By Hank Hanegraaff
Over the years, I have heard more than one skeptic ridicule the notion that Jesus ascended into heaven before the very eyes of His disciples. In their view, even if Jesus were traveling at the speed of light, He would not yet have escaped the confines of our universe. Not only that, but He must surely be struggling with oxygen deprivation by now.
In response, let me first point out that to say Jesus ascended into heaven does not imply that He is traveling through space, but rather that as the God-man, He transcended time and space. Put another way, heaven is not located in time and space; it exists in another dimension.
Furthermore, the physical universe does not exhaust reality. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that an effect such as the universe must have a cause greater than itself. This conclusion is self-evident not only to those who are philosophically sophisticated but to thinking people everywhere. Thus, the notion that the Creator of the universe transcended His universe should pose no problem.
Finally, I should note that God often uses physical examples to point to spiritual realities. Thus, the physical fact of Christ’s ascension points to the greater truth that He is now glorified in the presence of God and that our glorification is divinely guaranteed as well.
Now when [Jesus] had spoken these things, while [His followers] watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9–11 NKJV
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, AfterLife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, the Hereafter, and Near-Death Experiences (Brentwood, TN: Worthy, 2013).
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***