What Is Heaven? The New Creation
The Bible teaches that Heaven is where Jesus is. The Apostle Paul made this plain in 2 Corinthians 5:8: “To be absent from the body [is] to be at home with the Lord.” The current location of Jesus is the place where the souls of believers in Jesus go when they die. It is temporary because there will come a day when Jesus will create an eternal Heaven—a literal paradise on Earth. When that day comes, the souls of all Christians will reunite with their immortal bodies, and they will live for eternity in what the Bible calls the “new heaven and new earth” (Revelation 21:1).
This will be a physical place—but nothing like the Earth we inhabit today. In the New Heaven and New Earth, God will eliminate sin, sorrow, pain, and death. God “will wipe away every tear” (21:4). And Christians will rule and reign with Jesus Christ forever.
How to Get There? Faith in Jesus Christ
Because God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), He was love before He created anything. God decided—before He created the world—that He would love people, even though He knew people would rebel against Him. In the Old Testament, God promised to send a Messiah (an Anointed Savior-King). God also set up a system of ritual sacrifices until the Messiah’s arrival. Then, at the appointed time, God the Father sent Jesus Christ.
Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He lived a perfect life, and in about AD 33, Jesus died on a Roman cross. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. His perfect life provides righteousness. His sacrificial death pays for sins. And His resurrection proves that He is God the Son.
To be saved, all people have to do is place their trust in what Jesus has already done for them. God saves people who don’t deserve it. He gives eternal life to those who do not work for it. We receive eternal life from God by faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit then supernaturally connects Christians to the Church. Christians are no longer slaves but are adopted children of God through Jesus Christ.
What Is Heaven? Jannah (Paradise)
Islamic heaven is a place where Muslim men are given limitless wine, food, young servant boys (ghilman), and 72 virgin women (houris) whose skin is so translucent their bones are revealed underneath. These virgins have been specially designed by god (Allah) to serve each man and provide him with sexual pleasure forever.
In Muslim heaven (Jannah), the man will remain forever young, be 90 feet tall, and have greatly increased sexual stamina.
Some Muslim writings even describe heaven as a type of sex-slave market or brothel. (Many Muslim descriptions of heaven are too pornographic to be repeated here.) In heaven, faithful Muslim women will be reunited with their husbands as their reward.
How to Get There? Submit to the Whim of Allah
Islam means “submission.” To deserve heaven, a Muslim (“submitted one”) must serve Allah as a slave serves a master. They must follow the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah (ways of Muhammad) as recorded in the Hadith (accounts written after Muhammad’s death).
These practices include the “Five Pillars of Islam”: recite the Muslim profession of faith, perform ritual prayers correctly five times each day, pay a charity tax to benefit the poor, fast during the month of Ramadan, and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
However, not all Muslims agree on which Hadiths (or Ahadith) are authentic (sahih). Further, if a Muslim is not faithful enough or finds displeasure with Allah, he is sent to hell to suffer forever.
No Muslim knows if he has been good enough to please Allah. There is no objective standard of righteousness to earn heaven in Islam—only the whim of Allah, who can change his revelation as he so desires. The quickest and surest way for a Muslim to please Allah and to earn heaven is to die in a holy struggle (jihad), which often includes waging war against infidels (non-Muslims) or committing “martyrdom” (shahid) through suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.
Mormonism (Latter-Day Saints)
What Is Heaven? Three Kingdoms
The goal of every Mormon man is to become a god—to rule his own planet and populate it through sexual procreation with his wife or wives. Mormon doctrine teaches three levels of heaven: the Celestial (highest), Terrestrial (middle), and Telestial (lowest) Kingdoms. The Celestial Kingdom is further divided into three levels. “God the Father” (Elohim), the exalted man, resides in the highest level of the highest heaven.
According to Mormonism, Elohim was once a man living on another planet, worshipping his own god. But by good works, Elohim became a god. He now resides with a physical body near a star called Kolob. Together with the “Heavenly Mother,” Elohim sires “spirit children,” who eventually become earthly humans. Elohim also sired other “spirit siblings”—Jesus (the firstborn, known as “Jehovah”), the Holy Ghost, and Lucifer (Satan).
How to Get There? Perform Enough Good Works
In Mormonism, salvation is achieved by following the examples of Elohim and Jesus, who through their own good works became gods. Mormons today must follow the writings of Mormon doctrine and the leadership of the church. They must tithe, practice baptism (both for themselves and for the dead), learn the secret handshake and passwords to get into heaven, perform good deeds, and be born male. (Husbands can let their wives become goddesses, if they want.) Also, until 1978, only whites could achieve godhood.
Almost everyone eventually makes it into one of the three kingdoms, with the very worst people cast into the “outer darkness.” Yet only the worthiest Mormons become gods. However, the standard of righteousness is undefined. How does anyone know if he is god-material or not?