Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« More On That Motu Proprio | Main | That Depends On What The Definition Of "Is" Is »

April 02, 2007

Comments

Realist

As per Aquinas, Heaven is a spirit state therefore Hell is also a spirit state.

As per Father Edward Schillebeeck in his book, Church, the History of God, there is no Hell. If you die in mortal sin, your soul simply will no longer exist as God will not permit imperfection in the afterlife.

And since there are no "pretty wingy thingies" aka angels i.e. said beings are mythical carryovers from ancient extinct religions, there are no "ugly wingy thingies" aka devils.

Edward Schillebeeckx

Dear Realist,

My name is spelled with an X. Since you're such a fan, I would expect you to know this.

Thomist

I often wonder about the paranormal (ghosts, hauntings) and its relation to Hell. I guess this depends on whether one believes in ghosts -- I tend to think that there is something to it -- but are what we perceive as ghosts actually damned spirits, in Hell? Could being in Hell be simply having been left behind on earth, separated from God, resigned to roam houses and such?

I make no pronouncements here; just a thought.

Fuinseoig

Dear Realist

Well, we'll all find out eventually.

Christopher Y

With God's mercy hopefully we will all be delivered from Evil. Still, there is the first secret of Fatima which was a vision of Hell given to the three kids. Here is Sister Lucia's account of Hell: " She [Our Lady of Fatima] opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls [of the damned] in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals."

We have to bear in mind of course that since this is a private revelation the faithful are not required to believe it, but it was declared worthy of belief. Personally, I believe Hell exists and I hope none of us ever find out about it's true nature.

JV

I realize now this is something I never thought about before....I didn't realize that the Resurrection of the Body was for everyone. Perhaps I have some leftover Protestant misunderstanding regarding the Rapture and such hooey as that.

Jimmy if you read this and feel like elaborating on this teaching, this reader would be very appreciative.

John Henry

Has anyone actually found the text of the what the Pope said (besides MSM reports)? I know the original homiliy is posted at the Vatican website, but his comments about hell were (mostly) off-the-cuff and thus not included in the printed text.

Slowboy

Realist: "As per Father Edward Schillebeeck in his book...”

This would be an argument from Authority. I will answer that the Church Fathers, bishops, popes and numerous theologians and all saints say he's wrong. Please trump my argument from AUTHORITY.

As per angels: This is an unsupported statement, if you care to argue from authority then please see answer #1. If you need literature please see the Bible. If you find either un-convincing please show why.

New Subject: When Jimmy used the term, “tertium quid” I had to look it up on Wikipedia. I noticed that in the year 2000 it was used as a legal term. If it doesn’t have a long history in the legal arguments then it’s a fair bet one of our catholic justices was sitting up at night reading his theology.

John Henry

I didn't realize that the Resurrection of the Body was for everyone.

From the Athanasian Creed:

[H]e shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

Puzzled

Where do you get this stuff? The sub-apostolic fathers? (I don't think so) The deposit of faith? (which like these speculations -appears- to have no definable content or extension in space, time or definition) Bleh.

You certainly don't find it in the Bible where you do have the resurrection of the body, and visions, at least, of heaven, where there do not appear to be weird manifestations of Einsteinian-Aristotelian(now that's an interesting concept!) physics, like freeze-frame timeless existence, or non-extension in space.

An area, I think, where your apologetic has room for improvement and strengthening.

pseudomodo

I remember looking in Ott's fundamentals or Catholic Dogma which states that the bodies of the damned will resurrect but will not transfigure. Only the saved will transfigure.

Pseudomodo

I wish the r and the f were'nt so close together! Jimmy how about spellcheck in the com box?

Oh, wait.. that won't work!

Esau

...which I suppose would mean that they would be real but not extended in spacetime.


Spacetime doesn't apply in the Spiritual Realm.


Take for example these excerpts from St. Augustine:

"Therefore, there is a certain created wisdom that was created before all things: the rational and intelligible mind of that chaste city of thine. It is our mother which is above and is free and “eternal in the heavens”--but in what heavens except those which praise thee, the “heaven of heavens”? This also is the “heaven of heavens” which is the Lord’s--although we find no time before it, since what has been created before all things also precedes the creation of time. Still, the eternity of the Creator himself is before it, from whom it took its beginning as created, though not in time (since time as yet was not), even though time belongs to its created nature."

"For when they read or hear these words, O God, they see that all times past and times future are transcended by thy eternal and stable permanence, and they see also that there is no temporal creature that is not of thy making."

"In eternity, God is before all things; in the temporal process, the flower is before the fruit;"

Ed Pie

*reads Esau's post*
I think my question doesn't necessarily run counter to his, so bear with me, as I've been trying to wrap my head around this for a while....

If, at the Eschaton, heaven and Earth will pass away and be replaced by a new heaven and a new Earth, doesn't that suggest that a physical universe might at least be available to the reembodied souls in heaven? Otherwise, why a new Earth (matter, but no space, or at least no time) at all?

