Paradise

Paradise

Overview
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

, and in paradise there is only peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

, prosperity
Prosperity
Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune and/or successful social status. Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health....

, and happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. It is often used in the same context as that of utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

.

Paradisaical notions are cross-cultural, often laden with pastoral
Pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

 imagery, and may be cosmogonical or eschatological or both.
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Encyclopedia
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

, and in paradise there is only peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

, prosperity
Prosperity
Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune and/or successful social status. Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health....

, and happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. It is often used in the same context as that of utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

.

Paradisaical notions are cross-cultural, often laden with pastoral
Pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

 imagery, and may be cosmogonical or eschatological or both. In eschatological contexts, paradise is imagined as an abode of the virtuous dead. In Christian and Islamic understanding heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 is a paradisaical relief, evident for example in the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 when Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 tells a penitent criminal crucified alongside him that they will be together in paradise. In old Egyptian beliefs, the other-world is Aaru
Aaru
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the fields of Aaru or the Egyptian reed fields, are the heavenly paradise, where Osiris ruled after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition...

, the reed-fields of ideal hunting and fishing grounds where the dead lived after judgment. For the Celts, it was the Fortunate Isle
Fortunate Isles
In the Fortunate Isles, also called the Isles of the Blessed , heroes and other favored mortals in Greek mythology and Celtic mythology were received by the gods into a winterless blissful paradise...

 of Mag Mell
Mag Mell
In Irish mythology, Mag Mell was a mythical realm achievable through death and/or glory...

. For the classical Greeks, the Elysian fields
Elysium
Elysium is a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects, and cults. Initially separate from Hades, admission was initially reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes...

 was a paradisaical land of plenty where the heroic and righteous dead hoped to spend eternity. The Vedic Indians
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

 held that the physical body was destroyed by fire but recreated and reunited in the Third Heaven
Third Heaven
The Third Heaven is a spiritual division of the universe within Judeo-Christian cosmology. In some traditions it is considered the abode of God, and in others a lower level of Paradise, commonly one of seven.-Hebrew Bible:...

 in a state of bliss. In the Zoroastrian Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, the "Best Existence" and the "House of Song" are places of the righteous dead. On the other hand, in cosmological contexts 'paradise' describes the world before it was tainted by evil. So for example, the Abrahamic faiths
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

 associate paradise with the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

, that is, the perfect state of the world prior to the fall from grace, and the perfect state that will be restored in the World to Come
World to Come
The World to Come is an eschatological phrase reflecting the belief that the "current world" is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world or a paradise. The concept is similar to the concepts of Heaven and the afterlife, but Heaven is another place generally seen as...

.

The concept is a topos' in art and literature, particularly of the pre-Enlightenment era
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, a well-known representative of which is John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

's Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse...

. A paradise should not be confused with a utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

, which is an alternative society.

Etymology and Semasiology


The word "paradise" entered English from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 paradis, inherited from the Latin paradisus, from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 parádeisos (παράδεισος), and ultimately from an Old Iranian root, attested in Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 as pairi.daêza-. The literal meaning of this Eastern Old Iranian language word is "walled (enclosure)", from pairi- "around" + -diz "to create, make". The word is not attested in other Old Iranian languages (these may however be hypothetically reconstructed, for example as Old Persian *paridayda-).

By the 6th/5th century BCE, the Old Iranian word had been adopted as Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 pardesu and Elamite
Elamite language
Elamite is an extinct language spoken by the ancient Elamites. Elamite was the primary language in present day Iran from 2800–550 BCE. The last written records in Elamite appear about the time of the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great....

 partetas "domain". It subsequently came to indicate walled estates, especially the carefully tended royal parks and menagerie
Menagerie
A menagerie is/was a form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity that preceded the modern zoological garden. The term was first used in seventeenth century France in reference to the management of household or domestic stock. Later, it came to be used primarily in reference to...

s. The term eventually appeared in Greek as ho parádeisos "park for animals" in the Anabasis
Anabasis (Xenophon)
Anabasis is the most famous work, in seven books, of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and "one of the great adventures in human history," as Will Durant expressed the common assessment.- The account :Xenophon accompanied...

of the early 4th century BCE Athenian gentleman-scholar Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

. Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 pardaysa similarly reflects "royal park".

