Are there different "levels" of Heaven?

I had always thought, which seemed consistent with my Catholic upbringing, that Heaven was the ultimate pinnacle of our existence – i.e. there was nothing better than being in Heaven.

Yet in the last few years, I have heard theories that Heaven isn’t the same for everyone – that there are different “levels” to Heaven, some closer to God and greater than others.

A biblical passage that is often referred to in support of this is the Matt 5:19:

Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

This same passage is also often quoted in support of Purgatory, as it appears to show that one can sin (“relax” one of the commandments), yet still enter Heaven, even though as the “least in the kingdom”.

I have also read about various saints who had visions where certain things were promised to them (and others) in response to faith and fidelity to God. Things like being part of the choir of angels, drinking from a special fountain, etc. All things that were apparently “privileges” and not an ordinary part of the glory of Heaven.

So, what does the Church say about “levels” in Heaven? It certainly sounds like it’s not going to be a solitary “just me and God” kind of experience.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin

I hope I eventually find out!

:gopray:

Meanwhile- why worry?

I would be estatic just to get though the gate. I would much rather be a pauper and garbage collector in Heaven than be a multi-zillionaire in hell.

wc

[quote=wcknight]I would be estatic just to get though the gate. I would much rather be a pauper and garbage collector in Heaven than be a multi-zillionaire in hell.

wc
[/quote]

:amen:

Thank you for the responses, and I agree wholeheartedly that it is better to be “least in the kingdom of God” than the greatest in Hell.

But that is really not the question.

It seems to me that the question of whether or not there are actual levels of Heaven is a serious theological issue that could have profound impact on how we live our faith. I have always been taught that Heaven is perfect. However, our experience of Heaven, provided we “get there”, may not be perfect if there is a “higher level” we could be privileged to experience.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin

[quote=javelin]Thank you for the responses, and I agree wholeheartedly that it is better to be “least in the kingdom of God” than the greatest in Hell.

But that is really not the question.

It seems to me that the question of whether or not there are actual levels of Heaven is a serious theological issue that could have profound impact on how we live our faith. I have always been taught that Heaven is perfect. However, our experience of Heaven, provided we “get there”, may not be perfect if there is a “higher level” we could be privileged to experience.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

There are certainly different ‘levels’ of reward in Heaven. Some are closer to God, as in the 9 choirs of angels. We know that Mary and the saints occupy positions ‘closer to God’.

And Jesus says to build up treasure for Heaven rather than for earth.

I suspect folks who dedicate their lives to God will receive a much greater reward in Heaven than us peons who have hardly given up anything.

But I think all will be satisfied with whatever allotment of hapiness that they receive as a reward. I doubt anyone will be green with envy or jealous of anyone else’s reward, and I doubt anyone will have regrets in Heaven.

wc

I have heard theologins say that God favors (therefore loves) some more then others and therefore, some in heaven will be more happy then others (see verse in scripture about attaining your crown in heaven - seomthing like that) .

Put in different words, everyone in heaven will be fully happy, but some will be more fully happy than others, depending on how they lived there life on earth. Its the full glass theory - everyone will have a full glass of happiness, but some glasses will be larger than others and knowone else will know.

I probably wouldn’t refer to it as different “levels,” but there are differing degrees of sanctification among individuals. We will all be “perfect” (morally) in the sense of being free of sin, but not everyone will have attained an equal degree of sanctification. That will depend on well we have cooperated in accepting the graces that have been offered to us. Everyone’s cup will be full and running over, but some cups will be bigger than others.

Another analogy: a 60 watt light bulb glows brightly but only has a capacity of 60 watts of electricity. A 300 watt bulb glows more brightly because it has a larger capacity. The 60 watt is not jealous of the 300 watt because it already has as much electricity flowing through it as it possibly can contain.

The Church infallibly teaches that the degree of glory we receive in Heaven, the degree to which we see God in the beatific vision, corresponds to the degree of merit we have or the degree of charity that is present in our souls when we die.

Jim’s analogies and explanation were good.

It certainly sounds like it’s not going to be a solitary “just me and God” kind of experience.

In addition to seeing God in the beatific vision and being in communion with Him through the beatific vision and our love for Him, we will also see everyone else, angels and saints and Our Lady and the created humanity of Christ, both through the beatific vision and also through other means, both material and spiritual, and be in communion with all the angels and saints. So in addition to the joy of seeing God, there will be social joy.

[quote=javelin]I had always thought, which seemed consistent with my Catholic upbringing, that Heaven was the ultimate pinnacle of our existence – i.e. there was nothing better than being in Heaven.

Yet in the last few years, I have heard theories that Heaven isn’t the same for everyone – that there are different “levels” to Heaven, some closer to God and greater than others.

A biblical passage that is often referred to in support of this is the Matt 5:19:

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This same passage is also often quoted in support of Purgatory, as it appears to show that one can sin (“relax” one of the commandments), yet still enter Heaven, even though as the “least in the kingdom”.

I have also read about various saints who had visions where certain things were promised to them (and others) in response to faith and fidelity to God. Things like being part of the choir of angels, drinking from a special fountain, etc. All things that were apparently “privileges” and not an ordinary part of the glory of Heaven.

So, what does the Church say about “levels” in Heaven? It certainly sounds like it’s not going to be a solitary “just me and God” kind of experience.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin

The scriptures make little mention of hell. The concept of the different levels of hell come from Dante’s Inferno and are Dante’s opinions of how things might be. Heaven was not made for Christians but for satan and his demons. Levels of heaven is only a concept that is not worth worrying about. Getting there is the issue. God bless you.

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