The Location of Jesus

As most of us know, Jesus was bodily resurrected about 2000 years ago. After he was resurrected he ascended up into heaven. But where did he go? Did he wait until everyone had gone home and then came back down again? Did he continue on out into space to an undisclosed location? We just don’t know.

What we can know however, is the vicinity in which he must be. Even travelling at the speed of light (~300,000km per second) he’s still somewhere in our galaxy:

jesus1

jesus2

jesus3

(Obviously, these images are of galaxies other than our own but they’re of a similar size and type. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across and we’re located out on one of the spiral arms.)

73 Responses to “The Location of Jesus”

  1. Well… like… hello… Like… Jesus probably… like… never even existed… like… ‘coz it was all made up and stuff… like Constantine wanted to control the people, dude… like… so… you know… the question of where he ‘ascended’ to, and all that, is… like… a waste of time, dude…

    ;)

    -d-

  2. BC says:

    Maybe, he’s in a ‘cloud’ of probability/energy, you know, just like the ones holding your body and the whole universe together. E=mc divided by 2 (NOT c to the power of 2) where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Remember, there’s more to the universe than meets the eye! Dang nabit!

  3. Damian says:

    Dale, do some people genuinely think that Jesus was a Constantine control device?

    Also, and seriously, I’d be interested in your view on what might have happened around the time of the transformation given your views on dualism. I know you believe in the bodily resurrection but I’m not sure how you would view this body-to-sky/heaven thing.

    And BC; what-the???! Energy equals mass times the speed of light divided by two? Is this some serious theory I’ve never heard about or were you just tired?

  4. I think both BC and I were just being a little humorous (re: Constantine control & formulas) :)

    As for body-to-heaven, it’s quite simple: If there is no God and no heavenly dimension to reality, then of course, there would be no where for Jesus to go to, and he must be out somewhere in space and in danger of being burned up by the atmosphere if he ever dares to return… But we can’t be having any of this talk of other dimensions to reality, can we? It’s ‘ring-fencing’ a part of reality which can’t be ‘investigated’ by modern science – and we just can’t have that…

  5. Damian says:

    OK, I’ll try to ignore the heavy sarcasm.

    So would you see this as a transformation to another dimension? What do you think it might have looked like to the followers? Do you think they would have been able to see into this other dimension? Or would they have just seen Jesus fade away?

    And if there was this other dimension what do you think the purpose of a bodily resurrection was? Could all that not have been achieved in this other dimension?

    You are obviously a bit jaded at having to defend your view of this other dimension from the likes of people like me who require some evidence before buying in to it but I’m giving you the opportunity to present your thoughts on how it all works.

  6. Just being honest, it’s hard for me to believe that you’ll take anyone’s thoughts on ‘heaven’ seriously as long as you don’t think that a God or heaven exists…

    But I’ll at least offer these words…

    The verses in the gospels used to describe the ‘ascension’ of Jesus are best understood as a colourful description of the translation of Jesus to ‘heaven’ using a very specific picture from Daniel 7 – namely, the ascension of ‘one like a Son of Man’ to the throne of the Ancient of Days. Earlier in the gospels, Jesus tells Herod that ‘here-after you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, etc.’ That has often been interpreted (wrongly) apart from an appreciation of Jesus’ clear allusion (even quoting!) to Daniel 7. It has been thought of as a reference to the 2nd coming. But it’s not about Jesus riding a cloud back down to earth or something, but rather is referring to what they saw as Jesus going to take his place at God’s throne – sharing God’s throne.

    That’s what the ascension story is about. Jesus and God sharing heaven’s throne. They are not (I don’t think) intended to give us a literal picture of what the disciples ‘saw’, but rather to report what they would have seen as the greater truth: Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, etc.

    got a class – must run….

    -d-

  7. Damian says:

    You’re right in that I don’t see any reason to believe that a god or another spiritual dimension exists but I understand that plenty of other people do. If I didn’t believe in black holes because I hadn’t seen any evidence for them but refused to allow people to explain how they think they work I would be being narrow minded. When I ask a cosmologist what reasons they have to believe that black holes exist they jump at the opportunity to tell me. If that cosmologist avoided the specifics of my question or responded with sarcasm I’d be less likely to take him seriously.

    Now, it may well be that once you start talking about this other dimension that you can’t use terms like ‘when’ or ‘where’ but with an event like the ascension there was presumably some sort of transition that would have been observable. What do you reckon happened to Jesus’ body? Do you think it was left behind to decay or that it disappeared entirely? Or something else?

  8. Fair enough, Damian,

    I apologise for beginning the comments with extreme sarcam – I guess your original post seemed sarcastic to me (i.e. – ‘Where is Jesus’ body… [chuckle, chuckle]…”).

    I’m happy to speculate as to what I imagine the ascension might have looked like, and I’m happy to share my thoughts as to what happened to Jesus’ body; it’s just that I’m not expecting you to be too excited about them, that’s all – there’s an underlying feeling that no matter what my views are they won’t be sufficient… Maybe I shouldn’t assume such things???

    Anyway, here are some thoughts…

    Ascension story
    The ascension stories report something happening which doesn’t happen. :) Two of the three tellings of the story simply say that Jesus was taken up, etc.; the most colourful version is from Acts 1, which speaks of a cloud taking Jesus out of their sight. To Jewish ears, these stories aren’t just about the strangeness of the occurance; it’s (as I said above) that Jesus is now at the right hand of God in heaven, and therefore sharing his authority and power. Many/most/all Jews of the period believed that (as some texts say) ‘the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God’; but the point the Ascension stories are making is that Jesus (having victoriously come through death and out the other side) is not simply ‘in the hands of God’, but sharing God’s own throne. That is a general picture of the theological statements being made.
    Now, what might a video-camera have recorded??? I have little idea. I think the texts (especially when we read them –necessarily so– in context of other post-resurrection appearances, etc.) want to present a picture of Jesus with a resurrection body which is (using Tom Wright’s language) equally ‘at home’ both on ‘earth’ (our dimension) and in heaven (God’s dimension). So the being taken ‘out of sight’ on a cloud is seen perhaps as a final ‘departure’ of several; for example Jesus ‘disappears’ strangely from the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), then ‘appears’ in a locked room to the disciples, etc. Multiple times of ‘disappearing’ and ‘appearing’… then a final ‘going away’…
    Gotta run again – got guests over…

    -d-

  9. Ken says:

    Maybe Jesus didn’t just zoom up into the cosmos (and your analysis of where he may or may not be is obviously then restricted by the speed of light). Perhaps his disappearance was into one of these other dimensions which string theory suggests as existing. This would make him very close, but incorporated into a dimensions which has very small spatial extension. This would make his influence a bit like gravity – weaker in our 3 macro dimensions than his original powers would suggest. However, future investigation has the possibility that we may find these dimensions and be able to measure the degree of interaction possible with our normal 3 macro dimensions.

    Mind you, this sort of speculation is a bit futile because no-one has demonstrated a need for it. There is no reliable evidence capable of confirmation which could serve as a starting point to look of possible explanations.

  10. I’m curious, Ken,

    How do we know that the other dimensions (such as the ones string theory suggests) have ‘very small spatial extension’??? Surely string theory and its sub-theories are predicated on research which is still seemingly un-verifiable (in a strictly empirical sense)? (which is kind of what your last paragraph is saying?)

