ANSWER- The concept of what heaven looks like can vary depending on personal beliefs, religious affiliations, and cultural backgrounds. Most, however, imagine heaven as a place of ultimate peace and serenity, often depicted with bright, ethereal light. In Christianity, humanity is promised as an unfathomable paradise. Some descriptions, which share similarities across belief systems, include lush gardens, flowing rivers, beautiful buildings filled with precious stones, and streets made of gold. It’s a place where there is no suffering or pain, filled with love, joy, and endless beauty. It is also described as a place where we are close to God and reunited with family in the afterlife.
Have you ever wondered what heaven looks like? Human fascination with the concept of heaven is as old as religion itself. From ancient civilizations to modern societies, philosophers to artists and everyday people, generations have sought to envision this paradisiacal realm as a place of ultimate fulfillment and happiness.
Often the descriptions are metaphorical, reflecting our deepest desires and highest values. Whether it’s the grandeur of architecture, the tranquility of nature, or the warmth of love and companionship, each person’s vision of heaven reveals something about their hopes, dreams, and spiritual beliefs.
The desire to find out what does Heaven look like is a testament to the human spirit, forever yearning for the divine, the transcendent, the eternally beautiful and good.
In the realm of art, heaven has been depicted in myriad ways, reflecting the diverse cultural and personal beliefs of the artists. Medieval and Renaissance painters often portrayed heaven as a place with lush, verdant landscapes, or resplendent with clouds and angels. It is common to see scenes of celestial beings, saints, and the Holy Trinity, all bathed in ethereal light. These representations aim to capture the sublime beauty and tranquility associated with heaven. Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” for instance, depicts heaven as a pristine garden filled with innocent, joyous humans.
Moving to the medium of film, directors have also grappled with the question of what heaven looks like. Their interpretations often range from hyper-realistic to entirely abstract. In movies such as “What Dreams May Come,” heaven is imagined as a stunningly vibrant landscape, echoing the main character’s love for his wife. On the other hand, films like “Defending Your Life” present heaven as a more mundane, city-like place where daily life continues much as it does on Earth. These varied cinematic depictions underscore our collective fascination with the afterlife and the desire to envision an idealized place beyond our mortal existence.
Why are we so enamored with what heaven is like? King Solomon, Author of the Bible’s Ecclesiastes states that God put the concept of eternity on our hearts, although we struggle with futility to comprehend it.
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, without the possibility that mankind will find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
It’s no wonder that every theist in history has pondered, “What does Heaven look like?”.
In this article, we will examine this question leaning on the Biblical description of Heaven and also examining viewpoints of other belief systems.
Heaven has often been understood, even across various religions, as a transcendent place, a realm of existence that exists beyond the known physical universe. It’s seen as the ultimate destination of the soul, a place of eternal peace, joy, and harmony, free from earthly suffering and pain.
Traditionally, Heaven is depicted as where the righteous go after death. Heaven, as a place of peace, joy, and eternal happiness, presents an image of absolute tranquility and serene beauty, where the soul can finally rest from the trials and tribulations of earthly life. Picture a realm where the sun always shines with a gentle radiance, casting a warm, golden light that illuminates lush landscapes and crystal-clear waters.
Imagine flowers that bloom eternally, their vibrant colors never fading, and their fragrances never withering. The air is pure and fresh, filled with the melodious harmony of angelic choirs, their voices echoing a symphony of love and peace. In this divine abode, joy is not a fleeting sensation, but a constant state of being. The inhabitants of heaven experience a happiness that surpasses human understanding – it’s a profound, all-encompassing joy that never dissipates. There are no sorrows, no worries, and no fears here. Only the continual embrace of divine love fills each moment with indescribable delight.
The above is certainly part of the description of what heaven looks like according to Christian belief. Christianity, however, is not the only belief system that discusses Heaven. In fact, there are other religions have similar descriptions.
Many traditions across various religions and belief systems also describe Heaven as an ethereal realm of eternal peace, happiness, and harmony.
As previously shared, Christianity depicts Heaven as a celestial abode where believers are rewarded with everlasting joy and communion with God. Similarly, Hinduism introduces the concept of Swarga, a heavenly realm where souls enjoy immense pleasure and delight. Buddhism offers the idea of Sukhavati, a pure land that embodies tranquility and bliss.
In Islam, Jannah is described as a magnificent garden, adorned with lush greenery, flowing rivers, and exquisite rewards for the righteous. Judaism’s understanding of Olam Ha-Ba presents a spiritual afterlife where the righteous are granted an eternal closeness to the divine, basking in a state of ultimate fulfillment. These represent the largest world religions Both have varying viewpoints and stark similarities across the spectrum of beliefs.
