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Who, what, when...


3 meanings of the word "heaven"...

  1. The sky and atmosphere
  2. The visible universe including sun, moon, and stars
  3. The spiritual realms

The firmament of Genesis chapter one refers both to the skyand to the universe.

I'm considering only the third of these, the spiritual realms.

The soul of each living creature resides in the spiritual realms.This includes the souls of humans, animals, plants, and angels.

The physical realm is inert, lifeless.The souls of creatures having a physical body connect to the senses, nervous system, and other aspects of their body.

A common mistake of atheistic philosophers is to attribute aspects of spirituality to the physical realm. This is common with modern science which assumes that all that exists is the physical universe with its matter, energy, space, and natural laws.

Many non-atheistic non-Christian philosophers describe aspects of spirituality in a manner incompatible with Christianity. It started with Plato and Aristotle with their idea of forms and continues into modern philosophical systems such as Hegel's dialectic.They acknowledge such things as ideas, thoughts, emotions, memories, the intellect, symbols, and consciousness but provide various non-Christians explanations for how it all works. In my view, all such things including life itself reside only in the spiritual realm, not in the physical realm.

In addition to a physical body, souls have one or more spiritual bodies. An example is our dream body. When we are conscious of dreaming we are aware of 2 bodies: (1) our dream body which is flying with the birds in full technicolor, and (2) our sleepy physical body which knows it should be getting up out of bed as it keeps hitting the snooze button.

There is not one verse of the Bible stating that the redeemed will spend eternity in heaven yet you commonly hear such things as, "If you were to die today would you go to heaven?"


Compartments in Heaven

There are many aspects of the spiritual realm. Eastern philosophy describes many non-material realms called planes, such as astral, causal, and others. I should note that I am not promoting any of these ideas in the slightest; my views on the topic have nothing in common. Rather, I propose there are various compartments in the spiritual realm and each soul resides in only certain of these...

(John 14:2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Here are some of the compartments in the spiritual realm mentioned in the Bible...

  1. Where angels commune with God
  2. Where souls reside in the new heavens and new earth
  3. Purgatory
  4. Sheol
  5. Hades
  6. Abraham's bosom, where Jesus went
  7. Bottomless pit
  8. Sea of glass
  9. Great white throne judgment
  10. Lake of fire
  11. The highest heaven where only God lives as a Trinity of persons.

Souls may journey between these at various stages of their life.


Journey of those of the Old Testament

Here's the location of the soul of a redeemed person of the Old Testament...

  1. At the time of conception every soul is created and resides where living human souls reside, in the spiritual realm tainted by original sin.
  2. At death their soul moved into Abraham's bosom. This was a place of peaceful rest and waiting.
  3. When Christ came and revealed himself and his plan of salvation (he preached), the redeemed chose to follow him.
  4. The unredeemed went to Hades to await final judgment.
  5. The redeemed went to purgatory where their souls are yet being made ready for their final destination, being made perfect.

Journey of those since the New Testament

Here's the location of the soul of a redeemed person since the New Testament...

  1. At the time of conception every soul is created and resides where living human souls reside, in the spiritual realm tainted by original sin.
  2. At death, all encounter Christ to choose to follow him or reject him.
  3. Those who reject him go to Hades.
  4. Those who accept him go to purgatory where their souls are made ready for their final destination, they are made perfect.
  5. At the great white throne judgment they come before God and all other souls including the angels. The bad effects of their sin is revealed and their repentant heart is demonstrated. They confess their faith in Christ publicly to all the world.
  6. They enter the new heavens and new earth.

Journey of the unredeemed

Here's the location of the soul of an unredeemed person after death...

  1. After death they encounter Christ in all his glory, but they choose to reject his offer of salvation so they go to Hades.
  2. At the great white throne judgment they come before God and all other souls including the angels. The damage they have caused by their sin is revealed and God is shown to be just and righteous in sending them to the lake of fire for eternity.
  3. Eternity in the lake of fire.

Journey of those after the new heavens and new earth

Here's the location of the soul of those born directly into the new heavens and new earth...

  1. At the time of conception every soul is created and resides where living human souls reside, in the spiritual realm now free from original sin.
  2. They remain there for all eternity.