From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Before the ocean and the earth appeared— before the skies had overspread them all— the face of Nature in a vast expanse was naught but Chaos uniformly waste. It was a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap." --Metamorphoses by Ovid (Brookes More translation)
Heaven may refer to the physical heavens, the sky or the seemingly endless expanse of the universe beyond. However, the term is often used to refer to a plane of existence (sometimes held to exist in our own universe) in religions and spiritual philosophies, typically described as the holiest possible place, accessible by people according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, etc. In rare circumstances, humans have claimed, according to many testimonies and traditions, personal knowledge of Heaven.
Representations in arts
- Works of fiction have included numerous different conceptions of Heaven and Hell. The two most famous descriptions of Heaven are given in Dante's The Divine Comedy and John Milton's Paradise Lost.
- The Chronicles of Narnia, a series by C. S. Lewis offers a description of Heaven at the end of the sequence in the 'Last Battle', depicted as a lush green land surrounded by mountains under the rule of a lion Aslan.
- Elric and Eternal Champion, two series by Michael Moorcock, is one of many who offer Chaos-Evil(-Hell) and Uniformity-Good(-Heaven) as equally unacceptable extremes which must be held in balance.
- The Discovery of Heaven, a 1992 novel by Harry Mulisch, claims heaven is located "at the end of the Big Bang in negative space".
Several works of written and filmed science fiction have plots in which Heaven can be reached by the living through technological means. An example is Disney film The Black Hole, in which a manned spacecraft found both Heaven (or another dimension) and Hell located at the bottom of a black hole.
- Made in Heaven, a 1987 film which concerns two souls who cross paths in Heaven and then attempt to reconnect once they are reborn on Earth.
- What Dreams May Come, a 1998 movie that won an Academy Award for its depiction of heaven and hell as the subjective creations of the individual, was an essentially mystical interpretation of heaven, hell and reincarnation. It was based on the eponymous novel by Richard Matheson.
- Heaven, a 2002 film that implies heaven can be reached the higher up one goes (in the film's case, in a helicopter).
Other films have featured and referenced heaven:
- In Ghost, Sam ascends to Heaven after Carl is killed.
- Heaven is featured in Little Nicky. It is where Satan's son Nicky meets his mother Holly who is an angel.
- In Toothless, there is a stairway that leads from Limbo to Heaven where those who did good things in their life go.
- In the South Park episodes "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" and "Probably," it is revealed that Mormons go to Heaven while everyone else lives in Hell. Due to a war between Heaven and Hell in "Best Friends Forever," God allows more people in.
- In the American Dad! episode "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever," Heaven is featured. Anyone who has done good in their life are flown from Limbo to the Gates of Heaven by a large griffin (which might be Ziz). There was a reference that Jim Henson tried to sneak into Heaven only for him and Kermit the Frog to end up in a flat rectangle prison (similar to General Zod in Superman II) as Kermit begs for them to be released. In "Rapture's Delight," it is revealed that Heaven sends the people to rooms called their own heaven in which they live the rest of eternity in a world where they are the happiest.
- Heaven is featured in the Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān episode "The Spell of Rebirth is a Trip Through Hell." Uma ends up sent to Heaven with a letter to God (portrayed by Keimie) that Uma has been banished from Hell for all eternity. Uma spends time in Heaven until she gets bored and takes God's option to restore Uma to life.
- Mysteries of the Bible: "Heaven and Hell". A&E Network.