Some Of The People Of Paradise Will Be Given A Place As Large As The Worl

The Messenger said: ‘Some of the people of Paradise will be given a place as large as the world, and hundreds of thousands of palaces will be granted to them.’ What is the reason for this and why and how does a single man need all these things? What does this mean?

Answer: If man was only a solid object, or was only a vegetable creature consisting of a stomach, or consisted only of a limited, heavy, simple, and transient corporal or animal body, he would not own, nor deserve, so many palaces. But man is such a comprehensive miracle of the Divine Power that even in this transient world and brief life, if he is given the rule of the whole of the world with all its wealth and pleasures, to gratify the need of some of his undeveloped senses and faculties, it will not be possible to satisfy his greed. Whereas, a man with an infinite capacity in an eternal abode of happiness, who will knock on the door of infinite Mercy in the tongue of infinite needs, will of a certainty and most reasonably receive the Divine bounties described in the Sayings. We shall try to see this elevated truth through the telescope of a comparison, which is as follows.

Although, like this valley garden, each of the vineyards and gardens of Barla has a different owner, each bird, each sparrow, each honey-bee in Barla, which possesses with regard to food only a handful of grain, may say: ‘All the vineyards and gardens of Barla are my places of recreation.’ Each may take possession of Barla and include it in its property. Others sharing it does not limit its rule. A man who is truly human may say: ‘My Creator has made the world home for me, with the sun as its chief lamp and the stars, its electric lights. The earth is my cradle spread with flowered carpets.’ He offers thanks to God. The other creatures sharing it does not negate this conclusion of his. On the contrary, the creatures adorn his home and are like its decorations.

If on account of being human, a man in this narrow brief world–even a bird–claims a power of disposal over such a vast area and receives such a vast bounty, how can it be deemed unlikely that he will be given the ownership of a property stretching a distance of five hundred years in a broad and eternal abode of happiness?

Just as in this dense, narrow world the sun is present at the same moment in numerous mirrors, so too, as is argued in The Sixteenth Word, a spiritually enlightened being may be present in many places at the same moment. For example, the Archangel Gabriel being present on a thousand stars at the same moment he is at the Supreme Throne of God, and in the presence of the Prophet and in the Divine Presence; and the Prophet meeting with most of the devoted, God-fearing members of his community in the Place of Gathering after the Resurrection at the same moment and appearing in this world in countless places at the same moment; and a strange group of the saints known as abdal (the substitutes), appearing at the same moment in many places; and ordinary people sometimes doing as much as a year’s work in one minute in a dream or having vision of it; and everyone being in contact with and concerned in many places at the same time in heart, in spirit, and in imagination–all these are well-known and witnessed. So, most certainly in Paradise, which is of light, unrestricted, broad, and eternal, the people of Paradise, who will have bodies of the strength and lightness of the spirit and of the swiftness of imagination, being in hundreds of thousands of places at the same time, and receiving pleasure in hundreds of thousands of ways, is fitting for that eternal Paradise, that infinite Mercy, and as reported by the Truthful Reporter, upon him be peace and blessings, is reality and the truth. Nevertheless, these vast truths cannot be weighed on the scales of our tiny minds.

 

Heaven By Wiki

Heaven

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious, cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings (such as a Sky deity, God, angels, King or Queen of Heaven, Heavenly Father or Heavenly Mother or Son of Heaven, heavenly saints or venerated ancestors) originate, are enthroned or inhabit. It is commonly believed that heavenly beings can descend to earth or take on earthly flesh and that earthly beings can ascend to Heaven in the afterlife or in exceptional cases enter Heaven alive. Heaven is often described as a “higher place”, the holiest place, a Paradise, in contrast to Hell or the Underworld or the “low places”, and universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith, or other virtues or right beliefs or simply the Will of God. Some believe in the possibility of a Heaven on Earth in a World to Come or of a World Tree which connects the heavens, the world, and the underworld.

Etymology

The modern English word heaven is derived from the earlier (Middle English) spelling heven (attested 1159); this in turn was developed from the previous Old English form heofon. By c. 1000, heofon was being used in reference to the Christianized “place where God dwells”, but originally, it had signified “sky, firmament”[1] (e.g. in Beowulf, c. 725). The English term has cognates in the other Germanic languages: Old Saxon heƀan “sky, heaven”, Middle Low German heven “sky”, Old Icelandic himinn “sky, heaven”, Gothic himins; and those with a variant final -l: Old Frisian himel, himul “sky, heaven”, Old Saxon/Old High German himil, Dutch hemel, and modern German Himmel. All of these have been derived from a reconstructed Proto-Germanic form *Hemina-.[2] In many languages, the word for “heaven” is the same as the word for “sky”.

Entry into Heaven from Earth

Religions that speak about heaven differ on how (and if) one gets into it, either in the afterlife or while still alive. In many religions, entrance to Heaven is conditional on having lived a “good life” (within the terms of the spiritual system) or “accepting God into your heart.” A notable exception to this is the ‘sola fide‘ belief of many mainstream Protestant Christians, which teaches that one does not have to live a perfectly “good life,” but that one must accept (believe and put faith in) Jesus Christ as one’s saviour, and then Jesus Christ will assume the guilt of one’s sins; believers are believed to be forgiven regardless of any good or bad “works” they have participated in.[3] Catholic Christians too speak of heaven as unattainable by even heroic human effort and having been “opened” by the death and resurrection of Jesus.[4] They see heaven as promised by God as a reward for good works made possible only by his grace,[5] while “the works of the flesh” exclude from heaven.[6] A contrary view is that of Christian Universalism, which holds that, because of divine love and mercy all will ultimately be reconciled to God.

Dispensationalists hold that, in an event called the Rapture, Christians will be suddenly removed from earth before or during the Great Tribulation. They base this belief on 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which says that, along with “the dead in Christ”, “we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”.