Slowboy

"Spacetime doesn't apply in the Spiritual Realm"

Essau: I don't understand. After it's all done our bodies will be in Heaven. By their natures bodies take space. Does it not follow then that there is/will be space in Heaven? Perhaps more accurately when Heaven takes over space will not space be a sub-set of Heaven?

..find no time before it, since what has been created before all things also precedes the creation of time..."

Again, time did not exsist before Heaven but what's to stop it from continuing out infinately from here?

Esau

Ed Pie:

Remember, what's key there is 'eternity'.

We'll be living eternally and, therefore, time does not apply.

Remember:
"In eternity, God is before all things; in the temporal process, the flower is before the fruit;"

It is natural that in the temporal realm, we have notion such as time, as there is a beginning as well as an end.

However, in eternity, such a notion will not apply.

I think if you read up on some of the Church Father's thoughts on these things as well as some passages in Scripture that speak of such aspects (other than that which you cited above), this might become clearer.

Of course, one may very well land on the side of theological speculation, all in all.

Esau

Ed Pie:

Keep in mind that what I said here:

It is natural that in the temporal realm, we have notion such as time, as there is a beginning as well as an end.

However, in eternity, such a notion will not apply.

This is my own belief since in eternity, there is no end.

I have speculated on such things based on some Jesuit thinking on the matter as well, so that may have very well influenced my thought on this in addition to what the Chuch Father had said.

Again, it may very well be mere theological speculation on my part, nothing more.

Alex Benziger.G

Sir,
After our death we don't know, what is our physical form,nobody knows. Jesus Christ answered as, Mt.22:30; Mk.12:25; and Lk.20:34,35. Therefore we hold on the faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we hold on the faith in the Scripture,beyond that our sense is nothing ,it is unnessary.
DEO GRATIAS

Esau

Therefore we hold on the faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we hold on the faith in the Scripture,beyond that our sense is nothing ,it is unnessary.


Sir,
Did you not read?

Just as Jimmy Akin had mentioned:

"It would be contrary to Catholic teaching to deny that the damned--after the resurrection--will have bodies."


Therefore, what you claim 'unnecessary' is not actually -- in the sense that the Catholic Church, supported by both Scripture and Tradition, has taught on the matter regarding 'physical bodies' after the Resurrection.

John

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

If there is a spiritual body, and that body will experience those marvelous things God has prepared for him/her in heaven,then doesn't this suggest a space-time experience in heaven?

Esau

Please demonstrate to me how your citations here actually give evidence of a space-time experience in heaven?

Time has a beginning and an end.
It only has bearing in the temporal world.

Eternity has no beginning or end.

Time DOES NOT exist in eternity or it wouldn't be ETERNITY to begin with!

John

Time does not have a beginning and an end...nor does it need to have these attributes...

A period of time is quantifiable, but an eternity is not...an eternity is simply all, infinite time

Take for example, Esau, the amount of time that has transpired until now as time proceeds backward in time, into infinity...

Time in this instance has definitely transpired...an infinite amount of time...heaven an hell have also existed during this period of time, however, the persons/beings experiencing time might not have experienced time as such...

Perhaps the best way to determine whether time exists in eternity is to answer the question do individual events occur in heaven, non-simultaneously...if they do, then the only way to distinguish these events is temporally...

Looking at Christopher Y's FATIMA post as it relates to the environment we find in hell, we can see clouds moving, and the environment changing, etc...good evidence that events are unfolding non-simultaneously, which could only happen in an environment subject to time...

Hope this helps!

JV

John Henry, thank you for the quote from the Athanasian Creed.

Esau

Time in this instance has definitely transpired...an infinite amount of time...heaven an hell have also existed during this period of time, however, the persons/beings experiencing time might not have experienced time as such...


You are trying to create a metaphor here not unlike C.S. Lewis' Wardrobe, which is a matter that nevertheless treats of temporal realities, as there is an actual beginning and an end.

Eternity, by its very nature, does not exist in such a manner or else it wouldn't be eternity to begin with.

I would recommend that you read on the Early Church Father's works that touch on these aspects.

Fuinseoig

Puzzled, let's get one misconception out of the way right away. It's a commonplace for non-believers/atheists/skeptics to mock the notion of Heaven and Hell by saying "Oh, so you think if you go straight down to the centre of the earth that Satan will be sitting there on his throne prodding the damned with his pitchfork, and you say that Jesus flew straight up in the air -whoosh! - only without a plane, and got to heaven that way. Well, sorry to disillusion you, but we've been to outer space and we didn't see God or angels playing harps or people sitting on clouds."

And then anybody with half a braincell clutches their forehead and moans softly "No, I never said Heaven was a *place*", to which the skeptic - depending on how agnostic to a greater or lesser extent he is - will say "So it's only a symbol" or "It's indicative of a psychological state" or, as Realist puts it, if you've been a very naughty boy, you'll just go poof! no more!

Heaven or Hell is not a place in the sense of "Turn left at Alpha Centauri and go on for another fifty parsecs and you're there" place. Neither is Hell a symbol, a metaphor, a purely and solely 'spiritual' state (by which 'spiritual' is understood to mean 'not really real because only the material/physical is really real'), or a mere cessation and non-existence.

