The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-21-2001, 02:43 PM
don willard don willard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
I think the Bible says Enoch was taken up into heaven without dying first. Next comes Elijah, who left Elisha a sign that he would see him a little when he was taken up in the whirlwind, and he did. Third we have Jesus, who wasn't taken up but WENT up, thus it is called the ASCENSION, I presume, instead of the ASSUMPTION, which is the word used for Mary. That is, Jesus, being God ascended himself, and all the others had to be assumed up. Now Joseph Campbell says that the bodies the churh says were taken up wouldn't even be out of the galaxy yet, which is what got me to thinking about all this, on one of his tapes. 1)Are there any more people that went up to heaven without dying first? 2)What does the church say about the relationship between these four bodies and the spirit bodies in heaven, if any, and does this vary with the denomination? 3)Does the Catholic or Lutheran or Orthodox church, for instance, say that when you die you go up to heaven and then wait for your body? If so, how do our souls relate to the bodies which are in heaven (or on their way out of the galaxy)?
3) I believe I read somewhere that the ancient Greeks had a story about the philosopher Empedocles, 6th c BC. He was old and wanted to kill himself, but he wanted people to think he had been taken up bodily into heaven. He jumped into Mt. Etna so there would be no trace of a body. However, he left his slippers on the edge and thus people knew he hadn't been assumed. Is this true?
4) The TAoists are said to believe that they too will never die, provided they eat gold dust and practice other things, so in a way this is being assumed into heaven without having to die. Other than these examples, do other peoples have ideas about assumptions or ascensions?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-21-2001, 03:15 PM
DPWhite DPWhite is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Posts: 1,367
I wasn't aware of a tradition that Mary was "assumed". Does anyone have a Biblical cite for this? Or is it in the Apocrypha?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-21-2001, 04:37 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 52,711
There's no direct Biblical cite for Mary's assumption (though there's probably a few indirect references in some of the prophecies), but it's definitely a tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it's one of the two offical Dogmas which the Pope has declared infallably.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-21-2001, 04:46 PM
DPWhite DPWhite is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Posts: 1,367
Thanks Chronos. I'd always been taught it was only Enoch and Elijah (Christ having ascended, which is different). As a Protestant I am only aware that Roman Catholics give Mary a much more important place. Protestants, for example, do not believe that Mary remained a Virgin all her life, citing references to Jesus' brother James and the lack of any instruction from God to remain a Virgin as well has her marrying Joseph.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-21-2001, 04:56 PM
Bricker Bricker is offline
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 41,523
As to the Roman Catholic tradition:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 966, provides:
Quote:
Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.
Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed that the Assumption of Mary was a probable option, which was impious to deny. It was not, however, an article of faith at that point. After centuries of debate among theologians, on November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII made the first certainly infallible statement since from a Pope since 1854, and only the second in history. He said, "We pronounce, declare and define it to be a dogma revealed by God, that the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."

- Rick
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-21-2001, 06:33 PM
dqa dqa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Quote:
Originally posted by DPWhite
Protestants, for example, do not believe that Mary remained a Virgin all her life, citing references to Jesus' brother James and the lack of any instruction from God to remain a Virgin as well has her marrying Joseph.
Actually it remains a matter of debate in some Protestant circles. This Catholic site provides a few examples of noted Protestants, such as Luther and Zwingli, who hold to the ever-virgin position.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-21-2001, 06:35 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Lexington NC
Posts: 7,153
No one, yet anyway. You don't get to heaven until judgement day. Not that I believe that sort of thing.
__________________
Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

G. W. Bush re Kosovo, Houston Chronicle April 9, 1999
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-21-2001, 09:20 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,060
Interestingly, the number is precisely 1/265 millionth of the number of angels that fit on the head of a pin. I can't quite remember what the latter figure is now though.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-21-2001, 10:31 PM
Bricker Bricker is offline
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 41,523
Thank you for your contribution, Princhester, but unless you have a cite for the fractional nonsense you just posted, I'll assume it's a clever-clever way of suggesting the discussion is itself nonsense.

The OP asks about beliefs and traditions in the context of the Bible and certain religious groups' beliefs. This is a question subject to definitive answer. You may not agree with, say, the Catholic teaching on the subject, but you must agree that it exists and is responsive to the OP.

