A Place for Heaven

A Place for Heaven

Is heaven a place or not? This quote seems to make it clear it is not

“Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.” place T-18.VI.1

This is often quoted to show that heaven is not a place, but what is left out is the sentence that precedes it which reads:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God, who left not his Father and dwells not apart from Him.”

The word “place” in reference to heaven is used twice in the same paragraph, first saying that heaven is a place, and then saying it is not.

In fact, there are a lot more references to it being a place than not. This one uses the word “place” two times in referring to heaven:

“Yet it is not illusions that have reached this final obstacle which seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that They cannot be reached. Here in this holy PLACE does truth stand waiting to receive you and your brother in silent blessing, and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this PLACE, to which you come in hope and honesty.” place T-24.II.9

It refers to the kingdom of heaven as a “resting place.”

“Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven. place Such is the resting PLACE where your Father has placed you forever.” place W-pI.50.5

Then it even speaks of a place in heaven:

“Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you. And every empty PLACE in Heaven that you fill again with the eternal light you bring, shines now on you.” place T-22.VI.5

 (Capitals added)

So, what gives here? Is the Course contradicting itself or what?

Actually, apparent contradictions like this can be found in most any writing of a teacher who puts out a significant volume of words.

The Course itself tells us the solution to understanding in these situations. It portrays the outward description, such as the words used, as the frame or the form, but the actual intended meaning as the picture or the content. It says the ego looks at the form and becomes confused, but in our right mind we should see the actual picture or the content.

When the content, or the actual intent is seen in the Course, one will see that there is no conflict because the student will see that which was truly intended to be communicated.

That said, let us look for the true intended meaning behind these quotes.

When it says that heaven is not a place it adds this in the next verse:

“The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and of your Identity.” T-18.VI.2

The obvious intended meaning is to not look for heaven as being a “something outside yourself.”

In other words, heaven does not exist in time, space and form. Don’t expect to find heaven on Venus, the Sun or the center of the galaxy.

Heaven is not a place you can physically travel to. It is also not a condition you can make here on the earth. Getting rich and famous, having good health or even good relationships here are all conditions, and not heaven as the content reveals.

Instead, it is “an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.”

So, what is the Course saying then when it speaks of heaven as a place?

To understand we must realize that the word “place” has several applications. place The Course uses the word “place” in relation to heaven in two contexts. The first is a place in time and space, which it says does not really exist because time and space does not exist in heaven.

The second is closest to an alternative dictionary definition which says place can be “a state of mind.” This seems to be the intent when the Course speaks of heaven as a place.

Thus, if one student speaks of heaven as a state of mind, or awareness, and he is corrected by another who tells him that heaven is not a place, it is the one correcting that is in error because he is looking at the frame rather than the content/intent of the writer/speaker.

Ultimately, we are told that heaven is “perfect Oneness” and we cannot have perfect oneness if we look at the frame rather than the true picture that is intended to be communicated, and we cannot see the true picture unless we see how the word is intended to be used.

When describing feelings one may say, “I am in a good place now.” Here he is talking about his state of mind, not where his feet are, and to respond as if he were talking about the placement of his body would show a lack of understanding.

One may even describe some strange place he visited in his dreams, but few would think he was talking about something happening in the physical body.

The bottom line is that effective understanding demands that we not always go by a single definition for each word, when there may be several, and to always seek the meaning the author intended to convey rather than what may appear on the surface.

If you happen then to catch me saying something indicating that heaven is a place, rest assured that I am not saying it is somewhere we can find in a spaceship, but I am using it to represent a state of being, as does the Course.

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