Results of exclusion from heaven

Many religions[who?] state that those who do not go to heaven will go to another place, hell, which is eternal in religions such as Christianity. Some religions uphold the belief that other forms of afterlife exist in addition to heaven and hell, such as purgatory, though many hells, such as Naraka, serve as purgatories themselves. Some belief systems contain universalism, the belief that everyone will go to heaven eventually, no matter what they have done or believed on earth. Some forms of Christianity, and other religions believe hell to be the termination of the soul. Some Christian denominations believe in an Intermediate state between death and the Resurrection of the Dead.

Ancient Near East religions

Assyria

Egypt

In Ancient Egyptian faith, belief in an afterlife is much more stressed than in ancient Judaism. Heaven was a physical place far above the Earth in a “dark area” of space where there were no stars, basically beyond the Universe. According to the Book of the Dead, departed souls would undergo a literal journey to reach Heaven, along the way to which there could exist hazards and other entities attempting to deny the reaching of Heaven.[citation needed] Their heart would finally be weighed with the feather of truth, and if the sins weighed it down their heart was devoured.

Canaanite and Phoenician views of heaven

Almost nothing is known of Bronze Age (pre-1200 BC) Canaanite views of heaven, and the archeological findings at Ugarit (destroyed c.1200 BC) have not provided information. The 1st century Greek author Philo of Byblos may preserve elements of Iron Age Phoenician religion in his Sanchuniathon.[7]

Hurrian and Hittite myths

In the Middle Hittite myths heaven is abode of the gods. In the Song of Kumarbi, Alalu was king in heaven for nine years before giving battle to his son Anu. Anu was himself overthrown by his son Kumarbi.[8] [9][10][11]

Bahá’í faith

The Bahá’í Faith regards the conventional description of heaven (and hell) as a specific place as symbolic. The Bahá’í writings describe heaven as a “spiritual condition” where closeness to God is defined as heaven; conversely hell is seen as a state of remoteness from God. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, has stated that the nature of the life of the soul in the afterlife is beyond comprehension in the physical plane, but has stated that the soul will retain its consciousness and individuality and remember its physical life; the soul will be able to recognize other souls and communicate with them.[12]

For Bahá’ís, entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy.[12] Bahá’u’lláh likened death to the process of birth. He explains: “The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother.”[13] The analogy to the womb in many ways summarizes the Bahá’í view of earthly existence: just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person’s initial physical development, the physical world provides for the development of the individual soul. Accordingly, Bahá’ís view life as a preparatory stage, where one can develop and perfect those qualities which will be needed in the next life.[12] The key to spiritual progress is to follow the path outlined by the current Manifestation of God, which Bahá’ís believe is currently Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’u’lláh wrote, “Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved.”[14]

The Bahá’í teachings state that there exists a hierarchy of souls in the afterlife, where the merits of each soul determines their place in the hierarchy, and that souls lower in the hierarchy cannot completely understand the station of those above. Each soul can continue to progress in the afterlife, but the soul’s development is not entirely dependent on its own conscious efforts, the nature of which we are not aware, but also augmented by the grace of God, the prayers of others, and good deeds performed by others on Earth in the name of that person.[12]

Buddhism

In Buddhism there are several heavens, all of which are still part of samsara (illusionary reality). Those who accumulate good karma may be reborn[15] in one of them. However, their stay in the heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma and will undergo a different rebirth into another realm, as humans, animals or other beings. Because heaven is temporary and part of samsara, Buddhists focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (Nirvana).

According to Buddhist cosmology the universe is impermanent and beings transmigrate through a number of existential “planes” in which this human world is only one “realm” or “path”.[16]

These are traditionally envisioned as a vertical continuum with the heavens existing above the human realm, and the realms of the animals, Hungry ghosts and hell beings existing beneath it. According to Jan Chozen Bays in her book, Jizo: Guardian of Children, Travelers, and Other Voyagers, the realm of the asura is a later refinement of the heavenly realm and was inserted between the human realm and the heavens. One important Buddhist heaven is the Trāyastriṃśa, which resembles Olympus of Greek mythology.

In the Mahayana world view, there are also pure lands which lie outside this continuum and are created by the Buddhas upon attaining enlightenment. These should not be confused with the heavens as the pure lands are abodes of Buddhas, which the heavens are not and heavens are looked at “impermanent” places to be reincarnated in, as heavenly beings still have to die and be reincarnated into lower realms. This confusion can be made worse when writers use such words ‘paradise’ to denote such pure lands.

One notable Buddhist pure land is the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. Rebirth in the pure land of Amitabha is seen as an assurance of Buddhahood for once reborn there, beings do not fall back into cyclical existence unless they choose to do so to save other beings, the goal of Buddhism being the obtainment of enlightenment and freeing oneself and others from the birth-death cycle.

One of the Buddhist Sutras states that a hundred years of our existence is equal to one day and one night in the world of the thirty-three gods. Thirty such days add up to their one month. Twelve such months become their one year, while they live for a thousand such years though existence in the heavens is ultimately finite and the beings who reside there will reappear in other realms based on their karma.

The Tibetan word Bardo means literally “intermediate state“. In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva.

Chinese faiths

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bc/%E5%A4%A9-oracle.svg/150px-%E5%A4%A9-oracle.svg.png

 

Chinese Zhou Dynasty Oracle script for Tian, the character for Heaven or sky.

In the native Chinese Confucian traditions Heaven (Tian) is an important concept, where the ancestors reside and from which emperors drew their mandate to rule in their dynastic propaganda, for example.

