Saturday, November 23, 2013

Where is Heaven?

Learning a second language opens up your eyes and gives you a fresh perspective on the world. It also gives you an older, even ancient perspective, a glimpse into the past.

I was a bit startled to learn that in my new language I would literally be praying to "our father who is in the sky" or "our sky dad". Mormons don't believe Heavenly Father's in sky! Where does the word "heaven" come from anyway? Oh, it means the clouds? Shit. So "heavenly father" means "cloud dad" or "dad obscured by clouds"? No shit? That makes it sound like we're part of some ancient tribe who worships the sun or something...

I remember as a child wondering about all the depictions of angels living in clouds and Jesus coming down from the clouds and God laying across the clouds and stuff like that and wondering what it would be like to hang out on top of clouds, but to my recollection I always had the presence of mind to not let my thoughts wander too far down that path. We Mormons knew God was in Outer-space on a planet in the Kolob system! We weren't delusionally looking to the sky for God!

The people at the Tower of Babel were naive enough to try to get to heaven by building a tower, though. And our dad in the sky was mad enough he changed all their languages (and apparently no one was insistent enough to get back together to sit down and learn each other's new language). Not like that's the only time the Scriptures indicate that God's in the sky or clouds somewhere. The references are many and often strictly literal.

I couldn't help but doubt. For all I could tell human beings once believed the gods lived in the clouds beyond our vision, but as science and logic expanded our understanding of the universe God has continually been pushed to the edges of human vision and understanding. We've chased God out of the sky with telescopes, airplanes, and satellites; we've chased him from our solar system; now God hides out in a galaxy far far away where we can never find him. He's an alien and space traveler with a taste for Earth clouds. Or is he? I mean Abraham 3 sounds pretty authentic, doesn't it? Nothing about it sounds like 19th century bullshit, right? 

I'm no fan of this movie but it gets some things right.

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