Hebrew pardes appears thrice in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

; in the Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

 4:13, Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 2:5 and Nehemiah
Book of Nehemiah
The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Told largely in the form of a first-person memoir, it concerns the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a Jew who is a high official at the Persian court, and the dedication of the city and its people to God's laws...

 2:8. In those contexts it could be interpreted as a park, a garden or an orchard. In the 3rd-1st century BCE Septuagint, Greek parádeisos was used to translate both Hebrew pardes and Hebrew , "garden": it is from this usage that the use of "paradise" to refer to the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 derives. This usage also appears in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and the Koran itself as firdaws.

The idea of a walled enclosure was not preserved in most Iranian usage, and generally came to refer to a plantation or other cultivated area, not necessarily walled. For example, the Old Iranian word survives in New Persian pālīz (or "jālīz"), which denotes a vegetable patch. However, the word park
Park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

, as well as the similar complex of words that have the same indoeuropean root: garden
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

, yard
Yard
A yard is a unit of length in several different systems including English units, Imperial units and United States customary units. It is equal to 3 feet or 36 inches...

, girdle
Girdle
A girdle is a garment that encircles the lower torso, perhaps extending below the hips, and worn often for support. The word girdle originally meant a belt. In modern English, the term girdle is most commonly used for a form of women's foundation wear that replaced the corset in popularity...

, orchard
Orchard
An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

, court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

, etc., all refer simply to a deliberately enclosed area, but not necessarily an area enclosed by walls.

For the connection between these ideas and that of the city, compare German Zaun ("fence"), English town and Dutch tuin ("garden"), or garden/yard with Nordic garðr and Slavic gard (both "city").

Judaism


In the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, the word 'Pardes' (a transliteration of the Persian word) occurs in Song 4:13, Eccl.2:5, and Neh. 2:8 meaning 'park', the original Persian meaning of the word, similar to the description of the parks of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 by Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

 in Anabasis
Anabasis (Xenophon)
Anabasis is the most famous work, in seven books, of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and "one of the great adventures in human history," as Will Durant expressed the common assessment.- The account :Xenophon accompanied...

.

In Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 era Judaism 'paradise' came to be associated with the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 and prophesies of restoration of Eden
World to Come
The World to Come is an eschatological phrase reflecting the belief that the "current world" is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world or a paradise. The concept is similar to the concepts of Heaven and the afterlife, but Heaven is another place generally seen as...

. The Septuagint uses the word around 30 times, both of Eden, (Gen.2:7 etc.) and of Eden restored (Ezek. 28:13, 36:35) etc. In the Jewish pseudepigrapha use of paradise varies. In the Apocalypse of Moses Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 are expelled from paradise after having been tricked by the serpent. Later after the death of Adam, the Archangel Michael carries the body of Adam to be buried in Paradise which is the Third Heaven
Third Heaven
The Third Heaven is a spiritual division of the universe within Judeo-Christian cosmology. In some traditions it is considered the abode of God, and in others a lower level of Paradise, commonly one of seven.-Hebrew Bible:...

.

Later in Rabbinical Judaism the word 'Pardes' recurs, but less often in the Second Temple context of Eden or restored Eden. Tosefta Hagigah
Hagigah
Tractate Hagigah deals with the Three Pilgrimage Festivals and the pilgrimage offering that men were supposed to bring in Jerusalem. At the middle of the second chapter, the Talmud discusses topics of ritual purity.The tractate contain three chapters, spanning 27 pages in the Vilna edition,...

14b uses the word of the veil around mystic philosophy.

The Zohar
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

gives the word a mystical interpretation, and associates it with the four kinds of Biblical exegesis: peshat (literal meaning), remez (allusion), derash (anagogical), and sod (mystic). The initial letters of those four words then form – p(a)rd(e)s
Pardes (Jewish exegesis)
Pardes refers to approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism . The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of the following four approaches:...

, which was in turn felt to represent the fourfold interpretation of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 (in which sod – the mystical interpretation – ranks highest).

