Did the Ascension Really Happen? image

Did the Ascension Really Happen?

We must in any case understand objectively the statement that Jesus Christ was taken up from earth into heaven before the eyes of the disciples. This must not be reinterpreted to mean an inner elevation which men experience in fellowship with Christ. It is true that men do experience such. But first of all, decisively, and undergirding every elevation we share, we have to do here with the one Jesus Christ himself in his difference and distance from all other men.

The conquest of death and the exaltation of life was an event in Jesus Christ the Head. His exaltation is history just as his humiliation is history. For this reason we must simply say No to Bultmann’s “demythologisation” of the New Testament. The “resurrection of Jesus Christ” means the resurrection of this one person distinguished from all others, and thus an event in time and space just like the event of Golgotha. If it does not mean that, this even is reduced to a new determination of human existence, to the awakening of faith in the first disciples. Then there is no Christ for us and over us to substantiate the existence of Christ in us. Then the Easter message as such is subverted and nullified.

- Karl Barth, Learning Jesus Christ Through the Heidelberg Catechism, on Q46.

Happy Ascension Day!

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