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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 6

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 6.—Of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven.

13. We believe that He Ascended into Heaven, which place of blessedness He has likewise promised unto us, saying, “They shall be as the angels in the heavens,” 1576 in that city which is the mother of us all, 1577 the Jerusalem eternal in the heavens. But it is wont to give offense to certain parties, either impious Gentiles or heretics, that we should believe in the assumption of an earthly body into heaven. The Gentiles, however, for the most part, set themselves diligently to ply us with the arguments of the philosophers, to the effect of affirming that there cannot possibly be anything earthly in heaven. For they know not our Scriptures, neither do they understand how it has been said, “It is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body.” 1578 For thus it has not been expressed, as if body were turned into spirit and became spirit; inasmuch as at present, too, our body, which is called animal (animale), has not been turned into soul and become soul (anima). But by a spiritual body is meant one which has been made subject to spirit in such wise 1579 that it is adapted to a heavenly habitation, all frailty and every earthly blemish having been changed and converted into heavenly purity and stability. This is the change concerning which the apostle likewise speaks thus: “We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed.” 1580 And that this change is made not unto the worse, but unto the better, the same [apostle] teaches, when he says, “And we shall be changed.” 1581 But the question as to where and in what manner the Lord’s body is in heaven, is one which it would be altogether over-curious and superfluous to prosecute. Only we must believe that it is in heaven. For it pertains not to our frailty to investigate the secret things of heaven, but it does pertain to our faith to hold elevated and honorable sentiments on the subject of the dignity of the Lord’s body.



Matt. 22.30


Gal. 4.26Gal. iv. 26


1 Cor. 15.441 Cor. xv. 44


Adopting the Benedictine reading, quod ita spiritui subditum est. But several mss. give quia ita coaptandum est = it is understood to be a spiritual body, in that it is to be so adapted as to suit a heavenly habitation.


1 Cor. 15.511 Cor. xv. 51, according to the Vulgate’s transposition of the negative.


1 Cor. 15.521 Cor. xv. 52

Next: Chapter 7

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