New Testament


In the New Testament, paradise occurs three times:
  • Luke 23:43 - by Jesus on the cross
    Crucifixion of Jesus
    The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

    , in response to the thief's request that Jesus remember him when he came in his kingdom.
  • 2 Cor.12:4 - in Paul's description of a man's description of a third heaven paradise, which may in fact be a vision Paul himself saw.
  • Rev.2:7 - in a reference to the Gen.2:8 paradise and the tree of life

Early Christianity


In early Christianity it was often connected to a paradise restored on Earth
The New Earth
The New Earth is an expression used in the Book of Isaiah , 2 Peter , and Book of Revelation in the Bible to describe the final state of redeemed humanity...

 (Matthew chapter 5, verse 5 - the meek shall inherit the earth), similar to what the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 was meant to be. Some early sects actually attempted to recreate the garden of Eden, e.g. the nudist Adamites
Adamites
The Adamites, or Adamians, were adherents of an Early Christian sect that flourished in North Africa in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, but knew later revivals.-Ancient Adamites:...

.

In the 2nd century AD, Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

 distinguished paradise from heaven. In Against Heresies
On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis
On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, today also called On the Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called , commonly called Against Heresies , is a five-volume work written by St. Irenaeus in the 2nd century...

, he wrote that only those deemed worthy would inherit a home in heaven, while others would enjoy paradise, and the rest live in the restored Jerusalem
New Jerusalem
In the book of Ezekiel, the Prophecy of New Jerusalem is Ezekiel's prophetic vision of a city to be established to the south of the Temple Mount that will be inhabited by the twelve tribes of Israel in the...

 (which was mostly a ruin after the Jewish–Roman wars but was rebuilt beginning with Constantine the Great
Constantine I and Christianity
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312...

). Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 likewise distinguished paradise from heaven, describing paradise as the earthly "school" for souls of the righteous dead, preparing them for their ascent through the celestial spheres to heaven.

Tension between these two competing Christian views of paradise may be responsible for a textual difference in one of the three New Testament verses using the word, Luke 23:43. For example the two early Syriac versions translate Luke 23:43 differently. The Curetonian Gospels
Curetonian Gospels
The Curetonian Gospels, designated by the siglum syrcur, are contained in a manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament in Old Syriac, a translation from the Aramaic originals, according to William Cureton differing considerably from the canonical Greek texts, with which they had been...

 read "Today I tell you that you will be with me in paradise", whereas the Sinaitic Palimpsest
Sinaitic Palimpsest
The Syriac Sinaitic , known also as the Sinaitic Palimpsest, of Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai is a late 4th century manuscript of 358 pages, containing a translation of the four canonical gospels of the New Testament into Syriac, which have been overwritten by a vita of female saints...

 reads "I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise". Likewise the two earliest Greek codices with punctuation disagree: Codex Vaticanus
Codex Vaticanus
The Codex Vaticanus , is one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible , one of the four great uncial codices. The Codex is named for the residence in the Vatican Library, where it has been stored since at least the 15th century...

 has a pause mark in the original ink after 'today', whereas Codex Alexandrinus
Codex Alexandrinus
The Codex Alexandrinus is a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible,The Greek Bible in this context refers to the Bible used by Greek-speaking Christians who lived in Egypt and elsewhere during the early history of Christianity...

 has the "today in paradise" reading. Today almost all translations follow the "today in Paradise", although there is some support among classical Greek scholars for the reading "today that"

In Christian art Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

's Last Judgement painting shows Paradise on its left side. There is a tree of life
Tree of life
The concept of a tree of life, a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related, has been used in science , religion, philosophy, mythology, and other areas...

 (and another tree) and a circle dance
Circle dance
"Circle dance" is the most common name for a style of traditional dance usually done in a circle without partners to musical accompaniment.-Description:...

 of liberated souls. In the middle is a hole. In Muslim art it similarly indicates the presence of the Prophet or divine beings. It visually says, 'Those here cannot be depicted.'