    Again, I’m not trying to ‘ring-fence’ parts of reality and keep them safe and secure from scientific enquiry, but I’m just wondering how much scientific (empirical) certainty we can have about other dimensions, which would by definition be (here I go coining another phrase) ‘other-ly empirical’ or something…

    -d-

  11. BC says:

    Sorry I haven’t got back earlier about your query on E=mc over 2.
    One of the world’s leading physicists (his name illudes me for now, but he is one of science’s leading communicators and won a Nobel Peace prize in physics when he was 21 yrs old) speaking at Massey University in January, stated that Einstein, in his original papers, the popular formula E=mc2 does not in fact appear, but E=mc over 2 does.
    The implications of this, since Einstein’s time, are currently being revealed through quantum mechanics. Here the emphasis is that mass is essentially energy. Through the use of atomic accelerators it has been revealed that each of the constituent parts (gluons, etc) of an atomic mass have near to zero mass. But in combination a greater mass than their sum is exhibited. The difference is through the energy they share. Amazing stuff.

  12. Damian says:

    Wow, I’d never heard of that before – I suspected that your comment was too complex to be just random brain firings. I’m going to look into this further.

    By the way, have you ever read the book E=mc2? If you haven’t and you are interested I recommend doing so – it’s great to get some historical perspective of how it came about. In fact if you are local I’m happy to lend you my copy.

  13. Ken says:

    Damian, I agree that string theory awaits real experimental verification. Some aspects may be possible to test in the not to distant future though.

    One hope is testing the formula for change of gravitational force at short distances. Apparently string theory (or some forms of it) predict that gravity is the only force which would be manifested in the extra dimensions (besides Jesus if he still exists). The theories also suggest that these extra dimensions are curved and spatially small – a reason why we don’t see them or detect them normally. The problem is, of course, gravity is such a weak force that measurement of changes at very small distances is extremely difficult. I understand that so far the normal macro formulae for gravity hold down to the order of a mm suggesting that the extra dimensions (if they exist) would be manifested only at smaller distances. If these dimensions do exist gravity may turn out to be a much stronger force than we currently think – it just gets “leaked” into these other dimensions.

    I wax and wane on string theory because of the experimental verification problems. It can’t be a real scientific theory without experiential verification. However, I can’;t accept that we can never test these sorts of things. I have been reading Brian Greene’s book “The Fabric of Reality” recently and he does hold out hope that the next generation of accelerators and some progress in astronomical experiments may enable us to make some real tests in the next few decades.

  14. Uknown says:

    Damian – Have you seen the video of Louie Giglio about Laminin on Youtube.com? Fun stuff.

  15. Damian says:

    Louie Giglio about Laminin on Youtube.com? Fun stuff.

    Wow, if by ‘fun’ you mean ‘makes you want to gouge your eyes out’ then, sure, that was fun.

    Take a look everyone.

  16. Jack says:

    But then we are organic and carbon is the 6th element, and there’s all those glucose molecules sustaining us – C6H12O6 – scary multiples of the evil 6…

    I’m not sure what was scarier, the talk or the comments below it!!

  17. Damian says:

    Oh wow, thanks for that Jack – I hadn’t even looked at the comments and now my eyes are all gouged out all over again.

  18. Jack says:

    You’ll be OK – laminin will hold you together : )

  19. Uknown says:

    Very funny guys!

  20. Jack says:

    I’d take that as a compliment Uknown, but then you said Louie was fun. Oh no, I feel another eye gouge coming on…

  21. Uknown says:

    “You’ll be OK – laminin will hold you together : )”

  22. Uknown says:

    Oh yeah, I wasn’t saying that Louie was fun.

  23. Oh, geez… C’mon, Giglio…

    That’s embarrassing.

    The obvious rejoinder (which shows the foolishness of the logic behind this) is, “OK, Louie, so what’s holding the Laminin together?”

    …as if the ‘Laminin-level’ were somehow the ‘foundational’ level of physics…

    -d-

  24. Damian says:

    Thanks Dale, it was better that the illustration of the faulty logic behind that piece of tripe came from a Christian so that Uknown would see that my reaction to the video wasn’t anything to do with my religious views.

    I don’t think that people like Giglio necessarily reflect badly on Christians as long as there are Christians willing to stand up and point out how silly this kind of thing really is.

  25. Jack says:

    I don’t know about reflect badly, but certainly inflict badly – the comments under the vid and all the enthusiastic amens from the crowd show that people really do take this stuff as gospel, and it makes me cross (no pun intended)that they are taken for such a ride.

  26. An interesting additional factor is that the cross which Jesus (and countless other criminals, rebels and/or victims of the Roman Empire) was crucified on quite possibly didn’t have the traditional ‘t’ shape (with the vertical post extending above the horizontal beam), but rather could well (though not certainly, of course) have been more of a ‘T’ shape. Some have even suggested that at times the Romans could have possibly (especially while executing many at once – due to the sheer volume of people being crucified) nailed people to existing tree-trunks…

    Of course, I affirm that the Creator God upholds and sustains the universe, but this cross-shaped-laminin-business just flippin misses the durn point… ;)

    -d-

  27. Uknown says:

    Okay, the thing that I don’t get is why do you guys believe that something came out of nothing especially that you’re concerned about getting to the nitty gritty of things? What are we going to evolve into next? I’d sure like to plan ahead for that one.

    Damian, what exactly are your religious views? You don’t have anything posted about yourself. Oh yeah, what part of New Zealand are you from? It wouldn’t happen to be Christ Church would it? Well, I hope you and your family are doing well.

    Whether or not that was something God wanted to get across to us, that Jesus can literally hold us together too, it was still really neat to find. Since We already know that Jesus literally holds us together why not try and find out if He will emotionally hold you together when things get tough in your lives? It’s worked for me.

  28. Damian says:

    I’m going to let Dale (or someone else) further explain to you why it the laminin video was vacuous if he can find the patience to do so.

    With regard to your questions about ‘something from nothing’ and ‘evolve to next’ I’m going to give you a brief answer. Brief because I suspect that a detailed answer wouldn’t be any more convincing to you.

    As far as how everything got here originally goes we don’t know. We have some good ideas and we can look back into the past with a fairly high degree of accuracy. The best theory that fits the observations to date is that there was a point in time where there was a very rapid expansion of the universe – you may have heard this called the ‘Big Bang’ – but before this point no one has been able to make any observations. What we do know is that people who have supernatural theories as to how we got here haven’t actually contributed anything of any value in this endeavour.

    Evolution is the observation that organisms have offspring that are different from themselves and that some of those offspring will have traits that are better suited to their environment than their siblings and will consequentially go on to have more offspring of their own. This will mean that their ‘accidental’ traits will become more widespread among the population. And that’s about all evolution is about – everything from there is further observations and hypotheses which can be falsified or continue to hold true. Evolution doesn’t deal with anything other than this living process.

