Talk:Entering Heaven alive

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Suggestion to change the name of the article[edit]

In the deletion discussion, several editors have suggested that the name of the article should be changed from "List of people who went to heaven alive".

Some research[edit]

(please feel free to add facts to this in whatever way would be useful)

The concept described in the article title has been called "translation into heaven", "ascension into heaven" and "assumption into heaven", all of which produce Google hits:

  • "translation into heaven" — 3,260 Google hits
  • "assumption into heaven" — 28,800 ghits
  • "ascension into heaven" — 128,000 ghits

Google hits, however, may be biased toward Christian terminology, both because Christianity is represented strongly in the English-language World Wide Web and because both the founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth and Mary, mother of Jesus are said to have gone to heaven without dying. *added note Jesus is believed to have died before ascension, while the considerably less certain ascension of Mary is said to have occured at the end of her life before death.

Christian figures:

  • Jesus + "translation into heaven" — 4,820 hits
  • Mary + "translation into heaven" — 1,960 hits
  • Jesus + "assumption into heaven" — 21,300 hits (and the first 10 are about Mary)
  • Mary + "assumption into heaven" — 24,700 hits
  • Jesus + "ascension into heaven" — 107,000 hits
  • Mary + "ascension into heaven" — 60,400 hits


  • Elijah + "translation into heaven" — 625 hits
  • Elijah + "assumption into heaven" — 2,830 hits
  • Elijah + "ascension into heaven" — 13,600 hits

Muhammad (search results vary slightly depending on the spelling of "Muhammad"; I'm not sure whether or not Google combines spellings):

  • Muhammad + "translation into heaven" — 9 hits (count 'em, NINE!)
  • Muhammad + "assumption into heaven" — 278 hits
  • Muhammad + "ascension into heaven" — 13,600 hits

"Ascension" is clearly the most popular term and therefore the one readers are most likely to use in search engines and Wikipedia searching. It's not the last word on the subject: Other factors should be considered, including neutrality of wording.

Additional research[edit]

Translation to heaven Searching for the phrase "translation to heaven", instead of "translation into heaven", yields the following results:

  • "translation to heaven" — 41,700 ghits
  • Jesus + "translation to heaven" — 22,500 ghits
  • Mary + "translation to heaven" — 6,310 hits
  • Elijah + "translation to heaven" — 1,460 hits
  • Muhammad + "translation to heaven" — 4 - 300 ghits depending on spelling

Despite the revised figures, "ascension into heaven" is still the most common usage in every instance.

Google Scholar

  • "translation to heaven" — 56 hits
  • "assumption into heaven" — 161 hits
  • "ascension into heaven" — 368 hits

Google Books

  • "translation to heaven" — 609 hits
  • "assumption into heaven" — 632 hits
  • "ascension into heaven" — 814 hits

The results show rather consistently that "ascension into heaven" is the most common of the three. However, one question we should consider is this: is it perhaps the most common because it refers to a general idea of "entrance into heaven" instead of the particular concept of "entrance into heaven while still living"? I'm not insisting that this is the case, but it's a possibility we should consider. -- Black Falcon 23:27, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Proposed wording[edit]

Remove the word "List" since the article can be constructed as something other than a list and there is no other Wikipedia article covering the subject across religions.

Use the word "Ascension" because it appears to be the most popular and appears neutral; we should try to make article names easy for readers to understand intuitively, without doing a lot of searching to find an article.

Ideas (feel free to add more):

Ascension and assumption — an editor has commented on the deletion page that "ascension" really refers to Christ and "assumption" to others, the idea being that Christ died, was resurrected and then went to heaven, while others didn't die. I think it's definitely worth considering, and it's a point that's now going to drive me to a dictionary or two. There's a point somewhere on a style page about naming articles that says nonspecialist language is to be preferred over specialist language, and that may be the case here. The Google hits seem to indicate popular usage, and if it's usage confirmed in a dictionary, I think that overpowers this objection. The distinction between the two words could be very useful in the body of the article. Noroton 23:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Ascension into heaven[edit]


