Paradise from the New Testament Greek
Strong page 1035.
Strong page 72.
Marshall page 257. Paradise from Luke 43.
Marshall page 545. Paradise from 2 Corinthians. I tried to include more text but the way the book fit on the scanner it was distorted.
Marshall page 727. Paradise from Revelation 2: 7.
Bauer on page 614 describes Paradise from Luke 23, 2 Corinthians 12 and Revelation 2 as a place above the earth. Now from my philosophical/theological perspective I do not take this plain literally, as in some place in the clouds, or above the clouds, or even beyond the solar system or beyond the physical Universe, as in a place that can be physically found via space/travel.
The Bible teaches that Paradise is a place where spirits in Christ go after death, and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible saints went to spiritually after death.
The Bible teaches this using figurative literal language.
Therefore, I would conclude Paradise is a place of the non-physical spiritual realm.
Now, in discussion at church and with my theological/philosophical friends over the years I have speculated that because human beings are used to and made for physicality, Paradise may consist of, and I state may consist of, a simulated physicality that seems like earth to the persons that are there.
On the other hand there is the school of thought that when one dies in Christ he or she may almost immediately awaken in the resurrected body making the Paradise references strongly metaphorical as opposed to figurative literal. This will not be immediate, but will seem to be.
This is certainly orthodox and possible, but I question whether Jesus meant this by the use of 'today' to the criminal on the cross. Strong notes that it has to do with now and present. Strong (1890)(1986: 87).
There is also the issue of Paul's 2 Corinthians reference and his willingness to consider departing the body to be with the Lord in Philippians 1.
January 16, 2013
H. A. Kent Jr. reasons the term 'Paradise' although appearing in the Greek New Testament is probably originally of Persian origin. Kent (1996: 826). In Judaism, rabbinic literature used the term as a place to portray the place of blessedness for the righteous dead that knew God, in contrast to those that did not. Kent (1996: 826).
Some scholars have concluded that since the remaining references to Paradise after Christ and the cross with Luke 23, refer to Heaven, and then was the resurrection and Christ's ascension, that Paradise has been removed from Hades and taken to the third heaven. Kent (1996: 826).
This seems rather speculative. By my reasoning with my own speculation if Paradise would be a simulated realm like earth with simulated physicality for those in Christ and Old Testament Saints, the exact location is a rather irrelevant point, I suppose.
Erickson reasons that based on the same Biblical evidences the righteous in the intermediate state arrive at Paradise. Erickson (1994: 1183). The intensity of the condition of Paradise and Hades will not be as intense as the finalized states. Erickson (1994: 1183). This would be not only a reasonable theological and philosophical deduction based on the fact it is intermediate state and pre-final judgment (2 Corinthians 5 and Revelation 20 respectively) but also these are simply spiritual states and not spiritual/physical states. As Erickson notes the human condition is incomplete. Erickson (1994: 1183).
I was listening very recently to a well-known online/radio teacher discuss this topic and he suggested when asked that persons in Heaven/Paradise would not be aware of what was occurring in the earthly realm. This despite such verses, as he noted, Hebrews 12: 1 and the cloud of witnesses. This appears figurative language and from his Hebrews commentary, Hughes notes that dramatic imagery is being used. Hughes (1990: 518). Those mentioned are past martyrs who are champions of faith. Hughes (1990: 518). The online/radio teacher also pointed this out, and this would be a preferred interpretation to a suggestion that they somehow are monitoring occurrences in the earthly realm.
I doubt there is a direct line of access from realm to realm, but I suppose this does not rule out, since Paradise would be a supernatural realm, God providing certain information to citizens by his will and choice or because he was asked and is therefore perhaps willing to do so.
Of course this realm in not empirical and is non-scientific and so for many critics it will seem like a ridiculous nonsense concept. The same support for it would come from the same religious history from Scripture written by several authors in different locations with different books that wrote the same basic theology. And as I noted to an advisor at Manchester that doubted the existence of angelic beings because they were non-physical, if God being of spirit (John 4: 24) could make physical rational beings, then he could also make spiritual rational beings. If God could create a physical universe of matter, a physical realm for finite creatures, then he could also create a spiritual realm for finite creatures. Not theologically, or philosophically huge difficulties in reality.
BAUER, W (1979) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Translated by Eric H. Wahlstrom, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.
ERICKSON, MILLARD (1994) Christian Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House.
HUGHES, PHILIP, EDGCUMBE (1990) A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews, Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
KENT H. A. (1996) ‘Paradise', in Walter A. Elwell (ed.), Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Books.
MARSHALL, ALFRED (1975)(1996) The Interlinear KJV-NIV, Grand Rapids, Zondervan.
STRONG, J. (1890)(1986) Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Pickering, Ontario, Welch Publishing Company.