Heaven is a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophies and religions, and is on one end of the spectrum a synonym of Shangdi (“Supreme Deity”) and on the other naturalistic end, a synonym for nature and the sky. The Chinese term for Heaven, Tian (), derives from the name of the supreme deity of the Zhou Dynasty. After their conquest of the Shang Dynasty in 1122 BC, the Zhou people considered their supreme deity Tian to be identical with the Shang supreme deity Shangdi.[17] The Zhou people attributed Heaven with anthropomorphic attributes, evidenced in the etymology of the Chinese character for Heaven or sky, which originally depicted a person with a large cranium. Heaven is said to see, hear and watch over all men. Heaven is affected by man’s doings, and having personality, is happy and angry with them. Heaven blesses those who please it and sends calamities upon those who offend it.[18] Heaven was also believed to transcend all other spirits and gods, with Confucius asserting, “He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.”[18]

Other philosophers born around the time of Confucius such as Mozi took an even more theistic view of Heaven, believing that Heaven is the divine ruler, just as the Son of Heaven (the King of Zhou) is the earthly ruler. Mozi believed that spirits and minor gods exist, but their function is merely to carry out the will of Heaven, watching for evil-doers and punishing them. Thus they function as angels of Heaven and do not detract from its monotheistic government of the world. With such a high monotheism, it is not surprising that Mohism championed a concept called “universal love” (jian’ai, 兼愛), which taught that Heaven loves all people equally and that each person should similarly love all human beings without distinguishing between his own relatives and those of others.[19] In Mozi‘s Will of Heaven (天志), he writes:

“I know Heaven loves men dearly not without reason. Heaven ordered the sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them. Heaven ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, to regulate them. Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow the five grains and flax and silk that so the people could use and enjoy them. Heaven established the hills and rivers, ravines and valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man’s good or bring him evil. He appointed the dukes and lords to reward the virtuous and punish the wicked, and to gather metal and wood, birds and beasts, and to engage in cultivating the five grains and flax and silk to provide for the people’s food and clothing. This has been so from antiquity to the present.”

Original Chinese: 「且吾所以知天之愛民之厚者有矣,曰以磨為日月星辰,以昭道之;制為四時春秋冬夏,以紀綱之;雷降雪霜雨露,以長遂五穀麻絲,使民得而財利之;列為山川谿谷,播賦百事,以臨司民之善否;為王公侯伯,使之賞賢而罰暴;賊金木鳥獸,從事乎五穀麻絲,以為民衣食之財。自古及今,未嘗不有此也。」

Mozi, Will of Heaven, Chapter 27, Paragraph 6, ca. 5th Century BC

Mozi criticized the Confucians of his own time for not following the teachings of Confucius. By the time of the later Han Dynasty, however, under the influence of Xunzi, the Chinese concept of Heaven and Confucianism itself had become mostly naturalistic, though some Confucians argued that Heaven was where ancestors reside. Worship of Heaven in China continued with the erection of shrines, the last and greatest being the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and the offering of prayers. The ruler of China in every Chinese dynasty would perform annual sacrificial rituals to Heaven, usually by slaughtering two healthy bulls as sacrifice.

Christianity

Traditionally, Christianity has taught “Heaven” as a place of eternal life and the dwelling place of the Angels and the Throne of God,[21] and a kingdom to which all the elect will be admitted.[22] In most forms of Christianity, belief in the afterlife is professed in the major Creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, which states: “We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” In Biblical forms of Christianity, concepts about the future “Kingdom of Heaven” are also professed in several scriptural prophecies of the new (or renewed) Earth said to follow the resurrection of the dead—particularly the books of Isaiah and Revelation. The resurrected Jesus is said to have ascended to heaven where he now sits at the Right Hand of God and will return to earth in the Second Coming. Mary, his mother, is also said to have been assumed into heaven and is titled the Queen of Heaven. Many also believe Elijah and Enoch were taken into heaven. Revelation 12:7-9 speaks of a War in Heaven between Michael the Archangel and his angels against the Dragon and his angels, which the Dragon and his angels lost and thus they were “thrown down to the earth”, and though the term is not used in the text, they are generally referred to as the fallen angels.[23] In the 2nd century AD, Irenaeus (a Greek bishop) wrote that not all who are saved would merit an abode in Heaven itself.[24] One popular medieval view of Heaven was that it existed as a physical place above the clouds and that God and the Angels were physically above, watching over man. The ancient concept of “Heaven” as a synonym for “skies” or “space” is also evident in allusions to the stars as “lights shining through from heaven”, and the like.

The term Heaven is applied by the Bible to the realm in which God currently resides. Eternal life, by contrast, occurs in a renewed, unspoilt and perfect creation, which can be termed Heaven since God will choose to dwell there permanently with his people, as seen in Revelation 21:3. That there will no longer be any separation between God and man. The believers themselves will exist in incorruptible, resurrected and new bodies; there will be no sickness, no death and no tears. Some teach that death itself is not a natural part of life, but was allowed to happen after Adam and Eve disobeyed God (see Original Sin) so that mankind would not live forever in a state of sin and thus a state of separation from God.[25][26][27]

Not only will the believers spend eternity with God, they will also spend it with each other. John’s vision recorded in Revelation describes a New Jerusalem which comes from Heaven to the New Earth, which is generally seen to be a symbolic reference to the people of God living in community with one another; in a number of sects this is taken as more literal than symbolic. Heaven will be the place where life will be lived to the full, in the way that the designer planned, each believer “loving the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their mind” and “loving their neighbour as themselves” (cf. Matthew 22:37-40, also known as the Great Commandment)—a place of great joy, without the negative aspects of present earthly life.

Hinduism

According to Hindu cosmology, above the earthly plane are six heavenly planes: 1. Bhuva Loka, 2. Swarga Loka, meaning Good Kingdom, is the general name for heaven in Hinduism, a heavenly paradise of pleasure, where most of the Hindu gods (Deva) reside along with the king of gods, Indra, and beatified mortals.[28] 3. Mahar Loka 4. Jana Loka 5. Tapa Loka and 6. Satya Loka.

