thought in (christian) heaven

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Reply Sun 26 Jul, 2009 08:02 pm
I was sitting in church today listening to my pastors sermon on ''eternal paradise'' when a thought occurred to me, does thought exist in heaven?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 26 Jul, 2009 09:43 pm
@articwind4,
Not sure what you mean by "heaven". That may seem like a strange question, but a great many interpretations exist.

Do you mean the kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of as being within each of us? Or are you working from Revelations, and the contained concept of eternal life after the Second Coming?
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Sun 26 Jul, 2009 10:05 pm
@articwind4,
The Kingdom of God is not really within each of us, Didymos, but in each believer. (Assuming by 'us' you meant every human being. If not, I'm sorry Razz)
In any case, articwind4, if you mean the Heaven we go to after the day of Judgment, then I would say yes, thought does exist in Heaven. How are you supposed to contemplate all the glorious works of God revealed to you there if you can't think in the first place? Razz
Of course a real theological answer backed up by Scripture would be really hard to give, because the Scriptures talk very little of it. However, in Revelation, the Martyrs who are in heaven ask the Lord when they will be avenged (or something to that end), and I'm pretty sure you need to think to speak.
Now whether Revelation is to be taken completely symbolically or not is not something I'd be comfortable talking about, as I haven't studied Revelation much.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 26 Jul, 2009 10:14 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;79705 wrote:
The Kingdom of God is not really within each of us, Didymos, but in each believer. (Assuming by 'us' you meant every human being. If not, I'm sorry Razz)


I did mean every human being, and I maintain that claim.

The kingdom of God is within each of us, every human being - but only the believer will recognize it. The unbeliever will be ignorant of his true nature, and will, therefore, be unable to help others realize the presence of the kingdom of God.

Does this difference make any sense? We all have the potential for recognizing our good nature, so the kingdom of God is within us all.

TheLonelyPuritan;79705 wrote:
Now whether Revelation is to be taken completely symbolically or not is not something I'd be comfortable talking about, as I haven't studied Revelation much.


If the work is not meant to be symbolic, then the work is pure junk. If it is meant to be symbolic, then the work is pure brilliance. A literal reading of Revelations reduces that classic literature to the drivel penned by a mad man. A mature reading of the text, one that takes into account literary style, will show the work to be of a well considered genius.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Sun 26 Jul, 2009 11:22 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79708 wrote:
I did mean every human being, and I maintain that claim.

The kingdom of God is within each of us, every human being - but only the believer will recognize it. The unbeliever will be ignorant of his true nature, and will, therefore, be unable to help others realize the presence of the kingdom of God.

Does this difference make any sense? We all have the potential for recognizing our good nature, so the kingdom of God is within us all.

Heh. Well I don't really think this thread is the place to debate theology (or this particular part of theology), so I'll abstain from argument this time.


Quote:
If the work is not meant to be symbolic, then the work is pure junk. If it is meant to be symbolic, then the work is pure brilliance. A literal reading of Revelations reduces that classic literature to the drivel penned by a mad man. A mature reading of the text, one that takes into account literary style, will show the work to be of a well considered genius.

I'm fully aware that it's meant to be symbolic. However, there are some things in Revelation that are literal (while perhaps holding some level of symbolism), such as the day of judgment taking place. We know this because Jesus speaks much of it in the accounts of His earthly life.
 
ltdaleadergt
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 12:00 am
@articwind4,
I always wondered(lets assume there is a heaven and I some how got into it) how can I enjoy heaven when I know the people I loved dearly are all in hell!
Does god performs some sort of brainwashing on us?
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 08:17 am
@ltdaleadergt,
<daleader>;79717 wrote:
I always wondered(lets assume there is a heaven and I some how got into it) how can I enjoy heaven when I know the people I loved dearly are all in hell!
Does god performs some sort of brainwashing on us?

No. If you got into heaven (which, by extension, means you became a Christian), and your family went to hell, I wouldn't think you'd mind. We'll probably rejoice in God's righteous judgment towards the wicked, and not mourn them.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:02 am
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;79712 wrote:

I'm fully aware that it's meant to be symbolic. However, there are some things in Revelation that are literal (while perhaps holding some level of symbolism), such as the day of judgment taking place. We know this because Jesus speaks much of it in the accounts of His earthly life.


Why would the Day of Judgment be literal, and the plethora of seven signs, for example, be figurative? By what criteria do we determine one passage to be literal and another figurative?

Revelations is an allegory, like Dante's Comedy.

By the way, to clarify, I use "believer" loosely. I am not suggesting that one must be a believer in Jesus himself (because that would exclude all good people who have never heard of that man), but instead, I mean anyone who believes in what Jesus taught, namely love for others.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 12:07 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79807 wrote:
Why would the Day of Judgment be literal, and the plethora of seven signs, for example, be figurative? By what criteria do we determine one passage to be literal and another figurative?

