Catholic Christians and all other Christians believe in the blessedness of heaven realized in the possession of God.
Scripture speaks of heaven in many ways:
- as life (Mt 18:8);
- as eternal life (Mt 25:46);
- as the crown of life (Jam 1:12);
- as the tree of life (Rev 2:7);
- as glory (Rom 8:18);
- as eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10);
- as the eternal glory of God (1 Pet 5:10);
- as rest (Heb 4:3, 11);
- as the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8);
- as the Kingdom (Mt 25: 34);
- as a dwelling in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1);
- as paradise (Lk 23:43).
Those who are in heaven will have:
- great rewards (Lk 6:23);
- treasures (Mt 6:20);
- an imperishable inheritance incapable of fading or defilement (1 Pet 1:4).
In heaven the blessed:
- will be with God (Rev 21:3);
- will be with Christ (Mk 16:19);
- will be with the angels (Mt 22:30);
- will be in the house of the Father where there are many dwelling places (Jn 14:2);
- are heirs of God, heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17);
- will see God face to face (1 Cor 13:9-12);
- will see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2).
They will reign forever and ever:
- illuminated by God (Rev 22:3-5);
- immortal and physically incorruptible (Rev 21:4);
- with an irreproachable conscience (1 Pet 3:21).
The Magisterium of the Church speaks of heaven in many ways:
- as eternal life (Denzinger, 640);
- as the eternal fatherland (Denzinger 457);
- as heaven (Denzinger 464);
- as the kingdom of heaven and celestial paradise (Denzinger 530);
- as the vision and fruition of God (Denzinger 530);
- as true beatitude (Denzinger 530);
- as eternal rest (Denzinger 530);
- as eternal beatitude (Denzinger 570);
- as the vision of God one and three (Denzinger 693);
- as glory (Denzinger 842);
- as eternal retribution (Denzinger 836);
- as the supernatural end (Denzinger 1669, 1786).
- Mt 13:43
- Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.
- Rom 2:6-7, 10
- ... who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, ... But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good.
- Jn 17:3
- Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
- Mt 25:21
- His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'
- Jn 14:2-3
- In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
- Ps 73:23-25
- Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand. With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth.
- Ps 16:11
- You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
- Ps 17:15
- I am just--let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.
- 1 Jn 3:2
- Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
- Lk 22:29-30
- I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
- 1 Pet 1:3-5
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
- 1 Pet 5:4
- And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
- Rev 21:27
- ... but nothing unclean will enter it (New Jerusalem, heaven), nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
- Wis 5:16
- Therefore shall they receive the splendid crown, the beauteous diadem, from the hand of the Lord- For he shall shelter them with his right hand, and protect them with his arm.
- 2 Cor 4:17
- For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
The teachings of the Fathers of the Church affirms the constant understanding of heaven in the history of faith.
- Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Ch. 1
- And man, being a part of your creation, desires to praise You. You move us to delight in praising You; for You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.
- Augustine, The City of God, Book 11, Ch. 13
- From all this, it will readily occur to any one that the blessedness which an intelligent being desires as its legitimate object results from a combination of two things, namely, that it interruptedly enjoy the unchangeable good which is God; and that it be delivered from all doubt, and know certainly that it shall eternally abide in the same enjoyment.
- Clement of Alexandria Stromata, Book 7, Ch. 10
- For it is said, "To him that has shall be given" (Mt 25:29; Lk 19:26): to faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, love; and to love the inheritance. ... Whence at last ... it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary purposes. After which redemption the reward and the honors are assigned to those who have become perfect; ... they have become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.
By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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Last Updated: January 3, 1997