*How* the resurrected bodies will work out I don't know; that we are both body and soul, and cannot have one without the other, I believe. That Hell is not a location that one can pinpoint on a map; that it exists nevertheless; that there is a spiritual suffering there which is best understood by us - since we are still living in physical space/time and have no apprehension of that condition of reality - as the burning and devouring but non-consuming fire; that this is real pain and suffering and not just a feeling bad at being separated from God or lacking earthly good and pleasure, i.e. that it is *not* 'all in the mind' or that 'thinking makes it so'; that we can't console ourselves with 'oh, God wouldn't be so mean as to put anyone into Hell' or, if we are forced to acknowledge that some people have done gross and hideous deeds of evil, 'oh, they'll simply stop existing but the nice people will keep on going' is what the Pope is trying to get at.

John, I would say that with regard to the Fatima or other visions, since the seers are in physical bodies exising in our mortal realm, the way the vision is translated by the earthly sensorium so as to be comprehensible means that flames, the damned burning, the hideous bestial shapes of the demons, the changing environment which is non-simultaneous, etc. are the ways in which the mind and brain turns this incomprehensible into the nearest analogy to earthly experience so as to be perceived, let alone understood. Whether, if we end up in Hell, there will 'really' be clouds, flames, etc. God alone knows.

And let us pray we none of us find out by first-hand experience ;-)

Esau

John, I would say that with regard to the Fatima or other visions, since the seers are in physical bodies exising in our mortal realm, the way the vision is translated by the earthly sensorium so as to be comprehensible means that flames, the damned burning, the hideous bestial shapes of the demons, the changing environment which is non-simultaneous, etc. are the ways in which the mind and brain turns this incomprehensible into the nearest analogy to earthly experience so as to be perceived, let alone understood.


Fuinseoig:

Bravo for that!

That's how the human mind works and tries to relate such human experiences into something more comprehensible in terms of our present reality!

Dan Hunter

When I was in nursery school I learned from my parents, my priest, and a bishop friend of our family as well as the Baltimore Catechism that Hell's reality includes physical flames.Our bodies are there should, we be damned and conversely our bodies are in Heaven,should God have mercy on us.The bodily ressurection occurs at the Final Judgement.
God bless you.

Esau

Dan Hunter:

I think you have missed the entire crux of the discussion.

We were discussing about the time aspect.

You have failed to follow the flow of the discussion, perhaps because you may not have read our preceding posts.

Esau

I've got to admit, Dan, your post:

When I was in nursery school I learned from my parents, my priest, and a bishop friend of our family as well as the Baltimore Catechism that Hell's reality includes physical flames.Our bodies are there should, we be damned and conversely our bodies are in Heaven,should God have mercy on us.The bodily ressurection occurs at the Final Judgement.
God bless you.

Posted by: Dan Hunter | Apr 2, 2007 11:54:34 AM


is admittedly a more polite version of John's past post:

I cant help but laugh at some of these posts-even looking into scripture for the answer to this simple question that most traditionally catechised second graders are all versed in the Baltimore Catechism know the answer to (not the JPII version or as taught in the church today after Vatican II as I recently attended a communion where the priest told all that his bagel if he prayed over it would become Jesus!!. )

Posted by: John | Oct 26, 2006 4:55:45 PM


However, as mentioned, you missed the boat on what we were actually talking about.

SDG

When I was in nursery school I learned from my parents, my priest, and a bishop friend of our family as well as the Baltimore Catechism that Hell's reality includes physical flames.

However, as none of these sources, even the Baltimore Catechism, is a final and definitive arbiter of the extent of Catholic Tradition, the point has not been established by the evidence cited to date. In the absence of a definitive magisterial answer, the question remains in play.

paul f

Esau,

You're now officially to blame if this thread gets hijacked.

Maybe the hobby-horse is actually yours and not John's?

Esau

In the absence of a definitive magisterial answer, the question remains in play.

BINGO!

That's one of the points behind Catholic Theology.

Although, as I mentioned (in accordance with what I was attempting to relate to Paul in the analogy regarding doctors), Catholic Theologians, however, (should) operate based on opinions that have a basis in fact and are approved by others (e.g., the Magesterium).

A rather rough statement since I was attempting to draw a parallel in what he had mentioned regarding doctors and how they should operate.

Esau

Esau,

You're now officially to blame if this thread gets hijacked.

Maybe the hobby-horse is actually yours and not John's?

Posted by: paul f | Apr 2, 2007 12:53:15 PM


That's such a ridiculous statement since one can go back to past threads (in fact, go back to the USCCB Smackdown one) and you would see that it was John who instigates such hijacks and not I.

Here, I was merely trying to keep point on the time aspect, as my post rightly indicate.

Esquire

John said:

Time does not have a beginning and an end...nor does it need to have these attributes...

St. Augustine (writing some time before Vatican II) said:

Thou hast made all time; and before all times Thou art, nor in any time was there not time.

God created time -- it has a beginning.

(And no, this is not something else that Vatican II changed.)