Revelations is an allegory, like Dante's Comedy.

By the way, to clarify, I use "believer" loosely. I am not suggesting that one must be a believer in Jesus himself (because that would exclude all good people who have never heard of that man), but instead, I mean anyone who believes in what Jesus taught, namely love for others.

Well, we know there is a day of Judgment, as Christ constantly talks about it as if it were literal.
Still, the plethora of signs are signs. They obviously just won't be literal horsemen/vials/etc. Just as the day of Judgment is a day of Judgment, though the events that take place during this Judgment in Revelation may be allegorical.

Out of curiosity, how would you define a believer? And by that I mean a Christian.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 12:42 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
I would consider by recent debate that anyone who admires his mission can be classified as a christian.Its how you describe Jesus determines what type of christian you are.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 01:36 pm
@xris,
TheLonelyPuritan;79825 wrote:
Well, we know there is a day of Judgment, as Christ constantly talks about it as if it were literal.


I'm not sure that is the case - in fact, I disagree. Jesus employed figurative language in most of his teachings; that was his primary tool for instruction, figurative tales and expressions.

TheLonelyPuritan;79825 wrote:
Still, the plethora of signs are signs. They obviously just won't be literal horsemen/vials/etc. Just as the day of Judgment is a day of Judgment, though the events that take place during this Judgment in Revelation may be allegorical.


But I asked how you make such a determination. If all of the events relating to the Day of Judgment are figurative, why would we make the leap into asserting that the Day of Judgment itself is, unlike everything describing it, literal.

I am not saying there is no "Day of Judgment", what I am saying is that the concept is figurative, not literal. Just as the concept of man as the salt of the earth is figurative rather than literal, though quite real.

TheLonelyPuritan;79825 wrote:
Out of curiosity, how would you define a believer? And by that I mean a Christian.


A Christian is someone who honestly self identifies as a Christian. While most practicing Christians would object to this definition, it is the only one that works given the historic diversity of beliefs among groups who are recognized by historians and scholars as Christian.

My use of believe I clarified, in the context of my initial post in this thread. A specifically Christian believer is as described above.
 
articwind4
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 01:55 pm
@xris,
Bliss
-noun
1.
supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment: wedded bliss.
2.
Theology. the joy of heaven.
3.
heaven; paradise: the road to eternal bliss.
4.
Archaic. a cause of great joy or happiness.

<dictionary.com>

Nirvana- A Sanskrit word, nirvana; the feeling of nirvana is unprecedented, it is a feeling of freedom from oneself, one's thoughts, hunger, the illusion of pain...

<excerpt:book: The Mystic And The Transcendent In Human Experience by: Dr. Leonard George.>

does the definition of bliss condone that (maybe more for the Buddhists) thought doesn't exist in paradise?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:01 pm
@articwind4,
Nirvana is an experience. The Buddha attained full enlightenment and was able to teach to other human beings after attaining full enlightenment. So, yes, in Buddhism one can still think after attaining full enlightenment.
 
articwind4
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:02 pm
@articwind4,
so Didymos Thomas,
"A Christian is someone who honestly self identifies as a Christian"
what about those people who have split beliefs or are undecided about what they believe in, what do they self-identify themselves as.
Is that all it takes to be a christian, for me to self-identify myself as such? wow a lot easier than i thought.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:04 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79841 wrote:
I'm not sure that is the case - in fact, I disagree. Jesus employed figurative language in most of his teachings; that was his primary tool for instruction, figurative tales and expressions.

Well, that's true. Jesus did often convey His messages through parables and figurative tales, but those are always well defined as parables. Jesus getting up there and saying "many will come to me on the day of Judgment and profess to me 'Lord Lord'...", with little indication of any symbolic language.


Quote:
But I asked how you make such a determination. If all of the events relating to the Day of Judgment are figurative, why would we make the leap into asserting that the Day of Judgment itself is, unlike everything describing it, literal.
Because of the bible verses outside of revelation that are not completely symbolic that talk about a day of Judgment.


Quote:
I am not saying there is no "Day of Judgment", what I am saying is that the concept is figurative, not literal. Just as the concept of man as the salt of the earth is figurative rather than literal, though quite real.
But let's imagine for a minute that we were listening to Jesus' sermon. When He says "you are the salt of the earth", we know that He is speaking figuratively. It's obvious, isn't it? But when He should talk about how at one point there will be a day of Judgment, and that something would happen on this day, the figurativeness of this is not at all obvious to me, as it would be for the men standing and listening to Him. And, Christ was teaching the people who were present, that they would understand. Why would He give speeches that are incredibly ambiguous to their meaning?