Slavic Christianity



Slavic languages, and Romanian which is not Slavic but Slavic-influenced, have a distinct term for "paradise", "rai" which is generally agreed to derive from Persian ray and co-exists alongside terms deriving from the Persian word pardeis.

Jehovah's Witnesses



Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 believe that God's purpose from the start, was and is, to have the earth filled with the offspring of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 as caretakers of a global paradise. After God had magnificently designed this earth for human habitation, however, Adam and Eve rebelled against Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

 and so they were banished from the Garden of Eden, or Paradise. Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that the wicked people will be destroyed at Armageddon
Armageddon
Armageddon is, according to the Bible, the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location...

 and that many of the righteous (those faithful and obedient to Jehovah) will live eternally in an earthly Paradise. (Psalms 37:9, 10, 29; Prov. 2:21, 22). Joining the survivors will be resurrected righteous and unrighteous people who died prior to Armageddon (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15). The latter are brought back because they paid for their sins by their death, and/or also because they lacked opportunity to learn of Jehovah's requirements prior to dying (Rom. 6:23). These will be judged on the basis of their post-resurrection obedience to instructions revealed in new "scrolls" (Rev. 20:12). This provision does not apply to those that Jehovah deems to have sinned against his holy spirit (Matt. 12:31, Luke 12:5).

One of Jesus' last recorded statements before he died were the words to an evildoer hanging alongside him on a torture stake: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43. Notice the placement of the comma is after the word 'today', indicating that there are two separate phrases, 1. 'I tell you today' and 2. 'You will be with me in Paradise'. This distinction differs from other Christian understanding of this verse where they read it as 1. 'I tell you' and 2. 'Today you will be with me in Paradise'. Some scriptures that Jehovah's Witnesses use to support their belief are (John 3:13-15); (Acts 24:15). Witnesses believe Scriptures such as Matthew 12:40 and 27:63 and Mark 8:31 and 9:31 show that Jesus himself expected an interval of three days between his own death and resurrection, making impossible a reunion in Paradise on the same day as Jesus' "you will be with me in Paradise" statement.

Mormonism


In Latter Day Saint theology, paradise usually refers to the spirit world. That is, the place where spirits dwell following death and awaiting the resurrection. In that context, "paradise" is the state of the righteous after death. In contrast, the wicked and those who have not yet learned the gospel of Jesus Christ await the resurrection in spirit prison. After the universal resurrection, all persons will be assigned to a particular kingdom or degree of glory
Degrees of glory
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' theology, there are three degrees of glory which are the ultimate, eternal dwelling place for nearly all who lived on earth after the Spirit world.Joseph Smith, Jr...

. This may also be termed "paradise".

Islam



In the Qur'an, Paradise is denoted as "Jannah" or Garden, with the highest level being called "Firdaus". The etymologically equivalent word is derived from the original Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 counterpart, and used instead of Heaven to describe the ultimate pleasurable place after death, accessible by those who pray, donate to charity, read the Qur'an, believe in: God, the Angels, His revealed books, His prophets and messengers, the Day of Judgement and the Afterlife, and follow God's will in their life . Heaven in Islam is used to describe the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. It is also used in the Qur'an to describe skies in the literal sense, i.e., above earth. In Islam, the bounties and beauty of Heaven are immense, so much so that they are beyond the abilities of mankind’s worldly mind to comprehend.

The Urantia Book


The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book is a spiritual and philosophical book that discusses God, Jesus, science, cosmology, religion, history, and destiny. It originated in Chicago, Illinois, sometime between 1924 and 1955...

 portrays Paradise as the "eternal
Eternity
While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existence for a limitless amount of time, many have used it to refer to a timeless existence altogether outside time. By contrast, infinite temporal existence is then called sempiternity. Something eternal exists outside time; by contrast,...

 center of the universe of universes," and as "the abiding place of the Universal Father
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, the Eternal Son
God the Son
God the Son is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus of Nazareth as God the Son, united in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit...

, the Infinite Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, and their divine
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 co-ordinates and associates." The book states that paradise is the primal origin and the final destiny
Destiny
Destiny or fate refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual...

 for all spirit personalities, and for all the ascending creatures of the evolutionary
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 worlds of time
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

 and space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

.

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