Is the "Right Hand of God" a physical place?

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One of the standard arguments against Lutheran Christology and sacramental theory is that the right hand of God, the place to which Christ bodily ascended, is a local place. As such, Christ is not carnally present in the sacrament, nor is his human nature ubiquitous.

However, if "the right hand of God" is merely a metaphor--which Lutherans would argue because God the father is bodiless--then does the above argument work?
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Jacob:

To the question of "the right hand of God" being "merely a metaphor," I would refer you to an excellent article (two, actually) by Vern Poythress in the latest Westminster Theological Journal : "Rethinking Accomodation in Revelation," and "A Misunderstanding of Calvin's Interpretation of Genesis 1:6-8 and 1:5 and Its Implications for Ideas of Accomodation." He has a very helpful discussion in these that will shed some important light on the question of anthropomorphisms, metaphors, etc.

As to the question of the location of Christ's body, whatever the "right hand of God" may mean, Christ's body, since it is a human body, must have a particular location (human bodies always do) and for that reason cannot be ubiquitous. He is, of course, by virtue of His divinity, omnipresent. But the Lutheran divinizing of His humanity by making it ubiquitous transgresses the proper boundaries observed at Chalcedon (451) and shades off towards monophysitism.

Peace,
Alan
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Alan,

Do you have the WTS volume citations for these two articles? I do not see them listed in the WTJ index for Poythress at the galaxie.com site.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Thanks, Dr. Strange. Now I now why it is not at the Galaxie.com site as of yet. ;) I am a wee bit behind reading my paper copies.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
One of the standard arguments against Lutheran Christology and sacramental theory is that the right hand of God, the place to which Christ bodily ascended, is a local place. As such, Christ is not carnally present in the sacrament, nor is his human nature ubiquitous.

However, if "the right hand of God" is merely a metaphor--which Lutherans would argue because God the father is bodiless--then does the above argument work?

The Scriptures don't just speak of our Lord being at the right hand of God, but also that He is in Heaven.

E.g.
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

If Heaven is merely a metaphor, what hope have Christian people - including Lutherans and the Reformed - got?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One of the standard arguments against Lutheran Christology and sacramental theory is that the right hand of God, the place to which Christ bodily ascended, is a local place. As such, Christ is not carnally present in the sacrament, nor is his human nature ubiquitous.

However, if "the right hand of God" is merely a metaphor--which Lutherans would argue because God the father is bodiless--then does the above argument work?

The Scriptures don't just speak of our Lord being at the right hand of God, but also that He is in Heaven.

E.g.
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

If Heaven is merely a metaphor, what hope have Christian people - including Lutherans and the Reformed - got?

Of course that is true. It does raise the question of how we define heaven. Is it a corporeal place right now (I am willing to accept that it is) or is it "God's dimension of reality? (a problematic definition but one that raises good questions).
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Well the spirits of just men made perfect are there, but also Enoch in body and soul, Elijah in body and soul, our Lord in body and soul, and maybe Moses (?) in body and soul. Also, maybe, those who were raised from death at Jerusalem at the time of our Lord's crucifixion.

Whatever the precise nature of the Heaven of Heavens/Third Heaven, and its relation to this world, it is certainly not a mere metaphor.

Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
As the Bible teaches and as our secondary standards says, "God is spirit...". No physical right hand (or left hand, for that matter). It's a figure of speech meaning: "in God's presence."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Well the spirits of just men made perfect are there, but also Enoch in body and soul, Elijah in body and soul, our Lord in body and soul, and maybe Moses (?) in body and soul. Also, maybe, those who were raised from death at Jerusalem at the time of our Lord's crucifixion.

Whatever the precise nature of the Heaven of Heavens/Third Heaven, and its relation to this world, it is certainly not a mere metaphor.

Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2

Perhaps Enoch and Elijah are present bodily, but certainly not Moses as the general resurrection hasn't happened yet.

I wasn't suggesting that "heaven" is a metaphor. I was simply pointing out that many people--even biblical writers--use that word but assume different definitions for it.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Enoch and Elijah are somewhere, and it must be Heaven if they are enjoying their covenantal reward, promised to them by God.

I only mention the possibility of Moses being there in body and soul because of certain mysterious things said about his grave and body (e.g. Jude).

The fact that some people are there bodily, may imply that Heaven is more than "just" spiritual.

Everything implies that it is a place where God's presence and glory is peculiarly revealed and where the saints go in death. Certain passages point to its nearness, or at least the fact that it is not a "long journey" to get there. E.g. the Apostle Paul, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord."

It's not you that is implying that Heaven is a mere metaphor, but it would be the Lutherans if they took such an argument as you proposed seriously.

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One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
I only mention the possibility of Moses being there in body and soul because of certain mysterious things said about his grave and body (e.g. Jude).

It was my impression that Moses was resurrected bodily from this verse, as well as appearing with Elijah in a Glorified state
at Our Lord's Tranfiguration.


As the Bible teaches and as our secondary standards says, "God is spirit...". No physical right hand (or left hand, for that matter). It's a figure of speech meaning: "in God's presence."

Though God is a spirit without bodily parts & this is an anthropomorphism, the figure (of speech) denotes that Christ has been seated with God as to Position & Authority, that He co-equally rules & reigns with God as God.

