It’s a question many followers of Jesus have pondered. But the Bible doesn’t give us a very detailed account of what we can expect. For most of us, our perception of Heaven is wrapped up in a popular idea of fluffy clouds, pearly gates, and winged angels. But this misses a key idea of the biblical idea of Heaven.
In Genesis 1-3, we see the ideal state of creation, the garden of Eden, as a place where God’s space and human’s space overlap. Humans lived with God in the garden, but when humans rebelled, they were exiled from this sacred space. The rest of the biblical story is all about how God is restoring humans back to the Eden ideal—a place where Heaven and Earth are one.
When God came to Earth in Jesus, we saw the reality of divine and human space overlapping. Jesus brought pieces of God’s heavenly Kingdom wherever he went, showing glimpses of the ideal creation state of Genesis 1-3 and the new creation yet to come.
Then Jesus took up the priestly duties of sacrifice, atoning for the sins of all humanity and restoring our access to God’s heavenly presence when he died on the cross. He did what no human, and no priest, could do. He is the permanent access point between Heaven and Earth, and the rest of the biblical story points to the permanent reunification of Heaven and Earth—the new creation, where we will reign with Christ in a temple-garden.
This all brings us back to our original question: What is Heaven? Because of Jesus, we can experience Heaven—the overlapping of human and divine space—here and now. Jesus opened that access for us once again. And these glimpses are meant to offer hope for the full reunification of these two spaces, the new creation. The Bible uses Eden imagery from Genesis 1-3 to describe this new creation. All of creation and its inhabitants will be at peace, and humans will be in their intended priestly role alongside God, living and walking in his presence every day.