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CHAPTER SIX

PARADISE

 

 

“paradise

late 12c., "Garden of Eden," from Old French paradis "paradise, Garden of Eden" (11c.),

from Late Latin paradisus,

from Greek paradeisos "park, paradise, Garden of Eden,"

from an Iranian source similar to Avestan pairidaeza "encIosure, park"
(Modern Persian and Arabic firdaus "garden, paradise"),

compound of pairi- "around" + diz "to make, form (a waII)."

The first element is cognate with Greek peri- "around, about",

the second is from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, buiId"

Paradise (persian: Pardis) is a religious or metaphysical term for a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and eternal. It is conceptually a counter-image of the supposed miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. Paradise is often described as a "higher place", the holiest place, in contrast to this world, or underworlds

such as Hell.

 

Paradisaical notions are cross-cultural, often laden with pastoral 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,

 

  • In old Egyptian beliefs, the othen/vorld is Aaru, the reed-fields of ideal hunting and fishing grounds where the dead lived after judgment.
  • For the Celts, it was the Fortunate Isle of Mag Mell.
  • For the classical Greeks, the Elysian fields was a paradisaical land of plenty where the heroic and righteous dead hoped to spend eternity.
  • The Vedic Indians held that the physical body was destroyed by fire but recreated and reunited in the Third Heaven in a state of bliss.
  • In the Zoroastrian Avesta, 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 associate paradise with the Garden of 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. In the Christian context it is simply the place where the dead in Christ rested waiting for the final resurrection and rewards rather than the final state of bliss.

 

The Greek word, originally used for an orchard or hunting park in Persia, was used in Septuagint to mean "Garden of Eden," and in New Testament translations of Luke xxm:43 to mean "heaven" (a sense attested in English from c.1200). Meaning "place like or compared to Paradise" is from c.1300."

 

The word pardes, is probably borrowed from the Persian word, and does not appear before the post-Exilic period (post-538 BCE). It occurs in the Song of Songs 4:13, Ecclesiastes 2:5, and Nehemiah 2:8, in each case meaning "park" or "garden", the original Persian meaning of the word, where it describes to the royal parks of Cyrus the Great by Xenophon in Anabasis.

 

Later in Second Temple era Judaism "paradise" came to be associated with the Garden of Eden and prophesies of restoration of Eden, and transferred to heaven. 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 Apocalypse of Moses, Adam and Eve are expelled from paradise (instead of Eden) 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 in the Third Heaven.

In Rabbinical Judaism, the word ‘Pardes’ recurs, but less often in the Second Temple context of Eden or restored Eden. A well-known reference is in the Pardes story, where the word may allude to mystic philosophy.

 

"Barnes‘ Notes on the Bible

“ Into paradise - The word "paradise"  occurs but three times in the New Testament; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7.

It occurs often in the Septuagint, as the translation of the word garden;

Genesis 2:8-10, Genesis 2:15-16; Genesis 3:1-3, Genesis 3:8,Genesis 3:16, Genesis 3:23-24; Genesis 13:10; Numbers 24:6; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 28:13; Ezekiel 31:8-9; Joel 2:3.

And also Isaiah 1:30; Jeremiah 29:5; and of the word  pardéc in Nehemiah 2:8; Ecclesiastes 2:5; Sol 2:13.

 

It is a word which had its origin in the language of eastern Asia, and which has been adopted in the Greek, the Roman, and other western languages.

·        In Sanskrit the word "paradesha" means a land elevated and cultivated;

·        in Armenian, "pardes" denotes a garden around the house planted with trees, shrubs, grass for use and ornament.

·        In Persia, the word denotes the pleasure gardens and parks with wild animals around the country residences of the monarchs and princes. Hence, it denotes in general a garden of pleasure; and in the New Testament is applied to the abodes of the blessed after death, the dwelling-place of God and of happy spirits; or to heaven as a place of blessedness."

 

The word is found in the three places.

