Q. One Heaven for All?

Q. Do people of different denominations go to the same heaven? Or is there any difference after death where different faiths go?

A. The simple answer to your question is pretty straight forward. There is only one Heaven and everyone who goes to Heaven goes to the same Heaven. So, no matter what your faith may be, if you go to Heaven you go to the one and only. But allow me to explain a bit about the beautiful reality of Heaven and what we actually believe about it.

First, Heaven is not a “place.” Rather, Heaven is a “state of being.” Now that may, at first, sound a bit deep and philosophical. But it makes perfect sense when understood properly.

When speaking about Heaven we often use language that implies it is some place we go to. Somewhere up there! But Heaven is not some location in this universe. It is, properly speaking, a state of being completely and totally united with God! Heaven, in a real sense, is a Person. The Person is Jesus Christ. Our goal in life is to enter into complete union with Him now and for eternity. Heaven, therefore, is simply the final state of complete union with Jesus after death. It is the permanent unbreakable bond or unity and oneness we will share with Him. And since He is completely united with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Heaven is a state of being fully immersed in the life the Most Holy Trinity.

Secondly, I think it’s important to know that Heaven is to begin here and now. Throughout our life on earth we are called to be continually purged of our attachment to sin so as to walk, day by day, ever more deeply united to God. The deeper that unity the more we are detached from sin and the more we share in the state of Heavenly unity right now!

Of course, as long as we are alive in this world we will always be tempted and usually be drawn back to sin on various levels. So the fullness of Heaven comes only after this life when we will never lose that full union with God again.

This also begs the question, “What is Hell?” Sadly, Hell is simply the complete loss of God and, thus, the complete separation from Him. Here and now, a “living hell” is when one lives in a state of unrepented mortal sin. In that state there is no union with God, no joy in life and no fulfillment. If one dies in that state he/she remains forever separated from God.

And lastly, let me mention that Purgatory is the state of being purified of our sins and even our attachment to sin. It is a process that should begin now but will be completed upon death if we still have some attachment to sin. But even though it may be painful, in a sense, to be purged from sin, it is also joyous in that we are freed from those unhealthy bonds.

Hope that helps!