What was Luke's cosmology of the ascension?

by Doug Mason 1 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    What cosmological model was Luke using when he wrote the following at Acts 1:9-11:

    “[Jesus] was taken up before [the disciples’] very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 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.’ ”

    Was Luke conscious of the contemporary Greek (Ptolemaic) cosmological model or of the Hebrew cosmological model when he wrote this? [Dictionary: “cosmology: science or theory of the universe”.]

    Using today’s cosmology, if I viewed this ascension event from the Interplanetary Space Station (ISS), would I be looking at a normal human floating past me away from Earth with neither an oxygen supply nor a pressurised space suit? Would I be watching a human body travel on into the depths of outer space, wearing just the clothes of a first century Jew? Where was he going? How long would this take? Could he keep in touch with the people he had left behind on Earth?

    When Luke says that Jesus was taken up and was then hidden behind a cloud, was this a first century description of Jesus dissolving into another dimension (as per “String Theory” or such)?

    Or was this a purely theological description based on – as they so often did with the stories about Jesus – from stories of Elijah? (2 Kings 2:9-12). Was Luke using the story of Elijah’s departure and the outpouring of Elijah’s spirit as a vehicle that provided meaning to Paul’s missionary journeys?

    Or was Luke using a parable to say that Jesus was now in heaven with God, and in control?

    What are the implications for the WTS's "parousia" and their subsequent "epiphanea" (aka "armagedon")?


  • Leolaia

    The model is an OT one; the ascension recalls similar ascensions of Elijah and (in extrabiblical tradition) Moses, who IIRC was also hidden by a cloud. The cosmology is most likely the traditional OT Hebrew one, as it is in the Enochic literature (which is quite explicit cosmologically).

Share this