Quote:
A Christian is someone who honestly self identifies as a Christian. While most practicing Christians would object to this definition, it is the only one that works given the historic diversity of beliefs among groups who are recognized by historians and scholars as Christian.
Thanks for clearing that up.
But what would Christ consider a Christian? Look here for a moment:
Matthew 7:15-20 wrote:
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Here, we see Jesus calling those that bear evil fruit 'false prophet'. In the context, however, 'false prophet' also means 'false Christian' (As the topic Christ is addressing is basically who will get into heaven and who will not). So we see that Christians who do not bear good fruit are not truly Christians.

Quote:
My use of believe I clarified, in the context of my initial post in this thread. A specifically Christian believer is as described above.

Thanks for the clear up!
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:15 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
articwind4;79847 wrote:
so Didymos Thomas,
"A Christian is someone who honestly self identifies as a Christian"
what about those people who have split beliefs or are undecided about what they believe in, what do they self-identify themselves as.
Is that all it takes to be a christian, for me to self-identify myself as such? wow a lot easier than i thought.


They self-identify as they feel comfortable. Even if one is uncertain about some matters, if they feel themselves to be a Christian they could say "I am a Christian still dealing with doubts". There is nothing wrong with doubt. I think we all have doubts.

To be a Christian is easy, to be a good Christian is difficult. We're all still working on being a good Christian.

TheLonelyPuritan;79849 wrote:
Well, that's true. Jesus did often convey His messages through parables and figurative tales, but those are always well defined as parables. Jesus getting up there and saying "many will come to me on the day of Judgment and profess to me 'Lord Lord'...", with little indication of any symbolic language.


Is there any less indication of symbolism in that phrase than there is in his parables? Jesus does not preface parables by saying, "okay, figurative, didactic tale here..." nor does he preface his mention of Judgment with, "okay, this is purely literal."

Again, what criteria are you using to make your determination?

TheLonelyPuritan;79849 wrote:
Because of the bible verses outside of revelation that are not completely symbolic that talk about a day of Judgment.


So you say, but I disagree. Until I understand your criteria, I cannot understand how you make the distinction.

Look, I understand that is not an easy question to answer. It would be difficult for me to clearly explain my criteria. So, to make this fair, perhaps you could sight a passage that you find to be literal (and it would be best to sight one that I find to be figurative) and one you find to be figurative and explain how and why you reached your conclusions. I would be more than happy to do the same.

TheLonelyPuritan;79849 wrote:
But let's imagine for a minute that we were listening to Jesus' sermon. When He says "you are the salt of the earth", we know that He is speaking figuratively. It's obvious, isn't it? But when He should talk about how at one point there will be a day of Judgment, and that something would happen on this day, the figurativeness of this is not at all obvious to me, as it would be for the men standing and listening to Him. And, Christ was teaching the people who were present, that they would understand. Why would He give speeches that are incredibly ambiguous to their meaning?


Did Jesus not say that what he taught was not easily understood?

The problem with saying that the Day of Judgment is literal is that everything said about the Day of Judgment is figurative. How do we have a literal event (a single day) when the content of that event is figurative. If everything comprising the event is figurative, then the event itself must be spoken of as figurative.

TheLonelyPuritan;79849 wrote:
Here, we see Jesus calling those that bear evil fruit 'false prophet'. In the context, however, 'false prophet' also means 'false Christian' (As the topic Christ is addressing is basically who will get into heaven and who will not). So we see that Christians who do not bear good fruit are not truly Christians.


When we discuss what we, mortal men, are to call a Christian we are speaking of something quite apart from what Jesus would call a "true" or "good" Christian.

The only thing we can do is define "Christian" for us men to use; we cannot define "Christian" for God and it would be rather presumptuous for us to even make an attempt at providing God such a definition.

Christian, for use in scholarly work, is something quite different from a true and good Christian, just as Muslim for scholarly work is quite different from a good and true Muslim. For example, Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim, but most certainly not a true and good Muslim.
 
