In 2 Kings 2:11, it says that "...Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven".

Question: What does up mean in this verse?

Context: We know that if we stand on the surface of the earth and could somehow go "upwards" (ignoring the laws of physics), we would simply stay within our familiar three-dimensional space but might find ourself elsewhere in the solar system.

Is it then possible that heaven is not located in our familiar three-dimensional space, but must be reached by moving along a different co-ordinate, and this is what "up" in the verse means?

  • Great question! I was just wondering this myself a few days ago. – Jas 3.1 Jul 10 '12 at 5:11
  • you question presupposes a deity who is bound by the laws of nature. but it is an excellent one. – swasheck Jul 10 '12 at 18:57
  • @swasheck: Thanks. However, I don't think the question necessitates that...? for example, a deity could create an n-dimensional space, and embed both our familiar 3-dimensional space and heaven in it. The deity need not be bound by any physical laws of the n-dimensional space. Maybe it doesn't really work like that, but it's just an example... – user1539 Jul 11 '12 at 0:27

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (NIV ACTS 1:9-11)

I have always assumed that in the cases of Elijah and Jesus 'going up' was merely for the witness to understand that they were going to heaven, but once they left the vertical visual sight of the witnesses, or past the clouds, then ---boom --- they were transported outside of material space and into heaven.

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