The Ascension Of Jesus Up Into The Clouds And 3D Imaging And Quantum Wave Functions
On occasion the question of “Up Into The Clouds” is used as “evidence” that Scripture’s metanarrative has gone off the rails. That stems from some who are unfamiliar with science and still believe that 3D imaging constitutes perception of reality’s concrete furniture. After all that physics has revealed one would assume that one should let go of such “fairytales” regarding reality’s “rock-bottom”.
It’s interesting what Physics tells us with respect to Change & Time ((Temporal Becoming)) vis-à-vis both Presentism and Eternalism. The growing majority ((by far)) of physicists affirm Eternalism over Presentism which is fine for the Christian Metaphysic given what is entailed in and around Being as Pure Act and Logos but of course it’s a problem for Non-Theism should any sort of scientific realism be one’s appeal. That observation is relevant given some of our Non-Theist friends and their reference to the report of Christ’s Ascension. Many such criticisms take Old English Literalism to new extremes and all while expunging BOTH the perceived termini afforded by Science AND the perceived termini afforded by the Christian Metaphysic. The Ascension in light of modern physics shatters our Non-Theist friend’s sort of comic-book version of Old English Literalism regarding appearances and the conceptual ceilings of the first century. But then that is why “a” single verse or “a” single chapter is never enough. Regarding what is never enough in that sense, see https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-trajectory-of-all-ontological-arrows-1.html
Avoiding the “one-verse-metaphysic” silliness of our Non-Theist friends: The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words, and then the key to the meaning of any paragraph comes from the chapter, not just from the individual paragraphs, and then the key to the meaning of any chapter comes from the specific book, not just from the individual chapters, and then the key to the meaning of any individual book in Scripture comes from the Whole Metanarrative that is [Scripture] and not just from the individual books, and then the key to the meaning of the Metanarrative comes from logical lucidity vis-à-vis ontological referents in a specific Metaphysic, not just from [The-Bible], and then the key to the meaning of the Map that is the Metaphysic comes from the Terrain that is the Trinitarian Life and not just from the Metaphysic, and that Terrain sums to Timeless Reciprocity & Ceaseless Self-Giving vis-a-vis Processions vis-a-vis the Trinitarian Life even as robust explanatory power on all fronts teaches us hat just as it is incoherent to say “Physics” somehow “Comes-From” that physics book over there on the shelf, so too it is incoherent to say that Metaphysical Naturalism or that the Christian Metaphysic either does or “can in principle” somehow “Come-From” ANY-thing that reduces to a World-Contingent Explanatory Terminus.
To claim that God is thereby Fooling His Puppets with “Up Into The Clouds” one will need to explain why the growing majority of physicists weight heavily in favor of the claim that Time is not ontologically irreducible and therein Time/Change is “at bottom” illusory. For Non-Theism we find Metaphor & Allegory subsuming the whole show moving forward from there. Yet in the Christian Metaphysic there is no Allegory nor Metaphor – no forced deflationary truth value as the Christian finds Negative Theology at worst, which is quite different than Non-Theism’s Brute Fact and Reduction To Absurdity.
One must interface the science there with the conceptual ceiling of the 1st century Palestinian Jews Etc. and also with Being and with Timelessness and with our own mutable and contingent abstractions with respect to perception. It’s painfully obvious that all of that is relevant to any sort of “one-verse strawman”.
The following are a few excerpts from a brief discussion:
Non-Theist: “On your view, was the ascension at least in part an accommodation to their view of the universe at the time?” (Twitter’s @AlchemistNon)
Christian: “That’s certainly possible, but I think the greater significance is his leaving surrounded by clouds, a reference to how the Son of Man is pictured in Daniel.” (Twitter’s Sam Stephens in reply etc.)
Non-Theist: “I think that pushes my point back though, because one could argue that the Hebrew Bible assumes a three tiered universe pretty easily, so it seems you are stuck with accommodation either way. But I see what you are getting at.”(AlchemistNon)
Christian: “I don’t have a problem with accommodation. I think it’s necessary. I’m just not sure it’s the main significance here. It’s also important his body was visible until he was physically out of sight, establishing the bodily resurrection and glorification of the saints. The crucial truth of Christianity was not that a man was God so much as that God became a man. A lot of emphasis is placed on his body’s being flesh and bone. It was important to demonstrate that his return to heaven wasn’t a rejection of his physical body.” (Sam Stephens)
((…Observation: Sam’s observation is helpful as we recall the agenda of God in Christ — Redemption — and it is THAT which pushes back to Prophecy rather than our appeals to Metaphysics and 3D Imaging as both work against the Non-Theist’s premises…))
Christian: “I suspect that it requires thinking of spatio-temporal realities in more than four dimensions.” (Twitter’s @JohnMBauer1)
Christian: “I’m not sure a glorified body is exactly physical. Jesus appeared and disappeared without normal limitations.” (Twitter’s @DarthCalculus)
Non-Theist: “How do you make sense of a *physical* body in a non-spatial realm?” (AlchemistNon)
Christian: “How do you make sense of a resurrected body that walks through walls? (Paul calls it a “spritual body” in 1 Cor 15.)” (Twitter’s @joshmrowley)
Christian: “Lewis answers that he didn’t become “shadowy” relative to the hard material world, but in resurrection he became “more real,” and the material world became shadowy relative to him.” (Twitter’s @paulthomasloan)
From That Same Discussion:
Non-Theist: “I’ve always been curious about why God allowed these people he’s revealing “spiritual” things to remain ignorant of actual cosmology since he knew that these issues of ignorance would later be a stumbling block to conveying his omnipotence to unbelievers? Seems counterproductive.” (by @Zenaphobe on Twitter)
A Reply: The reply to that is straightforward: That can’t work once we realize that Cosmology is not ((and cannot even in principle be)) convertible with Ontology. One may want to explore the how/why of that and also overlay it with the apparent consensus among physicists that Time is not ontologically basic ((not ontologically irreducible)). The “Divine Communique” that is “Scripture” is populated by definitions which speak of / land in what we can describe as “The Ontological History of Becoming WRT Both Cosmos & Conscious Observer” – and “THAT” “History” is not convertible with Physics/Cosmology ((…it is a distinction that is often missed…)).
Non-Theist: “How about I just stick with my observation that and all power and intelligent deity couldn’t bother to drop some accurate info about some basic concepts concerning the universe while he was giving them their “revelations”…”(by @Zenaphobe on Twitter)
A Reply: What was inaccurate? Change/Time? The “Divine Communique” that is “Scripture” is populated by definitions which speak of / land in what we can describe as “The Ontological History of Becoming WRT Both Cosmos & Conscious Observer” – and “THAT” “History” is not convertible with Physics/Cosmology ((…it is a distinction that is often missed…)).
Literalism via Scripture? Literalism via Physics?
“The Bible Should Be An Instruction Manual” is a strawman ((but a popular notion to be sure)). The ontological history of becoming of Cosmos & Conscious Observer isn’t an instruction manual on how to vote in 2020 or ANY other world-contingent [Starting Point || Stopping Point] — so to speak. The tedious part is bringing people up to speed on a key principle: The box that is [Cosmology/Physics] can never “become” the box that is [Ontology] — That box is not convertible with ontology and it cannot be — not even in principle.
Scripture is ((in the Christian Metaphysic)) a “Divine Communique” and the “Topic” is quite specific and it is NOT a History of Time or any other World-Contingent Box but rather it is a Testimony On The Source Of All Being – and its end is our True Good – our Final Felicity which just is the perfection of being – which just does carry us into/towards…. …nothing less than… A Testimony On The Source Of All Being. The “Divine Communique” is a Metanarrative on the ontological history of becoming of Cosmos & Conscious Observer and the irreducible “Ontic Referents” within that “Communique” are Intentionally crafted to fit seamlessly beneath all possible reference frames and traverses all possible levels of knowledge throughout all possible cultures amid all conceptual ceilings. Philosophically it’s akin to “Transposition” as per https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/05/lewis-on-transposition.html
The question for the Critic is this: Why would we expect anything LESS?
It turns out that it is Metaphysical Naturalism which must suffer her full on Allegory & Metaphor as Time gives way to Change which gives way to that which is NOT Ontologically Basic ((Ontologically Irreducible)) — whereas the semantic intent of the Christian retains truth value as one exits Time/Change and therein never does embrace Allegory/Metaphor with respect to that same ontological history of becoming of both Cosmos and Conscious Observer. Sooner or later Physics & Cosmology & Causality & Consciousnesses & Reason & Logic all suffer their respective Reductio’s vis-a-vis Presentism-Full-Stop and we can stop there if we want to but most keep going – compelled into Eternalism — where AGAIN Non-Theism AGAIN suffers its respective appeals to Brute Facts and other Reductions To Absurdity. Whereas, such is not the case with the Christian Metaphysic.
Non-Theists here are forever trying to shoehorn one conceptual ceiling ((Modernity)) into another conceptual ceiling ((4000 BCE Etc., Etc.)). In doing so they are assuming that our own conceptual ceiling / interpretation is immune to invalidation and deflationary truth value and that shows up by attempts to shoehorn modernity’s conceptual ceiling into all conceptual ceilings across all cultures in all Times – but that’s irrational and in fact unhelpful – which is why God gave something far BETTER – as per the following:
Literalism v. Scripture? Literalism v. Physics?
Suggestion for the Critic:
Read Sean Carroll’s book “Something Deeply Hidden” and read it as a pure physicalist and, then, add in ((A)) the fact that pure physicalism does NOT present the problems the Critic seems to think show up here with respect to “Ascension” and 3D Imaging given where the book lands, and, then, also add ((B)) the fact that pure physicalism DOES still end up eliminating the express being of and veracity of the entire First Person Experience vis-à-vis Self & Intention ((…Intentional-Self..)) as all that is the Intentioanl Self/Mind first makes demands of Non-Theism’s Toolbox and then suffers Non-Theism’s only option: Eliminativism.