now is in heaven, will descend to the NEW earth and will reside upon it. It was St Augustine who was chiefly responsible for allergorizing every prophetic writing in the New Testament. It became so ridiculous that it was believed a thousand angels could dance on the head of a pin. When in reality, angels are created beings, just as we are, who occupy time and space.
I guess I should have phrased the question better. I certainly believe in a literal heaven. What I meant was can the human authors (albeit with divine guidance) of the Bible do it justice? I guess what I meant to ask is, are the descriptions of heaven from the Bible meant to be taken as literal? Or are they just to give us a conception of what it will be like?
Also, in regards to angels, I don’t think they are material beings. Just because they are created doesn’t mean they exist in time, or that they have a physical size. To be “created” doesn’t equal, “material” in my mind.
I think heaven, as well, is outside of time. Otherwise, there is no way the saints could “hear” our prayers. There wouldn’t be enough time for the millions of prayers they get. Especially our Lady. She would never have time to herself if she existed in time.