In the Hindu Vaishnava traditions the highest heaven is Vaikuntha, which exists above the six heavenly lokas and outside of the mahat-tattva or mundane world. It’s where eternally liberated souls who have attained moksha reside in beautiful and eternally youthful human forms with Lakshmi and Narayana (a manifestation of Vishnu). Vaikuntha is divided into various realms where various avatars of Lakshmi-Narayana preside. These include the celestial Ayodhya where SitaRama preside, and the celestial Goloka where Krishna and his various consorts such as Radha and Rukmini preside. The liberated human souls or jivas who live there engage in different types of relationships Rasa (theology) with the countless manifestations or avatars of Lakshmi-Narayana.

Islam

The Qur’an contains many references to an afterlife in Eden for those who do good deeds. Regarding the concept of heaven (Jannah) in the Qu’ran, verse 35 of Surah Al-Ra’d says, “The parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised! Beneath it flow rivers. Perpetual is the fruits thereof and the shade therein. Such is the End of the Righteous; and the end of the unbelievers is the Fire.”[Quran 13:35] Islam rejects the concept of original sin, and Muslims believe that all human beings are born pure. Children automatically go to heaven when they die, regardless of the religion of their parents. The highest level of heaven is Firdaus (فردوس)- Paradise (پردیس), to which the prophets, martyrs and other pious people will go at the time of their death.[29]

The concept of heaven in Islam differs in many respects to the concept in Judaism and Christianity. Heaven is described primarily in physical terms as a place where every wish is immediately fulfilled when asked. Islamic texts describe immortal life in heaven as happy, without negative emotions. Those who dwell in heaven are said to wear costly apparel, partake in exquisite banquets, and recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones. Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents, wives, and children. In Islam if one’s good deeds weigh out one’s sins then one may gain entrance to heaven. Conversely, if one’s sins outweigh their good deeds they are sent to hell. The more good deeds one has performed the higher the level of heaven one is directed to. It has been said that the lowest level of heaven is one-hundred times better than the greatest life on earth. The highest level is the seventh heaven, in which God can be seen and where anything is possible. Palaces are built by angels for the occupants using solid gold.

Verses which describe heaven include: Quran 13:35, Quran 18:31, Quran 38:49–54, Quran 35:33–35, Quran 52:17–27.

Islamic texts refer to several levels of heaven: Firdaus or Paradise, ‘Adn, Na’iim, Na’wa, Darussalaam, Daarul Muaqaamah, Al-Muqqamul, Amin & Khuldi.

Jainism

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c7/Jain_Universe.jpg/300px-Jain_Universe.jpg

 

Structure of Universe as per the Jain Scriptures.

The shape of the Universe as described in Jainism is shown alongside. Please note that unlike the current convention of using North direction as the top of map, this uses South as the top. The shape is similar to a part of human form standing upright.

The Deva Loka (Heavens) are at the symbolic “chest”, where all souls enjoying the positive karmic effects reside. The heavenly beings are referred to as devas(masculine form) and devis(feminine form). According to Jainism, there is not one heavenly abode, but several layers to reward appropriately the souls of varying degree of karmit merits. Similarly, beneath the “waist” are the Narka Loka (Hell). Human, animal, insect, plant and microscopic life forms reside on the middle.

The pure souls (who reached Siddha status) reside at the very south end (top) of the Universe. They are referred to in Tamil literature as தென்புலத்தார் (Kural 43).

Judaism

Rabbinical Judaism

While the concept of heaven (malkuth hashamaim מלכות השמים, the Kingdom of Heaven) is well-defined within the Christian and Islamic religions, the Jewish concept of the afterlife, sometimes known as olam haba, the World-to-come, is not so precise. The Torah has little to say on the subject of survival after death, but by the time of the rabbis two ideas had made inroads among the Jews: one, which is probably derived from Greek thought,[30] is that of the immortal soul which returns to its creator after death; the other, which is thought to be of Persian origin,[30] is that of resurrection of the dead.

Jewish writings[which?] refer to a “new earth” as the abode of mankind following the resurrection of the dead. Originally, the two ideas of immortality and resurrection were different but in rabbinic thought they are combined: the soul departs from the body at death but is returned to it at the resurrection. This idea is linked to another rabbinic teaching, that men’s good and bad actions are rewarded and punished not in this life but after death, whether immediately or at the subsequent resurrection.[30] Around 1 CE, the Pharisees are said to have maintained belief in resurrection but the Sadducees are said to have denied it (Matt. 22:23).

Some scholars[who?] assert that the Sheol mentioned in Isaiah 38:18, Psalm 6:5 and Job 7:7-10 was an earlier concept than Heaven, but this theory is not universally held.

The Mishnah has many sayings about the World to Come, for example, “Rabbi Yaakov said: This world is like a lobby before the World to Come; prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.”[31]

Judaism holds that the righteous of all nations have a share in the World-to-come.[32]

According to Nicholas de Lange, Judaism offers no clear teaching about the destiny which lies in wait for the individual after death and its attitude to life after death has been expressed as follows: “For the future is inscrutable, and the accepted sources of knowledge, whether experience, or reason, or revelation, offer no clear guidance about what is to come. The only certainty is that each man must die – beyond that we can only guess.”[30]

According to Tracey R. Rich of the website “Judaism 101”, Judaism, unlike other world-religions, is not focused on the quest of getting into heaven but on life and how to live it.[33]

Kabbalah Jewish mysticism

In order from lowest to highest, the seven Heavens are listed alongside the angels who govern them:

  1. Shamayim: The first Heaven, governed by Archangel Gabriel, is the closest of heavenly realms to the Earth; it is also considered the abode of Adam and Eve.
  2. Raquie: The second Heaven is dually controlled by Zachariel and Raphael. It was in this Heaven that Moses, during his visit to Paradise, encountered the angel Nuriel who stood “300 parasangs high, with a retinue of 50 myriads of angels all fashioned out of water and fire.” Also, Raquia is considered the realm where the fallen angels are imprisoned and the planets fastened.[34]
  3. Shehaqim: The third Heaven, under the leadership of Anahel, serves as the home of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life; it is also the realm where manna, the holy food of angels, is produced.[35] The Second Book of Enoch, meanwhile, states that both Paradise and Hell are accommodated in Shehaqim with Hell being located simply ” on the northern side.”
  4. Machen: The fourth Heaven is ruled by the Archangel Michael, and according to Talmud Hagiga 12, it contains the heavenly Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Altar.
  5. Machon: The fifth Heaven is under the administration of Samael, an angel referred to as evil by some, but who is to others merely a dark servant of God.
  6. Zebul: The sixth Heaven falls under the jurisdiction of Sachiel.
  7. Araboth: The seventh Heaven, under the leadership of Cassiel, is the holiest of the seven Heavens provided the fact that it houses the Throne of Glory attended by the Seven Archangels and serves as the realm in which God dwells; underneath the throne itself lies the abode of all unborn human souls. It is also considered the home of the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the Hayyoth.[36]

Mesoamerican religions

The Nahua people such as the Aztecs, Chichimecs and the Toltecs believed that the heavens were constructed and separated into 13 levels. Each level had from one to many Lords living in and ruling these heavens. Most important of these heavens was Omeyocan (Place of Two). The thirteen heavens were ruled by Ometeotl, the dual Lord, creator of the Dual-Genesis who, as male, takes the name Ometecuhtli (Two Lord), and as female is named Omecihuatl (Two Lady).

Polynesia

Main article: Polynesian mythology

In the creation myths of Polynesian mythology are found various concepts of the heavens and the underworld. These differ from one island to another. What they share is the view of the universe as an egg or coconut that is divided between the world of humans (earth), the upper world of heavenly gods, and the underworld. Each of these is subdivided in a manner reminiscent of Dante‘s Divine Comedy, but the number of divisions and their names differs from one Polynesian culture to another.*[37]

Māori

In Māori mythology, the heavens are divided into a number of realms. Different tribes number the heaven differently, with as few as two and as many as fourteen levels. One of the more common versions divides heaven thus:

  1. Kiko-rangi, presided over by the god Toumau
  2. Waka-maru, the heaven of sunshine and rain
  3. Nga-roto, the heaven of lakes where the god Maru rules
  4. Hau-ora, where the spirits of newborn children originate
  5. Nga-Tauira, home of the servant gods
  6. Nga-atua, which is ruled over by the hero Tawhaki
  7. Autoia, where human souls are created
  8. Aukumea, where spirits live
  9. Wairua, where spirit gods live while waiting on those in
  10. Naherangi or Tuwarea, where the great gods live presided over by Rehua

The Māori believe these heavens are supported by pillars. Other Polynesian peoples see them being supported by gods (as in Hawai’i). In one Tahitian legend, heaven is supported by an octopus.

Paumotu, Tuamotus

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/da/Paumotuheavens.gif/220px-Paumotuheavens.gif

 

An 1869 illustration by a Tuomatuan chief portraying nine heavens.

The Polynesian conception of the universe and its division is nicely illustrated by a famous drawing made by a Tuomotuan chief in 1869. Here, the nine heavens are further divided into left and right, and each stage is associated with a stage in the evolution of the earth that is portrayed below. The lowest division represents a period when the heavens hung low over the earth, which was inhabited by animals that were not known to the islanders. In the third division is shown the first murder, the first burials, and the first canoes, built by Rata. In the fourth division, the first coconut tree and other significant plants are born.[38]

Theosophy

It is believed in Theosophy of Helena Blavatsky that each religion (including Theosophy) has its own individual Heaven in various regions of the upper astral plane that fits the description of that Heaven that is given in each religion, which a soul that has been good in their previous life on Earth will go to. The area of the upper astral plane of Earth in the upper atmosphere where the various Heavens are located is called Summerland (Theosophists believe Hell is located in the lower astral plane of Earth which extends downward from the surface of the earth down to its center). However, Theosophists believe that the soul is recalled back to Earth after an average of about 1400 years by the Lords of Karma to incarnate again. The final Heaven that souls go to billions of years in the future after they finish their cycle of incarnations is called Devachan.[39]

Near death experiences

Many people who come close to death and have near death experiences report meeting relatives or entering “the Light” in an otherworldly dimension, which share similarities with the religious concept of Heaven. Even though there are also reports of distressing experiences and negative life-reviews, which share some similarities with the concept of Hell, the positive experiences of meeting or entering ‘the Light’ is reported as an immensely intense feeling state of love, peace and joy beyond human comprehension. Together with this intensely positive feeling state, people who have near death experiences also report that consciousness or a heightened state of awareness seems as if it is at the heart of experiencing a taste of ‘Heaven’.[40]

Criticism of the belief in Heaven

Marxists regard heaven, like religion generally, as a tool employed by authorities to bribe their subjects into a certain way of life by promising a reward after death.[41]

The anarchist Emma Goldman expressed this view when she wrote, “Consciously or unconsciously, most atheists see in gods and devils, heaven and hell; reward and punishment, a whip to lash the people into obedience, meekness and contentment.”[42]

Many people consider George Orwell‘s use of Sugarcandy Mountain in his novel Animal Farm to be a literary expression of this view. In the book, the animals were told that after their miserable lives were over they would go to a place in which “it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges”.[43][44] Fantasy author Philip Pullman echoes this idea in the fantasy series His Dark Materials, in which the characters finally come to the conclusion that people should make life better on Earth rather than wait for heaven (this idea is known as the Republic of Heaven).

