Heaven in Christianity

In Christianity, heaven is traditionally the location of the throne of God and the angels of God, and in most forms of Christianity it is the abode of the righteous dead in the afterlife. In some Christian denominations it is understood as a temporary stage before the resurrection of the dead and the saints' return to the New Earth.
In the Book of Acts, the resurrected Jesus ascends to heaven where, as the Nicene Creed states, he now sits at the right hand of God and will return to earth in the Second Coming. According to Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox teaching, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is said to have been assumed into heaven without the corruption of her earthly body; she is venerated as Queen of Heaven.
In the Christian Bible, concepts about Christian eschatology, the future "Kingdom of Heaven", and the resurrection of the dead are found, particularly in the book of Revelation and in .

Early Christianity

The 1st century early Jewish-Christians, from whom Christianity developed as a Gentile religion, believed that the Kingdom of God was coming to earth within their own lifetimes, and looked forward to a divine future on earth. According to Bart Ehrman, when the Kingdom of God did not arrive, Christian beliefs gradually changed into the expectation of an immediate reward in heaven after death, rather than to a future divine kingdom on earth, despite the churches' continuing to use the major creeds' statements of belief in a coming resurrection day and world to come.
The earliest of the Apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, does not mention entry into heaven after death but instead expresses belief in the resurrection of the dead after a period of "slumber" at the Second Coming.
A fragment from the early 2nd century of one of the lost volumes of Papias, a Christian bishop, expounds that "heaven" was separated into three distinct layers. He referred to the first as just "heaven", the second as "paradise", and the third as "the city". Papias taught that "there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce a hundredfold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold".
In the 2nd century AD, Irenaeus quoted presbyters as saying that not all who are saved would merit an abode in heaven itself: "hose who are deemed worthy of an abode in heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of paradise, and others shall possess the splendour of the city; for everywhere the Saviour shall be seen according as they who see Him shall be worthy."

Orthodox Christianity

Eastern Orthodox cosmology

Eastern Orthodox cosmology perceives heaven as having different levels, the lowest of which is Paradise. At the time of creation, paradise touched the earth at the Garden of Eden. After the Fall of man, paradise was separated from the earth, and mankind forbidden entry, lest he partake of the Tree of Life and live eternally in a state of sinfulness. At his death on the Cross, the Orthodox believe Jesus opened the door to Paradise to mankind again, and the Good Thief was the first to enter.
Various saints have had visions of heaven. The Orthodox concept of life in heaven is described in one of the prayers for the dead: "…a place of light, a place of green pasture, a place of repose, from whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing are fled away".
However, in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, it is only God who has the final say on who enters heaven. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, heaven is part and parcel of deification, the eternal sharing of the divine qualities through communion with the Triune God.

Roman Catholicism

The Catholic Church teaches that "heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness". In heaven one experiences the beatific vision. The church holds that,
The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates several images of heaven found in the Bible:
Those Christians who die still imperfectly purified must, according to Catholic teaching, pass through a state of purification known as purgatory before entering heaven.
Catholic authors have speculated about a "secondary joy of heaven", whereby God " :... ".

Protestant Christianity

Some denominations teach that one enters heaven at the moment of death, while others teach that this occurs at a later time. Some Christians maintain that entry into Heaven awaits such time as "When the form of this world has passed away."
Two related and often confused concepts of heaven in Christianity are better described as the "resurrection of the body" as contrasted with "the immortality of the soul". In the first, the soul does not enter heaven until the last judgement or the "end of time" when it is resurrected and judged. In the second concept, the soul goes to a heaven on another plane immediately after death. These two concepts are generally combined in the doctrine of the double judgement where the soul is judged once at death and goes to a temporary heaven, while awaiting a second and final judgement at the end of the world.
Some teach that death itself is not a natural part of life, but was allowed to happen after Adam and Eve disobeyed God so that mankind would not live forever in a state of sin and thus a state of separation from God.

Seventh-day Adventist

The Seventh-day Adventist understanding of heaven is:
believe that heaven is the dwelling place of Jehovah and his spirit creatures. They believe that only 144,000 chosen faithful followers will be resurrected to heaven to rule with Christ over the majority of mankind who will live on Earth.

Latter Day Saint movement

The view of heaven according to the Latter Day Saint movement is based on section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants as well as 1 Corinthians 15 in the King James Version of the Bible. The afterlife is divided first into two levels until the Last Judgement; afterwards it is divided into four levels, the upper three of which are referred to as "degrees of glory" that, for illustrative purposes, are compared to the brightness of heavenly bodies: the sun, moon, and stars.
Before the Last Judgment, spirits separated from their bodies at death go either to paradise or to spirit prison dependent on if they had been baptised and confirmed by the laying on of hands. Paradise is a place of rest while its inhabitants continue learning in preparation for the Last Judgement. Spirit Prison is a place of learning for the wicked and unrepentant and those who were not baptised; however, missionary efforts done by spirits from Paradise enable those in Spirit Prison to repent, accept the gospel and the atonement and receive baptism through the practice of baptism for the dead.
After the resurrection and Last Judgement, people are sent to one of four levels: