heaven

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heaven,

blissful upper realm or state entered after death; in Western monotheistic religions it is the place where the just see God face to face (sometimes called the beatific vision). In Judaism, heaven is pictured as the abode of God to which he ultimately welcomes the righteous and faithful. Many Christians believe that after the general resurrectionresurrection
[Lat.,=rising again], arising again from death to life. The emergence of Jesus from the tomb to live on earth again for 40 days as told in the Gospels has been from the beginning the central fact of Christian experience and a cardinal feature of Christian doctrine
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 the body of a Christian will be glorified and reunited forever with the soul in heaven. The Roman Catholic church teaches that before entering heaven many souls must pass through purgatorypurgatory
[Lat.,=place of purging], in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the state after death in which the soul destined for heaven is purified. Since only the perfect can enjoy the vision of God (inferred from Mat. 12.36; Rev. 21.
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 to be made ready. Much of the conventional imagery of the Christian heaven—e.g., golden streets—is based on the Book of RevelationRevelation
or Apocalypse
, the last book of the New Testament. It was written c.A.D. 95 on Patmos Island off the coast of Asia Minor by an exile named John, in the wake of local persecution by the Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81–96).
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. In Islam, the Qur'an describes heaven in graphically idyllic terms, replete with fleshly delights; but Islam also has a strong mystical tradition which places these heavenly delights in the context of the ecstatic awareness of God. In Zoroastrianism, the souls of the deceased must pass over the Bridge of the Requiter, which widens to allow easy passage for the good, who enter a kingdom of joy and light. In both Hinduism and Buddhism, existence is considered cyclical, making the rewards and pleasures of heaven a desirable but temporary experience; the higher objective is often conceived as a release from any form of rebirth, whether in heaven or on earth. For comparable ideas see Elysian fieldsElysian fields
or Elysium
, in Greek religion and mythology, happy otherworld for heroes favored by the gods. Identified with the Fortunate Isles or Isles of the Blest, Elysium was situated in the distant west, at the edge of the world.
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; Fortunate IslesFortunate Isles
or Isles of the Blest,
in classical and Celtic legend, islands in the Western Ocean. There the souls of favored mortals were received by the gods and lived happily in a paradise.
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; ValhallaValhalla
or Walhalla
, in Norse mythology, Odin's hall for slain heroes. This martial paradise was one of the most beautiful halls of Asgard. The dead warriors, brought to Valhalla by the Valkyries, fought during the day and feasted at night.
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.

Bibliography

See P. Toon, Heaven and Hell (1986); C. McDannell, Heaven (1988).

What does it mean when you dream about heaven?

Over and above the obvious theological connotations of heaven, dreaming about heaven represent an individual’s sense of harmony and joy. Could also represent a retreat from life’s difficulties.

Heaven

See also Paradise.
Height (See GIANTISM, TALLNESS.)
Aaru
abode of blessed dead and gods. [Egyptian Myth.: Benét, 1]
Abraham’s bosom
reward for the righteous. [N.T.: Luke 16:23]
animals in heaven
Jonah’s whale and Balaam’s ass are among the ten animals allowed to enter paradise. [Muslim Legend: Benét, 37]
Anu
(An) Babylonian god of heaven. [Babyl. Myth.: Benét, 41]
Asgard
abode of the gods. [Norse Myth.: Walsh Classical, 34]
Avalon
the blissful otherworld of the dead. [Celtic Myth.: NCE, 194]
Beulah
allegorical name for Israel. [O.T.: Isaiah 62:4–5]
Dilmun
dwelling of gods where sun rose. [Sumerian Myth.: Gaster, 24]
Elysian Fields
home of the blessed after death. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 88]
Elysium
abode of the blessed after death. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmer-man, 94; Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
Fortunate Isles
(Happy Isles) otherworld for heroes favored by gods. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 861]
garden of the Hesperides
in this garden grew a tree with golden apples. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 109]
Happy Hunting Ground
translation of Indian name for heaven. [North Am. Indian Myth.: Misc.]
Holy City
poetical name for heaven. [World Rel.: NCE, 1213]
Land of the Leal
abode of the blessed dead. [Scot. Myth.: Misc.]
Mount Zion
celestial city. [Br. Lit.: Pilgrim’s Progress]
New Jerusalem
new paradise; dwelling of God among men. [N.T.: Revelation 21:2]
Olympus
abode of the chief gods. [Gk. Myth.: Espy, 22]
Paradise
poetic name for heaven. [World Rel.: NCE, 1213]
seventh heaven
formed of indescribable divine light; inhabitants are supremely happy, all chanting of God. [Islamic Religion: Benét, 449]
Valhalla
celestial banquet hall for departed war heroes. [Norse Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 1122]