    What are we going to evolve into next? Well, that’s a great question if you understand the process of evolution but I’m not convinced you really do. Let’s pretend for a moment that you do though; evolution by way of natural selection requires a kind of ‘pressure’ from the environment to kill off the offspring that are totally unsuited and to reward those that are able to make the best use of what is around them. Humans have kind of turned this on its head by effectively mastering our environment. This means that there isn’t the same ‘pressure’ on us as there is on, say, green and brown moths in a forest of brown-barked trees. To make things worse (evolutionarily speaking) we are massively cross-breeding which serves to keep our gene-pool fairly even. All this means that human evolution has slowed greatly and unless there is some great catastrophe or self-manipulation we’re not going to be doing much in the near future. Now, I’m by no means an expert in this field and if you are genuinely interested in this question (and I don’t think you are) you should take the time to read up on what other, more experienced people think might be in store for us evolutionarily speaking.

    My religious views? I don’t believe in anything supernatural. When I say ‘supernatural’ I mean that there may well be amazing things yet to be discovered but that, when we do, we’ll find that they have natural explanations. Why? Because so far every single supernatural explanation for a natural event has been shown to be exactly the wrong explanation. Most religions at some point come down to a ‘goddidit’ explanation for something that is complicated or unknown and the trend of scientific discovery has shown that this god-of-the-gaps approach is a pretty poor one if you are after the truth.

    With respect to you question about where I’m from, were you throwing in ‘Christchurch’ because it has the word ‘Christ’ in there? Is that supposed to have any real meaning or is this yet another example of the kind of thinking we see in the Giglio video? And as for the whole “Well, I hope you and your family are doing well” bit I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve seen too many thrillers but this just sends chills down my spine. You’re not going to turn into a stalker are you?

  29. Thanks Damian,

    I thought I already did explain how vacuous it is!? :)

    -d-

  30. Uknown says:

    Damian, I apologize if I ask too many questions. I’m not trying to stalk you. I just have a lot of compassion for you and I’m curious to find out what atheists think. You said you grew up in a Christian home. I grew up in an opposite situation. My dad claims to be an atheist but he never stopped me from going to church. He also doesn’t do as much research about it as you do. My mom says she’s not sure if God exist and if He does she can do everything on her own anyways.

    I have had epilepsy since I was five because I was diagnosed with meningitis when I was eight months old. I became a Christian when I was in eighth grade after a suicidal attempt. My faith in God has changed my life and has given me reasons to live. I have so much to be grateful for. I still have seizures but my faith gives me strength. Sure, that may be thinking like Louie Giglio’s but it has saved my life.

    You said that when you were a Christian you didn’t do research on other beliefs and you felt bad about not doing it at the time. I am interested in learning more about what others believe not because my faith is shaky but because someday I’ll be a pastor’s wife. I have kept my name as Uknown so that I wouldn’t lose credibility for who I am. Some people know me on those blogs. I hope you’re not threatened by me and I was just teasing about Christ Church.

  31. Damian says:

    OK Uknown, I apologise for being snappish. It’s good that you explore the opinions of others and if you continue to do so you’ll be doing a far better job of it than I did when I was younger.

    I have no problem with people having personal beliefs. In fact, I think we all do. But when we make truth-claims (especially those that affect other people) we need to be prepared to openly discuss and critically examine them.

    My problem with the Giglio video – that there is some reason or purpose for this laminin to be in the shape of a cross – is that if you look long enough you will find a shape that suits any particular world-view. It’s like reading a horoscope and only picking out the bits that you think apply to you and then believing that horoscopes have some hidden access to knowledge. The shape of the cells in sickle cell anemia don’t mean anything about the crescent moon in Islam either. If you found that there were cells shaped like a pentagram that were essential for our survival would you suddenly convert to Satanism?

    I can understand why people like to be ‘inspired’ and when I heard the pitch and tenor of Giglio’s voice I have to admit there’s a part of me that wants to respond. But when you look through history you’ll find that lots of other people have had this ‘gift’ – Hitler himself was a particularly inspiring orator. You need to look past all this and see what it is that the person is really saying and a good rule of thumb I’ve found is that the more ‘inspirational’ the speaker the less they really have to say.

    What Giglio was doing was taking a random occurrence in nature (which barely looks like a cross when you see the actual photo) and linking it to your already deeply-held belief that Jesus is somehow holding everything together and that he’s left a special sign of this by the shape of a something-or-other in our bodies. He’s not telling the truth. He might have been only intending to push a few hot buttons to get people into a frame of worship but I believe he was being deliberately misleading. You have you ask yourself if you really want to be taught things by people like him. And if you do, how will you know what is true and what is not?

    When the woman beside the person holding the camera starts speaking in tongues I felt a mixture of pity that this version of Christianity is built on so flimsy a foundation and despair that ordinary people can’t see through people like Giglio. Christianity has a lot going for it and I love to engage Christians on many aspects of their beliefs but people like Giglio are taking you for a ride.

    Try to distinguish the feeling you get when listening to inspirational speakers from what they are actually saying.

    Can you see where I’m coming from here?

  32. To be fair to Giglio, he has had his better moments…

    I’m perfectly happy if we stick to metaphor (the heaven’s declare the Glory of God, etc. – ‘declare’ being the metaphor: stars and skies don’t have ‘mouths’, so any ‘declaring’ would, of course, be metaphorical – though still real in the Judeo-Christian tradition)…

    …but with this example, it’s almost as if he goes beyond metaphor to actually attempt to say that this cross-shaped laminin is a literal and/or visible example of Christ holding all things together…

    …too far…

    -d-

  33. By the way, I meant to compliment you on this:

    “If you found that there were cells shaped like a pentagram that were essential for our survival would you suddenly convert to Satanism?”

    I literally laughed out loud! :)

    -d-

  34. Uknown says:

    Damian, I don’t personally know Louie Giglio so I don’t assume to know his intentions. I guess when you’re really excited about what you believe it will show in your conversation. That’s probably why he was so enthusiastic. You don’t necessarily have to see something to believe it. It’s almost like the wind. You know it exists but you can’t see it. My faith is not based on inspirational speakers. Unfortunately so many people do base their faith on what people tell them. I can’t believe how many Christians listen to those televangelists or how many Christians think their Pastor is the voice of God. I have tested scripture in my life and there’s an explanation for everything. I understand that there is nothing I can say to encourage you to come back to the Lord. I hope you find my perspective as interesting as I find yours, though. It’s like you said you’ll respect my belief and I’ll respect yours. I’ll do the praying and you’ll do the thinking. Well it’s 12:00 a.m. from where I’m from so have a good night or day whatever time it is out there.

  35. Uknown says:

    Damian,
    This a little off topic but you know how you said that you don’t believe in anything supernatural? What is your scientifical explanation for miracles? The reason I ask is because I’m going to have surgery for my epilepsy and I’m praying that I won’t have to go through it. I’m praying for a miracle. I would be so thankful if it happened and yet thankful if it didn’t. If that makes sense to you.

    2004 was the worst year for my seizures. I was having about 14-21 seizures a month and I was pregnant. At the end of my pregnancy I was taking 3,000 mg. of Keppra twice a day. Lunkily my seizures are the peitite-mal seizures instead of the grand-mal seizures, so it wasn’t as dangerous as it could’ve been. My baby was at high risk for developmental disorders as well as learning disabilities. Thank God nothing was wrong with him. He turned out normal. The seizures still continued, but I had my wonderful family to take care of us.

