I was wondering if anybody could point me to some official church documents- perhaps some papal encyclicals or something- pertaining to the resurrection of the body.
They don’t have to answer these questions but this is what has been floating around in my mind: if there are bodies in heaven, then it surely must have a location, right? Is there gravity in heaven?? What does this even mean??
I would simply like some official Church stuff relevant to this topic.
I think he is looking for an official document that clarifies the doctrine of the resurrection against claims that it involves surprising and sometimes silly sounding implications. To my knowledge, the Catechism doesn’t address such concerns, but they often come up in informal discussions of Church doctrine.
This has little to do with the current thread, but I was recently discussing the Biblical phrase “Today is the day of salvation” with someone. They wanted to know, if today is the day of salvation, what was yesterday? And what will tomorrow be? Presumably, they were and will be the day of salvation too, but that seems to subtract from the urgency associated with the phrase. I bring this up because it is perhaps the same kind of question as this one: if we will eventually have bodies in heaven, then won’t gravity need to be there? These questions have several things in common. First, there is some kind of surface-level logic to them. Second, there is a hint of a vague suspicion about the logic of a doctrinal matter.
The human imagination can come up with all sorts of possible implications of doctrines, and then wonder at the logic of them and question why the Church hasn’t answered them. Part of the answer is probably that the Church can’t keep up with the human imagination. It’s official theologians do not ordinarily search for questions like these in order to answer them, partly because that would be a full time job with very little benefit. For every question they could answer, questioners could pose a thousand more.
Specifically in answer to the question about gravity, although I don’t know of a Church document that officially answers that question, it does occur to me that there are very few people in heaven who have a body. Jesus and Mary, and maybe Enoch, Elijah, and Moses. For those people, perhaps God has made a physical place within the state of being called heaven. For the rest of us, we won’t have bodies until the general resurrection. At that point, the Catechism says God will create a new earth, and presumably it will have gravity. So we’ll just use that.
The “Resurrection of the flesh” is in the Catechism.990 The term “flesh” refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality.534 The “resurrection of the flesh” (the literal formulation of the Apostles’ Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our “mortal body” will come to life again vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P2G.HTM#13
What heaven is like, in the sense you’re curious about, is something God has not revealed to us. We have to be content with its being a mystery - albeit a very pleasant one — * “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” *(1 Cor. 2:9)
I have a feeling that the meaning of “location” and our understanding of it is going to be vastly expanded in the next world.
In regards to gravity, if it exists in heaven, it will probably not be as restrictive as it is here on earth for most of us. There are saints who have levitated while in prayer. And, Jesus in His resurrected body ascended into heaven.
We’ll all get to study physics over again!
I have a feeling heaven is going to be similar to the things we are used to on earth, like, there will be a ‘ground’ and ‘sky’, grass, trees, animals, etc, but everything will be much more vivid, we will see and experience colors and senses that we cannot even comprehend right now, it will basically be bliss, if we saw it with our eyes, I dont think we could handle it.
This is the description of a man who said he saw heaven anyway (NDE), he said everything was alive (not in the way we think of it though), the grass, the water, the trees, and everything sang praise to God all the time…it does sound like a place God would create and define as heaven!