Esau

Esquire:

Kindly take note of what St. Augustine said here:

"Therefore, there is a certain created wisdom that was created before all things: the rational and intelligible mind of that chaste city of thine. It is our mother which is above and is free and “eternal in the heavens”--but in what heavens except those which praise thee, the “heaven of heavens”? This also is the “heaven of heavens” which is the Lord’s--although we find no time before it, since what has been created before all things also precedes the creation of time. Still, the eternity of the Creator himself is before it, from whom it took its beginning as created, though not in time (since time as yet was not), even though time belongs to its created nature."

Also, regarding Heaven:

"Thus it is that the intelligible heaven came to be from thee, our God, but in such a way that it is quite another being than thou art; it is not the Selfsame. Yet we find that time is not only not before it, but not even in it, thus making it able to behold thy face forever and not ever be turnedaside. Thus, it is varied by no change at all."

Smoky Mountain Hiker

Does God change?

If so, isn't eternity somehow analogous to time?

If not, how does that jive with Creation and His interaction with it?

This is an honest question.

Esquire

Smoky,

My 2 cents (gratis):

God does not change.

Eternity is the measurement of all time, which is infinite. God exists outside of time.

God enters into time to interact with His Creation (by which His Creation is changed, not Him).

Smoky Mountain Hiker

Esquire,

Thanks, but your statement:

God enters into time to interact with His Creation

illustrates my difficulty. Note "God enters" and "to interact" suggest action, and therefore time.

Esau

That's just it: God is the Prime Mover -- Eternal -- Unchanging!

As St. Augustine recounts:

For then also thou shalt so rest in us as now thou workest in us; and, thus, that will be thy rest through us, as these are thy works through us. But thou, O Lord, workest evermore and art always at rest. Thou seest not in time, thou movest not in time, thou restest not in time. And yet thou makest all those things which are seen in time - indeed, the very times themselves--and everything that proceeds in and from time.

For when they read or hear these words, O God, they see that all times past and times future are transcended by thy eternal and stable permanence, and they see also that there is no temporal creature that is not of thy making.

But he who understands "In the beginning he made" as if it meant, "At first he made," can truly interpret the phrase "heaven and earth" as referring only to the "matter" of heaven and earth, namely, of the prior universal, which is the intelligible and corporeal creation. For if he would try to interpret the phrase as applying to the universe already formed, it then might rightly be asked of him, "If God first made this, what then did he do afterward?" And, after the universe, he will find nothing.

But then he must, however unwillingly, face the question, How is this the first if there is nothing afterward? But when he said that God made matter first formless and then formed, he is not being absurd if he is able to discern what precedes by eternity, and what proceeds in time; what comes from choice, and what comes from origin. In eternity, God is before all things; in the temporal process, the flower is before the fruit; in the act of choice, the fruit is before the flower; in the case of origin, sound is before the tune.

Of these four relations, the first and last that I have referred to are understood with much difficulty. The second and third are very easily understood. For it is an uncommon and lofty vision, O Lord, to behold thy eternity immutably making mutable things, and thereby standing always before them.

...

-- and it is preceded by the eternity of the Creator, so that from nothing there might be made that from which something might be made.

Pitch Fork

Enough about heaven. What about hell? Who made it? Do "we find that time is not only not before it, but not even in it"?

Esau

Smoky,

Curious, allow me to ask:

Does Jesus have a beginning?

Smoky Mountain Hiker

I would guess that the Second Person of the Trinity has no beginning, but that His physical Incarnation as Jesus does.

SDG

Note "God enters" and "to interact" suggest action, and therefore time.

God's actions do not involve change in himself. Either they are eternal, i.e., within the inner life of the Trinity itself, or else what we call His "actions" involve processes in time that affect the material creation but do not effect change within the Divine Nature itself.

Thus, e.g., in the Athanasian Creed we read that God became man "not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God." It is human nature that is changed, not Divine.

Esau

...that His physical Incarnation as Jesus does.

If this is the case, he would still, therefore, have a beginning.

And if so, he cannot be deemed as God since God has no beginning or end.

Let's explore further, how about this:

Did God create Jesus Christ?

Patrick

Hell is having to watch Fox news forever!

Smoky Mountain Hiker

Esau,

Before we explore further, are you therefore suggesting that the physical Incarnation as Jesus (separate from His Divine Nature as the Second Person of the Trinity) had no beginning? What of His conception? I'm confused.

Dan Hunter

Esau,
The Baltimore Catechism comes with an Imprimatur.
Michael Augustine,Archbishop of New York,New York September 5 1891.
A second Imprimatur if you do not like His Excellency Bishop Michael Augustine,follows:
Patrick Hayes DD Archbishop of NY. June 29th 1921.
Esau if This Catechism's teaching on hell is good for the Catholic Church it is good enough for me.
I would love to meet you someday soon.Please send a picture of your august personage.
God bless you and your kith and kin.

Esau

Dan:

You severely MISS the point -- we were discussing TIME and not what you blurted out.