 

-Luke 23:43 — by Jesus on the 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

 

" Dictionaries - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Paradise

Persian loanword for "an area enclosed by a wall" or "garden." Its three uses in the Hebrew Bible ( Neh 2:8 ; Eccl 2:5 ; Sol 4:13 ) retain this meaning. The Septuagint uses the Greek paradeisos [paravdeiso"] for the garden of Eden in Genesis (called the "garden of God" in Isa 51:3 ; and Ezek 28:13).

 

The intertestamental literature completes the transition of the word to a religious term. Human history will culminate in a divine paradise. Since Israel had no immediate access to the garden at history's origin or conclusion, paradise, sometimes called Abraham's Bosom, was associated with the realm of the righteous dead awaiting the resurrection of the body.

 

The New Testament understands paradise in terms of its Jewish heritage. In Luke 23:43 Jesus promises the penitent thief: "Today you will be with me in paradise." The intermediate state was transformed by Jesus‘ emphasis on being with him "today." No longer is paradise just an anticipatory condition awaiting the messianic presence at the end of the age. Those who die in faith will "be with Christ" ( Php 1:23). The dead in Christ will not experience life diminished, but

life enhanced, as Jesus‘ words to Martha in John 11:23-26 imply.

 

According to Revelation 2:7, the overcoming church will eat from the tree of life in the eschatological garden. Sin and death through redemption are now cast out of human experience. The way is open for the faithful to return to the garden of God. Paradise is the Christian's final home.

 

Paul's glimpse of paradise ( 2 Cor 12:4 ) likely refers to the intermediate state. If so, it is one source of Paul's confidence that Christ is present among the righteous dead, even though he does not relish the unnatural state of death ( 2 Cor 5:1-10 ). Yet it is quite possible that the dead in Christ more clearly see the paradise at history's conclusion than do earth-bound believers. Thus, Paul tells the Thessalonians that it is a matter of small consequence if one dies in the Lord or is still alive at the second coming ( 1 Thess 4:13-18 ). Christ's presence

pervades both the intermediate state and the final kingdom.

 

"Encyclopedias - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Paradise

PARADISE

par‘-a-dis (pardec; paradeisos):

 

1. Origin and Meaning:

A word probably of Persian origin meaning a royal park. See GARDEN. The word occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures but 3 times:

Song of Solomon 4:13, where it is translated "an orchard"; Nehemiah 2:8, where it is translated "a forest" (the Revised Version margin "park"); Ecclesiastes 2:5, where it is in the plural number (the King James Version "orchards," the Revised Version (British and American) "parks"). But it was early introduced into the Greek language, being made specially familiar by Xenophon upon his return from the expedition of Cyrus the Younger to Babylonia (see Anab. i.2, section 7; 4, section 9; Cyrop. i.3, section 14). In Septuagint the word is of frequent use in

translating other terms of kindred significance. The Garden of Eden became "the paradise of pleasure or luxury" (Genesis 2:15; 3:23; Joel 2:3). The valley of the Jordan became ‘the paradise of God‘ (Genesis 13:10). In Ezekiel 31 :8,9, according to Septuagint, there is no tree in the ‘paradise of God‘ equal to that which in the prophet's vision symbolizes the glory of Assyria. The figures in the first 9 verses of this chapter may well have been suggested by what the prophet had himself seen of parks in the Persian empire.

 

2. Use in Jewish Literature:

In the apocryphal and pseudo-epigraphical literature the word is extensively used in a spiritual and symbolical sense, signalizing the place of happiness to be inherited by the righteous in contrast to Gehenna, the place of punishment to which the wicked were to be assigned. In the later Jewish literature "Sheol" is represented as a place where preliminary rewards and punishments are bestowed previous to the final judgment (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE;

ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; and compare 2 Esdras 2:19; 8:52). But the representations in this literature are often vague and conflicting, some holding that there were 4 divisions in Sheol, one for those who were martyred for righteousness‘ sake, one for sinners who on earth had paid the penalty for their sins, one for the just who had not suffered martyrdom, and one for sinners who had not been punished on earth (En 102:15). But among

the Alexandrian Jews the view prevailed that the separation of the righteous from the wicked took place immediately after death (see The Wisdom of Solomon 3:14; 4:10; 5:5, 17; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, I, 3; B J, ll, vm, 14). This would seem to be the idea underlying the use of the word in the New Testament where it occurs only 3 times, and then in a sense remarkably free from sensuous suggestions.