Is it TRUE that, as the Bible teaches, Jesus and Mary went to bodily Heaven? would be a different story. But that's not what's being asked.

- Rick
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-21-2001, 11:42 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,060
I don't know why I'm bothering to reply to your criticism of my post which was admittedly pretty much just a throwaway line, but...

Bricker, you say "This is a question subject to a definitive answer". What about the bit where the OP says: "Do other people have ideas about assumptions or ascensions?" I do have ideas about assumptions and ascensions. They are expressed, albeit cryptically, in my last post.

You also say suggest that the OP is looking only for definitive answers about certain religious groups' beliefs, not about actual truth. Yet the title to the thread, and the OPer's 1st and 3rd questions ask positively whether certain things are true (actually there are two questions marked 3, I mean the second 3rd question).

Finally, you say "The OP asks about beliefs and traditions in the context of the Bible and certain religious groups' beliefs. This is a question subject to definitive answer. You may not agree with, say, the Catholic teaching on the subject, but you must agree that it exists and is responsive to the OP." I must agree with no such thing. In fact I would say that there are almost no definitive answers regarding teachings, beliefs and traditions of even simple social groups, let alone the enormous thing known as the catholic church (or whichever other religious group you may care to mention). And don't give me any claptrap about what the pope says being indicative of what all the catholic church believes. I know too many catholics (and catholic priests) to believe that hooey for a moment.

No, my post may have been satirical and casual, but it actually encapsulates my entirely serious answer to the questions posed in the OP.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-22-2001, 01:18 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 41,523
Quote:
Originally posted by Princhester
Bricker, you say "This is a question subject to a definitive answer". What about the bit where the OP says: "Do other people have ideas about assumptions or ascensions?" I do have ideas about assumptions and ascensions. They are expressed, albeit cryptically, in my last post.
Extremely valid point. I withdraw my criticism as to this.

Quote:
You also say suggest that the OP is looking only for definitive answers about certain religious groups' beliefs, not about actual truth. Yet the title to the thread, and the OPer's 1st and 3rd questions ask positively whether certain things are true (actually there are two questions marked 3, I mean the second 3rd question).
I think a thread title must be read in harmony with the OP in order to discern the question. If that weren't so, any thread called, for example, "Is This Illegal?" would be subject to hijacking to Cuba and back many times; we have to read the OP to know what, exactly, the question is.

However, you're right that the OP itself broadens the questions beyond what I suggested, and, as I indicate above, I was wrongly - and narrowly - reading the OP. My bad, and your ... er... good.

Quote:
Finally, you say "The OP asks about beliefs and traditions in the context of the Bible and certain religious groups' beliefs. This is a question subject to definitive answer. You may not agree with, say, the Catholic teaching on the subject, but you must agree that it exists and is responsive to the OP." I must agree with no such thing. In fact I would say that there are almost no definitive answers regarding teachings, beliefs and traditions of even simple social groups, let alone the enormous thing known as the catholic church (or whichever other religious group you may care to mention). And don't give me any claptrap about what the pope says being indicative of what all the catholic church believes. I know too many catholics (and catholic priests) to believe that hooey for a moment.
Actually, here I may have to deliver some "claptrap." There is a definitive teaching of the Catholic Church as regards the Assumption of Mary. This is promulgated by the authoritive power within the Church. It is of no moment that you may know individual Catholics who do not accept the teaching as true... those that have the power to speak for the church, the guys with the keys to St. Peter's Basilica and signature cards on file at the local Vatican bank, have spoken on this.

Where we may be stumbling is on the issue of belief as opposed to teaching. I absolutely agree that there is no uniformity of belief in any group, simple social or otherwise. But there is definitive dogma on certain points. That's not a matter of debate. It exists, it's signed by the right guys, and that's that.

By analogy: we may not all agree that .08 blood alcohol is the right level to be considered legally drunk. But the state legislature passed the law and the governor signed it. He may not represent your way of thinking, or even the way of thinking of the majority of the residents of his state. But the law exists; that's not subject to debate.

In the same way, the Pope's got the authority to proclaim certain dogma, and he has. May not be right, may not even be agreeable to a majority, but he da man.

