The Ascension Questionnaire

I want to blog about the ascension soon, but first i wanted to take a rather informal survey.  Here goes:

1.  Did Jesus have to ascend to heaven after the resurrection?  If so why?

2.  Is the ascension merely an event in the life of Christ, or is it a huge turning point in salvation history?

3.  What are the implications of the ascension for Christians today?

I look forward to hearing your responses!  

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7 responses to “The Ascension Questionnaire

  1. Good questions!

    1. yes. He had to ascend to heaven in order to send the Holy Spirit.

    2. Stephen was martyred specifically for bearing witness to the ascension. It means that Jesus in all His humanity is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit and thus, we have access through Him to the Father.

    3. God has made Himself known to us through a human face. Our destiny is not merely to serve God, but to share His communion. The infinite, eternal God has revealed Himself in the particular life of one man and in the lives of those who follow Him today.

    I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

  2. Great questions.
    1. I’m going to say ‘yes.’ Why? Other than what Fred wrote, I don’t know. What would the alternative have been? He couldn’t stay, could he? He could have just ‘disappeared.’

    2. I guess many of the events in Christ’s life were “huge” — the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension. NOt sure why the ascension is so huge, though.
    3. I hate to admit, I’ve never considered this. (Other than the fact of the coming of the HS, which is “huge” for Christians today.)

    Please, educate us!

  3. Derek,

    Great questions. I honestly don’t know if I can add much to what’s already been said. I will say that Thorsten Moritz has argued that the “ascension” was not really an ascension, per se, but rather was figurative for Jesus being the Son of Man. He derives this from his hermeneutical filter coming from Daniel 7:13-14, which talks about the Son of Man coming on the clouds and he will have authority, and soverieng power. Therefore, Thorsten concludes that Jesus “ascension” is merely Luke’s way of ascribing ultimate authority and sovereignty to Christ, who is the Son of Man. Does that make sense? Enjoy.

  4. Hi Derek. Thanks for your comment at Faith & Theology about open theism. The paper on Barth and open theism isn’t available online — but it will be published next year in a collection of essays edited by Bruce McCormack (published by Baker). I’ve got a copy of the paper, and I might be able to send you a copy (I’d have to check with the author). If you’re interested, send me an email.

    Best wishes,
    Ben

  5. Jesus didn’t have to do anything, per se. Jesus was following the will of the Father. Rather than looking at it chronologically, look at the soteriological implications and ask, what does it mean that He did ascend. The changing nature of perfect creation is set in the path that Christ took — the first fruits. Therefore, if Christ was the first, those who follow will take a similar journey. The Revelation 20 passage of co-heirs and ruler, whatever that may truly mean in God’s plan. Knowing Trinity through the Spirit born journey is the beginning of what is to come. So as Christ leads the way, there are those who will follow. It’s a big impetus to keep your eye on where He’s gone and where He’s going.

  6. Interesting questions you’ve got. I’ve been dropping in on your blog once in a while for a couple of months. You have some good stuff.

    FWIW, my answers are:

    Jesus’ going “up” to “Heaven” goes along nicely with the rest of the story. Jesus goes up/Paraclete comes down, for example. But, he didn’t HAVE to.

    I don’t think it is soteriologically essential. But, the story is essential to the mythology. The myth has more integrity because of this story.

    For me, I like to have a party on ascension and serve chicken wings and put a toy Jesus on the end of a string tied to a helium balloon and let it go. That is the significance of ascension for me today.

    The theological implications of the story are symbolic. Jesus is now with his Father, seated on his golden chariot or whatever. The event itself, as if there were an event called the ascension, is irrelevant.

    Just what I think.

    Hey, come to the party some year.

    Linda McMillan
    Austin

  7. Pingback: The Ascension Revisited « A Thinker’s Progress

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