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Featured Are Heaven, Purgatory, and He'll places, or states of being?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ), Mar 6, 2016.

  1. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Darn auto correct

    Hello everyone,

    Yesterday I was having a conversation with my father (who is Catholic ) on the topic of Hell and Purgatory. He then try to explain to me that purgatory and hell is a "state of being". Of course I didnt agree with my father and assumed it was his personal opinion rather than church teachings. What disturbed me is what I found when I researched the topic. Apparently it was not just my father's opinion. It was, in fact....a thing.

    Here is a quote from EWTN. I will post the url to the source if you want to read it in its entirety.


    HEAVEN, HELL AND PURGATORY
    Pope John Paul II
    In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.

    "Incorporeal things are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us." [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Supplement, Q69, a1, reply 1]

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    I am interested in what everyone thinks. Especially my catholic brothers and sisters. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Heaven, Hell, and any other place in the afterlife are states of being. That means that they are not occupied by beings with physical bodies, and the "places" themselves, being in the spirit world, cannot be located within the physical universe.

    Incidentally, this is hardly a Roman Catholic thing. Most Christians of whatever denomination understand these "places" in the afterlife to exist in the spirit realm.
     
  3. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with you in your statement that these are spiritual places. I also believe that the spiritual places are more real than the physical. Now of course you did not hear the conversation I had with my father but he told me a priest instructed him that Hell and Purgatory were not places. They were simply the way you felt. So if you were suffering because you rejected God, you were living in Hell. I simply asked him, "if Hell and Purgatory are not places (physical or spiritual ) then what is Heaven?"
     
  4. LaSorcia

    LaSorcia KittyKat Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Can't they be both?
     
  5. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    That crossed my mind when I read your post, but that's not what the excerpt from the Catholic publication is saying. So I'm left to wonder if that priest actually said what you're reporting here, if your father misunderstood, or what. The "way you feel" explanation is clearly not in accord with Catholic theology.
     
  6. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Perhaps. Can you explain?
     
  7. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Knowing my father, I am more inclined to believe that he misunderstood the priest. He tends to do a lot of talking in conversations and little listening.
     
  8. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One thing that I forgot to mention is that my stepmother and her children (my father's wife) is not a christian. He believes that it doesn't matter if you are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu as long as you are a "good" one. I think that he refuses to believe that his wife and her family are on a path to Hell so he instead chooses to believe in a distorted concept of heaven and hell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  9. LaSorcia

    LaSorcia KittyKat Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Probably not very well, but I'll try. :)

    Well, all our eyes are capable of seeing is the visible spectrum, but there are other types of light as we now know from scientific inquiry. Similarly, perhaps there are other 'places' out of the space/time continuum that we are just not yet aware of with our limited knowledge of the universe.

    I also find it difficult to imagine God and angels being in the same 'place/area' as each other


    As far as state of being goes, someone in heaven is going to have a really different state of being or experience than someone in hell. Perhaps this state of being is even helpful to making our way to one of these places or another?


     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    It depends on what we mean by "Heaven" and what we mean by "Hell".

    In Hebrew haShamayim ("the heavens") is "the skies", that is, "that stuff up there" where birds fly, clouds float, where the sun and moon and stars exist. The idea that the gods are in "the heavens" would have been prevalent in ancient near east thinking, but for the Hebrews the one true God was bigger than that. The heavens are called God's throne and the earth God's footstool, Solomon says, "The heavens, not even the heavens of heavens can contain You" the phrase "heavens of heavens" is a case of where Hebrew doubles a word in order to indicate a higher order or a greatness, e.g. melek hamelekim (king of kings), in this case shamayim hashamayim, the heavens of heavens or the highest heavens.

    In Jesus' time "heaven" was also used euphemistically to refer to God, so we see in Matthew's Gospel the term "kingdom of heaven" whereas in Mark and Luke "kingdom of God" is used instead. In Matthew's Gospel "heaven" simply means "God" in this context.

    But the idea that the one true God existed in a particular location somewhere up in "the heavens" would have undercut the ideas in Judaism (and consequently early Christianity) that God is everywhere. So we read in the Psalms, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to the heavens You are there, if I make my bed in She'ol You are there!" St. Paul in Acts 17 quotes a Greek poet saying, "In Him we live and move and have our being", further the Apostle has written that there is "one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in all."