  1. Support --Richard 20:50, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support (see below) I would rather see this article address the topic as all three faiths combined for the reasons in my comment on the Afd, that it brings an inquirer to a commonality of concept, rather than a quirk of creed (Wow, how's that for alliteration!); knowledge that unites rather than divides. I don't think that is POV, I don't intend it that way, and I have no objection to any other faith/mythology being added to the mix. I also think that an article that speaks to a concept in broad, cross-cultural terms has a better chance of surviving another Afd. killing sparrows 21:38, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support FOR THE MOMENT, I'M CHANGING TO NEUTRAL, SEE COMMENT BELOW I think Ascension into heaven is simple, neutral and intuitive. Noroton 22:40, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  4. Support - ascension seems to be the one which most clearly implies voluntary movement, which I think is probably appropriate in this case. John Carter 18:32, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
  5. Support - changed my opinion - see reply below. -- BPMullins | Talk 21:21, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
  6. Support following the finding by BPMullins. Neutrality was my only regarding "ascension" and that has been put to rest to my satisfaction. -- Black Falcon 21:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm trying to find out more about the meaingings of "translation", "ascension" and "assumption" with some library research, which is taking longer than I thought it would. I also want to review Web results. Please, no one change the title just yet. I just want to nail down that "ascension" can apply to the circumstances we're talking about. We're not obliged to use any words as only some particular religion would use them but as the broad consensus of English speakers would use them, or at least how general dictionaries would define them, but I want to confirm a few things before going any farther. Please be patient. Noroton 04:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)



  1. Neutral - I feel like Ascension into heaven is a bit clumsy of a title, although I agree that the word "ascension" is preferable to "translation" or "assumption". I don't necessarily support the name but will accept it if concensus leans that way, barring the suggestion of something superior. I can't think of anything better though, myself! Arkyan • (talk) 23:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. Neutral at the moment. Unfortunately, I don't think any variation of Ascension is neutral because of its strong association with Christianity in the Feast of the Ascension. -- BPMullins | Talk 23:24, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the ppularity in the use of "ascension" related to Elijah and Muhammad indicates that the word is preferred by non-Christians for subjects that aren't specifically Christian. Christians, of course, should have a lot of weight in this matter, and the fact that the word is used in relation to a Christian subject is, IMHO, a strong point in its favor. I think only if it's actually inaccurate or even offensive in the context of another religion we should avoid it.Noroton 18:23, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I've changed to support above. After some library work, I've found that the carefully objective Encyclopedia of Religion treats the subject under Ascension which is more than enough for me. -- BPMullins | Talk 21:21, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Neutral/Oppose See my comments below, are there sources that link Xian/Muslim views on this specific topic? Perhaps Jesus/Mohamed, but Mary/Mohamed? What about St John? That seems closer to Mohamed's experience. I'm leaning towards three seperate articles but willing to be reasoned with. killing sparrows 04:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Re: Jesus[edit]

Uhh, not to be picky, but I think Jesus died first and then went to heaven, 'was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven...', the Nicene Creed I think. The others listed all ascended without experiencing physical death, though I'm not sure if the distinction matters. I am supporting this article in the AfD, and whatever final form it takes I hope there is a way to reach the list (via Wikilinks) as a common but varying concept, especially the ties between Christian, Jewish and Islamic understanding of this concept. Thnx --killing sparrows 20:56, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

He died, went to Hell, came back alive and then ascended into Heaven. -- Kendrick7talk 21:14, 29 March 2007 (UTC) Man, and I thought I had some wild weekends....
Right. My point was that all the others were 'mortals,' or ordinary human beings who never experienced physical death. I don't mean to start a debate, just wondering if the distinction matters in the context of this article. Perhaps not as I believe Mohamed went to heaven, came back, and died later. killing sparrows 21:27, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
It would be worth pointing out the distinction in the article. However, Jesus would still deserve a place on the article b/c he ascended while alive. --Tim4christ17 talk 17:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