    I was seeing an epilepsy specialist. I went through several tests to see if I was a candidate for surgery. One of the qualifications was to atleast have tried 3 different medicines and if they didn’t work then they would put you through 3 different tests. I’ve tried 6 different medications to get them under control. None of them worked. So the only other alternative is surgery or possibly something miraculous. The specialist decided to give me one more set of medications. The chances of a fourth medicine working was 2% of a 100% so I have no idea what the percentage would be for an 8th medicine to work. I didn’t have a seizure for almost 2 years. I also had another baby during that time and she turned out normal too. About 2 months ago the seizures started back up again. I can’t put my children’s safety at risk so I have to get the surgery.

    The problem with the surgery though, is that I may lose my memory. My memory is the strongest in the area that they have to operate on. I still plan on being a pastor’s wife. I don’t know how it will all work out but I know that it will. Even though it’s kind of scary I have assurance that God will work out things for the good. So if you want you could tell your parents to pray for me. I hope things are going well for you and you’re getting your questions answered.

  36. Uknown says:

    Incase your parents want to pray for me my name is Monica.

  37. Damian says:

    Hi Uknown, it sounds like you’ve got a hard road ahead but hopefully this surgery will bring your epilepsy to an end. I know very little about epilepsy but have a friend who suffered regular mild seizures during and after pregnancy and it sounded like a real nightmare.

    I guess one bright side to this is that at least you don’t live in a time where you would have been diagnosed as being demon-possessed. There’s never been a better time than now if you suffer from epilepsy and, while we don’t understand everything about it, you are far safer in the hands of medicine than of superstition.

    I hope all goes well with the operation.

    —–

    As an aside, you’ve mentioned a couple of times that you “plan on being a pastor’s wife”. I’m not sure where you are from and whether this phrase has special meaning but I don’t understand the significance of it. Do you mean it as you plan on marrying a man one day who is a pastor? Or that the man you are married to will become ‘qualified’ in some way to be a pastor? Or is there something special you have to do to qualify and you are already married to a pastor?

    The reason I ask this is because you’ve also mentioned that you’ve got at least two children and most pastors I’ve heard of are pretty intent on the whole no-sex-outside-of-marriage thing.

  38. Jack says:

    Yes I had noted that too. It sounded like ‘pastor’s wife’ was an occupation – can pastor’s wives have other jobs? I don’t really hear many other folk describe themselves as their spouse’s occupation thats all.

    Also, Damian – do you have an e-mail contact – wanted to ask you about something someone sent me regarding demon possession. Cheers.

  39. Damian says:

    Jack, I’ve sent you my email address but, golly, do you really want to be asking me about demon possession?? ;)

  40. Uknown says:

    I’m from California in the United States. I’ve been married for almost five years and I have 2 children. My husband’s studying to be a pastor. He’s got an amazing leadership ability. As for me I just care a lot about people and I’m fascinated by their stories. I know it’s not an easy road to take and I’m very nervous about it because it’s a huge responsibility. I guess being a pastor’s wife is significant to me because of the joy I’ll bring some people who are willing to accept it and it’s so fun to see people’s lives change for better. On the flip side of that I know there is a lot against us.

    From your perspective how do you think non-Christians see us? I wish I was back in school because then I could hang out with them. I use to have gay and lesbian friends. We use to go to raves together. You don’t even want to know how many boyfriends I had at that time in my life. I’m not the kind of Christian who is fearful of different types of people. I wouldn’t go to strip clubs or anything like that but I’d talk to them outside of those places. Some of my cousins are criminals and drug addicts but I love them anyways.

    I haven’t been to a legalistic church that condemns Christians for having sex before marriage. They tell you it’s not right but they don’t monitor people’s lives. In my opinion most people do it anyways and I just want to be there as an encouragement to do better the next time. It’s just good to have someone encourage you to do what’s right. I know we’re not perfect and all we can do is try our best not to do what’s wrong. My children did come after we were married though but we did struggle before that. We just got lucky I guess. We did try to fight it and felt convicted when we’d go to church but all we could do was try better the next time around.

  41. Uknown says:

    Damian, I forgot to mention to you that when I was in school I wasn’t a committed Christian until a year after I graduated. That’s why I was going to raves and had a lot of boyfriends. I was never really into drugs and alcohol. I wasn’t having that many seizures at that time either so I was able to do a lot more. I was one of those Christians who would read the Bible and do bad things anyways. My parents weren’t Christians and I wasn’t going to church but I’m sure a Christian could figure out that they are supposed to apply the word of God in their lives. I finally got it straight.

  42. Uknown says:

    Jack, I guess you were writing the same time I was so I didn’t see your comment. Being a Pastor’s is an occupation for women. Your income comes through the tithes of the church and I’m not sure how most Pastors calculate that. Both husband and wife need to be involved. My husband will be doing all the preaching and oversee all the different ministries involved. We’ll probably do a lot of counseling together. Some pastor’s wives are part of the secretarial staff, some stay at home and have second jobs, some lead worship, but somehow they share the responsibilties her husband. It all depends on how they choose to run the ministry.

  43. Damian says:

    OK, Sooooooooo. We’ve got a long way off topic here.

    I presume, Uknown, that you believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead eh? What do you suppose happened after that? Did he go up into the sky? Did he move to some other dimension (like some kind of spirit world)? Did he just go away somewhere and grow old and die? Or is he still bodily here on earth somewhere?

    I’ve mapped out above where Jesus is if he stayed in this physical dimension and obeyed the laws of physics but I realise that many Christians think this is silly. And it is. I personally think the whole story is silly but am willing to take it seriously for the sake of argument.

    I’d say that many Christians would say that he somehow moved into another dimension rather than hanging around or dying but so far no one has shown particular interest in what that must have looked like. Would he have gradually faded away? A flash of light perhaps?

    Many Christians would believe that we have a ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ of some kind that isn’t really tied to this physical world and that when we finally slump over dead our essence carries on somehow. If you don’t think that Jesus died afterwards and that his whole body went somewhere why do you think it was necessary for this to happen when it doesn’t seem necessary for us?

    Dale back in comment #8 started to make some real progress in trying to describe what might have happened but didn’t quite manage to complete that train of thought. Perhaps you have some insights?

  44. Uknown says:

    “When I say ’supernatural’ I mean that there may well be amazing things yet to be discovered but that, when we do, we’ll find that they have natural explanations. Why? Because so far every single supernatural explanation for a natural event has been shown to be exactly the wrong explanation.”

    Damian, you still never answered my question about the miraculous.

  45. Damian says:

    Oh, sorry about that – I didn’t realise it was a direct question. You mean when you said “What is your scientifical explanation for miracles”? My answer is that there is none because there are none. There really are none. Does that answer the question?

    Now, back to my on-topic questions in post #43; Any thoughts on what happened after the bodily resurrection?

  46. Leave it to me to raise a philosophical point (I must have deluded myself into thinking I’m philosophically clued-up – I’m not)…

    The statement, “…there is none (miracles) because there are none.” is several things, but it’s at least circular. A parallel circular statement would be the opposite: “there are miracles because there are.”

    I know, I know… it was a reply you were quickly making, but Uknown did ask for your ‘scientific explanation’, which the above isn’t… :)

    Cheers,

    -d-

  47. …and (sorry for the rant) why press for an explanation of the location of the resurrected Jesus?