heaven

1. Christianity
a. the abode of God and the angels
b. a place or state of communion with God after death
2. the sky, firmament or space surrounding the earth
3. (in any of various mythologies) a place, such as Elysium or Valhalla, to which those who have died in the gods' favour are brought to dwell in happiness

Heaven

(dreams)
Heaven represents all of those things for which most people hope. Some of us may not be convinced of its existence, but all of us have definite ideas about what heaven should be like. In your dreams it may symbolize happiness, peace, understanding, rest, love, union between God and man, and many more positive things. Some people work for a “heaven on Earth.” Others believe that there are many different heavens and in their dreams they visit those places through soul travel. Whatever your belief system or your dream experience may be, this dream usually leaves you feeling positive and energized.
References in classic literature ?
She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon sailing on his broad wings and screaming.
"Dread Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the day of your death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it will be heaven and stern fate that will destroy you.
Why, Captain, just think of this: if Abraham was to set his foot down here by this door, there would be a railing set up around that foot-track right away, and a shelter put over it, and people would flock here from all over heaven, for hundreds and hundreds of years, to look at it.
He wasn't ever expecting to go to heaven, much less that there was going to be any fuss made over him, so I reckon he was a good deal surprised when the reception broke on him."
Sweet Faustus, think of heaven and heavenly things.
Within the bowels of these elements, Where we are tortur'd and remain for ever: Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd In one self-place; but where we are is hell, And where hell is, there must we ever be: And, to be short, when all the world dissolves, And every creature shall be purified, All places shall be hell that are not heaven.
147-163) And again, three other sons were born of Earth and Heaven, great and doughty beyond telling, Cottus and Briareos and Gyes, presumptuous children.
And he used to hide them all away in a secret place of Earth so soon as each was born, and would not suffer them to come up into the light: and Heaven rejoiced in his evil doing.
"Heaven is lost to us," he cried; "but now that we may not have it, let us so act that it shall be lost to them also.
And the curate bade him remember that only death could part Luscinda from Cardenio; that even if some sword were to separate them they would think their death most happy; and that in a case that admitted of no remedy his wisest course was, by conquering and putting a constraint upon himself, to show a generous mind, and of his own accord suffer these two to enjoy the happiness Heaven had granted them.
To be brief, they added to these such other forcible arguments that Don Fernando's manly heart, being after all nourished by noble blood, was touched, and yielded to the truth which, even had he wished it, he could not gainsay; and he showed his submission, and acceptance of the good advice that had been offered to him, by stooping down and embracing Dorothea, saying to her, "Rise, dear lady, it is not right that what I hold in my heart should be kneeling at my feet; and if until now I have shown no sign of what I own, it may have been by Heaven's decree in order that, seeing the constancy with which you love me, I may learn to value you as you deserve.
Nor does the matter end simply with grief for the loss of my father; heaven has laid sorrows upon me of yet another kind; for the chiefs from all our islands, Dulichium, Same, and the woodland island of Zacynthus, as also all the principal men of Ithaca itself, are eating up my house under the pretext of paying their court to my mother, who will neither point blank say that she will not marry, {7} nor yet bring matters to an end; so they are making havoc of my estate, and before long will do so also with myself."