Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether anyone has ascended into heaven besides Jesus. The argument is that the Bible says Enoch and Elijah ascended into heaven, but John 3:13 says that no one has ascended into heaven besides Jesus. However, there is a simple explanation that resolves this alleged contradiction in the Bible
Scriptures – Has Anyone Ascended Into Heaven Besides Jesus?
No One Has Ascended Into Heaven
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.John 3:13
People Have Ascended Into Heaven
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.Genesis 5:24
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.2 Kings 2:11
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.Hebrews 11:5
The Answer – Has Anyone Ascended Into Heaven Besides Jesus?
Jesus Ascended to Heaven in a Unique Way
There is no contradiction between John 3:13 and the other verses because the way in which Jesus ascended to heaven was different from the way in which Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven.
Jesus ascended into the fullness of heaven in his new, resurrected body, whereas Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven in their earthly bodies.
Phillipians 3:20-21 tells us that there will be a day when our bodies will be glorified like Jesus’ glorious body:
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.Philippians 3:20-21
Christians will not experience the fullness of heaven, the way Jesus currently does, until Jesus returns and our bodies are transformed “to be like his glorious body.” Because of this, although Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven, they did not ascend to heaven in the same way that Jesus ascended.
So, there is simply no contradiction between these passages.
Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties
There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.
More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: