We are born, go to school, get a higher education, perform various types of work, and receive bonuses and promotions. Life is so twisted in the cycle of affairs that few people have time to think about the meaning and purpose of this life.
But some people talk about its meaning and its end during their life. Very often you can meet a person who wonders where he will be after death and how far this place is from Earth. This article is devoted to the answer to this question.
Creation of Heaven
Having created man as the masterpiece of creation, God has prepared for him a special pure place on Earth – Paradise (garden) in Eden.
Many modern Bible scholars point out that Eden was located in the East between Babylon and the Persian Gulf.
We can hardly know exactly where it’s located geographically. However, the geographical location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries of rivers and is interpreted as the Armenian Highlands (near the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), Mesopotamia (Babylonia), and India.
In the Book of Genesis, the geographical landmarks of Eden are indicated by the names of the four rivers Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel (Tigris), and Euphrates, which came out of the river to irrigate Eden (Genesis 2:10-14).
At the same time, scientists can’t accurately determine the modern names of the first two rivers, so there are many versions of exactly where Eden was located, for example in Iran or Armenia.
Biblical Events in Eden
God called man to watch over Eden and cultivate it, allowing him to eat the fruits of the garden, except for one tree – the tree of good and evil.
Saint John Chrysostom explains the meaning of the name in this way: “The Divine Scripture called this tree the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because he had to commit a crime or keep the commandment” (Homily on Genesis).
The Bible describes a serpent that appeared to Adam and Eve and tricked them into eating the forbidden fruit: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
Adam and Eve’s act is called the fall, for which their Lord expelled them from Paradise, their original home, the cradle of life.
And now all subsequent generations must get food through suffering, build shelter and escape from the fires of hell to God through suffering, patience, prayers, and work, hoping for mercy and crying out to the Lord.
This free cheat sheet can help make prayer easier and more meaningful.
The Opinion of The Church Fathers About Heaven
To better understand what Paradise is, we can turn to the Holy Fathers who spoke about it.
Isaac the Syrian says that paradise is the love of God. When we talk about love, we mainly mean the energy of God and His presence. The Monk Isaac writes: “Paradise is the love of God, in which there is the enjoyment of all beatitudes.
But when he talks about hell, he says almost the same thing: hell is the scourge of divine love. He writes: “I say that those who are tormented in hell are struck by the scourge of love. And how bitter and cruel is this torment of love!”.
Love is an immaterial concept, love cannot be touched or tasted, but it can be felt in the soul, and this feeling is so strong that it overrides all other life pleasures. We can only imagine how strong the love of the Lord is.
The Church teaches about paradise as the highest creation of God in earthly nature. Paradise is a special, holy place. When it wasn’t yet separated, a river flowed out of it and irrigated the land, dividing into four branches.
As the Church Fathers say, paradise was on the mountain, had a large territory, and the river connected the earth and paradise. Thus, the earthly world had as its center the peak in the east, on which paradise was located. The altar of the Orthodox church is a symbol of paradise, and the temple is a symbol of the universe.
The Earth was like Paradise. The pre-Christian apocryphal Book of Jubilees spoke about this, and so did Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and other Church Fathers.
Saint John Chrysostom says that Adam was created from the land of Eden, speaks of its virgin purity, that there was no evil on it, it was innocent and pure. His thoughts correspond to the thoughts of Saints Symeon the New Theologian and Niketas Stethatos.
Where is Heaven Now?
There was a Tree of Life in the middle of paradise. A river flowed out of it, flowing around the whole earth. All this is important to keep in mind because there are enough reasons to think that the land that was filled with paradise water wasn’t the same as the one on which we walk.
Rather, the earth is the same, but now it’s cursed by sin, and there is no paradise river. We shouldn’t ignore this and try to downplay it. The earth is cursed “by the works of Adam,” according to the word of God, but the most important part of this curse is that paradise is separated from the earth with all the consequences of such an event.
Now paradise exists not somewhere on Earth, near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, but next to God, in a completely different dimension and beyond our worldly understanding.
How Can A Person Get to Heaven at The End of His Life?
The Lord speaks directly to us about those who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. First of all, a person who wants to enter this Kingdom must have true faith in Him.
The Lord Himself says: ” Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16).
He doesn’t want torment for people, the Lord is merciful, but at the same time, He says that people who don’t correspond to a high spiritual and moral ideal are expected to suffer.
To truly believe in Him means to keep His commandments, which were voiced by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.
If a person wants to put his life in order, get closer to God, and just be a good and honest person, he should definitely read them and stick to them throughout his life.
The external always begins with the internal, and if there is a great desire to approach the Lord and hope for entry into the Kingdom of God, then it’s worth starting not with requests and entreaties, but with the relentless fulfillment of the Father’s orders and strict observance of His commandments.
Jesus Christ said, “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
Paradise is both a place inaccessible to our understanding and a state of the soul. Paradise is our cradle, but we will enter there not with our body, but with our spirit.
Therefore, we won’t be able to see it during our lifetime, but we can still feel Paradise through the fulfillment of the commandments, prayers, and fasting.
If you are with God in your soul and heart, He will surely respond and give you a feeling of Paradise. After all, even after doing a good deed, a person’s soul becomes warmer and brighter.
If we all become more righteous and kinder, then Paradise will still not be able to come on Earth, because, after the fall, God prepared a better, ideal place next to Him for the righteous people, and told us not to cling to this imperfect world.
However, each person can get paradise inside his soul, after which he will get into eternal life and be near God.
CharalamposCharalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.
This free cheat sheet can help make prayer easier and more meaningful.
Do Short People Go to Heaven? Learn The Truth!
Today we will explain what the Bible says about this topic and help set the record straight. So, sit back, relax, and let's learn together!
Can We Go to Heaven With Piercings? Answered!
Do you have a body piercing and are wondering if you can go to heaven? Let's see what the bible say about piercings!