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spamandham

Etymology of the word "heaven"

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In modern times, the word "heaven" is often assumed to be a somewhat abstract place. It's actual etymology derives from "god's house".

 

But, is that really what the word meant in the first century (and before). From what I have been able to surmise, the words translated as heaven from ancient Greek and Hebrew actually translates as "sky".

 

Did those people have any concept of heaven as different from the sky itself, and if not, why has the concept changed today?

 

I would guess that knowledge of astronomy changed the definition. But if those who formed ancient religions (including Chrsitianity) believed god resided in the sky, why is it valid to discount this today?

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That's the funny thing with religion, it stubbornly have to adjust to new scientific findings. First the Bible say the earth is flat, but when scientists find out that the earth is round, then *gasp* look what we found here, a little scripture that supports that earth was round!!!

 

Next will be Genesis, "Let there be light" changed to "let there be a big bang", and the "God evolved forth birds of different kinds...", will be the next translation.

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Did those people have any concept of heaven as different from the sky itself, and if not, why has the concept changed today?

I think they just thought of it as the sky, on a cloud. The Bible even says that the rain is caused by windows opening and closing in heaven, so my guess is when it was raining because they couldn't see above the clouds they figured heaven materialized above their view and god was opening the rain window. Of course if they were to have taken a plane ride they would have realized that once you get above the clouds it's bright and sunny skies above and nothing but gray clouds below....heaven is nowhere to be found. I think today people have this abstract vague idea of heaven as being in either in space somewhere or outside of our space-time continuum since science has proved that heaven is not in the clouds.

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Guest queen annie
In modern times, the word "heaven" is often assumed to be a somewhat abstract place.  It's actual etymology derives from "god's house".
Ah-ha I didn't know that. I looked it up, too, and found also that the plural use as in 'heavens' being the sky is

probably from Ptolemaic theory of space composed of many spheres--which is how I personally perceive the 'heavens'--basically the expanse above the earth which is populated by many other spheres.

 

From what I have been able to surmise, the words translated as heaven from ancient Greek and Hebrew actually translates as "sky".

<snip>

Did those people have any concept of heaven as different from the sky itself, and if not, why has the concept changed today?

I think that's a reasonable statement--to say that it actually translates as sky then and now--both from certain passages in the bible, the one coming to mind is Psalm 19. Also--the Hebrew word for heaven is composed of

shin = 'divine power/protection/provision'

mem= 'revelation (revealed)'

yod = 'arm/right hand of God'

mem='revelation (concealed)'

Which says to me that it very likely represented the idea (to the hebrews back then) that there was a division between earth and God--not necessarily a physical barrier--but one that prevented 'seeing' God, or IOW, obstructed divine revelation.

 

Why did it change?

:Hmm:

Well, it certainly seems that that particular idea is definitely suffering a setback in consciousness--going from a rather sound and level-headed perception to one that is completely ridiculous, IMO.

 

Whenever I hear someone say something about 'going to heaven' I truly have to bite my tongue most of the time. I always want to say 'you're going where? How do you get there?'

It does seem that many people picture, literally, a throne in the sky with a white haired sandaled man sitting there larger than anything.

That seems crazy to me--those were thoughts I had when 8 or 9 years old. But, then again, who am I to say what works for someone else--except that it doesn't seem to be really working for anyone. That kind of thinking has caused more clouds than it has cleared.

 

Most read the bible and literally believe all the allegorical stuff and then totally dismiss the more literal stuff, because it is not literally presented. Don't mention allegory, either--you'll be burned at the stake! (Bring the torch, I say)

 

Allegory is the only way to understand a concept that is more ethereal than anything mankind consciously knows. I'm not talking about the grey haired god, but rather what I have always perceived as what God really is--the united mind of the universe--the consciousness that is also energy, light, vibrations, waves. No one will ever get any closer to it attached to silly ideas suited for sunday school.