 

3. Used by Christ:

Christ uses the word but once (Luke 23:43), when He said to the penitent thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (see ABRAHAM'S BOSOM (compare HADES)). This was no time to choose words with dialectical precision. The consolation needed by the penitent thief suffering from thirst and agony and shame was such as was symbolized by the popular conception of paradise, which, as held by the Essenes, consisted of "habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain, or snow, or with intense heat,

but that this place is such as is refreshed by the gentle breathing of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing from the ocean" (Josephus, BJ, II, vm, 11).

 

4. Other Forms and Uses:

Nowhere in His public teaching did Christ use the word "Paradise." He does indeed, when speaking in parables, employ the figure of the marriage supper, and of new wine, and elsewhere of Abraham's bosom, and of houses not made by hands, eternal in the heavens; but all these references are in striking contrast to the prevailing sensuous representations of the times (see 2 Esdras 2:19; 8:52), and such as have been introduced into Mohammedan literature. Likewise Paul (2 Corinthians 12:4) speaks of having been "caught up into Paradise"

where he "heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. But in 2 Corinthians 12:2 this is referred to more vaguely as "the third heaven." In Revelation 2:7 it is said to the members of the church at Ephesus who should overcome, "l (will) give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God," where the Eden of Genesis 2:8 is made the symbol of the abode of the righteous, more fully described without the words in the last chapter of the book. The reticence of the sacred

writers respecting this subject is in striking contrast to the profuseness and crudity both of rabbinical writers before Christ and of apocryphal writers and Christian commentators at a later time. "Where the true Gospels are most reticent, the mythical are most exuberant" (Perowne).

 

This is especially noticeable in the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Acta Philippi, the writings of Tertullian (De Idol. c. 13; De Anim. c. 55; Tertullian's treatise De Paradiso is lost), Clement of Alexandria (Frag. 51), and John of Damascus (De Orthod. Fid., ii, 11). In modern literature the conception of Paradise is effectually sublimated and spiritualized in Faber's familiar hymn:

"O Paradise, O Paradise,

I greatly long to see

The special place my dearest Lord

ls destining for me;

Where loyal hearts and true

Stand ever in the light,

All rapture thro' and thro',

In God's most holy sight."

 

LITERATURE.

The articles in the great Dicts., especially Herzog, RE; HDB; Alger, Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life; Schodde, Book of Enoch; Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. on Luke 23:43; Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality, 346. For a good account of Jewish and patristic speculation on Paradise, see Professor Plumptre's article in Smith's D.B, ll, 704.(G. F. Wright)

 

In the 2nd century AD, lrenaeus distinguished paradise from heaven. In Against Heresies, 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 Origen 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.

 

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah's purpose from the start was, and is, to have the earth filled with the offspring of Adam and Eve as caretakers of a global paradise. After God had designed this earth for human habitation, however, Adam and Eve rebelled against Jehovah, so they were banished from the Garden of Eden, or Paradise. "

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the wicked people will be destroyed at Armageddon 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 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's last recorded statements before he died were the words to an evildoer hanging alongside him on a torture stake, "You will be with me in Paradise."—Luke 23:43. Witnesses believe scriptures such as Matthew 12:40 and 27:63 and Mark 8:31 and 9:31 show that Jesus himself expected an inten/al of three days between his own death and resurrection, making impossible a reunion in Paradise on the same day as Jesus's "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. This may also be termed "paradise".

 

Islam

In the Qur'an, Paradise is denoted as jannah (garden), with the highest level being called firdaus. The etymologically equivalent word is derived from the original Avestan 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

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 portrays Paradise as the "eternaI center of the universe of universes," and as "the abiding place of the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, the Infinite Spirit, and their divine co-ordinates and associates." The book states that paradise is the primal origin and the final destiny for all spirit personalities, and for all the ascending creatures of the evolutionary worlds of time and space.