Question On the point raised regarding WP:ATT and WP:V, which I mentioned above; Is there an accepted or alternate standard for people mentioned in various scriptures (of whatever faith)? I can't think of any way, other than through those documents to verify even the existence of historical/mythological person's such as Eve, Moses, Ahura Mazda, etc. All secondary sources derive from them and most, if not all, uncritically accept/assume the validity of the source and are not WP:NPOV. How is this issue dealt with in what must be numerous articles. This is not an 'other crap exists' question. killing sparrows 21:19, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't know the "official" answer to your question but here's my answer based on my gut feel: If the assertion is incontrovertibly stated in the Bible and can be supported by a single unambiguous scriptural passage and there is no theological controversy over the meaning of the passage, then it should be sufficient to say "According to the Book of Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth". The "According to..." should be enough to tip off the reader that this is not an assertion that the assertion which follows is true but simply that it is true that the Bible makes that assertion asserted by the Bible.
However, if the passage is ambiguous or there is theological controversy, then the assertion should be stated less boldly e.g. "Catholic doctrine holds that divorced people should not remarry" followed by a citation to a non-Biblical source. In general, I think that non-Biblical sources are preferable if we are talking about theological doctrines that require interpretation of the Bible. That Jesus was the son of Mary is simply and incontrovertibly asserted in the Bible. That there are three persons in one God is not so clearly spelled out in the Bible and therefore the doctrine of the Trinity requires more support than a scriptural passage.
--Richard 21:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I actually meant to post the question on the debate page but that is the info I was looking for, so thanks. I won't post it there. killing sparrows 21:43, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
WP:ATT#Primary and secondary sources: pertinent here. Whenever possible, use secondary sources. Cite not the Bible, if possible, but cite scholarly commentary of the Bible. That's easy, since every passage of every religion's every scripture has been subjected to the most thorough sifting and scrounging and nitpicking. There will always be secondary sources on these sorts of topics. Now, to the question of what needs to be attributed... it can be reliably sourced that people have believed these things and that is WP:ATT and WP:V (not whether or not these things actually happened, which would be WP:TRUTH, a policy we don't have). The other issue is WP:NOR, specifically WP:SYN. Shirahadasha has brought this up although few others have. It is an important issue whether or not these different figures have been addressed together in secondary sources. If there are no secondary sources saying something like "Elijah, Jesus, Muhammad, et al. reprresent a common theme in scriptural literature", then this article may be a synthesis of original research, drawing together disparate instances that are not studied together and not really related (which heaven did Appolonius ascend to, and which god(s) did he meet there?). Now, I would argue that to take a sane approach, sourcing must be allowed to be transitive: if one source discusses Jesus and Muhammad, and another source discusses Jesus and Elijah, then Muhammad and Elijah can play together. I would anticipate that there are sources out there that can be used which address this topic widely and so dismiss WP:SYN concerns, but it doesn't seem that those sources are being used yet. I do not yet know how I would !vote on this AFD, so I won't comment there, but feel free to quote me there if necessary. coelacan — 08:07, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Is there a way...?[edit]

I am new here and would like to start throwing some ideas out as to how the article might be written but I don't want to start an edit war or muddy the waters of the AfD. Isn't there a way to have a subpage where different versions/edits could be presented and commented on/changed without conflict? an example for the intro paragraph...

Ascension is a term meant to address the concept whereby individuals in faiths possessing belief in an existence after physical life on earth are transferred to that state either without the experience of death of the body, or in a manner markedly different from the majority of believers who reach that state by that faith's usual methods.

I don't like the mention of christianity or the concepts of sin or holiness in the intro, or even heaven, as all those terms weight things from the start and all can be specifically addressed in each faith's particulars.

I also think we should look at Shirahadasha's comments on the AfD, she raises some valid points. killing sparrows 04:10, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for showing restraint. Better to discuss than to start a revert war.
The simple answer to your question "Isn't there a way to have a subpage where ..." is "Yes, but not in article mainspace." Also, if you expect to compare several versions of text which are quite lengthy, then creating multiple sandboxes can be useful. However, if you are suggesting fairly simple changes in an intro that is only one or two paragraphs then a sandbox is a bit of overkill.
I would suggest that you simply propose an alternative intro right here on the Talk Page and explain what the issues are in the current intro that your proposed intro addresses.
In general, I agree with the point you made about not mentioning Christian belief in the intro and have moved the last sentence of the intro into the section on Christianity. --Richard 05:00, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Jews in Heaven?[edit]

The article says the midrash says nine people ascended into heaven. Only three are named. Who are the other six? Also, other people should be included including Moriancumer (according to 9 Mohonri, Abraham (according to the Assumption of Abraham), and a few others. John Carter 14:17, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I added a citation for the assertion. Still no list of names. [The 'z' needs a dot under, and I don't have a unicode reference handy. Would somebody add it?] -- BPMullins | Talk 21:17, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the Assumption of Abraham. Can you provide a cite? Sounds worth following up. -- BPMullins | Talk 14:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
See the section Abraham's Ascension here. John Carter 14:32, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. I didn't think of searching on 'Apocalypse of A.' Thanks! -- BPMullins | Talk 20:55, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Comments on the Judaism section, from the deletion discussion[edit]

I'm taking the liberty of cross-posting here these comments from the deletion discussion because they raise objections that can be used to improve the article:

  • Comment This certainly isn't a joke, and there are sources for the individuals given. However, there are significant WP:OR and WP:NPOV problems not solvable simply by changing the title. One difficulty is that there are enormous differences between the degree of belief and sourcing for various individuals. In Judaism, for example, Elijah is specifically mentioned in the Bible, while other figures are mentioned only in relatively minor Midrashic sources. Simply listing them creates an appearance of commonality of belief and importance which simply doesn't exist in the underlying religious traditions. A more fundamental problem is that the whole topic, as it stands, represents WP:OR -- it claims a commonality among figures who have different stories. for example it presents them as going to a common, a place called "Heaven", which is impliedly represented as being common to every religion listed, even though not every religion listed has this concept. I'm not sure that changing the name would solve the problem. I'm not questioning that this could be a valid topic. It's the business of original researchers to identify common themes in disparate cultures and to provide explanations why regarding the themes as common is legitimate. But I don't believe it's the business of Wikipedia to do this sort of original research. And it's even less the business of Wikipedia to do it in a way that treats commonality as a hidden assumption which the reader is required to take for granted. The article should at least address the question of whether other religions actually have a comparable concept of "heaven" rather than fitting them into the framework of ones own worldview unquestioningly. --Shirahadasha 01:18, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Comment I've posted requests for editors to look at this article and deletion discussion at WikiProject talk pages for Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and, I think, Religion hoping to get some useable insight of this general sort. But I have to respond that absolutely none of Shirahadasha's points show any reason at all to delete, only to further improve the Judaism section of the article (there's already a notice at the top of that section calling for improvements). There is a Wikipedia article, Heaven, which is linked to in the top paragraph of this article and where the Jewish concepts of the afterlife are discussed, and it would be proper to note some differences in the concept of heaven or note the absence of the belief in heaven in Judaism, if that's the case. Of course, that explanation would have to address the citations from Genesis and 2 Kings already in the article. I'm going to copy and cross post S's valuable comment above to the article's talk page and respond to other points about article content, which don't need to be addressed further here.Noroton 19:08, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

((end of copying from the deletion discussion)

The WP:Original research point is easy to dispose of: Sufficient sourcing exists to show that there is a widely recognized common element in the beliefs that Enoch, Elijah, Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and others were (a) taken from this earth without dying and (b) brought to be with God. It does not constitute original research to say that this common concept exists in different religions. It does not have to exist in all religions or exist in the same way in all religions. Differences need to be explained, but they don't mean that there are no important common elements. It does not constitute original research to note something that is obvious.

As to the treatment of "heaven", that should be dealt with in the wording of the top section, where it can be briefly noted that the concept of these people going to heaven is, in Judaism ... well, whatever it is in Judaism. An explanation of what the significant Jewish beliefs are about what happened to Elijah and Enoch is needed in the Judaism section. Whatever explanation is given, it should deal with 2 Kings 2:11 "and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind" (New American Bible translation; Roman Catholic).

Keep in mind that the Christian section should have information about what Christians believe about Enoch and Elijah just as the Islam section properly has information about what Muslims believe about Jesus and Mary. But without having more information on the state of Jewish opinions on Enoch and Elijah it is difficult to know what to put in the Christian section, because it might be (in part or in whole) unnecesarily repetitive.

If there are other significant Jewish beliefs about ascension of other people, that should be addressed in whatever way is most appropriate. Noroton 19:53, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for posting the above here for reference, it's easier to have it in one place. I do think that we have to be careful to avoid WP:SYN though. I stated in the Afd and on this article's talk page my desire for the different faiths being addressed on the same page, but I'm having second thoughts. Being raised in a Western/Christian culture, as I assume most of us are (whether we are 'believers' or not), it is easy to assume that 'heaven' is a universal concept, but is that really the case? WP has an article, Heaven, that in the opening paragraph mentions acceptance of Jesus Christ as a personal savior, but goes on to discuss other faiths outside the Abrahamic tradition, which seems a very POV weighting to me! I can see an article on Buddhism and it's views on afterlife, and how, who or when they get there, but I doubt that has a place here. One could say that the Buddha, while alive, attained that faith's highest state while chilling under the Bo tree, but it would be a stretch to say that has anything to do with this article.Even dividing Jewish and Christian views here is problematic as the OT folks mentioned here must be part of the Christian concept, but the specifically Christian people (Jesus, Mary) are not part of the Jewish tradition, and both I assume reject the idea that Mohamed be seen as part of the same tradition. I think this is part of the point that Shirahadasha was trying to make. If there is a place in WP for this concept generally or inclusively, it should be much closer to Afterlife than Heaven. If that isn't possible, would it be better to address each faith in a seperate article? Isn't it somewhat a synthesis to even list these together, especially in regard to anything outside the J/C/M tradition, which have at least a common origin?