Esau

Smoky,

Christ, when we talk about his person, is divine but he has two natures through the miracle of the Incarnation and there’s not another example of any person that has two natures. This is a Miracle. But, he has two natures: divine and human.

Now, the nature that any other human being has is what makes him distinctly human. Because, if I just say he was a person, he could be an angel. An angel is a person because they’re rational. It’s the nature of a human being that makes him a human person.

With Christ, we have something a little bit tricky here because once we get to Christ, a lot of our Boethian definition and such kind don’t always hold up all that well because with Christ, it is His nature, the divine nature, that makes him a divine person.

But, in the Incarnation we have added this human nature. So, what do we do with this?

Well, the human nature of Christ, we say in Theology, is accidental to his person.

It’s not essential for Christ to be human in order to be a person.

He’s a divine person for all eternity.

So, the human nature of Christ, while hypostatically joined in the person, (we say ‘hypostatically’, that simply means ‘in the person’ or the Greek word ‘hypostasis’).

It’s still accidental to His person so that we don’t say that He is, all of a sudden, a human person; no, he’s a divine person but he also has a human nature which puts him in a unique category.

Now, when we talk about the wills, then, in Christ; because he has two natures, he would then have two wills because the intellect and will reside in the nature.

So, the divine nature has an intellect and will that is divine. The human nature has an intellect and will that is human. Therefore, Christ (now, a regular human being doesn’t have this – he doesn’t have 2 intellects; he has one intellect and one will) is unique in that He has two natures in his person, he has two intellects and two wills.

Esau

By the way, as you could tell, I rather enjoy these kinds of topics, which is why I originally liked reading/hearing Jimmy Akin's thoughts on such matters.

I sorely miss Catholic Theology!

Carol Anne

Perhaps the best way to determine whether time exists in eternity is to answer the question do individual events occur in heaven, non-simultaneously

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven."

Esquire

Smoky,

Note "God enters" and "to interact" suggest action, and therefore time.

Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time. God is perfect action, yet exists outside of time.

Esau

Carol Anne:

Although I appreciate the devout nature of your comment, Heaven does not exist within time.

When we ask this in the Our Father, we are simply asking that God's Will be fulfilled on Earth since God's Will is fulfilled in Heaven (especially since in Heaven, there is the witness of the Saints).

As Augustine said:

"This also is the “heaven of heavens” which is the Lord’s--although we find no time before it, since what has been created before all things also precedes the creation of time."

Esau

Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time. God is perfect action, yet exists outside of time.


Esquire:

That's pretty insightful there (no surprise there as evidenced by some of your past comments)!

I believe your line of thought here is closer to the Church Father's in this respect.

Carol Anne

Esau:

Although I appreciate the devout nature of your comment, I didn't say Heaven existed within time.

Esau

Carol Anne:

Touche! ;^)

(apologies -- dunno how to do ASCII for the 'e')

Smoky Mountain Hiker

Esquire wrote:

Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time.

That is an interesting statement, and perhaps it's true. But, do you (or any other human being) understand what you wrote?

Ed Pie

Maybe I can at least get the italics turned off...


Esau, I appreciate what you said way up there about time, and I think I grok it as well as I can--eternity isn't just infinite time, where things keep going on forever and ever, and then all that other clever patristic stuff I obviously need to start reading.

Not that I'm trying to hijack the thread for myself now, but when they say "new heaven and new Earth," I take it to mean that both the spiritual and physical components of creation will be replaced or remade. Why the new Earth? I doubt we'd need a place to stand when we get our bodies back; depending on how long God lets things go, we'd be shoulder to shoulder, like in those Chick tracts where millions of anonymous saints surround a giant faceless Jesus, and that's unaesthetic enough for me to dismiss it out of hand.

I heard a homily once that leaned in the direction of answering my question. The priest said that all the good things we've had on Earth will be with us in heaven. What he was really hoping for was basketball. Perhaps it's silly, but that was his example for whatever his point was, which I've completely forgotten.
So, I'm trying to picture a basketball game in eternity. Things don't happen sequentially, so that wouldn't work by itself, but if there happened to be an appropriate spot on the new Earth, with space on it to move, and if time were available, couldn't they re-enter time and space for four fifteen-minute intervals to play the game? Or would it be two thirty-minute intervals?

I mean, otherwise, what's it for? If heaven can receive matter, our bodies, then we shouldn't need to occupy a universe (timeless or otherwise), but why a material, spatial universe that lacks the capacity for sequentiality? Just so it'll be there with us (not that I'd complain)? Do we even have a hint?

When I've heard people try to describe the resurrection, they always talk about having indestructible bodies that can move through walls and travel at any speed, and so on, and while it might just be a stack of metaphors for whatever's really going to happen, it doesn't seem like a necessary or useful analogy for "singing Hosana back and forth with all the angels," especially with those distinctly kinetic references. It suggests to me some dynamic quality that's even hard to mesh with "no space or time" than any of the other analogies I've heard.

But I'm just speculating too.

Ed Pie

A'ight, I'll try one more time and then leave it to the experts.


Italics off?

