PARADISE (Gr. paradeisos, park). A word of Persian origin, found only three times in Scripture (
The LXX uses the Greek word forty-six times, applying it to quite a wide category of places. It is used of the Adamic Eden (
The exact location of paradise is uncertain. Paul uses it in
PARADISE (פַּרְדֵּס, H7236, παράδεισος, G4137, preserve, park, garden). The abode of the righteous dead.
In the OT.
The Heb. term occurs three times in the OT (Heb. text). It designates a forest from which Nehemiah sought wood (
In the LXX.
The Gr. tr. of the OT uses parádeisos consistently in
In the Apocrypha.
Although later Jewish tradition locates “Paradise” as an abode of the righteous dead in Hades, the apocryphal books do not. However, they do associate Gehenna and Paradise closely. “The furnace of hell [gehenna] shall be disclosed, and opposite it the paradise of delight” (
In later Jewish thought.
Stewart D. F. Salmond helpfully summarizes this material.
In the Rabbinical literature the term has various senses, and much is made of it. Sometimes it is the general abode of the righteous dead; sometimes the happy side of sheol; sometimes the home of the specially privileged few, the abode of those who have never seen death, the place where Messiah Himself waits for the time of His manifestation. Sometimes it is located in the distant East; sometimes it is identified with the third heaven; sometimes a distinction is drawn between a heavenly Paradise for the perfect and a terrestrial paradise for the imperfect. In later Judaism a complete topography of it was attempted; “Abraham’s bosom” was defined to be the place of highest honor in it; and strongly colored descriptions were given of its gates of rubies, its sixty myriads of angels, the 800,000 kinds of trees which flourished in it, and the way in which every one who entered it was renewed during the three night watches. (S. D. F. Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality, pp. 279, 280.)
The same writer observes that “There is the greatest possible difference, however, between the sparing and restrained employment of the word in the, and the inordinate use which fancy makes of it in the , especially the ” (p. 281).
In the NT.
The first of three uses refers to the abode of the righteous dead. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (
What meaning of “Paradise” did Jesus intend the thief to understand? Alford, following Grotius, suggested that Jesus spoke to the thief in terms of the Jewish belief in a portion of Hades for the righteous dead, but spoke with a fuller meaning knowing that the same day he would open paradise at God’s right hand. On this view Christ announced His triumph to the imprisoned spirits (
It is possible also to interpret
The second NT reference to paradise appears in Paul’s reference to his visions and revelations (
The third and last NT use of paradise occurs in the promise to the church in Ephesus (
The three OT uses of “paradise” contribute little to the concept beyond a garden of delight. The three NT uses are also far from detailed and complete. At best, a scriptural doctrine of paradise must be stated with care.
In defense of the view that paradise was originally a portion of Hades, Louis Sperry Chafer argued that “An illustration of this belief is given by Christ in the account of the rich man and Lazarus” (
The “great gulf” between Lazarus and the rich man may represent the difference between sheol and heaven as well as two compartments of sheol. The context of the passage in
Interestingly, the revisers of the Scofield Bible significantly moderated the note on Hades at
One could hope that this foreshadows a cessation of dispute on a subject where the evidence is so scanty as to forbid dogmatism.wisely said, “There can, therefore, be no doubt that paradise is heaven....The Fathers made a distinction between paradise and heaven which is not found in Scriptures....Whether paradise and heaven are the same is a mere dispute about words...it is where Christ is....Whether any, in obedience to patristic usage, choose to call this paradise a department of hades, is a matter of no concern. All that the dying believer need know is that he goes to be with Christ” (Systematic Theology, III, 727, 728).
H. Alford, The Greek Testament (1872); S. D. F. Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality (1913); C. Hodge, Systematic Theology, III (reprint, 1946); H. K. McArthur, “Paradise,” ed. G. A. Buttrick, IDB, IV (1962), 655, 656; B. Ramm, Them He Glorified (1963); D. Moody, The Hope of Glory (1964).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
1. Origin and Meaning:
2. Use in Jewish Literatare:
In the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature the word is extensively used in a spiritual and symbolia 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 marryred 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 3:14; 4:10; 5:5,17; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i, 3; B J, II, viii, 14). This would seem to be the idea underlying the use of the word in the 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 (
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 (
"O Paradise, O Paradise,
I greatly long to see
The special place my dearest Lord
Is destining for me;
Where loyal hearts and true
Stand ever in the light,
All rapture thro’ and thro’,
In God’s most holy sight."
The articles in the great Dicts., especially Herzog, RE; HDB; Alger, Critical History of the Doctrine of a