Orthodox Jews believe it will be here on earth, and Revelations sounds that way too, but most of us talk about spending eternity in Heaven.
What if it’s a state of being rather than a place?
“I am in love with God…”
I always have believe it is a place. Since the earth will end eternity will be in Heaven.
I’m no theologian, but it seems like the way we treat people who we love that pass away (in heaven with God) is a spiritual place, and we act as if it’s permanent. From what I understand, this purely spiritual place and encounter with God is temporary, because we will be resurrected.
Someone please feel to correct or refine my answer from a Catholic perspective.
The earth is renewed along with all of creation.
Is heaven a place or a state of being? It’s not a material place as we understand “place”.
If either is true, I wouldn’t complain.
I think it bears some sort of semblance with the material world, although it is not material. Jesus said He would drink wine in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, Luke 22:18).
In Catholicism, Heaven is not a a place but more accurately a situation. In theological terms we call it the Beatific Vision, meaning that we will enjoy eternity being in company with and beholding the “face of God” and the continuous beatitude this brings.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1042-1050, the physical universe will be renewed after the Final Judgment and the new age will begin. This is based upon the same hope as the long awaited Olam Ha-Ba or “world to come” promised to the Patriarchs and their offspring, the Jews. While in general terms we speak of “being in Heaven” forever, its literal place remains to be seen in Christian theology:
“We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men.”–CCC 1048.
CeelosDeznos answers this:
Also, I would like to add that in the renewed universe and triumphant age, because the curse of sin will be gone (Revelation 22:3), God will dwell with us humans, and because we will be able to see Him face-to-face and worship Him, this is the Beatific Vision:
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away." (Revelation 21:3-4, NAB (Holy See-approved translation))
This is considered the spring of the water of life (21:6-7). Also, simply because we call it “eternity” or “eternal life,” this complete and fulfilled place/state is finally eternal (and Jesus says so), and we will dwell with the Most High.
I don’t think we’ll have to “work” or anything, because the point of human existence is, first and foremost, to have fellowship with the Divine.
That is a perfect point. Revelation 21:3 states:
And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people, and God himself will always be with them as their God."–Italics added.
While again this is not meant to be literal, as God is understood by Catholics to be everywhere transcending time and space, the picture is that God comes down from Heaven with the New Jerusalem, not so mankind may go elsewhere to live with God but that God may dwell with all people. (Revelation 21:1-5) While looking forward for this time to come, it remains to be seen exactly how this will be fulfilled according to the understanding of the Magisterium.
I always took it to mean in heaven. World to come as in our eternal home?
Does it matter?
It depends on who you ask. Many Orthodox Jews believe that God’s presence will be greater here on earth in the World to Come than in Heaven. I’m just wondering what Catholics believe, but I do not lose any sleep over it.
According to Revelation, heaven comes down to earth, God will tabernacle, or pitch his tent among us. So heaven and earth will be the same thing. We are raised physically, so our resurrected bodies will need a physical place to be.
It’s true, we talk about our souls “going to heaven,” but that is only temporary until after the End of the World, the Second Coming. At the Second Coming, Jesus will return physically to earth along with along all the departed Saints in heaven, and when the Saints on earth will then meet Him in the air and accompany Him back to earth, where we will always be with Jesus. And have the “Beatific Vision.”
This has been the central question on my heart and mind for many years. It really is at the crux of what it means to be human. Are we made for union with God on this Earth, or are we made for an ethereal Heaven far away? I think many people will be surprised, on the last day, when we are resurrected from the dead. Many Christians speak and sing as if that will never happen. What is the resurrection of the dead, though, but a physical one? That’s the whole point. Mankind can’t be physically raised in Heaven; it’s a non-material place!
The mystery of the bodily existence of our Lord (ascended) and of the Blessed Virgin (assumed) in Heaven is a great one, considering that Heaven is immaterial and their bodies are material. Perhaps God placed their human natures forward in time the moment they entered heaven, so that they already experience the Last Day: our Lord in his human nature, our Lady as a human person.
As to the Scriptures: when Orthodox Jews believe something about salvation and the end times (separate from the question of who the Messiah is), I find that it’s usually correct. We must remember how steeped in the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets they are. They know much that we could benefit from.
Even without the Jews, look at how the Scripture begins: we are formed out of mud and dust. We are creatures of the Earth *by nature. We literally belong here. *We were placed in the Garden and life was breathed into us. We became truly 100% human then, body and soul. We are forever sealed as body and soul from that moment. Separation of the two is death, not life.
The entire imagery of ascending into higher stages of creation, day by day, in Genesis, is a reminder of the increasingly-important rooms of a Temple. Creation is a gigantic temple. God is at its center; humanity is its high priest. The Earth will not - cannot! - be destroyed by God at the end of time, for it is a Temple built directly by God without human hands. It is glorious. It just needs some healing thanks to our Fall. Thus the imagery of burning and refining.
Although much in Revelation is liturgical and symbolic, I’ve always personally taken the last couple of chapters as literal: the descent of the New Jerusalem down to Earth. The whole scope of the Bible is inching towards this point. For example, why would St Paul tell us to glorify God in our bodies, if we are to shed them and get off into eternity? It can’t just be a matter of “working with what you have right now”. It is something mysterious, redeemed; “bought at a great price”.
I recommend looking at Psalms for answers. Here’s 98: (RSV-CE)
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the Lord, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
In Hebrew, to “judge” the Earth means to set things right: to put them in place, to right wrongs and balance the scales of justice, weighted down with sin. To judge is to make things right again. God intends to judge – to make right, to make whole – the whole Earth. This is the whole point.
Read all of Psalm 104 (Bless the Lord, O my soul) for the enduring beauty of the whole Earth as God’s creation. Read Psalm 148 to see how all of nature as well as Angels and Humans are to praise God. Read many Psalms that describe the Earth as God’s footstool. It is a place where His presence rests. The Earth, the Cosmos, is way more important than we’ve given it credit for being.
There’s something “permanent” in all of this. All those hymns about ultimately, at the end, “flying away to be with Jesus”, are just not Christian. We were made for this Earth, to steward it and make it beautiful for the return of the King. Then, He shall reign as the ultimate human shepherd and steward, forever, in the Flesh, accomplishing what we ourselves were made to do, as one of us.
Although he is Anglican and not Catholic, I highly recommend this talk from NT Wright about what Christian life is oriented towards: youtube.com/watch?v=jF0oy7UTIWg I would say his view is in accord with Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
What is the Kingdom? Is it a place in Heaven? Is it something that will only exist after the End? Or is it a way of living? NT Wright likes those questions.
I relate to just about everything you say, but I wonder how Elija and the Virgin Mary were able to enter Heaven being they were body and soul?
I really have no idea! Perhaps Pope Pius XII’s teaching in Munificentissimus Deus might clarify points about that?
Faithful Catholic blog post on this question, regarding our Lord:
From what I can “tell”, or what I can imagine: is that the current Heaven is not exactly what things will be forever. It seems that if our Lord kept His risen human body (which would be against the faith to deny), He certainly is in a physical place. Perhaps it’s literally a separate dimension. God is smart enough, I think, to conceive of such things. Perhaps the “new Heavens and new Earth” John speaks of in Revelation are more literal than we think: not just a new “sky” heavens, but literally a new, remade Heaven itself, recreated by the risen Christ just as much as the World.
To contemplate what the Resurrection – both of Christ in the past and of humans in the future – is truly mind-boggling and wondrous.
One thing is sure, God and Heaven are inseperable.
Wherever God is , is heaven and where God is absent must be hell .
The Bible says ’ there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away ’ Just like our human bodies will be restored and glorified to live forever.