John 3:13—How could Christ say no one has ascended to heaven when Elijah had?

Problem: Jesus declared in this text that “No one has ascended to heaven...” However, the OT records Elijah’s ascension into heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2:11).

Solution: In this context, Jesus is setting forth His superior knowledge of heavenly things. In essence He is saying, “No other human being can speak from firsthand knowledge about these things, as I can, since I came down from heaven.” He is claiming that no one has ascended to heaven to bring down the message that He brought. In no way is He denying that anyone else is in heaven, such as Elijah and Enoch (Gen. 5:24). Rather, Jesus is simply claiming that no one on earth has gone to heaven and returned with a message such as He offered to them.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.