Where Did Heaven
Come From?

The idea that Christians go to heaven upon dying isn't found in the oldest books in the New Testament, such as the letters of Paul and the Gospel of Mark. In this excerpt from the new book The Evolution of God, Robert Wright suggests that early Christianity adopted the idea from a competing religion in the Roman Empire.

happiness4life

08/05/2009 02:45:36 PM

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mike_r

07/23/2009 09:00:17 PM

"55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand.56 And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!" -- Acts 7" This passage support Wright's posit that heaven was created after the earthly Kingdom did not occur shortly after Jesus' death: Modern Scholars affirm the Acts date of authorship after 70 A.D., some even after 100 A.D.

thespian

07/23/2009 08:27:46 PM

'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?' asks the LORD. 'Could you build me such a resting place? Didn't my hands make both heaven and earth?' Isaiah 66:1-2 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand.56 And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!" -- Acts 7 9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain.10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself.11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! -- Exodus 24 (I'm letting the Holy Bible speak for itself.)

mike_r

07/23/2009 08:15:24 PM

"In Paul's early letters, he said "to be out of the body, is to be up with the Lord". I am appalled at the number of people who think that just because all the New Testament books were not written the day Jesus died, that they are somehow in error!" oakey, Jesus didn't say that but it is attributed to Paul. Also think of the raging debate amongst modern historians about events taking place less than 50 years ago. Paul was a evangelical giving the good news to the Roman empire, not necessarily always divinely inspired.

mike_r

07/23/2009 08:08:18 PM

"i would suggest the author re-read the Bible. this time do it with an open mind, an open heart, and, oh yeah, open eyes. we obviously do not read the same Book." wayneahight ... could you be a bit more specific on where to read in the bible passages that contradict the author?

wayneahight

07/23/2009 10:22:49 AM

i would suggest the author re-read the Bible. this time do it with an open mind, an open heart, and, oh yeah, open eyes. we obviously do not read the same Book.

diannekibble

07/23/2009 05:57:53 AM

I go to prepare a place for you,that where I am you may be also. Words of Jesus.

oakeydokey

07/22/2009 06:59:43 AM

In Paul's early letters, he said "to be out of the body, is to be up with the Lord". I am appalled at the number of people who think that just because all the New Testament books were not written the day Jesus died, that they are somehow in error!

saxby

07/20/2009 02:08:12 PM

Luke 23: 42-43 "Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." There you go, Jesus Himself mentions paradise after death, a.k.a. heaven. It would be good of the author of that article to consult Christian scripture before commenting on it. As to what Wheeldonb wrote, which was, "It is not an earthly kingdom like Catholicism attempts to enforce", I would like to caution him/her to check with an actual Catholic or the Catechism of the Catholic Church before posting about our beliefs, because the CCC clearly states that heaven is the state of a loving, eternal relationship with God after death, as Hell is an eternal state of separation from God after death. But this is par for the course for Beliefnet. It has a strong tradition of letting people of one faith teach the public about another faith, one they usually don't understand and haven't bothered to learn about.

wheeldonb

07/19/2009 12:26:56 AM

Interesting commentary certainly. The Kingdom of God is more than just the afterlife. LUKE 17:20 20 � And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. The Lord Jesus speaks of a transformation occuring within the believers heart. JOHN 3:5 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. It is also what is known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which was the start of the Christian Church on the Day of Pentecost. and Paul in Romans defines exactly what the Kingdom of God is: ROMANS 14:17 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The point is that the Kingdom of God is not a geographical location, but a work of God whereby believers are transformed into Sons and Daughters of God through the Holy Spirit to be able to live righteously in the Holy Spirit. Living under the spiritual authority of God's Word. It is not an earthly kingdom like Catholicism attempts to enforce rather it is a spiritual kingdom governed by the Holy Spirit as shown in the Word of God.

blubuhda2000

07/18/2009 12:41:23 PM

It has been my experience in my studies that all religions have a basis in pre existing religions or in competition with existing religions of that era as one post mention Osiris who also was the first to claim only one god and not a pantheon of gods these takes on other religions can be seen also in the early catholic church whom practically Diefied Mary in order to compete with druid beliefs or villafied Lucifer the roman god of light in order to compete with popular religions of the day so it would seem only natural that the concept of heaven would follow suit

carlion

07/14/2009 11:12:43 AM

"The idea that Christians go to heaven upon dying isn't found in the oldest books in the New Testament, such as the letters of Paul" Then how do you explain this: “I know a man in Christ, who, fourteen years ago, whether he was in or outside his body I cannot say, only God can say– a man who was snatched up to the third Heaven. I know that this man– whether in or outside his body I do not know, God knows– was snatched up to Paradise to hear words which cannot be uttered, words which no man may speak” (II Corinthians 12:2-3). Second letter to Corinthians.. author: Paul.

nomilk

06/26/2009 10:45:21 AM

Wow, source criticism and Golden-Bough anthropology. I haven't seen mention of "Q" in ages. These "novel" insights are so 19th century. Uggh.

swinter5

06/20/2009 05:43:26 PM

I hate to bring something "ugly" into discussion, but the Muslim faith certainly believes strongly in Muhammed and Paradise. Otherwise, why the numbers and ZEAL of the suicide bombers, who are promised 70 virgins (be they male OR female), and going straight to Paradise upon death? Of course, this is a "modern" take on that religion; despite what the "experts" say, Islam is a violent religion, and will no doubt continue its attacks until it brings the "Great Satan" (the U.S.) to our knees. Personally, I'm hoping for the End of the Age BEFORE that happens. Selah...

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