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ⓜ Faith and the Cosmos: I — 2 Comments

  1. The cosmology of the 1st Century can also shed light on a curious turn of phrase St. Paul uses in 2nd Corinthians. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.” What is this “third heaven”? In Ptolemaic cosmology, it would have been the Sphere of Venus. And why would Paul have specified this particular sphere? Because the shadow of the Earth was perceived as a cone, narrowing in size as you ascended from the Earth’s surface. That shadow was believed to come to a point at the Sphere of Venus, so beyond that altitude, the heavens were free of the influence of sin (i.e., the Earth’s shadow). This is what Paul is telling us by using the image of the “third heaven”.

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