    IF you believe in…
    1. God (Creator)
    2. Heaven (God’s ‘place’/dimension-of-reality)
    3. the Resurrection of Jesus
    THEN you won’t find belief in (some understanding of) the Ascension of Jesus too hard to grasp…

    BUT if you meet the above 1-3 with…
    1. “nope”
    2. “certainly not”
    3. “don’t think so”
    THEN you aren’t likely to get too excited about (ANY understanding of) the Ascension of Jesus…

  48. Damian says:

    Sorry, the statement I made was “there is none (‘scientifical’ explanation) because there are none (miracles)”. I can see how it could have been confusing. But it’s not circular.

    And to your second comment… you might just have to take it at face value that I’m fascinated that people can believe in this other dimension but have such little inclination to try to understand the mechanisms of it.

    I like your numbered lists so I’m going to use one too:
    1. If you believe that there is more than just this physical dimension
    2. and you believe that some ‘essence’ of us is in this other dimension (call it soul or spirit)
    3. that when we die everything that was physical about us rots away but this other bit carries on
    4. that Jesus died but came to life physically again (not just in a metaphorical sense)
    5. that Jesus then did something quite different and dragged his physical body into this other dimension (or died or travelled up into the air or whatever).
    Aren’t you in the slightest bit interested in how this must have worked or at least looked like? Don’t you wonder why he had to do this rather than just die (again) if it was only his spirit he needed? Or wonder why he even needed to bodily rise from the dead in the first place if it was a spiritual battlefield?

  49. Thanks Damian, for clearing up my misunderstanding on the ‘there is none’ thing… The comment is still over-certain, though! ;)

    …you might just have to take it at face value that I’m fascinated that people can believe in this other dimension but have such little inclination to try to understand the mechanisms of it.

    …and you might just have to take it at face value that I’m fascinated that people would think that spiritual things could be ‘mechanistically’ understood. ;)
    Rob Bell (in one of his finest moments, I think) has used the analogy of Flat Land (which is a fairly well known story?) to describe how ‘spiritual’ things are hard to describe… well… materially. ‘Flat Land’ is a 2 dimensional world inhabited by circles, triangles, squares, etc. The idea is (and I’ve not read the story) that if a sphere, pyramid or cube ‘intersected’ their world, all of the 2-dimensional Laws of ‘Flat Land’ would insist that the sphere was not a sphere, but a circle (3-sided-pyramid = triangle, cube = square, etc.)…
    In short, you can’t describe a cube in only 2-dimensional language…

    Now, as for your 5 points and closing comments:
    Contrary to your descriptions (not to mention some Platonist-influenced church hymns about the sweet ‘by and by’ and/or ‘flying away’), the New Testament were working very much within a Jewish framework, in which there is no ‘immortal soul’ or ‘disembodied spirit’ to float away or otherwise ‘carry on’ after death. Rather, a final (and general/universal – meaning ALL) resurrection of the dead was the understanding. Creation itself (bodies included) was to be rescued, renewed and restored. Paul describes the ‘resurrection body’ as having a strange continuity-yet-discontinuity to our current bodies. They will bear something of the likeness of our bodies now, but will be (as Paul says) ‘further clothed’, immortal, incorruptible, etc.
    The Resurrection of Jesus then, is a preview in advance (to put it like that) of what will happen to all. It is, (as my favourite Bishop has put it) “a bit of God’s future come rushing into the present”. The New Creation that Jews longed for, had –in the risen body of Jesus– found it’s “first-fruit”.
    That’s why Jesus didn’t “just die (again)”. Judeo/Chrisian belief (unlike the dualist Platonism which has so influenced it for more than a few centuries) is PRO-body. It most certainly was not “only his spirit” that was desired. Judeo/Christian belief is not about the escape from the body, but its renewal, including all creation.

    Now. Jesus’ current bodily location is ‘heaven’ or ‘God’s space’ which is about as understandable to us as cubes are to squares…

    OK then, off to bed…

    :)

    -d-

  50. Unnamed says:

    Kind of an add on if you will permit me regarding the flat land analogy. It seems to be a failure to distinguish categories. If within our known reality we refuse to accept the possibility that other realities exist with their own set of laws, is that not a limiting of our own potential knowlege? Especially if their seems to be evidence to the existance of the other reality. To shut ones eyes to the possibility of the other reality in my mind is a limiting of ones own knowlege. Especially if things within our own reality have no logical exlaination, in fact defy natural explaination. One example may be the “Singularity Theory”. Science has no explaination for it and hopes one day to account for it. But would it not necessitate a cause, logically yes it would. If their is a naturalistic explaination the need for subsequent causes is infinate. One problem exists though that can not be denied. That is that an infinate number of subsequent causes must have already occured in order for us to arrive at the present. This is not possible. So even the naturalist is left to the need to appeal to faith in his naturalistic explaination, because he can never prove an infinate number of causes, or even an infinate amount of time to bring us to the present. It makes sense in my mind to reach for an explianation outside of this reality, and again in my mind that necessitates a cause greater than the effect.

  51. Damian says:

    Hi Unnamed,
    You said (and I think this hits the nail on the head),

    Especially if their seems to be evidence to the existance of the other reality

    Now, I don’t think there is any evidence for this other reality, if you are talking about this spiritual dimension. If you have some evidence them please let me know – I’m open to it.

    You then go on to mention the problem of the origin of the universe as if these were the same category. We can observe things in the universe (the red shift, cosmic microwave background, etc) that strongly indicate that everything appears to come from a single point at some stage. Everything after that is guesswork and no one is pretending otherwise.

    This is very different from just asserting that there is another dimension, but perhaps you really do have some observational evidence that I’m not aware of?

  52. Damian says:

    Dale, yes, I’ve heard the flat land analogy before and it’s a good one; I heard someone once describe it as a 3D creature having to push a sphere through a 2D plane so that the 2D creature there can see a circle starting as a point then growing in size until it gradually shrinks to nothing again.

    I can accept that there may be some things (dimensions) that we can’t comprehend. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t at least try. And this is what I’m trying to do but from the point of view of someone who believes that something amazing happened 2000 years ago.

    You’ve gone to some lengths to describe how the resurrection happened but the bit I’m really fascinated by (once again) is the bit where something happens to a physical body, namely Jesus, where you claim he went from the physical to something else. Now, I kind of get the whole “Jewish view of the world” thing (although from what I’ve read they viewed it both ways depending on the circumstances) but even with this factor I can’t see where you are coming from.

    You jumped from the resurrection to,

    Now. Jesus’ current bodily location is ‘heaven’ or ‘God’s space’ which is about as understandable to us as cubes are to squares…

    OK, I can dig that perhaps there is this other dimension where Jesus is now (actually, I can dig it but don’t see anything other than mythical evidence for it). Perhaps physically, perhaps only Other-Dimensionally. But you’ve skipped the bit I’m really interested in… how do you think this might have happened and how might it have looked? Are there any other instances where someone has ‘ascended’? What about Enoch? Did he do exactly the same thing? Do we do some kind of similar thing when we die?

    If a 2D creature was trying to tell another 2D creature about a 3D event he encountered he’d happily tell about how the circle got bigger then smaller. But it seems that no one who actually believes that this amazing event took place is even vaguely interested in how it happened.

