When does All not Mean All?


Hi Questions bringing more questions. I started my little quest with the scripture “All men have sinned” .

 After reading several threads concerning the issue on here. My Question was When doesn't "All" really mean "All". That brought to my mind the scripture" there is no one who seeks after God." But that doesn't really mean there is absolutely no one at all who seeks after God because the Bible gives many examples of those who seek after God. 

Then came to mind " all men are appointed to die once and after that the judgement" but that can’t mean all men because Elijah didn’t die? (Actually I looked up that scripture and it didn’t say “all men” it said just “men”, the all was implied not explicit. )

Anyway that brought to mind the scripture where Jesus says “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the son of man, which is in heaven”? (John 3:13). Yet the Bible says, “. . . Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).

That brought me to my final question was Elijah really in heaven- and PS:  what is meant about the 3rd heaven? (I know that is somewhere in the Bible I want to say Romans or Corinthians right now, but I am not sure. I have actually always wondered what was meant by that.) 

So now I am pondering all this and my brain is fried, so I’m asking you very knowledgeable guys if you can shed some light on any or some of this?

Thanks in Advance Deeny


The all men referred to here is addressed to a small audience, in other words all of you who are addressed.


Difference here is the word ascended, Elijah, Mary, Enoch, were all assumed into heaven, not ascended. Ascended is by the power of the one ascending, assumption is by an external power, the power of God. Jesus ascended, Mary, Enoch, Elijah all were assumed.


Thanks that was most helpful. I do remember that now. :slight_smile:


The levels of heaven was from the Talmud, there were supposedly seven levels, each differing, the seventh level was the abode of God, that’s where the “in seventh heaven” comes from. Paul is relating a story of someone being raised to the third level, obviously referring to the seven levels. Jesus refers to different rooms in His Fathers mansion, this might be referring to the different levels.


Well said, Tom. :thumbsup: This points to the need for a magesterium, huh?

Christ’s peace.


The answer is deceptively simple. First of all, you’ve done a good job in pointing out the problems with a literal understanding. Even biblical literalists must concede some of your cases where “all” clearly does not mean “each and every one without exception.”

So, back to the simple answer. Ask the Church. To the Church alone has been given the full revelation of God, and the Church alone guards and teaches that full revelation without error.


Jewish cosmology described a structure for the world with a chasm below, pillars supporting the earth. I suppose hell is thought of as descending because hades was below the earth in the chasm which also contained water. Then the heavens above like concentric domes, each one of which contained certain things like the stars, moon, and sun, and water that came down as rain through openings in the heavens, etc.

I seem to reacall that American Indian culture pictured the earth as being borne on the back of a great turtle. Scandanavians had a place below the surface of the earth where Vulcan held sway, so obviously each primitive culture had its own cosmology.

Modern geology has the earth as a globe with a molten core of mostly iron, another layer of molten rock, then solid rock and a covering of soil and rock containing pockets of water, oil, certain minerals, coal, and such. Then an atmosphere of gasses which tapers off into the vacuum of space.


I think it’s actually the following:

1st Heaven: the sky
2nd Heaven: space
3rd Heaven: with God

though the 7 Heavens is something else related to the then known planets (including the Sun and Moon plus out to Saturn)


acts 2, I doubt there were any native americans there.


This was the answer I received when I asked about the 3rd heaven. The reference is 2 Corinthians chapter 12:2

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. 3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth), 4 That he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter. 5 For such an one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.