Even though there are similarities in the concept of what Heaven looks like and even high-level expectations of the afterlife experience, nearly all vary on the process of how to get to Heaven.
For the sake of this article, we will focus on what heaven looks like and there has never been a book more relied upon for this subject than the Christian Bible.
What does Heaven look like according to the Bible? The Bible, in its profound wisdom, provides us with glimpses of heaven, painting images of a realm far beyond the confines of human understanding. Its verses and passages have offered hints and insights into the divine nature and the splendor of this heavenly paradise. However, in what I believe is the most impactful biblical description of Heaven, the Bible does make it clear that eternal paradise is greater than anything we could ever fathom.
In 2 Corinthians 2:9, it is written, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
This scripture emphasizes the unimaginable glory and magnificence of heaven, a realm that transcends our earthly perceptions and knowledge.
In its proper context, 2 Corinthians 2:9 truly describes the overall promises of the new covenant as being glorious beyond what we can envision. Let us not forget, however, that eternal life is a huge part of the benefit extended to us in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, it is a great Scripture to reference both what heaven looks like and what we will experience.
The place God has planned for us has to be even more beautiful than anything we could describe. Isn’t that exciting?
Later in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he describes a man (believed to be himself), who was ‘caught up to the third heaven’, a place so wonderful that he could not express its beauty in human language (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
Even though the Bible says it’ll be better than we can imagine, there are specific descriptions of eternal paradise. Here are some examples of the imagery of what Heaven looks like including scriptural references, starting with the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation offers some of the most vivid and profound descriptions of heaven in the entire Bible. It is written in a rich Apocalyptic language, it uses powerful imagery not only to depict the physical characteristics of heaven but also to convey deeper symbolic meanings.
In the passages in Revelation, heaven is depicted as a city of pure gold, with foundations decorated with every kind of precious stone and twelve gates made of pearls. Its streets are paved with gold, as pure as transparent glass, and a crystal-clear river flows from the throne of God, with the tree of life on each side, bearing twelve kinds of fruit. However, we should bear in mind that these physical descriptions, while awe-inspiring, may also be metaphoric, representing the inexpressible glory, purity, and richness of the heavenly realm.
The physical characteristics mentioned may exist, but they also symbolize deeper spiritual realities that surpass our human capacity to fully comprehend.
Here is a quick reference to scriptures detailing what heaven is like according to the Book of Revelation.
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” (Rev 4:2-3)
This verse gives an amazing visual of what heaven looks like. It describes John’s vision of being in the Spirit and witnessing a glorious throne in heaven.
We already discussed that Heaven, the place we dwell in eternal life, is better than we can imagine. Beyond the Book of Revelation, numerous passages in the Bible do offer additional glimpses into the majesty of heaven.
The Prophet Isaiah, in his visions, presents heaven as a place where the wolf and the lamb will feed together, a place of ultimate peace (Isaiah 65:25).
Very much like Revelation 21’s description where there is no sorrow, Isaiah 65 shares the overall personal experience of Heaven just imagine a place where neighbors are at complete peace with one another. Also, try to picture that there would never be a scenario where anxiety, frustration, anger, or any other negative emotion would get the best of someone. That is a stark contrast to what we see in our society today.
Isaiah also offers insight into what Heaven looks like in Chapter 60. Heaven will be bright! Isaiah 60:19 reads:
“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.”
This verse appears to read that, in Heaven, God Himself will be the source of light and there will be no night. Remember, however, Jesus is also described as the “True Light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9)
Isaiah prophesied a great deal concerning the coming Messiah so this may be both a foretelling of Jesus as well as a possible physical description of Heaven. Jesus, of course, is the Author and Way to eternal life according to our Christian beliefs.
To understand what Heaven is like, Who better to ask than Jesus? Jesus offers some of the most comforting and profound descriptions of Heaven throughout the New Testament. His teachings provide insights into the nature of the heavenly kingdom – not just as a physical place, but more importantly, as a state of existence characterized by harmony with God’s will.
In John 14:2, Jesus assures his disciples, saying “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” This suggests that heaven is a place of welcome, where there is ample room for all who accept the grace of God. It emphasizes the inclusivity of heaven as a place prepared by Jesus himself.
Jesus also encouraged His disciples and ultimately you and me to “store up treasures in heaven”.
Matthew 6:20 reads “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal”.
What Jesus seems to be saying here is that earthly possessions can never bring us true joy. The only thing of real value are the things we will take with us when we depart this life – our spiritual treasures.