 

I would guess that knowledge of astronomy changed the definition.  But if those who formed ancient religions (including Chrsitianity) believed god resided in the sky, why is it valid to discount this today?
Actually, the way I understand it, astronomy was the first 'science'--and the same thing as astrology. The modern idea of planetary influence and signs used to be the same as the observations thereof. It makes sense, since science is basically focused observation leading to hypothesis and testing. When it was just man, earth, and sky--sky being out of reach naturally drew the curiosity and the enigma of those lights gave rise to the first ideas of many things.

 

I think that the religious of today discount skywatching because they assume 'leaders in church' are right when they say it's bad--but anyone carefully checking that assertion out would see there is nothin g against using the sky as a timekeeper or some sort of other indicators of things--omens, so to speak. It says don't worship the stars--evidently those lights were mistaken for God and the religious today can't tell the difference between 'worship' and 'the signs of the times.' To me, if one can believe God made everything--and God is good, then why is not everything God made therefore good?

 

I think it's basically a case of losing the ability to think for one's self in favor of being legally righteous (whatever that means). :woohoo:

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Perhaps 'heaven' is the kingdom of God...

 

Lu 17:21

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

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Perhaps 'heaven' is the kingdom of God...

 

Lu 17:21

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Amanda,

 

If the kingdom of god is within us, then this is a merely a material, i.e. non-supernatural, description of what heaven is. This "sky place," or latter described as a dimension outside of our own is entirely superfluous from ourselves as it is an entirely a naturalistic explanation.

 

Therefore, within us ends with us. And when we die, that's it.

 

So much for immortality and the "soul."

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If the kingdom of god is within us, then this is a merely a material, i.e. non-supernatural, description of what heaven is. This "sky place," or latter described as a dimension outside of our own is entirely superfluous from ourselves as it is an entirely a naturalistic explanation.

 

Therefore,  within us ends with us. And when we die, that's it.

 

So much for immortality and the "soul."

 

:grin: Hi Quicksand!

 

Perhaps... these people believed, like me, that our body is NOT who we are, but just a dwelling place... for our 'true spiritual self' perceiving a human experience. (A kind of allegory of the cave by Plato?)

 

Maybe this spiritual part is not a prisoner of this body, and when the body is gone... we transcend it and become one with this ethereal realm... possibly referred to as heaven? Could it be a dimension outside this miraculously individually 'owned experience' we perceive here?

 

Carl Sagan said something like... we are part of the cosmos trying to know itself.

 

Just a thought... :shrug:

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Guest queen annie

A good thought--I think it's a lot closer than what most are led to believe.

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:grin: Hi Quicksand!

 

Perhaps... these people believed, like me, that our body is NOT who we are, but just a dwelling place... for our 'true spiritual self' perceiving a human experience. (A kind of allegory of the cave by Plato?)

 

Maybe this spiritual part is not a prisoner of this body, and when the body is gone... we transcend it and become one with this ethereal realm... possibly referred to as heaven? Could it be a dimension outside this miraculously individually 'owned experience' we perceive here?   

 

Carl Sagan said something like... we are part of the cosmos trying to know itself.

 

Just a thought...  :shrug:

Hi Amanda,

 

Where is this eternal realm located if not in the sky that entomology of the word heaven refers too. If the "spiritual part" is not a prisoner of the body, then what is it a prisoner of? You say it could be a dimension outside our own? My understanding of M-Theory and cosmology is that it would take enormous amounts of energy to escape into these other universes. Are you stating that the body creates this kind of energy to make this escape? If so, it should be a measurable event.

 

Ignore all of that, how would you know yourself without looking at yourself in the mirror if our owned experiences are not prisoners of our bodies?

 

 

Also, I don't see what Sagan has to do with this. If the attributed quote is correct, then I think you have the context wrong. We are a part of the cosmos, this universe, not separate or distinct from it. Rather Amanda, you are arguing that we are separate and distinct from the universe.

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Guest queen annie
Hi Amanda,

 

Where is this eternal realm located if not in the sky that entomology of the word heaven refers too.

Mind! The awareness of 'being.'

