Glorified bodies…our first conversation
When I started this website and began to blog, I was most excited about having a conversation with my readers. I have agonized over my upcoming book because once it is published, it can’t be changed. I am a bit distressed that my thoughts will be freeze-framed in time. I will grow as a person beyond the book. I may alter some of my thinking. I will think of better illustrations…and I won’t be able to do anything about it. I want all of my blog entries to be well thought out and professional, but I don’t feel the pressure to achieve perfection. I can edit a blog post if an error occurs, readers can comment, and I can respond. It’s not the same as having a cup of coffee together, but the idea of doing something that begins to look like conversation in my little corner of cyberspace is appealing to me.
After the last blog entry, Learning about the Resurrection from a little boy’s devotional (August 31, 2014) I received an e-mail from a reader asking questions about my mention that Jesus’ post-resurrection body was not operating in fourth dimension. Fair question. I had not expounded on that concept. So here today we have our first conversation. What follows is the excerpt from the previous blog entry where I mentioned fourth dimension, then my explanation:
P.S. – If you are interested in the details about Jesus’ glorified body, you can read the very end of each of the gospels for clues about what Christ’s body was like between the resurrection and when He was taken up into heaven. Matthew and Mark don’t say much. Luke 24 and John 20, 21 provide more clues. You will see He was recognizable as Him, was able to eat, and bore scars of His human experience just like us. However, His body was clearly not operating in fourth dimension as evidenced by other capabilities.
All credit for any understanding I have or share on these matters goes to Joni Eareckson Tada. I love her. When I was a young girl, I read an early version of her now updated autobiography, Joni: An Unforgettable Story, and have followed her amazing life all of these years. Her response to her quadriplegia is nothing short of stunning and her theology is incredibly sound. She knows how to view life through God’s Word. I still subscribe to her Joni and Friends Daily Devotional today. I was introduced to the concepts of fourth and fifth dimensions from her book, Heaven:Your Real Home. The book is so powerful, I consistently thought that Joni has contemplated heaven more than most of us because of decades spent in a wheelchair. She longs to have her “lowly body transformed” (Heaven, page 39). So as not to paraphrase her incorrectly, here is the portion in Heaven that introduced me to the relationship between dimensions:
Let me explain a principle I learned from high school geometry. If you move a dot through time and space, it makes a line–the first dimension. Take that line and move it laterally through time and space, and it becomes a plane–the second dimension. Move a plane through time and space, and you get a cube or some other polyhedron–a cube is the third dimension and it’s comprised of a stack of planes.
And you and I, who are three-dimensional figures, move through time and space–we might consider that fourth dimension. Each new dimension enfolds the previous one, plus something more. This means eternity–we might think of that as a fifth dimension–will comprise all the interesting elements of the other dimensions, including time.
Hey, if you get that, you get an A in geometry. You also get that time won’t stop in heaven, but will be swallowed up. Time will be folded into eternity and lose its distinction much like egg whites when they are folded into cream. (Heaven, page 105-106)
Here are the words I use to explain (to myself) what Joni teaches:
1. First dimension: A line. Think of a taut string.
2. Second dimension: A plane. Think of a taut string being slid along a flat surface to form a plane, like a piece of paper on the surface of a table. When we say, “2-D visual aid” we think of a paper chart, a poster, an image on a flat screen.
3. Third dimension: Now stack sheets of paper to make a 3-D shape like a statue, but it doesn’t move.
4. Fourth dimension: Now imagine a “statue” that moves within the confines of time and space. Our bodies are 3-D and we move and exist on earth within history’s timeline. We can’t speed time up or slow it down. We are constrained within the boundaries of time, though we move freely within it.
5. Fifth dimension: A fourth dimension (a 3-D moving person) that moves outside the confines of time and space instead of within. Joni suggests this is like Jesus after the Resurrection.
My last blog talked about how after the Resurrection, Jesus had a glorified body. As you can see in the post-script of the previous blog, Christ was much like us after the Resurrection in that He had a body that was scarred, could be touched and recognized as Him, and Jesus could eat food. That all sounds like He was existing in fourth dimension, like us. But after the resurrection, He exhibited new abilities such as entering and exiting through walls and locked doors. Ah, something about Him was no longer confined to time as we exist within time. He was beginning to operate in a new dimension, quite possibly a fifth dimension, maybe exhibiting the kind of glorified bodies we will have in heaven. Fascinating to think about.
Notice such thinking does not come from thin air. In the world of geometry that we currently study and trust, every new dimension takes everything from the prior dimension, then adds one thing more. In keeping with what we do know, it is not unreasonable to consider that our fourth dimension bodies will enter a fifth dimension in eternity as a direct extension of the geometry we already observe and trust–particularly since Jesus seemed to have granted us a glimpse of such a fifth dimension.
I hope this helps to explain my remark in last week’s post. Thank you for the privilege of conversation. Thank you for allowing process. Thank you for considering the things of God.
Have a great week in fourth dimension as we look forward to what is next….
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