The experiences we are grouping together have at least as many differences as commonalities. Jesus died physically first, Mary (according to tradition, not scripture) did not die first. Mohamed went, returned, then died. St John, not mentioned here yet, claimed to have been 'taken up,' and returned to write about the experience, arguably analogous to Mohamed's journey. The language describing the OT dudes experiences varies although I'm sure sources can be found to tie the experiences and final destination, but still... I am not trying to be an obstructionist here, but these are real issues. We are not writing an article for any smaller subset than humanity, it should be just as NPOV viewed by Christian, Muslim, Taoist or Atheist, or those in the embrace of the Noodly Appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. killing sparrows 03:50, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Strike my St John refs, I think that was all 'in a vision,' not corporeally. --killing sparrows 05:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
There are enough significant similarities to justify an article on what is obviously the subject of religious beliefs about people who go to heaven alive. To point out that there are different conceptions of a reward in the afterlife is not to prove that there are no significant similarities in these descriptions. I've said elsewhere that I think there should be separate articles involving the beliefs of each of the religions on this subject, but that doesn't mean those beliefs should not be compared and contrasted here, in this article. Noroton 16:35, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Comments on the Christian section, from the deletion discussion[edit]

An editor makes some interesting points regarding the Christian section:

(a) the article states "Belief in the ascension of Christ is part of the Reformed churches tradition" but it is actually part of all orthodox tradition
(b) ascension is after death (ie with dying), assumption is before death (ie without dying)

My response: (a) isn't technically wrong and is easily fixed to avoid confusion with rewriting; (b) bears further investigation. My initial search on the Web indicates the distinction is that Christ rose to heaven by his own power, whereas the others were not under their own power. If it can be referenced, any distinction between the terms should be noted in the article. Noroton 00:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Without sin..., and other points.[edit]

As Xian belief accepts Enoch, Elijah and Sirach (Is Sirach only in RC, not Protestant?) arriving by alternate means but makes no claim of sinlessness for these people, I think some rewording needs to be done here. Any thoughts? Also see Elijah and Bosom of Abraham for alternate positions on final destination of Elijah.

The entry in WP, Translation, says nothing about 'translated' persons going to heaven. Perhaps there are sources that make this claim but they should be found before placing that concept in this article.

Again, I think addressing persons/faiths outside J/C/M hopelessly muddies the waters.

killing sparrows 15:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

The relevant article on Translation as a religious concept is at Translation (Mormon), but it applies to more faiths than just theirs. (Try Googling "translation of Elijah" for some additional online discussions and sources.) Seventh-Day Adventism uses the term to refer both to what happened during Elijah's journey to heaven and the "taking up" of the believers at the second advent of Christ. (Prophets and Kings page 227, near the bottom of the web document) --tjstrf talk 20:57, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the inclusion of Mary, the Catholic Encyclopedia has...(bolding mine in all three sections)

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady's death, nothing certain is known. The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in the Greek work De Obitu S. Dominae. Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition. Epiphanius (d. 403) acknowledged that he knew nothing definite about it (Haer., lxxix, 11). The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem.

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

Note: By promulgating the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. Likewise, the Second Vatican Council taught in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium that "the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59)."]

It would seem this would take her out of this article unless someone has a different source or we are going to broaden the criteria. killing sparrows 00:04, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that whether or not she died is irrelevant to the idea that she entered into heaven alive. The point is whether or not her entering into heaven alive is a religious belief. If it is, then whether or not she died is a detail in connection with the subject of this article (she either didn't die first or was resurrected, either way she would have been alive at assumption), and not a criterion. Noroton 16:07, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

The problems I see here...[edit]

First of all, my thanks to all who have worked on this article, the AfD has generated so much positive effort and collaboration and this is what is great about Wikipedia. I thought I would summarize what I see as the many problems we have with the current state of the article. This started out as a list of people who went to heaven alive, a very muddy title for anything but a list, and even as a list there were obvious problems that did justify a deletion nomination.

1 Jesus. Ascended to heaven. This is a theological term with a precise meaning in the Christian faith. It's reality (in the faith, not 'truth,') is accepted by Christians only. He was not a person, but a deity. His situation could be compared to Jupiter et. al. travelling back and forth to Olympus while chasing nymphs and such in human form, but not to any other person. His ascension is a unique and unrepeatable event in that faith, not comparable to others on the list. Sourced ultimately by one faith's Scripture.

2 Mary. She was Assumed. Again, a theological term with a precise meaning, not analogous to Ascension, and not repeatable or comparative to others as this is by fiat of the Roman Catholic church. Not sourced by any Scripture. Dying first is relevant as others on the list all went to heaven while alive, the original title of the article. If anyone who died first is included, then why not all the Saints in RC faith and others? They all died first and are certainly considered alive in heaven.

3 Enoch. God took him. He walked with God and he was not. No Scriptural source that he went to Heaven, especially as the Jewish faith is very ambiguous on Heaven. Much conflicting non-Scriptural writing on exactly what happened to him. See Enoch, there may be majority views in each of the Abrahamic faiths but they do not agree and there are also several minority views.