God is omnipresent though Christ's physical body is not, God may well have a "throne" in Heaven, were Christ is seated & where He chooses to make an appearance or Theophany of Himself for the sake of His creatures.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I only mention the possibility of Moses being there in body and soul because of certain mysterious things said about his grave and body (e.g. Jude).

It was my impression that Moses was resurrected bodily from this verse, as well as appearing with Elijah in a Glorified state
at Our Lord's Tranfiguration.

Resurrection almost always (always?) denotes coming back to bodily existence. The verse doesn't say that.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
In Psalm 109, the Lord is at the right hand of the poor. In Psalm 110, the Lord is at the right hand of God
In the case of the poor is means physical? or accessibility?

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Can't have both to the right. God is at the right hand of Jesus and Jesus is at the right hand of God says not to take the phrase in a wooden literal way
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Could have "both to the right" if both God and the man are in counter-position (ala face-to-face) to one another, rather than occupying a same-space conception.

In which case, the figure of the Lord would be in the Mediator's position, between God and man, to the right hand of both. Actually, a very biblical concept.

Thoughts concerning the "right hand of God" is one that can handle both metaphoric/spiritual aspects, and spatio-temporal aspects.

Jesus is in a "right hand" relation to the Father. And, he is "away from here" in his body, with the intent to "come again."
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
I only mention the possibility of Moses being there in body and soul because of certain mysterious things said about his grave and body (e.g. Jude).

It was my impression that Moses was resurrected bodily from this verse, as well as appearing with Elijah in a Glorified state at Our Lord's Transfiguration.

Resurrection almost always (always?) denotes coming back to bodily existence. The verse doesn't say that.

which verse are you refering to the Jude one or the gospel one?

Jude vs 9: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses,

Luke 9:30-31: And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:Who appeared in glory,


Jude mentions that Moses body was contested by Satan, so I'd say he was dead & the fact that he appeared at Our Lord's
Transfiguration indicates that he was Resurrected, no?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I only mention the possibility of Moses being there in body and soul because of certain mysterious things said about his grave and body (e.g. Jude).

It was my impression that Moses was resurrected bodily from this verse, as well as appearing with Elijah in a Glorified state at Our Lord's Transfiguration.

Resurrection almost always (always?) denotes coming back to bodily existence. The verse doesn't say that.

which verse are you refering to the Jude one or the gospel one?

Jude vs 9: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses,

Luke 9:30-31: And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:Who appeared in glory,


Jude mentions that Moses body was contested by Satan, so I'd say he was dead & the fact that he appeared at Our Lord's
Transfiguration indicates that he was Resurrected, no?

No, I would say he is not resurrected yet. It's hard to read 1 Corinthians 15 and say Moses was resurrected. Christ the firstfruits, then those at his coming
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
No? it was supposed to be a rhetorical question :eek:

Jude 9, clearly says the body of Moses as in he's not amongst the living, kaput, au revoir, you know like dead :tombstone: so Luke 9:30-31 likewise makes the mention that Moses appeared in a Glorified state, I can't understand how you fail to see that, the text is clear, it mentions a dead body & a glorified state, theres only one thing standing between the two, ssshhh I speak in whispered tones .... resurrection.

1 Cor 15 does give the general pattern, but God is Lord of the Living, He can give Life to whom He pleases, when He pleases, He was pleased to give it to Enoch, he was translated or raptured if you will, now are you're going to tell me
this couldn't happen because 1 Thess 4 says that the dead in Christ shall rise first, followed by those who are alive.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
No? it was supposed to be a rhetorical question :eek:

Jude 9, clearly says the body of Moses as in he's not amongst the living, kaput, au revoir, you know like dead :tombstone: so Luke 9:30-31 likewise makes the mention that Moses appeared in a Glorified state, I can't understand how you fail to see that, the text is clear, it mentions a dead body & a glorified state, theres only one thing standing between the two, ssshhh I speak in whispered tones .... resurrection.

1 Cor 15 does give the general pattern, but God is Lord of the Living, He can give Life to whom He pleases, when He pleases, He was pleased to give it to Enoch, he was translated or raptured if you will, now are you're going to tell me
this couldn't happen because 1 Thess 4 says that the dead in Christ shall rise first, followed by those who are alive.

The contention of the body of Moses could have been for it while He was alive. Like Job in that The Lord did not allow satan to kill him.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Shorter Catechism: "Our bodies, still being united to Christ, do rest in their graves until the Resurrection."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
No? it was supposed to be a rhetorical question :eek:

Jude 9, clearly says the body of Moses as in he's not amongst the living, kaput, au revoir, you know like dead :tombstone: so Luke 9:30-31 likewise makes the mention that Moses appeared in a Glorified state, I can't understand how you fail to see that, the text is clear, it mentions a dead body & a glorified state, theres only one thing standing between the two, ssshhh I speak in whispered tones .... resurrection.

1 Cor 15 does give the general pattern, but God is Lord of the Living, He can give Life to whom He pleases, when He pleases, He was pleased to give it to Enoch, he was translated or raptured if you will, now are you're going to tell me
this couldn't happen because 1 Thess 4 says that the dead in Christ shall rise first, followed by those who are alive.

Enoch is in a different category than Moses Moses died.
 
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