Some atheists have argued that a belief in a reward after death is poor motivation for moral behavior while alive.[45][46] Sam Harris wrote, “It is rather more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because you think the Creator of the Universe wants you to do it, or will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it. [The] problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available.”[47]

References

1.       ^ The Anglo-Saxons knew the concept of Paradise, which they expressed with words such as neorxnawang.

2.       ^ Barnhart (1995:357).

3.       ^ “Jesus Paid It All – What does this mean?”. AllAboutJesusChrist.org. http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/jesus-paid-it-all.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-05.

4.       ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1026

5.       ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1821 and 2007-2011

6.       ^ Galatians 5:19-21 cited in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1852

7.       ^ Attridge, Harold. W., and R. A. Oden, Jr. (1981), Philo of Byblos: The Phoenician History: Introduction, Critical Text, Translation, Notes, CBQMS 9 (Washington: D. C.: The Catholic Biblical Association of America).

8.       ^ Harry A. Hoffner, Gary M. Beckman – 1990

9.       ^ Sabatino Moscati Face of the Ancient Orient 2001 Page 174 “The first, called ‘Kingship in Heaven’, tells how this kingship passes from Alalu to Anu, … was king in heaven, Alalu was seated on the throne and the mighty Anu, first among the gods,”

10.    ^ Moscatti, Sabatino (1968), “The World of the Phoenicians” (Phoenix Giant)

11.    ^ Ribichini, Sergio “Beliefs and Religious Life” in Maoscati Sabatino (1997), “The Phoenicians” (Rissoli)

12.    ^ a b c d Masumian, Farnaz (1995). Life After Death: A study of the afterlife in world religions. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-074-8.

13.    ^ Bahá’u’lláh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá’í Publishing Trust. pp. 157. ISBN 0-87743-187-6. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-81.html#pg157.

14.    ^ Bahá’u’lláh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá’í Publishing Trust. pp. 162. ISBN 0-87743-187-6. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-82.html#gr7.

15.    ^ (but no soul actually goes through rebirth; see anatta)

16.    ^ Salvation Versus Liberation, A Buddhist View of the Paradise or Heavenly Worlds.

17.    ^ Herrlee Creel “The Origin of the Deity T’ien” (1970:493-506)

18.    ^ a b Joseph Shih, “The Notion of God in the Ancient Chinese Religion,” Numen, Vol. 16, Fasc. 2, pp 99-138, Brill: 1969

19.    ^ Homer Dubs, “Theism and Naturalism in Ancient Chinese Philosophy,” Philosophy of East and West, Vol 9, No 3/4, pp 163-172, University of Hawaii Press: 1960.

20.    ^ http://www.bigli.com/quadro/279/dosso-dossi/ascensione-di-cristo.aspx

21.    ^ Audience Talk, 21 July 1999

22.    ^ Ehrman, Bart. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0

23.    ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Angels: “The evil angels: … In New Testament times the idea of the two spiritual kingdoms is clearly established. The devil is a fallen angel who in his fall has drawn multitudes of the heavenly host in his train. … Christian imagery of the devil as the dragon is mainly derived from the Apocalypse (9:11-15 and 12:7-9), where he is termed “the angel of the bottomless pit”, “the dragon”, “the old serpent”, etc., and is represented as having actually been in combat with Archangel Michael.”

24.    ^ Irenaeus of Lyons; Book 5, 36:1

25.    ^ Moody, D.L. Heaven. Liskeard, Cornwall: Diggory Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1846858123.

26.    ^ Bunyan, John. The Strait Gate: Great Difficulty of Going to Heaven Liskeard, Cornwall: Diggory Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1846856716.

27.    ^ Bunyan, John. No Way to Heaven but By Jesus Christ Liskeard, Cornwall: Diggory Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1846857805.

28.    ^ Norman C. McClelland Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma 2010 p263 “Swarga Meaning Good Kingdom, this is the general name for heaven in Hinduism, and more specifically the name for the heaven of the storm and warrior god Indra. Dwelling here are the lesser gods and beatified mortals, but even for the souls”

29.    ^ Everlasting Life in Paradise according to Qu’ran Seven Steps rising to the heavens.

30.    ^ a b c d Nicholas de Lange, Judaism, Oxford University Press, 1986

31.    ^ Pirkei Avot, 4:21

32.    ^ jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm

33.    ^ “Some people look at these teachings and deduce that Jews try to “earn our way into Heaven” by performing the mitzvot. This is a gross mischaracterization of our religion. It is important to remember that unlike some religions, Judaism is not focused on the question of how to get into heaven. Judaism is focused on life and how to live it.” Olam Ha-Ba: The World to Come Judaism 101; websource 02-11-2010.

34.    ^ The Legends of the Jews I, 131, and II, 306.

35.    ^ The Legends of the Jews V, 374.

36.    ^ Ginzberg, Louis. Henrietta Szold (trans.). The Legends of the Jews. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909–38. ISBN 0801858909.

37.    ^ Craig, Robert D. Dictionary of Polynesian Mythology. Greenwood Press: New York, 1989. ISBN 0313258902. Page 57.

38.    ^ Young, J.L. “The Paumotu Conception of the Heavens and of Creation”, Journal of the Polynesian Society, 28 (1919), 209–211.

39.    ^ Leadbeater, C.W. Outline of Theosophy Wheaton, Illinois, USA:1915 Theosophical Publishing House

40.    ^ Jorgensen, Rene. Awakening After Life BookSurge, 2007 ISBN 1-4196-6347-X

41.    ^ Animal Farm Character Profiles at Charles’ George Orwell Links.

42.    ^ Goldman, Emma. “The Philosophy of Atheism”. Mother Earth, February 1916.

43.    ^ Opinions: Essays: Orwell’s Political Messages by Rhodri Williams.

44.    ^ Background information for George Orwell’s Animal Farm at Charles’ George Orwell Links.

45.    ^ The Atheist Philosophy

46.    ^ Quote by Albert Einstein at Quote DB.