4 Elijah. Taken to heaven in a whirlwind. This is not accepted by all Christians, or even Jews, see Elijah and Bosom of Abraham.

5 Serah. Sourced not by Scripture but by other commentaries. I haven't seen them so I can't really comment, but falls under the heaven ambiguities noted here.

6 Six others in Jewish tradition. I haven't seen names or references on any of these.

7 Mohamed. Probably the most clear-cut for inclusion as the claim is for a mortal who went to heaven alive and returned. But he differs from all the others as having taken a round trip rather than a one way journey.

8 Translation (Mormonism). Removed from the article. A yet smaller subset of the Christian group. No mention of Heaven in the WP article. I know that WP is not a source, but the fact that it is not mentioned here means it would have to be sourced before inclusion.

9 Apollonius. Forget it. Different faith tradition, no way to send him to Heaven. Afterlife maybe, but if we include him we have not even the Abrahamic commonality (thin as it is in light of the disagreements noted above) to hang this all on.

10 Not included. a) LDS belief that a whole city of people went. b) St John whom I removed from my comments but I believe the verse reads something like 'whether in the body or in a dream I know not,' so he could be included. c) The thief on the cross. Died first, but alive in heaven. d) I thought of some others but can't recall them right now.

The commonality we have, excluding Appolonius certainly, and Jesus (not a person), is persons who in different Abrahamic faiths have gone to a non-earthly state by different means, before or after physical death, and returned or not returned to earth. I can't think of any term to use to title this thing. Ascension, Assumption, Heaven, Translation, these are all specific terms with specific meanings, they are not interchangable, nor can they, in my opinion, be used to tie all these persons together, other than all being alternate pathways to afterlife. Non-ordinary and mutually disagreed upon pathways to afterlife in the Abrahamic faiths? I agree that there is a common thread, but I cannot see any way to tie them together in one enclyclopedic article. For the record, and totally irrelevant to the discussion, I use Chrisian/Jewish terminolgy to explore my own beliefs, such as they are. I think there is Something. Maybe. killing sparrows 18:37, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Just because there are specific terms, beliefs etc. out there, it doesn't mean that strong, obvious similarities between these different things don't exist and shouldn't be the focus of an encyclopedic article. If we're going to talk about the Catholic and Christian beliefs about old testament figures, we can then logically include whatever Jewish traditions are out there in interpreting those same Bible passages. Clearly some Muslims believe this happened to Muhammad. If Polynesians or people in the Classical world believed something similar, then that is worthy of inclusion as well. You say "I agree that there is a common thread, but I cannot see any way to tie them together in one encyclopedic article." The common thread does it quite well, in my opinion. Noroton 01:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I agree the thread is there, the biggest problem will be with naming because the terms have specific and different meanings, and criteria for inclusion, especially outside Abrahamic tradition. Lets see how it evolves (assuming it survives AfD), and go from there. We have no deadline. Again, I appreciate your work on this. --killing sparrows 03:56, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The name has proved to be a much, much knottier problem than I ever thought possible. I need to get to a library to research the name. And I wish I had a university library to go to. The Internet isn't big enough yet to give us the information we need to sort out the name. Ugh! Noroton 04:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • comment (moved from AfD debate) Thanks killing sparrows - this sums up the problems for me. The article covers many, possibly important, but very different concepts - and imo they do not belong together, except in some form of Original Research to produce a synchretistic position. Springnuts 08:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Uh, if you're going to insist on using precise theological terms precisely, please refrain from say Jesus wasn't a person. A.J.A. 20:43, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Uh, as a confirmed Docetist, I'll stand by my statement :)--killing sparrows 00:10, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
"Person" is still a precise theological term that doesn't mean what you seem to think it means: the Father and the Spirit are both persons. As a Docetist you have worse problems than anything that might go on here, but in this context please refrain from describing your own views as the Christian ones, because it's misleading to anyone who doesn't already know Docetism is a long-rejected deviation. A.J.A. 18:53, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

A small suggestion[edit]

This is just the result of a quick tour of several dictionaries... Translation is the direct transfer of a living person to heaven. e.g. Elijah. Assumption is the transfer of a dead person to heaven. e.g. Virgin Mary and Jesus. Ascension is the transfer of a person to heaven. e.g. all three.

It seems to me that what you are interested in are "People who were translated to heaven." That is, people who did not experience death.

This should be a short list (but, I haven't looked into this). Speaking for myself (who is old and trying to get into heaven) I would like to know how they did it.ThomasHartman 01:00, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

A further suggestion[edit]

In my researches on Elijah, I came upon Howard Schwartz’s Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Oxford University Press: Oxford. 2004. ISBN 0-19-508679-1 I think some what you are looking for can be found on pages 173, 206-207, and 261.

