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'Many Mansions'

Natalia J. Garland

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It is always with trepidation that I step onto biblical territory, being neither a scholar of the Bible nor called into any ministry. Yet, at times, I feel compelled to defend the Bible against certain interpretations, perceptions, or perhaps alterations and manipulations. This is especially a problem with the comparative approach to different scriptural texts or religions. It seems that some people try to force the Bible to embrace or validate the teachings of other systems of belief or spirituality. What happens with an expansion of certain Bible passages, however, is a consequent diminishing of the person of Jesus Christ.

Earlier this month, Deepak Chopra posted the following on his Twitter page: Reality is multidimensional. "In my father's house are many mansions." John 14:2. In order to understand the possible meaning of Chopra's statement, it is necessary to know what multidimensional reality is, and what the many mansions are. I will put forth some definitions: not all theologians agree on the John 14:2 passage. Nevertheless, it can be shown that John 14:2 does not suggest multidimensional reality.

Multidimensional reality involves physics, the human psyche, and culture. It includes a transcendence of time and space through mental travel and, as a result, access to information beyond our immediate earthly awareness. Multidimensionals might include angels, prophets, seers, artists and geniuses. Einstein, for example, could be regarded as a multidimensional because of his ability to mentally access advanced scientific concepts. Some people draw from the works of Carl Jung to support multidimensional reality (Jung's archetypes and collective unconscious). Likewise, some turn to ancient civilizations (such as the Mayans) for predictions of the future of Earth and for a greater knowledge of the universe. Also, the skill of visualization could be considered multidimensional when used to aid healing or fulfillment.

My focus in this essay is not to refute multidimensional reality, but to disagree with Chopra's connection of multidimensional reality to Christ's words about many mansions. In order to interpret a scriptural passage, it is important to read the verses which precede and/or follow. Below is the context of many mansions.


Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:1-6)


The word mansion could be translated as room, meaning to reside in the original Greek and to dwell from the Latin translation. In the King James Version of the Bible, the Greek to reside is used twice: translated as mansion in one instance (John 14:2) and as abode in the other (John 14:23). The use of mansion seems to refer to the future Kingdom of God, while abode refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Mansions could mean any place wherein Christ dwells: a church, a miracle, pure doctrine, a place where there is room enough for all who believe and where there is no separation from Christ. The use of the word rooms can be confusing because it is sometimes interpreted to automatically and comprehensively include all kinds of non-believers or different kinds of religions, worlds, and dimensions.

If, however, we made a connection between rooms and the upper room where the Last Supper (a gathering of Christ and the apostles) took place, then the significance of rooms cannot point to multidimensional reality but, in this instance, more likely to the apostolic ministry. In other words, wherever Christ is preached, therein He dwells--particularly as the way, truth, and life [see Fr. BFE], as the only pathway to the Father--and He is preparing the future Kingdom to gather, contain, and support each believer who has walked along that pathway.

It must also be noted that these mansions or rooms are in the Father's House, and that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of the Father. If Chopra's understanding of multidimensional reality includes anything that is incompatible with the Christian deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then it is impossible from the start that many mansions is a reference to multidimensional reality.

Finally, it should also be noted that Christ said, "...if it were not so, I would have told you." In other words, Christ would not lie, deceive, or do anything to betray the trust of His disciples. If Christ wanted to talk about multidimensional reality, then why not say so outright? Or, why not say so in a way that would be more conducive to accurate interpretation? It would seem, rather, that Christ was offering both reassurance and truth to the disciples regarding eternal togetherness with Him in the Kingdom and how this would come about. (Written 06/24/10: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2010 Natalia J. Garland