Smoky Mountain Italicizer

I'm not sure what you're commenting about regarding italics, Ed -- most of time, it's used on this blog as a convention to indicate quotation, which I think is quite helpful.

Of course, it can be overused if it's employed for emphasis.

Esquire

Smoky,

Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time.

That is an interesting statement, and perhaps it's true. But, do you (or any other human being) understand what you wrote?

Does anybody really know what time it is?

(Somebody had to say that.)

I have an understanding of what I wrote, and it makes sense to me. But as some wise teacher once said, the real test of whether you understand something is your ability to succinctly explain it in a manner that makes it readily understandable to others. And I don't know that I can do that.

I'm something a Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and a Richard Feynman junkie, and they (as well as St. Augustine) have caused me to look at time in ways that were inconceivable (pun intended for Feynman fans) to me before.

Oh, you guys are making my brain hurt - but in a good way :-)

Let's take the time question, so; according to (some) cosmologists, time came into being/existence/started/became measurable/became accessible to us (and you see the difficulty from the get-go here, when we can't even settle on a term for what the hey happened) with the Big Bang and so, to speak of 'what happened before the Big Bang?' is meaningless, since there was no 'before'.

Time, therefore, being a property of the physical universe, we can say is not the same thing as eternity; nor is eternity to be considered mere duration or extension in time. It is qualitatively different.

How this might be is a puzzler, the same way that trying to imagine an infinite Universe nearly made me fall off my chair with dizziness back when I was fifteen and cudgelling my brains to imagine 'out beyond the edge - and beyond - and beyond that again - no edge, no border, no contained within something else but going on and on limitlessly'. We're creatures stuck in time at present, so any attempts we might make to imagine what eternity might be like are going to be either 'like more and more time' or 'not-time but we don't know what that's like'.

Personally, for ideas about "Are the flames of Hell and Purgatory physical or not?", I find Dante's "Divine Comedy" really helpful. For example, in the 'Purgatorio', when Virgil is trying to coax Dante into the final fire, he tells him it will not harm him - put the edge of your robe into the flame, and you will see it will not be burnt. Yet when Dante walked into the fire, the burning heat was so intense he would gladly have thrown himself into molten glass for relief.

Physical flames? Not if you mean 'real' fire that would 'really' burn 'real' cloth (or flesh). But the purgation by fire? Oh, yes.

*shrugs* Hey, I'm not smart enough for theology or philosophy; I'll take any help I can get from the poets, I'm not proud ;-)

Esau

Ed Pie:

If your definition of 'eternity' entails sequentiality, then it wouldn't be 'eternity' to begin with.

The very aspect of 'sequentiality' is against the very nature of 'eternity'.

For example, when we say God is 'eternal'; to even suggest sequentiality as being an aspect of 'eternity' is a riscible notion since it would, in fact, suggest that God has a beginning, which He does not.

In essence, sequentiality, by its very nature, has a beginning and, some can very well argue, an end as well.

Esau

Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time.

That is an interesting statement, and perhaps it's true. But, do you (or any other human being) understand what you wrote?


Smoky,

When exactly did time actually come into being?

Smoky Mountain Timekeeper

That's irrelevant to my point. Even though we can write and talk about eternity as distinct from time, I doubt that any human has the ability to comprehend such a state. I agree with the anonymous poster:

We're creatures stuck in time at present, so any attempts we might make to imagine what eternity might be like are going to be either 'like more and more time' or 'not-time but we don't know what that's like'.

That's the basis of my response to Esquire.

JohnT

Esquire,

Politely and sincerely...could you provide and an example of an action not requiring time...

"Perhaps the step that you are missing is that action does not require time."

Fuinsoeig,

You responded to my post:

"John, I would say that with regard to the Fatima or other visions, since the seers are in physical bodies exising in our mortal realm, the way the vision is translated by the earthly sensorium so as to be comprehensible means that flames, the damned burning, the hideous bestial shapes of the demons, the changing environment which is non-simultaneous, etc. are the ways in which the mind and brain turns this incomprehensible into the nearest analogy to earthly experience so as to be perceived, let alone understood. Whether, if we end up in Hell, there will 'really' be clouds, flames, etc. God alone knows."

Besides multiple passages in the bible describing "Hell" much in the same way the seers reported Hell (fire, brimstone, etc.), we can reasonably assume that Mary had some purpose in providing a guided tour through Hell to the seers (like she knew the seers would be reporting the experience to most of the human race), and that Jesus through Mary attached some importance in the how the seers would perceive
the experience...meaning...the whole hell tour could have been just a big "scare job", but more likely, the seers were shown what awaits the unfortunate soul...flames, burning, moving/torturous demons, clouds, etc. all suggest movement, which suggests non-simultinaiety, which suggests a temporal environment...

In the end though you are right...Hell is what ever God says it is, and here's to hoping you, I, and the rest of our blogger friends get to find out from the behind the pearly gates!

Esau

I was trying to lead up to something, but this point you've made here is best; that is, as St. Paul remarked:

1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Esau

My above comment was meant for Smoky.