    Further, we can see in the Old Testament the idea of a common place of the dead--She'ol, or "the grave"--the realm of the dead that is rather undifferentiated in the thinking of the Old Testament. By Jesus' time She'ol was understood to exist in two parts, there was the abode of the righteous dead called Gan-Eden or Paradise, and there was the abode of the wicked dead called Gehenna. In the Gospels the Greek word "Hades" is used instead of She'ol, but it's the same concept--Hades/She'ol is the common place of the dead, Paradise and Gehenna are the two sides of the underworld. This makes some English translations confusing and convoluted as "hell" is used to translate both Gehenna and Hades, most notably the KJV does this.

    In [Western] Christian thought we have tended to think in terms of speaking of "going to heaven" when we die; the New Testament more properly tells us that to be absent from the body means being present with the Lord, and we see in the Apocalypse the martyrs depicted around God's throne in heaven. So we have tended to speak of the intermediate state of being in God's presence between death and resurrection as "going to heaven", but the idea isn't going to some far off place to spend eternity as free roaming specters strumming harps and strolling along gilded streets; it's that we will be in the Lord's presence as a foretaste of that future, final state in the resurrection of the body.

    So we need to define our terms.

    Because the idea that "Heaven" is this "place" that we go which on which there are streets paved with gold and we hang out as disembodied souls floating about for all eternity is completely foreign to Scripture and two thousand years of Christian teaching, and this idea that "Hell" is this "place" where the damned are poked and prodded by pitchfork wielding red horned devils is equally foreign to historic Christian teaching. These things are part of modern popular religion and imagination in the West, but really don't have a place in serious theological consideration or contemplation. They are, at best, caricatures.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  11. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You brought up a lot of good points. It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12: 2

    "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows."

    Logically speaking, if there is a "third heaven" there has to be a first and a second heaven. But what are these heavens and how are they different? If the first heaven is the physical heavens (sky, moon, stars, ect) and the third heaven is the heaven where dead saints reside, what in particular is this "second heaven"?

    I remember reading in Daniel 10 where the messenger angel had to be assisted by Michael to battle the "Prince of Persia". Perhaps this "second heaven" is the spirit realm where angels and demons wage war over the hearts of man. Perhaps it is the same heaven where "paradise " and "hades" are located?
     
  12. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    In Jewish second temple literature there are as many as seven heavens, seven possibly because the number seven typically indicates completeness. In the apocryphal apocalyptic work known as 2 Enoch "Enoch" is taken into the third heaven where the Garden of Eden, Paradise, is located (2 Enoch, ch. 8). St. Paul, as a second temple era Jew, likely was familiar with these works and while these wouldn't have been regarded as scripture or authoritative, certain ideas in the literature were prevalent in both Jewish and early Christian thought (Jude, in his epistle, for example quotes from 1 Enoch and alludes to the work known as the Assumption of Moses).

    I don't know that we should attempt to chart the "geography" of these things, but rather Paul likely has in mind the idea that Paradise--the Garden of Eden--as being in the so-called "third heaven" from well known literature such as 2 Enoch; Paul is intentionally vague that he doesn't know the details of the experience "whether in the body or out of the body I don't know".

    Speculating too much on these sorts of things and attempting to chart a "geography" tends to approach, at least in my mind, kabbalistic levels of mysticism and esoteric speculation. It seems sufficient to understand that God is beyond all things, He is above the heavens, enthroned high above all creation, filling and above all things.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  13. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Interesting info.
     
  14. 66/40

    66/40 Member

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    Interesting post and this is my first! Nice website here.

    My own belief is that I take what the bible says as the final authority or final "arbitrator" with Christian doctrine. If we look at what Paul wrote, to be absent the body, we (believers) are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). In Luke chapter 16:19-31, we see that Lararus when he died, was in "Abraham's bosom" (present with the Lord). The rich man (non believer) was in "agony" ("Hades," awaiting final judgment upon Christ's second comming) -Luke 16:23. Lazarus is in "absent" from the Lord and in torment. Jesus on the cross told the believing thief "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” -Luke 23:43. I don't believe that while we are in Hades (either in "agony" or in Paradise with Jesus), that anyone will have a physical flesh and bone body. I do however believe that we will have full consciousness. I believe that we will receive a new flesh and bone body upon Christ's second return and it will be imperishable, incorruptible and immortal -1 Corinthians 15:53.

    As far as "Purgatory" goes, it was defined by he council of Florence and then defended by the council of Trent in the 16th century. Many Catholics believe (in a nut shell) that Purgatory is "limbo" of the soul. It's an idea that doesn't have any biblical validity but has become current Catholic dogma. I find that it undermines Christ's atonement on the cross and has no biblical authority whatsoever, because it does not stem from the canon of scripture to begin with.

