Space and Time in Revelation
This chapter examines the way John's text centers spatial and temporal existence and contrasts this method with the centering strategies of the dominant discourse. The argument proceeds through three phases. First comes a description of the kinds of space one encounters in Revelation, followed by a consideration of the qualities of time revealed by John. Finally, I compare these conclusions with the work of Leonard Thompson, one of the few scholars to comment on the cosmological concerns of Revelation. The general lack of interest in these basic facets of the text is understandable. Revelation's view of the world is at odds with modern secular cosmologies and with most modern religious ones as well.
In a mythic consciousness space in the cosmos is usually associated with different types of beings. 1 Revelation presents at least three levels of spatial reality: heaven, earth, and the underworld (5:3). 2 Two topographical features are difficult to locate within this three-fold spatial schema. The wilderness and the lake of fire remind us that the imagery of Revelation often eludes systematization. But there is a relatively coherent imagined geography in the visionary's world.
Heaven is the most spectacular stratum in Revelation's universe. Although no precise mapping of the heavenly realm is afforded us, several of its features are men-