    [oh, and the reason for my over-certainty in my response re scientific explanation for miracles was as a counter to the equally certain implication that there actually are scientific observations of miracles. If you get what I mean.]

  53. Unknown says:

    Damian,
    For an example lets say that an MRI scan showed evidence of a brain tumor. The patient goes back to the doctors because he’s not having his regular symptoms of the brain tumor. They decide to take another MRI scan and find out that the tumor is no longer appearing on the scan. What do you conclude? That nothing happened. There are countless accounts of such things happening. So I don’t know where you’re coming from when you say that there is no such thing as miracles. Is it because you don’t want to give credit to the existence of the supernatural things that take place or is there some scientifical explanation of why these things happen?

    I’m sorry for the misunderstanding but I wasn’t trying to make a truth claim off of Louie Giglio’s sermons. You had the first part of his video up there so I thought you’d might like to see the second part to his video.

    I can tell you how the scriptures explain Jesu’s resurrection, where He is now, and how He plays a role here on earth but you don’t accept scripture as truth. I pray someday that you wiil find it to be true and that evoultion dooesn’t have the answers to all your questions.

  54. Damian says:

    Unknown,
    Let’s say that I have a wart on my arm and that it goes away. But then I say that the reason it went away was because I was eating honey. How should we test this claim?

    Well, first of all we should see if there are any other instances of warts that go away and find out if honey was being eaten. If we find that only some cases honey was being eaten it doesn’t necessarily mean that honey didn’t help but it would point us to the possibility that honey might have had nothing to do with it and if you wanted to save money you might want to stop there.

    But if you had a strong feeling that honey was beneficial we should then get two random groups of people with moles and get one of the groups to eat honey and have the other eat something that they think is honey (just to be sure it’s not all in the mind). To be really, really sure we should even make it that the people who are giving the people the ‘honey’ don’t know whether it’s the real deal or not just in case there is some subconscious fiddling going on.

    If, after all this, we find that the group that was given honey had significantly better healing rates than the other we could then form an hypothesis as to what it is about eating honey that helps to get rid of warts. You might find that there is some residue of pollen that fights the cells that cause warts and you could then go on to perform other experiments to test this hypothesis and if all your experiments confirm this hypothesis you can go on to publish this experiment to a peer-reviewed journal where it would come under intense scrutiny before it is published (because the journal and the scientists reviewing it have their reputations at stake) and if they can see nothing wrong with the methodology of the experiments it’ll get published. From there other people may try to replicate the experiments and if no one finds anything that would indicate that the experiment is faulty it’ll stand.

    Now, can you think of a better way that we could test the claim that moles go away when you eat honey? Take some time to think about how we might improve on this method of finding the truth.

    What I’ve outlined here is the best method we currently know of and it’s called the Scientific Method. It belongs to all of us, not just guys in white coats. You are encouraged to join in and find ways in which we can improve this method.

    If you can’t think of a better way than what I’ve outlined above to test the claim that honey cures warts then perhaps we should use the same method to test your claim about brain tumours.

    First of all, describe the claim as clearly as you can. (It’ll be something like “Praying for people cures brain tumours” or “Praying for people can improve the chances of curing brain tumours”).

    Once you’ve made the claim I’ll go through what we might be able to do to test it.

    Additionally, if you are interested there was a study done on the “Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients” that was published in the American Heart Journal back in 2006. Take a look at the methodology and the results.

  55. First, some extremely picky spelling observations… :D
    Is it Uknown, Unnamed or Unknown!? Are these the same person?
    …and… (this is the REALLY picky bit!) some spelling issues (just to be helpful)…

    infinite
    and
    their (used when talking about a groups possession of something – “…have you heard their view on politics?”)

    there (when talking about the existence/location of something – “…your car is over there… or… “I believe there are reasons to think that the Coca-Cola corporation is inherently evil.”) etc.

    :D (can’t believe I actually took the time to do that – I’m nuts) :)

    OK then,
    I’ll try my best, Damian.
    I don’t know what a disappearing body would look like. I’ve never seen a body disappear. I imagine it would look like seeing it and then ‘not’ seeing it. Maybe something like Star Trek? “Beam me up, heavenly father.” :D Unfortunately for us, the New Testament authors were not modern physicists, but 1st century Jews. So they leave us with colourful-yet-non-technical descriptions.

    On dimensions and 2D-3D:
    Our (space-time) dimensions are:
    An important thing to consider when thinking about these kinds of things is the dimension of Time.
    We are within time. We can’t imagine what it might be like to have a perspective that is unfettered by time. We only have the present. We look back on the past vaguely, and anticipate the future based on our experience/understanding of reality present and past. (Tangent: it’s interesting to hear people talk about the relationship of ‘Time’ to the ‘singularity’… I’ve heard people say “Well, we can’t imagine there not being time, because we’ve always known time”, etc. To which I would say, “Indeed.”)
    In Judeo/Christian thought, God’s space or dimension (‘Heaven’) is ‘Eternal’ (or ‘Everlasting’). This is often thought of as “Lasting Forever” (as in an infinite number of years [which itself is a finite measurement]), but J/C thought (if kept free from Greek notions of ‘eternity’) sees it more as a ‘timeless’ state of existence. It’s not so much that God has been around for ages and will be around for ages – it’s that his very existence transcends the dimension of time itself.
    In terms of the J/C view of the over-all un-folding story of ‘the world’, Heaven would simultaneously (so to speak) ‘see’ both the beginning and the end. From the timeless/eternal viewpoint of Heaven, the future (not to mention past and present) is Now. The great final renewal of all things at the end, is (from heaven’s view) now.
    Now, remember, at the ‘end’ of the story in J/C thought, creation is renewed and re-born (New Heavens and New Earth, etc.). Also, Heaven and Earth are (again) not ‘miles’ (or light-years for that matter) apart, but over-lap or inter-lock with one another – at ALL times.
    So then… since, in J/C thought, heaven and earth (spirit and physicality) are so inseparably woven together, Jesus being bodily ‘in heaven’ is only problematic for a Dualist. Jesus, then, is not ascending to a non-physical realm, but rather the timeless/eternal state which overlaps with earth (and therefore with physicality) at all points in history… His resurrection body is equally at home at all points in (physical) history… It can ‘disappear’ to the End, and also ‘appear’ to Paul (for example) on the road to Damascus, or in a locked room with the disciples, or appear and disappear on the road-side with the two disciples (Luke 24)…
    I’m beginning to ramble…
    Cheers,
    -d-

  56. Unknown says:

    My claim is that miracles happen and the best explanation for them is that God did it, unless you have some scientifical evidence to prove that miracles aren’t supernatural events. Then again, you said that miracles don’t happen just because… Where is proof for that? Also that way of thinking makes me wonder if you feel let down by God.

    The scientific method you used sounds like common sense to me. I did read the article and that’s an interesting study. I appreciate the information. That study doesn’t state how many people were believers though. Also I would make another claim that prayer does help sick people. Here’s one study on prayer.

    The first large study attesting to the power of what scientists call distance healing was published in 1988 by a lone West Coast cardiologist named Randolph C. Byrd. He found that patients in a coronary intensive care unit who were prayed for needed fewer antibiotics, diuretic “water pills,” and help with breathing than those in an unprayed-for control group. All 393 patients knew they were volunteers in a study, but none knew whether they were marked as prayer recipients or cast randomly into the control group.