47.    ^ Sam Harris at the 2006 Beyond Belief conference (watch here).

 

Is There Any Purpose And Necessity For An Eternal World Of Happiness

Is There Any Purpose And Necessity For An Eternal World Of Happiness

It is necessary that an eternal world of happiness should be established and the Majestic One Who will found this world is certainly capable of doing that. The destruction of the universe including this world is possible and will certainly occur. Moreover, the resurrection of everything is also possible and, with equal certainty, will take place. The following expounds this so that there will no longer be any doubt about the certainty of the Resurrection.

There is a purpose and necessary cause for the foundation of an eternal world of happiness; the following ten points indicate the existence and necessity of this purpose and cause:

First point: Harmony and purposeful order in creation…The whole of creation displays a perfect harmony and a purposeful order, and in every aspect of the universe signs of a will and indications of a purpose are manifest. It is impossible not to discern, through the testimony of its fruits or results, in each thing and event, an intention and will, and in each composition a wisdom and choice. If this creation were not meant to produce eternal happiness, then its harmony and order would be a deceptive appearance, and the meanings, relations and connections that are the spirit of order would come to nothing–for it is eternal happiness which causes this order to be established.

Second point: Wisdom in the creation of the Universe…The creation of the universe displays a perfect wisdom. Indeed, the Divine Wisdom, being the representation of eternal favor, announces the coming of eternal happiness through the tongue of the observation of benefits and purposes in the whole of the universe. If, then, there was no eternal happiness, it would require the denial of all the benefits and purposes observed in everything and event in the universe.

Third point: Nothing superfluous or vain occurs in the creation…As pointed out by intellect, wisdom, experience and deductive reasoning, nothing superfluous or vain occurs in the creation, and this indicates the existence of eternal happiness. The Majestic Maker of the universe chooses the best and easiest way in the creation, and apportions hundreds of duties and thousands of purposes to any creature, no matter how insignificant it may appear. Since there is no waste and nothing in vain, there will surely be eternal happiness. For eternal non-existence would make everything futile and everything would be a waste. The absence of waste in all creation, and in man in particular, demonstrates that man’s countless spiritual potentialities, his limitless aspirations and ideas, and inclinations will never go to waste. Man’s basic inclination towards perfection indicates the existence of perfection, and his desire for happiness proclaims that he is definitely destined for eternal happiness. If this was not so, then all the basic spiritual features and sublime aspirations which constitute man’s true nature would be a waste and futile and for nothing.

Fourth point: Changes in the universe and life indicate a complete rising and renewal…The alternation of day and night, and spring and winter, atmospheric changes, and the renewal of the human body each year, and the awakening and rising every morning after sleep, all indicate a complete rising and renewal. Just as seconds forecast the coming of the minute, the minute predicts the hour, and the hour anticipates the day in our clock, so, too, the dials of God’s great clock–the earth–point, in succession, to the day, the year, a man’s lifetime and the ages through which the world passes. As they show morning after night, and spring after winter, they intimate that the morning of the Resurrection will follow the death of the whole of creation.

As the daily, seasonal and annual changes, going to sleep and awakening the next morning, revivals and renewals which occur during a man’s life, can be regarded as a kind of death and resurrection, so the revival of nature every spring is also a promise of the final resurrection. Hundreds of thousands of different kinds of resurrection take place in the realm of animals and plants each spring, some animals coming to life and trees coming into leaf and flower. Thus the All Wise Creator reminds us of the Resurrection to come.

Each human being is equal in value and comprehensiveness to any of the other animate species because the light of his intellect has endowed him with such comprehensive aspirations and ideas as to encompass the past and future. In the other species the nature of the individuals is particular; their value is personal; their view, restricted; their qualities, limited; their pleasure and pain, instantaneous. Man, on the contrary, has a sublime nature and the greatest value; his perfection is limitless and his spiritual pleasures and pains are more permanent. It can be concluded from these facts that the kinds of resurrection experienced by other species in nature suggest that every human being will be resurrected completely on the Day of Judgment.

Fifth point: Man has been endowed with unlimited potentialities…Man has been endowed with unlimited potentialities. These potentialities develop into unrestricted abilities, which give rise to countless inclinations. These inclinations generate limitless desires and these desires are the source of infinite ideas and concepts. All these together, as observed and confirmed by scholars of profound knowledge, indicate the existence of a world of eternal happiness beyond this material world. Man’s innate inclination towards eternal happiness makes one sure that this world of happiness will be established.

Sixth point: The All-Encompassing Mercy of God requires the foundation of eternal happiness…The all-encompassing mercy of the All-Merciful Maker of the universe requires the foundation of the world of eternal happiness. Were it not for this happiness, which is the chief grace of God for mankind, cries of lamentation would be raised by human beings because of eternal separation, and acts of favor would turn into vengeance, and Divine Compassion would be negated. Divine Mercy, however, is found throughout the whole of creation, and is more evident than the sun. Observe love, affection, and intellect, which are the three manifestations of Divine Compassion. If human life were to result in eternal separation, with unending pangs of parting, then that gracious love would turn into the greatest affliction for man. Affection would turn into a most painful ailment, and that light-giving intellect would become an unmitigated evil. Divine Compassion, however, (because it is Compassion) will never inflict the agony of eternal separation upon true love.

Seventh point: Divine Mercy cannot be restricted to a limited life…All the pleasure-giving experiences known in the universe, all the beauties, perfections, attractions, ardent yearnings, and feelings of compassion are the spiritual articulations and manifestations of the Majestic Creator’s Favor, Mercy and Munificence made known to the intellect. Since there is a truth, a reality in this universe, most certainly there is true Mercy. And since there is true Mercy, there will be eternal happiness.

