My Case For Heaven

My Case For Heaven

by Richard M. Bongiovanni

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ISBN-13: 9781462027675
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/25/2011
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.44(d)

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My Case for Heaven


By RICHARD M. BONGIOVANNI

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Richard M. Bongiovanni
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2767-5


Chapter One

Creation

Genesis

Our little planet earth is just a speck, a mere 8,000 miles in diameter, compared to the size of the sun and some of the larger planets in our Milky Way Galaxy. Our sun is nearly a million miles in diameter; Jupiter, 88,000 miles; and Neptune, 27,700 miles. We are on a small spaceship traveling around the sun at sixty-four thousand miles per hour. Our solar system is traveling around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy at forty-five thousand miles per hour. Even at that speed, it takes us 200 million years to make the orbit around our galaxy's center. The Milky Way would appear like a giant Fourth of July pinwheel in slow motion if we could view it from the top. On a clear night, we see it as a thick band of stars extending up into the sky, because our solar system is near the rim and tilted at an angle of sixty-two degrees from the galactic plane.

Scientists estimate that the universe was created 14.5 billion years ago, when something smaller than an atom exploded. This is extremely hard for me to understand since it goes well beyond the laws of physics. How could anything so small have created something as huge as the universe? One may ask, "What is the universe?" Scientists estimate that our Milky Way Galaxy could contain more than 100 billion stars and that there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe. If you multiple the two figures together, you come up with a figure with twenty-two zeros for the possible number of stars in the universe. Many of these stars have exploded, and we see their remains as glowing balls of debris or rings, like those formed from cigarettes smoke. Some emit pulses of light many times a second, like a lighthouse, after they collapse.

Some are hundreds of times bigger than our sun. Scientists predict that our sun will explode in a few billion years, scorching all the planets in our solar system. Our sun is a huge thermonuclear reactor burning millions of tons of hydrogen gas every second. Yet it is so massive that it will take billions of years to burn up all of its hydrogen.

Stars are formed when the debris of other exploding stars collapses due to the force of gravity. They start out as bright young blue stars; some become yellow dwarfs like our sun. Others become red dwarfs, which are slowly burning up their hydrogen fuel and may survive for tens of billions of years. Some, such as white dwarfs, have expended all their hydrogen fuel and are becoming cold. Our sun will become a red giant star one hundred times larger than it presently is—so large that it will extend past the orbits of earth and Mars, vaporizing everything in its path. After ejecting all of its outer layers, it will become a small white dwarf. Rarely, stars will become super giants, some as large as 600 million miles in diameter, six hundred times the size of our sun. Our closest star, Proxima Centuri, is 4.3 light-years away, nearly 26 trillion miles. Between our solar system and the nearest star, there is a vast emptiness of nothingness. The closest large galaxy, Andromeda, is two million light-years away. Needless to say, unless we invent a prolusion system that allows us to travel at the speed of light, we will never visit the stars or other extraterrestrial planets. Scientists are now testing a prototype ion engine that could possibly reach such a speed.

Since the 1960s, astronomers have had no success in the search for alien life outside of our solar system. The Society for Extraterrestrial Investigation (SETI) astronomers have been listening for a return from radio signals they have been directing to stars, which they have suspected of having alien life. This has been the only available method since the earthbound telescopes are obscured by our atmosphere, and the Hubble Space Telescope was not designed to search for planets.

The recently launched Kepler planet-finder telescope has been designed to make direct images of earth-like planets around the closest stars. Scientists are using two methods to detect planets. One is by direct imaging—a planet blocks its star's light as is passes in front of its star. The second is by observing if the planet pulls its star from side to side far enough to be observed. This can only be applied to large planets that are massive enough to affect the stars orbit.

Once a new planet has been detected, astronomers use several criteria to determine if it can support life. First, its star has to be at least 3 billion years old (determined by color and size). Stars that are less than 3 billion years old are too young to have planets, which could evolve life, since our sun is 4.2 billion years old. Second, stars that are more than 1.5 times the mass of our sun would burn out before life can develop. Third, the planet has to be the ideal distance from the star. Too close and it will be too hot to support life, like the planet Mercury; too far, it will be too cold to support life, like the planet Mars. Once a likely planet is discovered, scientists can use instruments to determine if it has the correct amounts of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water to support plant and animal life.

According to scientists working on the Kepler telescope, over 1,200 stars with planets orbiting around them have been discovered to date but none that would be habitable. These planets are merely huge balls of gas, similar to Jupiter and Saturn, or coated with ice hundreds of miles thick or dry and barren, similar to the moon. None are suitable for life like our little planet is. It took the exact combination of water, temperature, soil, and air to produce life. When I think about the improbability of this being pure chance, I feel, at a deep level, that this had to be created by a great intelligence—God. The Bible does not give any dates for creation of life on Earth. It does give a date for the creation of Adam and Eve as being 4000 BC, but I believe that this was because Jewish genealogy only went back that far. Strangely enough, the order of the days in Genesis agrees remarkably with geological periods of earth discovered by scientists. "One thousand years being but a day to God."

