Do Catholics believe there are different "levels" of Heaven?


#1

One way some who believe OSAS, try to rationalize how some people get “saved” only to later “fall away”, is to claim that person “was never really saved in the first place”. I’ve never really been convinced by this reasoning.

However, there is another approach which seems to make a little more sense. That yes, a “saved” soul can never lose that salvation, but that those who commit many sins after being “saved” will not be rewarded in Heaven, as much as those who are more faithful.

The Jesus quote “My Father’s house has many rooms” is often used to support this idea. So, if a “saved” person commits some kind of horrible sin, such as murder, rape, etc., that person would still go to Heaven, but wouldn’t get to go into the innermost “rooms” close to God, but essentially would be in the equivalent of God’s doghouse for Eternity – but at least he isn’t condemned to Hell.

Now, I realize Catholics do NOT hold to OSAS at all. (Neither do I.) But, I recall Dante’s Inferno has all this imagery of different levels of heaven and hell, but AFAIK he was a poet, not a theologian. Do Catholics believe this, though? Or, is this what Purgatory is for, so that those who just barely qualify to make it to Heaven, are purified, and then once that’s done, the soul is ready to enjoy all of Heaven?

I have also heard that Catholics believe certain “crowns” will be granted in Heaven to those with certain merits; such as the Crown of Virginity or Chastity, or the Crown of Martyrdom. I’ve heard that St. Maximillian Kolbe had a dream in which he was offered either the Crown of Virginity or the Crown of Martyrdom. St. Kolbe asked for both, and he did indeed receive them, and died both a virgin and a martyr. Are their other “crowns” that will be granted to those who meet certain requirements? (I must confess, I am imagining something like Boy Scout badges here, but I assume the “crown” is meant to be more of a metaphor.)


#2

I have never heard about different levels of heaven but personally I do believe that would be a valid concept.


#3

Dante’s Divine Comedy may have been a poetic trilogy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso), but it was heavily influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the things it points out in Paradiso is that all in Heaven are together with God - and that the different “levels” of Paradise (Heaven) are simply there so Dante’s still-mortal mind can understand that all in Heaven, though they are all with God in His dwelling may experience God and His love differently due to their circumstances in their mortal lives.

We can’t really understand how the eternal realm works, honestly. St. Paul mentions “3 levels” to Heaven (I know a friend who was caught up to the third heaven), but in this diagramming, the first heaven is the sky, the second heaven is outer space, and the third heaven is the Abode of God in the eternal realm. Dante mentions 9 levels to Heaven, based on the Ptolmaic geocentric model of the universe (he starts with the moon, then Venus, Mercury, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, fixed stars, then finally God’s Abode). And, as stated before, Dante mentions that all the people he meets in Heaven, regardless of where he meets them, actually are in God’s Abode - they just appear in different “levels” due to his mortal mind. So whether there are “levels” in Heaven is pretty much meaningless to debate - though it is probable that every person in Heaven experiences God and His love uniquely.


#4

I think It’s more like levels you Glory,the more your were close to God in this life, the more you are closer to the beatific vision in Heaven.


#5

Haydock Commentary on John 14:2

[FONT=Times New Roman,Times,serif][size=3]2 In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: that I go to prepare a place for you:[/size][/FONT]
[size=2][FONT=Times New Roman,Times,serif][size=3]Ver. 2.[/size] In my Father’s house. He does not say of your Father: for though God be the Father of all by creation, and of the just, by the grace of adoption; yet Christ in several places, calls him his Father, in a quite different sense, that is, as he was his eternal Father, as the ancient interpreters observe. (Witham) — These many mansions signify different degrees of glory in heaven. (St. Jerome, lib. ii. adv. Jovin.)
[/size][/FONT]haydock1859.tripod.com/id107.html


#6

St Paul wrote in the Bible
“I know a man who was taken up to the.Third Height of Heaven, whether.in soul or.in the body, I.do not know”

St Faustina described that.her.particular place in Heaven was very close to.God, in a vision she saw

Also;
St Thomas Aquinas wrote.that the 12 choirs.of angels are not equal in the sense.that.the.archangels.are.closest to God, they are in His throne room,.while the other choirs are lesser and lesser near God,
So yes,.our.merit.on earth.decides.how close we will be to God.for.all eternity.

Jesus.said,.“I.come.to reward to each,.according to what.he.has.done”


#7

As others have said any levels in Heaven are likely related to glories and nearness to God.

This isn’t meant to be flippant and certainly isn’t a theological reality by I think of it like this:

God the Father is on a throne at the top of a dias with a bunch of steps. Christ is seated at his right hand. Perhaps sitting on the step just below them is the blessed virgin wit the archangels. Maybe, below that is the apostles and prophets. The continue down to the martyrs, virgins, etc. At the very bottom stair is were I hope to be. I imagine it might be a little like sitting in the nose bleed section of a sold out concert. It might not be the best seats, but at least you are in the building.

To continue the analogy I would think purgatory is something like people hanging around the doors hoping and waiting to get in. Perhaps they have tickets at will call, but are still working their way to the counter. Hell is those who hate “the band” and refuse to go near the concert or even acknowledge it’s existence. In this way, losing salvation would be someone who had a ticket and tossed it in the fire. It’s not that they misplaced it, but actively decided to throw it away.

Like I said, not a great theological argument, but one of the ways I conceptualize something that it utterly beyond my compression.


#8

Perhaps you could be interested in a Thread I started a week ago,
Can we loose our salvation,some interesting reading


#9

Matt 16: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Rev 2: I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Rev 20: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.


#10

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