Where Is Heaven? [What the Bible Teaches]


Eternity is a lot longer than the relatively short life spans that people have on earth, so it’s no wonder that many people have questions about heaven. While many wonder what it will be like, who will be there, and what there is to do, many people also want to know where it is.

The Bible doesn’t say where heaven is located but does confirm it’s a place. Some theologians believe it’s in the physical universe. Others think it may be in the spiritual realm. Yet, the Bible confirms that all people will eventually live in a purified, holy, and sinless New Heavens and New Earth.

Where is heaven located right now? Is it physical, spiritual, or multidimensional? What does the Bible say about the New Heavens and Earth? Could heaven be a state of mind? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

heaven in the Bible
What does the Bible say about the New Heavens and Earth? See below

Where is heaven located right now?

Even though the New Heavens and New Earth is the ultimate destination for every Christian, the world is fallen today. Though Christians have many comforting assurances about heaven right now (e.g. Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:21), the Bible doesn’t say where it is.

Theologian Wayne Grudem writes, “Heaven is even now a place — though one whose location is now unknown to us and whose existence is now unable to be perceived by our natural senses. It is this place of God’s dwelling that will be somehow made new at the tie of the final judgment and will be rejoined to a renewed earth.” [1]

Is heaven a state of mind? Since heaven is a place, then it’s not merely an altered consciousness. To be clear, having a renewed mind is part of being in heaven (cf. Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23), but that doesn’t mean eternal life with God and others only consists of a different way of thinking.

Is heaven in the spiritual realm or another dimension? The spiritual realm fits the definition of a place, but the Bible nowhere confirms this conjecture. What it does confirm — the New Heavens and New Earth — is clearly a physical location. Since the nature of other dimensions isn’t clear, it’s difficult to biblically analyze such a theory.

“Heavenly fellowship with friends won’t be some ethereal do-nothingness where we yawn, sit around on clouds, and ogle at angels. Because heaven is the home of redeemed humans, it will be thoroughly ‘human’ in its structure and activities.” Joni Eareckson Tada [2]

new heavens new earth
Is heaven a type of consciousness? See below

What does the Bible say about the New Heavens and Earth?

The Bible teaches that people will spend eternity on a New Heavens and New Earth after the Second Coming of Christ. Theologians debate whether this means that God will renew the present universe or if he will make an entirely new created order. Either way, the description suggests a physical reality whose spiritual aspects are without the effects of sin.

  • Isa 65:17, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” (ESV)
  • Isa 66:22, “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain.” (ESV)
  • 2 Peter 3:13, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (ESV)
  • Rev. 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Christian theologian Randy Alcorn writes, “The biblical doctrine of the New Earth implies something startling: that if we want to know what the ultimate Heaven, our eternal home, will be like, the best place to start is by looking around us. We shouldn’t close our eyes and try to imagine the unimaginable.”

He continues: “We should open our eyes, because the present Earth is as much a valid reference point for envisioning the New Earth as our present bodies are a valid reference point for envisioning our new bodies. After all, we’re living on the remnants of a perfect world, as the remnants of a perfect humanity.” [3]

Is heaven a place or a state of mind?

Several verses in the Bible suggest that heaven is an actual place with physical and spatial aspects.

Angels call heaven a place

After Jesus’ ascension, angels said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11, ESV, emphasis added).

The angels refer to heaven as an actual place. Jesus left Earth and went somewhere else; he didn’t just acquire an improved state of mind. Jesus was taken from Earth and “taken up” and “into heaven.”

Stephen saw a place

Luke’s account of the first Christian martyr reads, “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'” (Acts 7:55-56)

Though Luke doesn’t mention how far heaven is from Earth, Stephen appears to be looking at something that has physical and spatial elements to it.

Jesus called heaven a place

John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.”

Jesus spoke as if he was going somewhere with physical and spatial aspects. A “room” suggests a personalized space.

Doesn’t Jesus’ mention of welcoming people into his presence mean that the nature of heaven is spiritual? One person can be in another person’s “presence” in a place with physical and spatial elements.

“God will renovate the heavens and the earth, merging His heaven with a new universe for a perfect dwelling-place that will be our home forever. In other words, heaven, the realm where God dwells, will expand to encompass the entire universe of creation, which will be fashioned into a perfect and glorious domain fit for the glory of heaven.” – John MacArthur [4]

References:
[1] Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. p. 1160
[2] Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada. p. 49.
[2] Heaven by Randy Alcorn. p. 81.
[4] The Glory of Heaven by John MacArthur. p. 89.

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see the About page for details.

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