It seems very unlikely that earth-bound people five thousand years ago could have coincidentally described an order of creation that so closely mirrors the findings of modern science.

Genesis 1:2–5

The first day, God created the earth and the sea, and then God said, "Let there be light." The sun, moon, and stars had been created; but they were not yet visible, because the earth's crust was so hot that the oceans were boiling, creating a fog so that they could not be seen. This agrees with the Precambrian era 4.5 to 5 billion years ago, when the earth was formed.

Genesis 1:6–8

The second day, God created dry land and the atmosphere. In the Cambrian and Silurian, 600 to 400 million years ago, dry land appeared.

Genesis 1:9–13

The third day, God created the grass, herbs, and trees, which developed into immense tropical jungles. Many submersions in sediment caused by rising and falling seas caused the plants to turn to coal and oil. This agrees with the Devonian period 400 million to 250 million years ago.

Genesis 1:14–19

The fourth day, God made the sun, stars, and moon appear. He had already created the sun, moon, and stars 5–6 billion years ago, when he created the universe; but they now appeared for the first time as the fog lifted. This would relate to the Pennsylvanian period 250 million years ago.

Genesis 1:20–25

The fifth day, God created the fishes, sea animals (amphibians), and birds. This agrees with the Mesozoic period, 230–65 million years ago.

Genesis 1:24–31

The sixth day, God created the land animals and man. During the Cenozoic, Miocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene periods, 50 million years ago to date, the land animals and man appeared.

Genesis 2:1–3

The seventh day, God rested and proclaimed that this day should be a day of worship.

Genesis 2:8

Then the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:9

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.

Genesis 2:10

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from hence it was parted and went into four heads.

Genesis 2:11

The name of the first river is Pison [Araxes] ... the land where there is gold.

Genesis 2:13

The name of the second river is Gihon [Kura]

Genesis 2:14

The Name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris], and the name of the fourth river is Euphrates

Genesis 2:19

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air.

Although it is not objective evidence, it is interesting to note that other traditions have noted creation stories quite like the story told in Genesis. The Bible describes, in detail, the story of creation, but are there any other references to the story? Clay tablets have been found in many of the ancient cities of Iraq (Babylon) before the time of Abraham, which are strikingly similar to those stories of the Bible (i.e., "In the beginning the Gods made the upper and lower firmaments—the heavens and the earth. On the fourth day the stars appeared ... made the grass ... the beast of the fields and the cattle, and all living things. On the sixth day formed man out of the dust of the ground ... put man and wife in a garden ... they were unclothed ... the seventh day was appointed a holy day.") If more than one culture tells a similar story, it lends credence to the story being objectively true.

The Garden of Eden

Is there a known place on Earth—modern or ancient—that could match the biblical descriptions of Eden? This is a question that has long fascinated me. The Bible states it is the place where the Euphrates and three other rivers are united. The place where the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Araxes, and the Kura are united is in the Caucasus Mountains region of Armenia. It is the region where the ox, goat, pear, plum, cherry, berries, grapes, olives, figs, spinach, radish, onions, and most of the other fruits and vegetables come from. Armenia contains a variety of minerals, including silver and gold.

The Kingdom of Armenia has some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Situated on a high plateau, it is surrounded by mountains and is well watered by rivers. Strangely enough, Mount Ararat, of Bible fame, rises to the east of the plateau. Fertile mountain pastures yield abundant crops of wheat, barley, millet, rye, sesame, flax, and grapevines. The highlands furnish excellent pasture for sheep, goats, and cattle. The region is also famous for its fine horses. Surely, Armenia could easily have been the "The Garden of Eden."

The Bible (Genesis 21–31) states that the descendants of Shem, which includes the Jews, originally occupied the north Euphrates Valley and the area adjacent. This would include the land of Armenia, where the ark landed.

The Babylonians, who predated the ancient Hebrews, corroborate the Garden of Eden story in some respects. Babylonian inscriptions found on ancient clay tablets in Iraq refer to a tree of life, from which man was caused to depart, due to the influence of an evil serpent (Garden of Eden?). He was forbidden to return by guardian cherubs (angels with flaming swords). Another Babylonian inscription reads, "Near Eridu was a garden in which there was a mysterious sacred tree, a tree of life planted by the Gods ... protected by a guardian spirit, and no man enters."

The Reason for Creation

In the beginning, God created Adam in his image and likeness so that he would have someone to love and who would return his love. For this same reason, he created Eve so that man would have someone to love and who would return his love.

People often ask, "What is the purpose of life?" Everything that happens to an individual is for a purpose. The main purposes of life are:

1. To love and to serve others. This would include our relatives, friends, neighbors, and the needy.

2. To gain knowledge. Some of us go on to become professionals, gaining our knowledge from books. Others' purpose in life is to raise a family and love and nurture our children.