    In fact, the new Catholic encyclopedia even recognized that Purgatory is not from the canon of scripture either. The concept of Purgatory comes from the Apocrypha, specifically 2 Maccabees 12:45 (NRSA/apoc):

    "45-But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin."
     
  15. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome to christian forum.
     
  16. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    Just not "a thing" in the actual Bible.

    Choose the Bible "instead" of the word of man.

    In the Bible
    1. no such thing as Purgatory -- that is completely man-made-doctrine fluff.
    2. Hell - is the "lake of fire" and Rev 20 says it will be on earth.
    3. Heaven - is a place - and in it we see Rev 22 streets of gold, we see the Rev 21 city of God, the Rev 2, Rev 22 "tree of life" - and in Heb 8 we find that the temple of God is there, the throne of God is there - just as in Rev 22. In Dan 7 the throne of God AND "myriads and myriads" of his holy ones are there.

    However if you abandon your bible and simply accept man made tradition will it is possible to "make up" a lot of stories in man-made-tradition.


    Dan 7
    The Ancient of Days Reigns
    9 “I kept looking
    Until thrones were set up,
    And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
    His vesture was like white snow
    And the hair of His head like pure wool.
    His throne was ablaze with flames,
    Its wheels were a burning fire
    .
    10 “A river of fire was flowing
    And coming out from before Him;
    Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
    And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

    The court sat,
    And the books were opened.
     
  17. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    2. The lake of fire is neither called "Hell" nor does Revelation 20 say it will be on earth.

    3. Revelation 22 doesn't say that Heaven is a place that has streets of gold, what has streets of gold is the Jerusalem that comes down out from heaven.

    Both of these statements you have made lack any biblical support and are entirely "man-made-doctrine fluff".

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  18. Noxot

    Noxot tohu and bohu Supporter

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    yeah and they intensify when we die, supposedly. prob really messed up souls should be confined to bodies because it limits them in some ways that might be beneficial or maybe they turn into bodies because that is the result of being in a lesser state of being? having a body is a strange state, it does seem to put powerful limits on us. maybe it is something like narrowing the stream of our being so that we might more properly grow and develop in a certain way than what would be allowed if we experienced reality from a higher capacity pov, which might in some ways limit our own freedom and ability to freely love God in some ways due to the compelling vision of God in his beauty, which we humans don't see very well so we might have more authentic experiences by being more dumbed down to ourselves as opposed to feeling the great everlasting love God has for us.

    or maybe parts of you black out and you are limited to a smaller aspect of being since evil is non-being. so fallen souls are more torn apart and scattered - like dry scattered bones but living beast in heaven are pretty in virtues and intellect or love. for instance the highest angels are known for their love or for their wisdom. ofc the complexity of reality is from Gods infinite mind and so things are so much better than we could think.

    so if there are parts of ourselves that don't even exist because we literally started to not exist as we fell away from God, since God is true and primal reality who holds all other things together and moves all things towards him and yet allows them to remain free from himself. so if we are distorted away from a better version of ourselves due to our own freedom then our state of being would change.... and we could also change into even greater versions of ourselves due to the same nature of freedom ( for being created good is only a accidental good while remaining good is a voluntary good. ) and so in the dynamic reality that God is making there then came about from simplicity, a multiplicity as all the little ones of himself, born from him, started to interact and have their own freedom and found their own mind, which came from the infinite mind who is God our Father.

    so I think it is fair to say that primal reality is closer to something like mind than it is physical bodies, which seems to be a quality of this universe, but who knows how other parts of reality are. and I think that this world can change to higher forms which are not so limiting. but that might also be why paul was so confused as to if he had a body or not in the third heaven.

    so yeah it is prob both due to the nature of reality. and Gods love for us and our love for God has no end, like an infinity symbol and so I would say we have the potential to forever love and play with God and this universe and we being humans is part of that. but if we become very confused and blind we won't be able to grasp the pure nature of our Father and so he will seem like something that he is not because we have become something that is not good. and so we would be tormented in some way by Gods presence, like a little dog that is scared of big creatures due to feeling greatly threatened regardless if the big ones really are a threat or not. or if a highly intelligent being spoke in a certain way and those not intelligent enough to grasp what they are communicating might fall into many errrors as to what those beings are trying to say to us.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  19. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    Until you actually read Rev 20 to see that the Lake of Fire is on Earth and to see that John only refers to fire or burning hell in that way. See Rev 14:10, Rev 20...

    Rev 20
    7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    Rev 14:10
    9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
     
  20. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    if the NEW Jerusalem has streets of gold - and it came down out of heaven - then HEAVEN had streets of gold - until the New Jerusalem left it.

    The point remains.
     
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