- Rick
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-22-2001, 02:22 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,060
Firstly, Bricker can I apologise for the sharp tone of my last post, you are clearly a very considerate and reasonable debater and I appreciate that.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bricker
Where we may be stumbling is on the issue of belief as opposed to teaching. I absolutely agree that there is no uniformity of belief in any group, simple social or otherwise. But there is definitive dogma on certain points. That's not a matter of debate. It exists, it's signed by the right guys, and that's that.

By analogy: we may not all agree that .08 blood alcohol is the right level to be considered legally drunk. But the state legislature passed the law and the governor signed it. He may not represent your way of thinking, or even the way of thinking of the majority of the residents of his state. But the law exists; that's not subject to debate.

In the same way, the Pope's got the authority to proclaim certain dogma, and he has. May not be right, may not even be agreeable to a majority, but he da man.

- Rick
I see the point that you are making here and in a way I accept that it is valid. However, I think that your position is the theory rather than the reality. The catholic church is a broad body of people. Indeed taken literally, that is essentially what catholic church means. It is an interesting question (which I don't think really has a definite answer) as to whether the teachings of the church are what the pope teaches, or what the people who call themselves catholic teach, regardless of what the pope teaches.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-22-2001, 08:59 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 41,523
Quote:
Originally posted by Princhester
Firstly, Bricker can I apologise for the sharp tone of my last post, you are clearly a very considerate and reasonable debater and I appreciate that.
Not at all - I was a bit snippy myself. No harm, no foul.

Quote:
I see the point that you are making here and in a way I accept that it is valid. However, I think that your position is the theory rather than the reality. The catholic church is a broad body of people. Indeed taken literally, that is essentially what catholic church means. It is an interesting question (which I don't think really has a definite answer) as to whether the teachings of the church are what the pope teaches, or what the people who call themselves catholic teach, regardless of what the pope teaches.
There may be areas in which that is true -- and it's almost certainly true if you frame the question as broadly as, "What does the Pope teach?"

But as to the narrow question, "Does the Church, or does the Pope, teach that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven?" there simply is no debate. I've already cited, above, the Catechism, complete with numbered paragraph, and quoted the pronouncement of Pius XII. In order to prevail and show your point, then, the burden now falls to you to show some different teaching by the Pope.

Now, you might possibly be able to present Fr. So-and-so, or Sister Such-and-such, who has taught something different. But neither of those people have the authority to define an official church position. The Pope does, the Pope has, and if you can show otherwise, by all means, have at it.

But you can't.

As large and diverse as the Roman Catholic Church is, it nonetheless has a singluar authoritive voice. If the subject were, say, the death penalty, then you'd be on firmer ground -- while the Pope is clearly against the death penalty, he has also said it's permissible in some limited circumstances. This leads to what you're probably picturing - a chorus of voices from various Catholics, ranging from "fry 'em all" to "never kill, period." In this instance, while there's a general Church teaching, the lack of specifics make it hard to pin down precisely what that tecahing might be in a given circumstance.

Not so the issue of the Assumption. It's a clear as a bell.

- Rick
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-23-2001, 02:00 PM
don willard don willard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Bodies in Heaven

I'm not clear on what the church teaches about where you go. The Catholic church says you go to Purgatory, I'm sure I heard, although they don't talk about it much anymore, and after you are burned for several millennia you can then go to heaven. I thought they think some people go to Purgatory, some go to heaven,but it is all in spirit. Then at Judgment Day the various dead corpses and ashes rise up in a horrific state of mouldering decay, like in several movies, and then are swept up in the air. The soul, which has been in heaven, and the body unite and then are judged, with those who have sinned too much sent to hell forever.
One Protestant minister said on tv (and he is a literalist, fundamentalist, and always quoting from the Bible) that
the word FOREVER in the Bible, applied to Satan and sinners, means that at the end time they are thrown into the lake of fire and destroyed for all time, once and for all, not forever in the sense of continuously.
Anyhow, I still don't know how the souls in heaven relate to the four physical bodies in heaven, but I do know that the Xians insist on bodily resurrection. The Church tortured and killed all those who believed in resurrection in the sense of a spiritual existence, which can have various meanings including being as physical as one is when one has a physical body, when in heaven, just as one is perfectly physical in one's dreams. If the Holy Spirit is informing the Church, whether Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox, to believe in the bodily resurrection, then the Holy Spirit must be some kind of grotesque monstrosity to insist on something that derives no benefit at all and can be easily exchanged for a doctrine of spiritual eternity.
(Catma #6698-5b, from High Holy Pontiff Goody-Virtue IX)
signed, HHP Goody-Virtue IX, s.t. (so there)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-23-2001, 02:15 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
On the issue of Mary's Assumption...