On page 207, I found this: ...nine who were said to have entered Paradise alive: 1 Enoch; 2 Elijah; 3 the Messiah; 4 Eliezer, the servant of Abraham; 5 Hiram, king of Tyre; 6 Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian; 7 Jaabez, the son of Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nagid; 8 Bitiah the daughter of Pharaoh; and 9 Serah bat Asher.

(Some of the people on this list can also be found in Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews. Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia. 1956.)

The book also contains legends concerning 1 Moses; 2 Rabbi Joshua ben Levi; 3 Rabbi Akiba; 4 Shimon ben Azzai; 5 Shimon ben Zoma; and 6 Elisha ben Abuyah.

Except for Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, this group of six did not stay in heaven. Moses went to heaven to receive the Torah and then returned. Rabbi Akiba saw heaven and died! Simon ben Azzai went insane and was returned to earth. Rabbi Shimon ben Zoma saw an angel on a throne and assumed there were two rulers in heaven and gave up his faith as a result. Only Elisha ben Abuyah survived his trip to heaven but then he had to die like every one else.

The case of Rabbi Joshua ben Levi is interesting. While I have not looked into all the other nine, they appear to have gained heaven directly on the basis of merit. Rabbi Joshua, on the other hand, gained heaven by tricking the Angel of Death.

God sent the Angel of Death to claim the rabbi when his time had come. To honor the rabbi’s piety, God told the angel to grant any wish the rabbi might have. Rabbi Joshua asked to see his future home in paradise. The Angel of Death agreed to take him to the Garden of Eden. But the rabbi expressed his fear of the sword the angel carried and of the angel’s true intentions. Rabbi Joshua was allowed the carry the sword. The angel carried the rabbi to the wall surrounding the Garden of Eden and as they sat there looking upon the rabbi’s future home, Rabbi Joshua leaped to the ground carrying the sword. The Angel of Death demanded the sword back but Rabbi Joshua refused. The voice of God was heard in the Garden telling the rabbi to return the sword so that the Angel of Death could do his job. The Angel of Death regained his sword and the rabbi was allowed to remain in paradise.

The story is about more than the rabbi’s childish attempt to avoid death, he was attempting the remove the terror of death from the earth.

So there you are. Ten people who went to heaven without dying. It’s a start.ThomasHartman 00:28, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

A note from the creator of the page[edit]

Wow, I've been abroad for a long time and haven't been logging in when viewing/editing Wikipedia. I made this page with my grandfather following a discussion on the very topic title. I'm thrilled to see it be written about so fervently! Just as a note as to the title of the page, when I first wrote it, it was a list. It's only due to further contributers' edits that it became a fact sheet on ascension in general. Anyway, I wish it luck and also kind of hope it stays online. If the title gets changed, does it keep the old history? I'd like to be the creator of a long-standing page --Gausie 22:49, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

The edit summary, and page history, should remain in place if the title is changed correctly. John Carter 15:20, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Why the name must be changed.[edit]

The name of this article needs to be changed in order to bring the page into accordance with Wikipedia's Neutral point of view policy. As it now stands, the name "List of people who went to heaven alive" is in effect an assertion that all of the people listed on the page went to heaven alive. That is one point of view, perhaps. But people from some religions might believe that some but not others went to heaven alive, and atheists probably believe that none of them did. The article needs to acknowledge the existence of these different points of view. Names which could be considered neutral might include: "Going to heaven alive", "The act of going to heaven alive", "The concept of going to heaven alive", "Ways people are believed by some to have gone to heaven alive", "Ascension", "Heaven without death", etc. The idea is to have a name which does not state a claim that not everyone believes in. --Coppertwig 00:33, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

As I argued at the AfD, what it needs renamed to is Translation (religion), with that page's current contents merged into Translation (disambiguation), since most of them are minor alternate names for other things and covered in other articles, and a hatnote of "for the specific application of this concept to Mormon doctrine, see Translation (Mormonism)" on the end version of this page. --tjstrf talk 01:04, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree, though I would favor changing the title to something different, so as not to be confused with Bible Translation. Orville Eastland (talk) 01:55, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Name proposal[edit]

How about renaming the article "Entering heaven alive"? That way we avoid technical terms that are specific to one religion. Pax:Vobiscum 10:36, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Move proposal[edit]

I'd like to move this page to "Legends about ascendance to heaven," or something like that. Are there any objections? SlimVirgin (talk) 21:56, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