 

 

If the "spiritual part" is not a prisoner of the body, then what is it a prisoner of?
The delusion of physical existence that fools the mind into defining itself based on the limits of the perception of its 5 physical senses! Or, you could call it 'dysfuctionally limited perceptual perspective.' Something like that.

We are only in bonds to something we perceive as a restraining agent. If you don't think your mind can function without your body to sustain it/contain it somehow, then your mind, itself, is limited by those self-imposed boundaries.

 

Ignore all of that, how would you know yourself without looking at yourself in the mirror if our owned experiences are not prisoners of our bodies?
That's it, exactly! How does one define itself? As you said:
We are a part of the cosmos, this universe, not separate or distinct from it.
It is our 'skin' which separates us perceptually from that truth.

God--the universe--the consciousness that pervades and creates--that which makes us alive

Skin--sin--the separation which covers us with a powerful delusion that makes us believe we are not united in a permanent, ethereal way.

 

It's not the actuality of it that is our prison--it is our perception of what we think is reality.

 

That's the 'devil' that is our 'prison.'

Liberation is 'God', is 'truth', and 'love.'

The realization of this is 'salvation', 'rescue.'

 

You have hit the nail on the head. Christianity is a perversion of the truth just like everything else. The physical world makes us it's prisoner, and by being shown that a soul can live after physical death, that is the reality and the reason for the 'lost sheep' and the 'shepherd.'

 

It's totally metaphysical in it's suggestion. That's why its 'the way.'

Christianity is not the 'way'. The way is 'life.'

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Hi Queenie, thanks for the different spin on things.

 

A few comments.

 

Mind!  The awareness of 'being.'

Depends I suppose if you believe that the "mind" is independent of the brain. I happen to think not.

 

The delusion of physical existence that fools the mind into defining itself based on the limits of the perception of its 5 physical senses!  Or, you could call it 'dysfuctionally limited perceptual perspective.'  Something like that. 

We are only in bonds to something we perceive as a restraining agent.  If you don't think your mind can function without your body to sustain it/contain it somehow, then your mind, itself, is limited by those self-imposed boundaries.

You're trudging dangerously on Solipsism.

 

That's it, exactly! How does one define itself? As you said: 

Actually my point is a bit more subtle than that. In all ways does your body define who you are and furthermore, without a body you would not have a context, an umbrella to encapsulate all your experiences into which ultimately forms and reforms that personality that many theists or spiritualists hope will survive after physical death.

 

It is our 'skin' which separates us perceptually from that truth.

God--the universe--the consciousness that pervades and creates--that which makes us alive

Skin--sin--the separation which covers us with a powerful delusion that makes us believe we are not united in a permanent, ethereal way.

 

It's not the actuality of it that is our prison--it is our perception of what we think is reality.

 

That's the 'devil' that is our 'prison.'

Liberation is 'God', is 'truth', and 'love.'

The realization of this is 'salvation', 'rescue.'

 

You have hit the nail on the head. Christianity is a perversion of the truth just like everything else. The physical world makes us it's prisoner, and by being shown that a soul can live after physical death, that is the reality and the reason for the 'lost sheep' and the 'shepherd.'

 

It's totally metaphysical in it's suggestion. That's why its 'the way.'

Christianity is not the 'way'. The way is 'life.'

Again, you tread upon Solipsism, but that aside, I don't see the connection that you are trying to draw.

 

If, we are to take your statements here and apply them, you can not really offer much in the way of a coherent argument. If all we perceive is a "lie" for whatever reasons you choose to posit, then your assertions like that of "'devil' that is our 'prison."; "Liberation is 'God', is 'truth', and 'love.'"; "The realization of this is 'salvation', 'rescue.'" we can just ignore, since all is a delusion anyway.

 

Also, I am not making an argument against Christianity per se or that Christianity is a "lie" like everything else in life as you so stated above. In fact, we do know things about this universe, or about existence generally. The use of words like prisoner is nothing more than a poetic device, for which I was not the first to use in this discussion. Rather, I am making an argument against the survival of the a personality after death, despite wherever heaven may be located.

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