This also can shed light on what Heaven looks like for the believer. We can store up treasures in Heaven which means that the path we choose here on earth has an eternal impact. Jesus’ Words here may not give specifics of exactly what Heaven will look like to our eyes, but it does give us hope that it is both a place prepared for us by God Himself and that we will possess blessings that surpass the wealth that can be attained in this world. It will be amazing!
Don’t forget what Jesus said on the cross when talking to the thief. “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.”
Did you know that we can also get glimpses of what heaven will look like here on earth? Much of Jesus’ ministry was centered on not just talking about the afterlife, but the “Kingdom of Heaven” that was being established through the New Covenant.
Just as our journey doesn’t end with this life, Jesus presented very clearly that eternity starts here, with us. We have the ability to make this earth look like Heaven.
In the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 5:3-12), in the teachings known as the Beatitudes, Jesus presents the characteristics honored in the kingdom of heaven. He speaks of the blessedness of the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus often taught in parables. Through these spiritual lessons, He offered insights into the nature of heaven or the kingdom of God. In Matthew 13, He describes heaven as a treasure hidden in a field, a merchant in search of fine pearls, or a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. These metaphors highlight the inestimable value of the kingdom of heaven and the array of souls it encompasses.
These descriptions tell us about the nature and values of the “heaven above” being established through the believer. Jesus Himself taught the disciples how to pray and in His Words, He encouraged them to pray for the Father’s will to be done “On earth as it is in Heaven”.
“‘Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Much of what Jesus was teaching, both by His sermons but perhaps even more so by His example is that we have the power to be instruments of God’s will.
You can be the light to the world (Matthew 5:14) as Jesus, God in the flesh, is the True Light (John 1:9), and God, the Father, is the Everlasting light in heaven (Isaiah 60).
We may not be able to fully comprehend everything God has in store but we can help bring our society a little closer to looking like heaven on earth. Where there are tears, we can wipe those away with the hope that is inside of us through the Gospel. Where there are hungry and downtrodden, we can see that they have food and shelter.
According to Jesus Christ, heaven is not just an ethereal realm in the afterlife but a profound reality that can be established whole or in part, right here. Heaven is a state of existence where God’s love and grace abound, and His will is perfectly done.
The New Covenant makes that possible. When Jesus was on the cross He boldly said “It is finished”. The barriers between man and God found in the Old Covenant were no more. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are both victorious to experience and share the heaven God intended in this life and the next. He is a living example of what Heaven looks like in both words and action.
What if each of us decided to live our life in a way where we bring the characteristics of Heaven here on earth?
In conclusion, the question “What does heaven look like?” paves the way to a myriad of scriptural descriptions, each more stunning and awe-inspiring than the last. From streets of gold to the everlasting light of God, the images that these passages invoke are beyond our earthly comprehension, reflecting the divine promise in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived— the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
Yet, amid this anticipation for the glorious afterlife, we should not lose sight of the heavenly kingdom that Jesus has urged us to establish here on earth. As followers of Christ, we are called to mirror the love, mercy, and grace inherent in these heavenly descriptions, in our daily lives. Heaven is not just a distant realm—it begins with us, here and now. So let us eagerly look forward to the indescribable beauty of the life to come, while striving each day to manifest a touch of that heavenly glory on earth. Eternity starts today with you and me exhibiting the fruits of the spirit.
Pray With Me
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before you today with hearts overflowing with gratitude. We thank you, Lord, for the promise of heaven, a place of indescribable beauty and joy, where we can dwell in your presence forever.
We marvel at the promises of heaven, where there is no pain or sorrow, and where every tear will be wiped away. We are in awe of its splendor, a testament to your infinite creativity and love.
And yet, dear God, even more than the physical beauty of heaven, we are grateful for the spiritual journey it represents. The journey that each one of us is on, toward eternal life through Jesus Christ.
We thank you for Jesus, our savior and guide, who made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, paving the way for us to enter your heavenly kingdom. Through His death and resurrection, we have been given the gift of salvation, a chance to leave our sins behind and embark on a journey toward eternal life.
Lord, we pray that as we journey through this life, we always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. May we strive to live lives worthy of the calling you have placed upon us, spreading love, kindness, and the Good News of your salvation wherever we go.
Thank you, God, for the promise of heaven, and thank you for guiding us on our journey towards it. Help us to show the world Who You are by our words and actions.
No matter what heaven looks like, we have faith that it will be greater than anything that we can imagine. Let that comfort us all the days of our earthly life.
We ask that you continue to lead us, inspire us, and fill us with your divine love.
In Jesus’ name, we pray,