That depends, is this supposed to be a list or an article? If it's a list, then List of legends about ascendance to heaven might work, but if it's an article, then just calling it Ascent to heaven could be better. --tjstrf talk 01:02, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't see it as a list, anymore. Wrad 01:06, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I think "Legends about ascendance to heaven" is an excellent name. Many other names, including "Ascent to heaven", are also acceptable. I encourage you to go ahead and move the page. It's urgent to change away from the current name because it's violating the NPOV policy. Anyway, no one seems to have objected. ("could be better" doesn't sound like an objection to me.) Later, if the ideal name is decided on after thorough discussion, the page can be moved again. I tried to move the page just now but made a mistake (moved the talk page instead of the article page, and moved it back again) and now I think it will take an administrator to fix that if it's to be moved to "Legends about ascendance to heaven". Sorry about that. --Coppertwig 22:16, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Using "legends about" seems superfluous (and could be interpreted as POV). I'd prefer "Entering heaven alive" or possibly "ascension into heaven". Pax:Vobiscum 06:56, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I went ahead and moved the article since everyone agrees that the old one was bad. I'd like to avoid "ascension" in the article name since the word used for people like Mary is most often "assumption". But if the rest of you prefer "ascendance to heaven/ascending into heaven", go ahead and move it again, I won't revert. Pax:Vobiscum 07:16, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Ascension into Heaven[edit]

"Ascension into heaven" is the term that is currently used by believers in this concept (such as those who are in Ascended Master Activities). The term "ascendance to heaven" has never been used - to my knowlege - by anyone. So the article should be named "Legends about ascension into heaven" or "Ascension into heaven" - but certainly not a term that no one has used nor is using. Arion 22:56, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Entering Heaven Alive in Fiction[edit]

Would it be appropriate for us to include certain fictional examples in a subsection? In C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, those who ascended to heaven alive include Melchizedek, Frederick Barbarossa, King Arthur and Elwin Ransom. Madeline L'Engle's Many Waters also has a character who was translated to heaven. Orville Eastland (talk) 01:58, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Move to "Allegations of live transfiguration"[edit]

There are two reasons I oppose this move: One, the word "allegations" is a word to avoid, because it introduces bias and implies that the author does not believe what is written. Two, the word "transfiguration" does not mean "entering heaven". There is already an article called Transfiguration (in religion) which indicates that transfiguration does not mean entering heaven without dying first, and that other article covers that separate topic. This article is about going to heaven without dying first. – jaksmata 14:42, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

The Apotheosis of Washington[edit]

The The Apotheosis of Washington is the largest artwork in the U.S. Capitol building. While I doubt anyone has ever really believed that George Washington ascended to heaven in bodily form, I think it counts as a significant fictional portrayal and should be included in the "Ascension in popular culture" section. Any objections?   Will Beback  talk  11:28, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

No objection, and in addition, I think the section could be renamed "Fictional portrayals" - the Capital dome isn't really "pop culture". – jaksmata 18:15, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. I've added the painting and changed the heading.   Will Beback  talk  19:08, 25 November 2009 (UTC)


What's up with all the boldfacing? Is MOS not applicable to this article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:20, 27 December 2009 (UTC)


Could somebody clean up bias in the Judaism section (e.g. dismissing "modern Jewish tradition" as being distinct from "true Judaism", etc.)? -- TruthOverload (talk) 23:30, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

A correction about Herakles[edit]

After Herakles performed the 12 labors, which were to repent from the madness-induced murder of his wife and children, he went on to have more adventures.

Eventually, he had a wife named Deianira. While travelling to Tiryns, they encountered a centaur named Nassus. Nassus tried to abduct Deianira and Herakles shot him with poison-tipped arrows. Dying, he managed to manipulate Deianira into keeping his blood-soaked shirt as a potent love-elixir. Putting it on, after some time, Herakles got poisoned by the venom in the blood and slowly dying he built his own funeral pyre and then his friend Philoctetes lit it.

In the end, his human side did die but his immortal essence remained and Zeus took him up on Mt. Olympus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

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Enoch and Elijah[edit]

These two get very passing mention in the Catholic section about the assumption of Mary, but I think the article needs to give them a proper treatment (I'm not in a position to do this before anyone says {{sofixit}}). I have put a {{clarification needed}} on the present mention because a distinction is made in the article between ascension and assumption, seeing them as a 'push' and a 'pull' respectively, with divinity required for the motive force. If this is a distinction made in theology or later critical scholarship's assessment of what the authors had in mind then that's fine, but at the moment it looks like whoever put the text in the article is just theorising. And the text talking about E and E being "assumed" according to scripture is not good enough, because clearly the scriptures were not originally in English, and even in the translations I have seen what precisely is supposed to have happened to Enoch and Elijah is considerably less clear cut than the present treatment suggests. Beorhtwulf (talk) 23:59, 20 April 2017 (UTC)