    Independent follow-up research 11 years later produced similar results. Coronary intensive care patients who were prayed for — controversial because in this case they had no idea they were players in a scientific study on prayer — did measurably better in their overall hospital course than a control group. Why? “God is the simplest answer,” says William S. Harris at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, who led the research.

  57. Damian says:

    Excellent work, Unknown! Now we’re talking. Can you please provide references to these studies so I can read up on their methodologies and so on?

    Also, the first part of your comment falls a little short of clearly defining what it is that you are claiming. Can you re-word it a little better? Perhaps define a particular type of miracle and kind of thing needs to be done to make this miracle happen.

    Try to word it like “My claim is that when people are prayed for by such-and-such Christians they are healed of such-and-such an illness” and go on to define what prayer (does it involve laying-on of hands?, etc) is as well as what a Christian is in this instance and the type of illness.

  58. Unnamed says:

    Pardon my speling and gramer Dale, I sur is glad sombody is arond to catck it.

    Damian you said “Everything after that is guesswork and no one is pretending otherwise. This is very different from just asserting that there is another dimension, but perhaps you really do have some observational evidence that I’m not aware of?” I gave you a logical reason that alone is enough. This sounds a bit like Oh Ya prove it. You conceded to Dale there may be things we can not comprehend (other dimensions)should we not try? I say Yes! Would if what you want to know more about is exactly what you are trying so desperately to avoid? In that case you will never know. I would say that miracles, the resurection, the first cause argument, expansion theory, singularity theory, the moral argument and love; these serve as at least glimpses of something greater than our known existance. I hope you have not fixed the limits of how far you are willing to go in understanding these things. If so why? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I think the agnostic position is a more honest position, at least they leave the possibility open to an uncaused cause.

    How did I do this time Dale? Just playin bro!

  59. Damian says:

    Unnamed, you said,

    Especially if their seems to be evidence to the existance of the other reality

    And then when I asked for this evidence you said,

    I gave you a logical reason that alone is enough

    Sorry, I must have missed this bit somewhere in the flow of comments and I can’t find it looking back over them. Can you refresh my memory?

  60. Unknown says:

    Damian,
    In regards to the ressurection of Christ have you heard of the Shroud of Turin. I’m sure you have. You so seemingly seem to know everything. Now I’m not trying to make another truth claim or anything like that. I just think it’s neat to see things like this. If you want to take a look at it just go to (www.shroud.com) When you click on the image it will take you to the main menu and click on related links it will take you to a whole bunch of articles.

    In regards to the whole prayer thing I’m trying to retrace my tracks and I can’t find the exact place I got the study. But if I look up Randolph C. Byrd that study is all over the place. Anyways, my moms here to pick us up so I have to run but I’ll get back to you.

  61. Neil says:

    Is this what passes for cleverness and originality these days? Because we just know that the God of the universe couldn’t have some other type of dimension to go through. He would have to travel to the edge of the universe to leave it, right?

  62. Damian says:

    Unknown, I’m not sure where you are going with the Shroud of Turin thing.

    Neil, no, this was an estimate based on the assumption that Jesus was bodily raised and continued to obey the known laws of physics.

    Actually, the original intent of the post was to highlight the vast size of the universe with a little humour thrown in but as you can see some people have taken this very seriously indeed. We’ve got dimensions, shrouds, miracles, laminin, prayer requests and Jewish interpretations coming out of our ears!

  63. …not Jewish ‘interpretations’…

    …Jewish framework for understanding (to quote the title of this post) ‘the location of Jesus’…

    :)

    -d-

  64. Unknown says:

    Damian,
    You’ve been talking to Dale and a little bit to me about the resurrection and you said that no one seems to show particular interest in it, so I thought I’d throw the Shroud of Turin out there.
    These are your concerns below:
    “Aren’t you in the slightest bit interested in how this must have worked or at least looked like? Don’t you wonder why he had to do this rather than just die (again) if it was only his spirit he needed? Or wonder why he even needed to bodily rise from the dead in the first place if it was a spiritual battlefield?”
    “I’d say that many Christians would say that he somehow moved into another dimension rather than hanging around or dying but so far no one has shown particular interest in what that must have looked like. Would he have gradually faded away? A flash of light perhaps?”
    “I presume, Uknown, that you believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead eh? What do you suppose happened after that? Did he go up into the sky? Did he move to some other dimension (like some kind of spirit world)? Did he just go away somewhere and grow old and die? Or is he still bodily here on earth somewhere?”

    Okay I made the claim that prayer does help sick people. In some cases prayer heals people miraculously, brings healing emotionally, or improves health and symptoms. In some cases it can be harmful. I also made the claim that miracles do happen and the best explanation for them is that God was the miracle worker.

    1. Here’s a situation to where prayer was needed and the miraculous happened. This was Alan Cross’ request for prayer. Alan is part of the Baptist family in Missouri in the United States. He had 81 people respond to his request. You can take a look at http://www.downshoredrift.com. or down below is his request.

    February 21, 2008
    “Many of my readers have been praying for my son Caelan. Almost two years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer as an eight month old. He is now two and a half. We went to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham yesterday for Caelan’s 3 month scans. He has been out of treatment for cancer since last April and all of the scans have gone well – up until yesterday. The oncologist came in and told us that they found an enlarged lymph node behind his heart. If he had not had a history of cancer they would just watch it and it still might just be an infection, but they are very concerned about the enlargement. The doctors have scheduled a futher test for next week and a biopsy. The biopsy will be quite invasive as they have to go in through the side of his chest to get to the lymph node. Please pray that they are able to go straight to it, because if there are any problems with a small incision and scope, then they will have to open him up right then.

    We had thought things were going well, our little boy was growing, and we were basically out of the woods. Yesterday, all that came crashing down. During Caelan’s treatment we were told that if this type of cancer ever came back, he would not have a very good chance of making it. Our oncologist confirmed that yesterday. We are fervently praying that this is just an infection, but the doctors seem to think otherwise – or, at least they are not very confident that this is anything other than another expression of the cancer. The doctors are so confident that they are pushing for a very risky surgery to get at this. We have a lot of decisions to make – we desperately need God’s guidance, wisdom, comfort, and healing power.

    Erika and I are devastated. My emotions feel like they are spinning around in a washing machine. All we can do is cry out to God and ask Him to have mercy. If there was ever a case where we needed a miracle, this is it.

    Caelan is such a beautiful boy. I am grieving like I never have in my life.”

    Well God decided to respond to the prayers and miraculously healed Caelan. Here’s the outcome of the story.

    March 06, 2008
    Caelan Does Not Have Cancer!!!
    Our oncologist just came in with the pathology results: Caelan does not have cancer!!! They don’t know exactly what the mass is and they said they don’t really care. All they care about is that it is not cancer! Did you get that? Caelan is completely healthy with no cancer! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Thank you all for your prayers! After getting the news last friday that the PET Scan was lighting up, we all feared the worst, but God is so gracious. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I don’t have to. All I know is that we serve an awesome, loving, good God. He answers prayers!

    Thank you all so much for the prayers. Spread the word! Today is a very good day! Words cannot express how grateful I am. It’s like we got our family and our life back. Praise God!!!

    I’ll definitely be writing more on this later. There’s just too much to say right now!