Eighth point: Man’s conscience, which is his conscious nature, indicates eternal happiness…Man’s conscience, which is his conscious nature, indicates eternal happiness, and whoever hearkens to this conscience will hear it pronouncing eternity over and over again. If a man were given the whole universe, it would not compensate him for his lack of eternity–he has an innate longing for eternity, for which he was created. This means man’s natural inclination towards eternal happiness comes from an objective reality, which is the existence of eternity and man’s desire for it.

Ninth point: The Messenger Muhammad preached the coming of the everlasting life…The Messenger Muhammad who spoke the truth and whose words have been confirmed throughout the centuries, preached the coming of everlasting life and eternal happiness, and it was his words which promised its coming. In his message, he concentrated almost as much upon the Resurrection as he did upon the Divine Unity, referring to the consensus of all the Prophets and the unanimous agreement of all the saints.

Tenth point: The Holy Book announces the Resurrection and the coming of eternal life…The Holy Book, a matchless miracle with forty aspects, announces the Resurrection and the coming of eternal happiness. It unveils the mystery of creation and offers thousands of rational arguments about the Resurrection. Verses such as “He created you by stages,” and, “Say, ‘He Who has originated them the first time shall bring them to life again,” contain a comparison and an analogy, and, “Your Lord wrongs not His servants,” indicates God’s justice. These provide man with a view, as it were through a telescope, of the Resurrection and everlasting happiness. As to the proofs offered by way of comparison in the first two verses mentioned above, they have been explained in my treatise called The Point as follows:

A man undergoes ordered and systematic changes in the process of his development. The sperm, a blood-clot, a tissue, bones and flesh, which develops into another (distinct) creature with human shape, and the formation of this being, each requires adherence to very precise principles. These principles, each particular to the successive stages of development, indicate the exercise of purpose, will, and wisdom. The All Wise Creator, Who creates man by these stages, also causes the body to renew itself each year. This renewal demands the replacement of the cells, which have decomposed with new ones. These are produced by the provision of food by the All-Provident One, according to the needs of each part of the body. If we observe the particles of those substances used for the renewal or repair of the body, we see them come together from the atmosphere, the earth or the water as though these particles were in receipt of marching orders. They seem to have received instructions to go to a certain place, so precise are their motions, and their manner of going indicates the operation of the Real Agent. They start from the inanimate world of elements and chemical substances, and pass to the animated world of vegetables and animals. Having developed into sustenance in agreement with some definite principles, they enter the body as food, and, after having been ‘cooked’ in different ‘kitchens’, and undergone some transformations and passed through some ‘filters’, are distributed to its parts according to their needs. All these processes take place in accordance with the laws laid down by the All-Provident One without the intervention of blind chance, lawless coincidence, deaf nature, and unconscious causes. They all display a perfect knowledge, wisdom and insight. For at whatever stage each of them enters from the surrounding element to the body’s cell, it acts, as if voluntarily, through the specified laws of that stage. It enters it in an orderly fashion. To whichever level it journeys, it steps with such order that it appears self-evidently to be proceeding at the command of an All Wise Mover. In this way, it gradually advances from stage to stage, and level to level, until, at the command of its Sustainer, without deviating from its aim and object, it reaches its appropriate position, for example the pupil of the eye, where it establishes itself and works.

The provision of food and its reaching the cells for which it is destined is a manifestation of Divine Will and Divine Determination. There is so perfect an order and arrangement in this process that it is as if it were written on the ‘forehead’ of each particle of sustenance to which cell it will go. Is it conceivable that the Majestic Creator, Who exercises Lordship with boundless power and all-encompassing wisdom over the whole creation, from particles of matter to the planets, and spins them with order and balance, could fail to revive the creation once more? Verses of the Glorious Book open man’s eyes to this revival by comparing it with man’s first creation, removing all doubts. The Book declares, “Say, He Who has originated them the first time (with definite purpose) will bring them to life again (in the Hereafter).” “It is He Who originates the creation, then brings it back again, and it is easier for Him.”

Just as the soldiers of a battalion come together again at the call of the bugle more rapidly than at first after they had fallen out for a rest, so also, according to reason, it is as easy and possible for the essential particles of a body, which had established close relations and familiarity with each other during their worldly life, to re-gather at the trumpet-blast of the Angel Israfil and they will do so more readily than at the first creation. It will not be necessary for all the component parts to be present; rather, the fundamental parts and essential particles, which are like nuclei and seeds, and are called ‘the root of the tail’ (the os coccyx) in a Prophetic saying, may be sufficient as a basis and foundation for the second creation. Upon this foundation the All Wise Creator will rebuild the human body.

 

Why wordly pleasure included in paradise?

A living body is in constant formation and deformation and subject to disintegration; therefore it cannot be eternal. Eating and drinking are for the perpetuation of the individual, and sexual relations are for the perpetuation of the species. These are fundamental to the worldly life but there is no need for them in the world of eternity. So why have they been included in the greatest pleasures of Paradise?

Continue reading “Why wordly pleasure included in paradise?”

Is there any Purpose and Necessity for an Eternal World of Happiness

It is necessary that an eternal world of happiness should be established and the Majestic One Who will found this world is certainly capable of doing that. The destruction of the universe including this world is possible and will certainly occur. Moreover, the resurrection of everything is also possible and, with equal certainty, will take place. The following expounds this so that there will no longer be any doubt about the certainty of the Resurrection. Continue reading “Is there any Purpose and Necessity for an Eternal World of Happiness”

A person is with whom he loves, friends will be together in Paradise

According to the meaning of the Narration, “A person is with whom he loves, friends will be together in Paradise.” This requires that a simple Bedouin who feels a deep love for God’s Messenger in one minute’s companionship with him should be together with God’s Messenger in Paradise. But how can illumination and reward of a simple nomad cause him to share the same place with God’s Messenger, whose illumination and reward are limitless? Continue reading “A person is with whom he loves, friends will be together in Paradise”