3. To grow spiritually. You don't need a religion to accomplish this. Believe that God is our creator and enjoy the beauty of nature that he has created for us.

4. Fulfill our life's mission. We all know that we have inherited certain talents by some mysterious means. Our mission is to develop these talents for our own good and for the good of others.

God gave us gifts above the animals:

1. A soul which would live forever with him

2. Intellect so that we could understand his works and serve him with our talents

3. Moral conscience to distinguish good from evil

4. Freedom of choice

5. An artistic sense that lets us appreciate beauty

6. A heart with which to experience love and all of our other emotions

What is the difference between the spirit and the body's soul? In his book, Deepak Chopra believes that:

1. The body is the resting place of the spirit (Gen. 2:7).

2. The spirit thus becomes the soul of man (Gen. 2:7).

3. The spirit survives the death of the body and ascends into heaven or receives judgment on the final day (Eccles. 12:7).

4. The spirit decides when, where, and who it will be reincarnated as, who its parents will be, and who it will marry. God decides how many children we will have and our time of death.

Visions of God

If God appeared to a human being and was witnessed with human eyes, what would he look like? Would his appearance be like anything familiar to us now? These are questions I have asked myself, and I have looked in the Bible for answers. The prophets Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah had visions of God sitting on his throne. Daniel describes him as "the ancient one," and Ezekiel describes him as having "the likeness of a man, enswathed in the glow of an incandescent light." Daniel describes his throne as being of "fiery flames and the wheels there of burning fire." Ezekiel describes the throne as being of blue sapphire and four immense whirling wheels of beryl, green precious stone: their rims full of eyes. Daniel states that "a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him." Ezekiel goes on to say that this device "moved like flashes of lighting from place to place with noise like the roar of the ocean."

To me, having a sense of what Jesus physically looked like makes his story seem more real. In Revelation, John had a vision of Jesus. He described him as one like the son of man, his hair white with the whiteness of wool, his eyes like a burning flame, his feet like burnished (polished) bronze, and his voice like the sound of the ocean, "His face was like the sun shining with all its force." Both Ezekiel and John describe God as shining with brilliant light (Ezek. 1:4, 2:8; Rev. 1:13–18, 4:2, 3; Dan. 7:9, 13).

(Continues...)



Excerpted from My Case for Heaven by RICHARD M. BONGIOVANNI Copyright © 2011 by Richard M. Bongiovanni. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

About the Author....................vii
Acknowledgments....................xiii
Introduction....................xv
I. Creation....................1
Genesis....................1
The Garden of Eden....................9
The Reason for Creation....................10
Visions of God....................13
II. Miracles....................15
Noah....................15
Jonah and the Whale....................20
The Fertile Crescent....................21
Abraham....................22
The Babylonians....................23
Moses....................27
Exodus....................28
Joshua....................32
David....................35
Solomon....................36
The Ark of the Covenant....................39
Sodom and Gomorrah....................40
The Tower of Babel....................41
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon....................41
The Fall of Israel....................42
The Ministries of Jesus....................49
Prophecies of the Bible....................54
Miracles of Jesus....................55
Miracles of the Apostles....................58
The Last Days of Jesus....................60
The Original Bible....................64
The Shroud of Turin....................67
Stigmata....................69
Levitation....................73
Indestructables....................76
Prophecy....................77
The Consecrated Hosts....................77
Amazing Fasts....................78
Eternal Fragrance....................78
The Rosary....................78
Dual Location....................79
Walking On Water....................81
Speaking in Different Tongues....................81
Face or Body Glows....................82
Healing Power of the Saints....................83
Visions of the Virgin Mary....................92
III. Angels and Demons....................97
Angels....................97
Satan....................101
Demons....................104
Personal Reflections....................105
IV. Psychic Phenomena....................107
Precognition—Personal Experiences....................107
Armageddon....................109
The Next Ice Age....................113
The Local Bubble....................115
The End of the Universe....................117
The Book of Daniel....................121
Nostradamus (1503–1566)....................123
Leonardo daVinci (1452-1519)....................126
The Brahan Seer (born 1600)....................127
The Yorkshire Witch (born 1884)....................128
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)....................131
Jules Verne (1826–1905)....................132
Edgar Cayce—The Healing Prophet (1877–1945)....................133
Jeane Dixon (1932–1997)—The Washington Prophet....................137
Alan Vaughn (born 1936)....................141
Mental Telepathy and Psychokinesis....................144
Remote Viewing....................146
Psychics....................147
Near-Death Experiences....................152
Reincarnation....................154
Astral Travel....................159
Exorcism....................159
V. Ghosts....................163
Personal Experiences....................163
Types of Ghosts....................164
Why Some Spirits Remain on Earth....................165
VI. Heaven....................167
Description of Heaven....................167
Our Duties in Heaven....................171
Summary and Conclusions....................173
Summary....................173
Conclusions....................175
Bibliography....................177
Index....................183

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