BEN: In my book Jesus the Seer, I dealt with the interesting interpretations of Gen. 6.1-4 in NT passage such as Jude, 2 Pet. 2, and 1 Pet. 3, not to mention the beginning of Rev. 20. Satan ends up in a hermetically sealed off pit, and the naughty angels end up similarly in Tartarus. But where exactly do you think the Biblical writers envisioned these places being— in the ground, i.e. Sheol, the land of the dead or in some celestial prison in the supernatural realm that Jesus visited to proclaim his victory over the evil Powers on the way to heaven? My students point out ‘of course Hell is not in the depths of the earth, any more than heaven is just above the earth’s atmosphere.
MICHAEL: This is addressed in the earlier question about how biblical writers are forced to use the language of spatiality, height, depth, length, width to describe placeless places. The afterlife / Underworld “places” have no literal latitude and longitude. Consequently, they can’t be located. God’s heavenly throne doesn’t have a latitude and longitude, either. Biblical writers are in a situation of “forced metaphor” to talk about these things.
BEN: In other words, people bound by the space-time continuum have to use space and time language to describe the spiritual universe. This doesn’t mean they thought the spiritual universe had the same dimensions or limitations.