Saturday, May 14, 2011

With all of the worry these days about people allowing too many people into heaven, it may seem odd to consider the exact opposite.  That is, perhaps no one is going to heaven.

We have been debating and considering the nature of our soul over on Scot McKnight’s blog The Jesus Creed, and one of the ideas that is coming up is that we are somehow a composite being, not a dualistic being consisting of a body and a soul that can be separated.  More specifically, we do not have a soul that can go anywhere when we die since our body will be dead and the only way the soul can exist is with the body.

I admit that this idea rocks my perception of life and god to its core.  I have been taught and never questioned the absolute fact that we have a soul that will live on.  Only in the past year have I been able to even consider such a thing.  Let’s face it, science has never been able to come up with a way to measure or confirm the existence of an immortal soul.  But on the other hand, every major religion out there says that there is an immortal soul, right?

Well, if I am going to seriously consider that there may not be an immortal soul and be a Christian, I need to look at what the bible says about my soul.  There are many approaches that I could take to researching this, but for the first attempt I decided to explore the most immediate implication.  If there is no immortal soul that can be separate from the body, then this soul obviously cannot go to heaven when we die, right?  To examine this I set out to look at all of the instance of the word heaven in the New Testament and see if any of them said that we will ever go there.

If you want to view the raw data then take a look here. These data came from a search on Bible Gateway.com by choosing the word heaven, looking in all books from Matthew to Revelation, and use the NIV, which should be the NIV 2011 edition.  This results in 276 entries while my table only shows 271 entries.  The entries I eliminated were the three occurrences of the phrase “highest heaven” and the two occurrences where the section heading had the word “heaven” in it but did not have the it in the actual text.  I eliminated the “highest heaven” ones because when I looked at other translations and the Greek it seemed that the word heaven was not actually there, just the word “highest”.

Here are the categories I came up with. (after the jump) Post continued, click here…

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