You should know that Pieter Brueghel the Elder did an engraving entitled The Death of the Virgin, meaning very definitely Mary. It depicts her in a Netherlands-style canopied bed, surrounded by a group of anxious Apostles. IIRC, he was Catholic. He was certainly Christian, so there is evidence of a competing tradition. I was very surprised when I first came across this, me being raised very Catholic. (I found it in the Dover paperback The Graphic Worlds of Pieter Breughel the Elder)


Other traditions speak of people assumed bodily into heaven. I was just reading up on Taoism a few nights ago, and I think there's a folk tradition of assumed Taoists. IIRC, Apollonius of Tyana was supposed to have been assumed, too. One reason the Christians of the day hated the story of Apollonius was because it contained so many of the same miracles as the gospels.
__________________
"My name is Michael Jackson, King of Pop
Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!"
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-23-2001, 04:06 PM
DPWhite DPWhite is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Posts: 1,367
dqa is of course correct that some Protestants believe Mary remained a Virgin. I think it unlikely in light of what I've said above. Moreover, despite jokes I may have made in the past, I usually interpret the Bible's silences on subjects, such as whether Jesus was married and/or a virgin, to mean that the cultural norm was followed. An unmarried rabbi in his 30s was unheard of according to my instructor (Cheryl Tolliver) in such matters.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-23-2001, 05:04 PM
Payne N. Diaz Payne N. Diaz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Now that we're all done getting snippy with each other, here's the LDS view on the matter (if anyone's interested.)

Not just Enoch but his whole city was taken up into heaven. Also Elijah in the chariot of fire and Moses as well (remember, he just disappeared, no grave found.)There is also a character in the Book of Mormon, Alma, who vanished like Moses and was assumed to have been taken up the same way.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-23-2001, 06:14 PM
squeegee squeegee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Gilroy CA
Posts: 8,117
Then there was Mohammed, of course.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-23-2001, 08:59 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
orthodox view:

the church teaches that mary went to live with john after christ's death. she and john moved about a bit and she (as far as i know) was the only woman to go up mount athos. they returned to jerusalem when things quieted down a bit, (persecution of early christians) and during prayer at the mount of olives was told by gabriel that she would die soon. she returned home told john and other friends. when she died the disciples and early leaders of the church were mysteriously gathered at her deathbed. (some had come from places very far from one day's journey) they had a traditional jewish burial within 24 hours. during the burial service jesus appeared and took her soul with him. the ikon of the feast day (see blue mountain, orthodox holy days) shows her in her deathbed surrounded by people and in the middle, jesus holding a child sized mary. body in one place, soul in another. mary was then placed in a tomb and the tomb was sealed.

thomas (late again) came in three days and they opened the tomb and found that her body had gone, there was sweet smelling incense and her clothes. this is why no one claims to have the "body part" of mary.

so the church says dormition not assumption.

the only assumptions accepted by the orthodox church are the ones in the old testament and christ's. i guess that puts us at 3.

as for regular people, the church teaches that when you die your soul lingers on the earth for 3 days. that could be anywhere on the earth. on the third day after death (tradionally the day of your funeral) you are taken on a "tour" by your patron of where you could end up, both places. then you are told where you will end up. at the end of the world the judgements of all the people will be known to everyone. (when you would find out for sure where, say the hijackers of 9\11 ended up). you don't get your body back, although some people theorize that you would appear to others at "your best."
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-24-2001, 02:37 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 52,711
There's also a few mentions in the OT geneological lists of "...and then he walked with God", in place of the more usual "...and then he died". Some interpret this as just a bit of literary variation, to make the lists less boring, and some interpret "walking with God" to mean a bodily assumption. Don't ask me.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.