Slowboy

Ok, I'll buy it. The bible tells us that the Universe had a beginning and time is part of the universe thus it had a beginning (Sidetrack: You can read Peter Kreeft's 20 Arguements for God to see why time, logically, must have a beginning).

The bible tells us there will be an end to everything, thus and end of time.

Then there will be a New Order that is endless(thus has a beginning but no end), perhaps eternal(no time thus no sequence of events thus no actual beginning or end). In the second, eternal, case it is more easy to imagine that since there is no time there is no space (you need time to move in to be able to be here and go to there) but the whole "eternal" concept is something completely out of human experience.

Tim J.

"The Baltimore Catechism comes with an Imprimatur"

So does lots of garbage (not that the Baltimore Catechism is garbage - we have used it in educating our own kids). The Imprimatur is no guarantee of orthodoxy. Period. It is only as good as the bishop who grants it.

bill912

This is completely off the subject of time and eternity, but Ed Pie's post about the priest who wanted basketball in heaven reminded me of a story of a man who died and found himself in heaven, in the gallery at a golf match. He saw a golfer trying to clear some trees 300 yards away. The guy tapped an angel on the shoulder and asked, "Who does that guy think he is, St. Peter?" The angel said, "He is St. Peter. Trouble is, he thinks he's Tiger Woods!"

Fuinseoig

"We're creatures stuck in time at present, so any attempts we might make to imagine what eternity might be like are going to be either 'like more and more time' or 'not-time but we don't know what that's like'."

Whoops - that would be me what posted that there, Smoky Mountain Timekeeper. Sorry for not identifying myself; mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Besides, if you guys think this is complicated to figure out, you should head on over to GetReligion.org where we're trying to thrash out what exactly "to" means when we say (if we say? do we say? do others say we say?) we pray to the saints. To, with, through, or the heck with it, you Papists is all idolaters anyways/shut your ignorant yap, Proddy heretic?

Oh, boy. No, to be fair, the tone is quite civil, and it is an interesting question - what, if any, term can a newspaper use to refer to the Catholic practice of invoking the help of the saints without making it sound like we're worshipping them not God and without going into a long, involved, theological explanation.

Any suggestions?

(And once we've cleared that up and sorted out Hell, we'll square the circle, ja?)

Esquire

John T,

Politely and sincerely...could you provide and an example of an action not requiring time...

Love

Brian Day

I was trying to find the appropriate quote from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan where Spock mentions how Khan was attacking only in two dimensions, but oh well...

May I throw out something to think about - it is that the discussion tends to revolve around our familiar three dimensions. Should we not accept the possibility that God exists outside our standard three dimensions and that any attempt to describe Heaven and Hell will come out woefully inadequate?
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

Mary

Love

Might as well say "God."
Is this helping any?

Mary

Should we not accept the possibility that God exists outside our standard three dimensions

How about inside, outside, both, and neither. After all, an omnipresent God would cover all bases.

JohnT

Esquire,

I think you may have me there...

Smoky Mountain Love

Politely and sincerely...could you provide and an example of an action not requiring time...

Love

Esquire,

I humbly disagree. Love is an act of the will. For humans, this requires some mental processing time (however brief). No action that a human can take does not require time.

On the contrary, you argue (and likely correctly) that no action that God takes does require time.

In this sense, "action" as it applies to us and "action" as it applies to God is like comparing apples and oranges, no?

Mary

God is over all things, under all things; outside all, inside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly without, embracing; wholly within, filling. Hildebert

Mary

In this sense, "action" as it applies to us and "action" as it applies to God is like comparing apples and oranges, no?

Is your fruit not of His tree?

Smoky Mountain Fructarian

Is your fruit not of His tree?

I'm not sure what you mean, or how that's relevant to my statement. Please clarify.

Ed Pie


If your definition of 'eternity' entails sequentiality, then it wouldn't be 'eternity' to begin with.

I'm afraid to go back and try to figure out how I misspoke, but I was trying to contrast sequentiality with eternity, not equate the two.

Right now, we're in time and space and there's no way out except through death. In heaven, we won't need time or space or a physical object to live on, but if this new Earth thing is more or less what I'm imagining it is, space and matter that's not just human bodies will also exist.

If this space and matter come back into being, will it be just to look at, or will be able to enjoy it in a more direct sense, much as we do now? Will we be able to personally visit the new physical universe after the Eschaton, without being bound by it as we are today?

If we can visit remade space and matter at will in the new heaven, could we also visit time (say, to play basketball)? God created the sequential experience, so it ought to be good, but is it good only in a medicinal sense, like purgatory?

Mary

I'm making fruit punch out of apples and oranges. Is your action apart from God? "No branch can bear fruit by itself."

Mary

will be able to enjoy it in a more direct sense, much as we do now?

You mean as you now INdirectly enjoy it through your senses and interpret it with your brain?

Esquire

Smoky,

If we agree that God's actions do not require time, that is pretty much the only point I was trying to make.

Smoky Mountain Dumbo

Mary,

Respectfully, I still don't understand the point you're making in relation to my statement.

I was distinguishing Action (as performed by God outside of time) from action (as performed by man constrained by time) and suggesting that they must be qualitatively different. For, the only concept of "action" that we as humans can comprehend requires time.