articwind4
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:49 pm
@articwind4,
just some background on enlightenment that I'm going to expand upon.
enlightenment- the supreme spiritual realization in the Buddhist tradition, enlightenment is associated with a range of concepts, including, Bodhi and nirvana. although the English word conjures images of light "enlightenment" is not associated with visions or unusual light phenomena. Indeed, it does not designate any particular content of experience, but rather a transformation of all experiences The path to enlightenment is marked by many exotic states and occurrences, such as jhanas and nimittas and its attainment might correspond with an unusual experience.. There are many schools of Buddhism and each has a specific understanding of enlightenment. It is generally held that there are 2 types of enlightenment- that of a foe destroyer(Sanskrit arhat)and that of a Buddha Foe destroyers are said to have trained there awareness to the point that the have uprooted the great foe (the ignorance that gives rise to suffering). this ignorance of the true nature of things is not just a false belief but i false perception. The objects of ordinary experiences appear to have a reality of there own, independent from our consciousness of them, and separate from other objects. things appear in this way, according to Buddhism, because we do not correctly decern the truth: that nothing exists independently of the rest, that nothing is permanent and nothing can produce lasting satisfaction. A book, for example, seems to have its own existence apart from me; it seems to endure over time; and, if i like the book, I might have lasting happiness by owning it. The foe destroyer has realized this to be an illusion and is no longer subject to control by the passions arising from it.
This realization liberates the foe destroyer from the endless chains of cause and effect. stirred by basing ones one's security in that which does not exist. however, the enlightenment of Buddha is even more profound. in addition to ending the enslavement to illusion the attainment of buddhahood destroys the illusion itself. the consciousness of the foe destroyer continues to perceive the false appearances, but is not fooled by them; the awareness of the Buddha percieves them as they actualy are.
Hopkins compared our unenlightened everyday awareness to an illusion created by a magician. The magician through trickery can create the illusion that a pebble is actually a beautiful man or women seeing the attractive image we become filled with desire- a desire that, because of the true nature of the object, can never be satisfied. foe destroyers see the beautiful image, but are not stirred by yearning; they know the trick. Buddhas see the pebble this tradition claimes that the quality that the quality of experience of enlightened beings of both kinds is drastically different...
<excerpt:book: The Mystic And The Transcendent In Human Experience by: Dr. Leonard George.>
so Didymos Thomas, which enlightenment were you refering to?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 02:58 pm
@articwind4,
I have never seen Enlightenment explained as your Dr. George does. I am not necessarily saying he is incorrect, but I am interested in who this fellow is, his credentials, and where you find this text.

In Buddhism, there does exist different degrees of enlightenment. However, regardless of one's progress, the ability to think does not end. Again, as the Buddha was fully and perfectly Awakened, and given that he was still able to think, it is reasonable to assume that an Awakened being is capable of thought, only that their thought is not clouded by the ignorance that is at the root of suffering.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 03:28 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;79775 wrote:
No. If you got into heaven (which, by extension, means you became a Christian), and your family went to hell, I wouldn't think you'd mind. We'll probably rejoice in God's righteous judgment towards the wicked, and not mourn them.


Would you be mad at God if your children did not make it to heaven and you unconditionally and truly loved your children, and you yourself thought them worthy of heaven?

Are you saying that you "wouldn't mind". How could a human being take such a frivolous air towards such a concept that ought to be venerated???


There was an aphorism told by a war veteran (I think anyways), though I can't remember it word for word, it was a sign of maturity, understanding, and piety. "Having been there, I would not want even my worst enemy to got to hell". And it's spread around the internet so I can't find the original quote, lol. He's obviously speaking of the war, and how much worse of course hell must be.

The point is what you just quoted above assumes your fellow member here hasn't a heart, and it hints upon your views as well, which I only find to be heartless at the same time; simply have a heart, that's what God would've wanted, even if God or Jesus doesn't state that explicitly.
 
Baal
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 03:43 pm
@articwind4,
I will comment, if I may on the question, although I will offer the (highly complex) Jewish perspective.

Much of this is explained in the Talmud (300-700 C.E. , Zohar and various Kabbalistic sources, many of which are of dubious origin, but are more or less accepted and much hinted at within the Talmud itself.

Note that in Judaic eschatology there are two (or possibly even three according to some exegetes) stages in the afterlife, of which heaven is always a transient one.

Heaven (Gan Eden, Garden of Eden) is considered the realm of Divine Souls, and thus any activity which is not pertinent to Divine Soul is precluded. Thus consciousness per se, as an experiential movement, is nonexistent. Of course this will ensue into the dependency of what consciousness is in the first place, but in any event, will lead to the conclusion that it is something which necessitates a being to be conscious and aware of, e.g. something in which there is the sense of self then it will not exist. So there is no consciousness there in that regard.

The Talmud and Mishna (as well as various Midrashim) discuss forms of study in heaven, and thus thought in itself is not exclusively percluded, but such thought is in a form of constant epiphany, and not in the form of dialectical movements.

Also, the soul is "Cleansed" and "Washed" before it can re-enter heaven, so as to make it forget everything learned on this world (or.. to separate it and eliminate it from the sense of self which comes through the sense of other on this world...) so yes... there is a "brainwashing".

Hell is transient as well in most cases (Except for some exceptions where the person involved was responsible for a mass-scale apostacy or otherwise, and had done so with intent to rebel against God). Those who commit sins may have their souls sent to hell ("for 12 months") to purify it.. and then it will go back to heaven or descend again to earth. Jewish Hell is a form of "Cleansing" and is not physical at all.
 
 

 
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