    2. Lets take the story of Paul in the Bible. He is an example of God healing someone emotionally. Paul had a thorn in his flesh and asked the Lord 3 times to heal him. God told Paul no because God wanted to keep Paul from becoming conceited because of the powerful revelations that were given to him from God. God told him “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” This is an example of God giving you the grace to go on. I’ve had to depend on this scripture many times just trusting that there’s a greater good involved. There are many reasons I can think of of why God would heal me and why He wouldn’t. I don’t know what the outcome is. I just know that it’s for the good.

    3. The study I gave you in a previous comment was an example of health and symptoms improving.
    Here’s the study.
    “The first large study attesting to the power of what scientists call distance healing was published in 1988 by a lone West Coast cardiologist named Randolph C. Byrd. He found that patients in a coronary intensive care unit who were prayed for needed fewer antibiotics, diuretic “water pills,” and help with breathing than those in an unprayed-for control group. All 393 patients knew they were volunteers in a study, but none knew whether they were marked as prayer recipients or cast randomly into the control group.

    Independent follow-up research 11 years later produced similar results. Coronary intensive care patients who were prayed for — controversial because in this case they had no idea they were players in a scientific study on prayer — did measurably better in their overall hospital course than a control group. Why? “God is the simplest answer,” says William S. Harris at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, who led the research.”

    This is one way prayer can become damaging. It’s amazing to me how many crooks out there will come with all sorts of solutions as to how to receive a miracle from God. The Word of Faith movement and The Prosperity Gospel is probably the most damaging. They believe you can “name it and claim it.” They believe that it’s God’s will that you should always prosper materially without taking into consideration that a situation like Paul’s was for his benefit spiritually. That’s why praying for a miracle and not getting it can be very harmful if you don’t understand what scripture teaches. Sure God blesses financially and physically but He’s more concerned with your spiritual health. I often wonder that if God were to heal me would I continue to serve Him or say “I got my miracle, see ya.” If I were to do that why would God heal me? I would rather He not until my heart is right. That doesn’t mean you don’t pray for miracles, blessings, finances, etc… It means that you have to have a clear understanding of the nature of God. I would never cease to ask God for anything because He says to pray about everything but I understand that He has the final say in the matter and whatever He decides it’s for good. I can’t imagine what people must think if they don’t get their healing or the brand new car that they claimed in Jesus name. It must be devastating emotionally. This is just one example of prayer being harmful.

  65. Damian says:

    Hi Unknown,
    First of all I’m going to ask you not to copy and paste large amounts of text – it’s much easier to post the links to the articles themselves and to only quote small, pertinent bits.

    With regard to your first couple of paragraphs I think you’ve misunderstood something along the line; You said “…about the resurrection and you said that no one seems to show particular interest in it” but we were actually talking about the story of the ascension, not the resurrection.

    And beyond referring me to a website about the Shroud of Turin you’ve not really answered any of my questions about how you think the ascension might have worked (and why).

    The topic of the claim of the efficacy of prayer was a separate one and it looks like you’re linking the two by the way you run straight from quoting my questions about the ascension to paste-bombing stories of healing.

    Addressing your point 1:
    Someone’s child who was currently being treated for cancer had a lump in their body that they thought might have been another cancer but when they did a biopsy they found that it wasn’t (or was it that they also discovered that the cancer treatment had worked and had got rid of his existing cancer?). Either way this is, at best, extremely misdirected. If you get a fungal infection and you apply an anti-fungal cream as well as praying do you think it’s the prayer that fixed it or the cream?

    Addressing point 2:
    What??!!

    Addressing point 3:
    When you reference a study it’s important that you link to it rather than just quote from it. It gives people the opportunity to cross-check properly. If these studies do exist I’m really interested in reading them to see what their methodology was. The one I referenced was published in the American Heart Journal but can also be found in PubMed which might be a good place to look for other studies. Your first study mentions that they tested 393 patients and that’s about all I’ve got to go on. What I can tell you from the study I’ve linked to is that they studied over 1800 people and that the results showed that prayer made no difference whatsoever (except a possible negative effect where the people who knew they were being prayed for did a little worse than the others).

    Which leads to an interesting question; if a study was done of 1800 people and we all agreed that it was performed properly that showed that prayer was effective for curing people would you trust the study on it’s methodology? If so, would you trust the same study if it showed the opposite? Or would your beliefs trump evidence?

    To be honest I’m not sure how much farther we can take this conversation. I personally find it very interesting but I’m not convinced we’re going to get anywhere as we come from very different angles and to be honest, I can’t afford the amount of time that replying to you is consuming when there is such a disconnect.

    I wish you well for the future and that your treatment for epilepsy goes smoothly.

  66. Indeed, Unknown,
    Bad blogging etiquette… :)
    BC posts some long ones, but he’s not copy/paste-ing…
    …and it is a bit of a head-scratcher how prayer came up on a post about the ascension…
    :)
    -d-

  67. Unknown says:

    Damian,
    Just for the record I was really just trying to be your friend because like I said earlier I have a lot of compassion for you. When I brought up miracles I said it was a little off topic. Of course Dale would contend that it was a waste of time. I really just wanted to know what your perspective was on it. Then I made a claim that miracles happen. I also brought up prayer because miracles usually don’t happen without them. Prayer and miracles were one topic. I wasn’t trying to tie prayer and miracles in with the ascension of Jesus, though. They were two separate topics. I hope you find out what the truth is about life and perhaps you’ll find out that this is one area in your life that you’re not wrong about. God Bless You!

  68. Damian says:

    Dale, a comment on the Wright/Ehrman talk prompted me to reread parts of Luke and Acts (which I’m told are by the same author). At the start of Acts it talks of Jesus “appearing to them during forty days” but the end of Luke makes it sound like he was only around for a day or two before ascending (especially because he categorically says “that very day” when tying appearances together). Do you know what the explanation for this apparent discrepancy is?

  69. Excellent question…
    What I’d want to highlight is the multiple ‘goings’ that are seen in the various gospels – the Luke account being one. Granted, though, these two (Luke 24 & Acts 1) are both the most ‘ascend’-ish ‘goings’.
    The Gospels are trying to say that they post resurrected Jesus is equally at home ‘in heaven’ and ‘on earth’…
    Also, Luke might well have included the first ‘ascension’ story in his ‘first manuscript’ (Luke) to ensure that readers would know about it – even if they didn’t have access to his ‘second manuscript’ (Acts). Both ‘manuscripts’ are addressed (unlike Mark, Matthew or John) to one person, ‘Theophilus’ (Theo [god] philus [lover of]), but this most certainly does not mean that Luke expected (or intended) Theophilus to keep these manuscripts to himself – quite the contrary.
    So, given the nature and purpose of the texts, this technical problem for us wouldn’t have, I suspect, been much of one (if at all) for the initial readers…
    Hope that makes sense…
    -d-

  70. hey mate :) I’m assuming it’s OK w/ you if I use the pics from the original post tonight for my sermon (if I’m over my chest infection enough to give it!)? :)

  71. Damian says:

    Hey fella and sorry for the delay. Of course you can (I assume you already have).

  72. Dale says:

    cheers mate – i knew you wouldn’t care – just bean polite :) lemme know if you’re around over the break, and we can do that coffee/beer/catch-up :)

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