Sunday, August 12, 2012

No three degrees of glory in the Bible

1 Corinthians 15:

38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.   [ 4 kinds of flesh in this verse ]

40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. [ more than 3 glories here since stars different] 

42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.



A The Earthy or terrestrial

Corruption

 Dishonor

 Weakness

 Natural body



Would any of these words be referring to a heaven ? corruption, dishonor, weakness, natural body



B the heavenly or celestial

 In incorruption

 In glory

 raised in power

 spiritual body

This letter by Paul parallels 1 Cor. 15, and why shouldn’t it since Paul wrote both 

2 Corinthians 5

New Bodies

1  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.

3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.

 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.

5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

So in context not different heavens but different bodies, out present mortal body versus our immortal heavenly body

http://carm.org/baptism-for-the-dead-in-1-corinthians-15-29





 

The Mormon faith has developed a “three-fold” heavenly destiny, namely the “Celestial”, “Telestial”, and “Terrestrial” kingdoms of glory, presumed to be described by the three different glories of the “sun, moon and stars” as mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:

 
I Cor. 15:40: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

 I Cor. 15:41: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars:

 

 But again this is not what this passage is actually teaching. In this study, we are going to look at the following sub-topics:

 

1.What do “celestial” and “terrestrial” refer to in general?

2.What do “celestial bodies” refer to specifically in this passage?

3.Where do we find any mention of “telestial” in this passage?

4.Is 1 Cor. 15:40ff “three-fold”, or is it binary (two-fold)?

 

 

 

“Celestial” and “Terrestrial”

 

The term “celestial” simply means “heavenly”. It is the adjectival form of “heaven”, and this can be seen by comparing the term for “celestial” (“ep-ourania”) with the Greek term for “heaven” (“ouranos”). Similarly, the term “terrrestrial” simply means “earthly”. If you know anything about botany, you know that plants can be classified as “aquatic” (in water) or “terrestrial” (on land, or in the “earth”). In fact, this can be easily demonstrated by noting the different renderings of the same Greek word just in this passage alone:

 

 

 

 

“epourania” - “celestial” (1 Cor. 15:40) - “heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:48)

 “epigeia” - “terrestrial” (1 Cor. 15:40) - “earthly” (2 Cor. 5:1)

 

 I find it interesting that Mormons generally refer to the “third heaven” (as per 2 Cor. 12:2-4) but when they start talking about “celestial”, “telestial”, or “terrestrial” places, they start saying “kingdoms” instead of “heavens”. I guess that on some level they’re aware of the redundancy in referring to the “celestial heaven” (as it simply means, “heavenly heaven”).

 

 

“Celestial Bodies”?

 

Mormons would have us believe that the “Celestial bodies” referred to in 1 Cor. 15 refer to the bodies we have when we’re in the “celestial kingdom”. Similarly, the “terrestrial bodies” would refer to our bodies if we inherit the “terrestrial kingdom”. But it is much simpler than that, and as usual, context is the key, and “Scripture interprets Scripture”:

 

 

 

 

I Cor. 15:39: All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

 I Cor. 15:40: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

 I Cor. 15:41: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

 

 The “earthly bodies” (or “bodies terrestrial”) are the “fleshes” of the various kinds of species (“men”, “beasts”, “fishes”, “birds”). (Apparently Paul doesn’t make a distinction between aquatic and land, or air, but simply all things living on “earth”.)



 

In contrast, the “celestial bodies”, are the same “heavenly bodies” we refer to in our day, namely the same objects listed in v. 41, “sun”, “moon”, and “stars”.

 

There is absolutely no need (nor reason) to project an artificial meaning onto the text when the text itself defines what it’s talking about.

 

 

Where is any Mention of “Telestial”?

 

If you noticed in my quote of 1 Cor. 15:40-41, there is no mention of the term, “telestial”, the alleged “third kingdom” of the three heavenly kingdoms. Such a term is found nowhere in the Bible, as it was invented by Joseph Smith in an attempt to insert his theology into the text. Compare the KJV with Joseph Smith’s rewrite, the alleged Joseph Smith “Translation”:

 

 

 

 

1 Cor. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (KJV)

 

1 Cor. 15:40 Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another. (JST)

 

 Now, there is absolutely no warrant in any Greek manuscript to add “and bodies telestial” into the text. It simply isn’t there. Paul never wrote it. It was simply an attempt by Joseph Smith to add his false doctrine into the text.