Esquire,

Taking the above into account, we need to be careful about definitions here. What exactly do we mean by "action" in relation to God?

Esquire

Smoky,

I would begin with the activity that takes place in the inner life of the Trinity.

Realist

Oops,

Been busy all day and now see (as someone also pointed out) that I left off the x at the end of Father Schillebeeckx's name.

To repeat in corrected mode:

As per Father Edward Schillebeeckx in his book, Church, the History of God, there is no Hell. If you die in mortal sin, your soul simply will no longer exist as God will not permit imperfection in the afterlife.

Esau

Esquire:

When God created "Heaven", it is said that its creation preceded time.

Therefore, I would think that "time" did not come into being (at least, in my view) until the Fall of Man when we became finite in nature.

Had we not fallen, I believe we would've remained in the perfection that God had created us and, therefore, co-eternal (that is, without death).

It wasn't until the Fall of man that death came into being and we became finite in nature.

Ben

When God created "Heaven", it is said that its creation preceded time.

Without time, I don't believe "preceded" has much, if any, meaning.

Smoky Mountain Scientist

I would think that "time" did not come into being (at least, in my view) until the Fall of Man

Esau: this just doesn't make any sense from a scientific point of view.

But moreover, if time didn't exist "before" the Fall (whatever "before" means), how could the sequence of events leading to the Fall have occurred?

JohnT

Furthermore, God goes through the pains of spelling-out in Genesis, through his inspired writer, that the process of creation was sequential as per the number of DAYS God spent creating the heavens and the earth.

Ergo...we have time preceding the "Fall," as per God's own revelation.

Mary

I was distinguishing Action (as performed by God outside of time) from action (as performed by man constrained by time) and suggesting that they must be qualitatively different.

And I was de-suggesting it.

For, the only concept of "action" that we as humans can comprehend requires time.

Then drop your concept of "action".

Smoky Mountain Huh?

Mary,

Are you capable of performing an action that requires no time? Are you capable of even comprehending such an action?

Be honest. Provide examples.

PatrickJ

I do not know Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, nor have I read his works. Even so, I find his proposition concerning hell preposterous.

First, the Catholic Christian doctrine of faith is a whole body, and we are not given the opportunity to accept one teaching and discard another at our discretion. To do so accepts a flaw in the source of that faith, and a flawed doctrine is unacceptable and unpalatable for those seeking a perfect Truth. As such, the doctrine must be accepted or denied in whole, either now or before the Just Judge.

Secondly, I have noticed that those who propose to deny the existence and consequence of hell are often ones who have most to fear it. I should know, I was one. There is a story regarding St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and one such doubter. He responded, "You will believe when you get there."

Lastly, if you really want to know if there is a hell, look to those who know it on earth. What fire burns the Nietzscheist's mind and his heart to pour such passion into his nihilistic work? What unseen force seeths within the Marxist's soul that presses him hour after hour to testify against God, especially a God who is Love? Why does the Freudian, amidst his self-gratifying debauchery, see doom and catastrophe all around him? What compels the sinner onward to greater sin like a slave ahead of stinging whips? I assure you it is hell, and I have the burns and scars to prove it.

Mary

if time didn't exist "before" the Fall (whatever "before" means), how could the sequence of events leading to the Fall have occurred?

Did they occur? They appear to have in the Fallen view.

Are you capable of performing an action that requires no time?

"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Esau

Smoky,

Are you telling me that everything God did before he created the world as we know it involved time as our concept of time is defined?

What makes time as we know it (i.e., a beginning and end) is due to the finite nature we have.

Let me ask you this: if we did not fall, do you think time (i.e., defined as beginning and end) would actually exist?

We would've remained as we were -- created in the perfection God had made us, being co-eternal beings (i.e., having a beginning but no end).

Esau

Furthermore, God goes through the pains of spelling-out in Genesis, through his inspired writer, that the process of creation was sequential as per the number of DAYS God spent creating the heavens and the earth.

Ergo...we have time preceding the "Fall," as per God's own revelation.

John T:

That's the type of linear thinking that is more characteristic of fundamentalists.

Unless you are, in fact, a fundamentalist, you would read the Bible (especially Genesis) in the light of what the Catechism instructs.

Let me ask you this: Do you really think God created the world in six days?

Mary

being co-eternal beings (i.e., having a beginning but no end).

Having a beginning is not eternal.

Esau

Ben:

Consider this from Augustine:

"Therefore, there is a certain created wisdom that was created before all things: the rational and intelligible mind of that chaste city of thine. It is our mother which is above and is free and “eternal in the heavens”--but in what heavens except those which praise thee, the “heaven of heavens”? This also is the “heaven of heavens” which is the Lord’s--although we find no time before it, since what has been created before all things also precedes the creation of time. Still, the eternity of the Creator himself is before it, from whom it took its beginning as created, though not in time (since time as yet was not), even though time belongs to its created nature."

Let me ask you this: are you telling me the place where God dwells actually exists within the confines of time?

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31