 

For those who are unaware, Smith coined the term “telestial”, simply by taking the first two letters of “te-rrestrial”, and combining it with the last part of “ce-lestial”. This is clearly a made-up word, and a made-up concept.

 

 

A “Trinity” of Heavenly Kingdoms?

 

In addition to adding the unBiblical term “telestial”, to come up with the tri-fecta of “celestial-terrestrial-telestial”, Joseph Smith and Mormons after him try to argue that there is a teaching of “three” in the “sun-moon-stars” levels of glory. But is that the intended meaning of Paul?:

 

 

 

 

I Cor. 15:39: All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

 I Cor. 15:40: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

 I Cor. 15:41: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

 

 Paul gives examples of “terrestrial” bodies (men, beasts, fishes, birds);

 Paul gives examples of “celestial” bodies (sun, moon, stars, other stars);

 

Why does Paul not similarly give a third set of examples of “telestial bodies”? For the simple fact that Paul never heard of the term “telestial”.

 

And let’s look at how many “glories” Paul gives examples of. As examples of “terrestrial (“earthly”) bodies”, Paul gives (1) men, (2) beasts, (3) fishes, (4) birds. No hint of “three” here, as Paul gives four examples, not three.

 

But what about the “celestial” (“heavenly”) bodies” examples Paul gives?

 (1) Sun, (2) Moon (3) stars, (4) other stars. Paul explicitly says “star differeth from star in glory”, so there are two different glories (at least!) associated with stars. So that makes “four”, not “three”. Yet the stars have millions of different glories, so that is far more than three. Mormons may wish to ignore Paul’s differentiation of “star differeth from star” and lump all the stars together, but certainly God knew that the sun is a star itself, so that makes only “two” (moon, and stars), not “three”. No, it takes a great deal of special pleading to get “three” out of Paul’s discourse here.

 

 

A Binary Comparison

 

We have seen that 1 Cor. 15:39ff refers to two different contexts, namely “terrestrial” (ie. “earthly”) and “celestial” (ie. “heavenly”). There is no mention of a third, “telestial”, as Joseph Smith simply made it up. So let’s continue reading Paul’s text, and see if we see anything relating to these two contexts, “earthly” and “heavenly”:

 

 

 

 

I Cor 15:42: So also is the resurrection of the dead.

It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

 I Cor 15:43: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory:

it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

 I Cor 15:44: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

 There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

 I Cor 15:45: And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul;

the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

 I Cor 15:46: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural;

and afterward that which is spiritual.

 I Cor 15:47: The first man is of the earth, earthy:

 the second man is the Lord from heaven.

 I Cor 15:48: As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy:

 and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

 I Cor 15:49: And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

 I Cor 15:50: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

 I Cor 15:51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

 I Cor 15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound,

 and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 I Cor 15:53: For this corruptible must put on incorruption,

and this mortal must put on immortality.

 I Cor 15:54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,

and this mortal shall have put on immortality,

 then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,

Death is swallowed up in victory.

 

 

Notice this binary contrast over and over again by Paul:

 

terrestrial vs. celestial;

 earthly vs. heavenly;

 corruption vs. incorruption;

 dishonour vs. glory;

 weakness vs. power;

 natural vs. spiritual;

 mortal vs. immortality;

 etc. etc.

 

This is clearly contrasting our present (corrupted, weak, mortal, etc.) earthly bodies, with the future (incorruptible, glorious, powerful, immortal) heavenly bodies. Unless one wants to argue that our future body in the “terrestrial kingdom of heaven” is going to be weak, corruptible, dishonoured, and mortal, there can be no other interpretation. Paul is contrasting the present with the future in heaven.

 

No “telestial”, just a present “terrestrial”, and a future “celestial”.

 

Not “three heavens”, but “one heaven”, with differing glories.

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