In the theology of the afterlife, the idea of Paradise emerges. There are many viewpoints on the place we call Paradise. Although some relegate Paradise to a mythic status, Christian religions have asserted its existence. The word has a complex history and etymology. If we backtrack its origins, it occurs in late Old English, "the garden of Eden," which derives from Old French paradis "paradise, garden of Eden" from Late Latin paradisus, meaning "a park, an orchard; the garden of Eden, the abode of the blessed," which is based on the Greek paradeisos "a park; paradise, the garden of Eden," from an Iranian source similar to pairidaeza meaning an "enclosure, park". The word appears to be a compound of pairi- "around" "forward," hence "in front of, near, against, around" + diz "to make, to form (a wall)." The first element is cognate with Greek peri (the basis of the English word, perimeter) "around, about" and the second is from "to form, build." The imagery of Paradise seems to be reliant on the imagery of the place in Greek Mythology termed “the isles of the blessed”.
The Greek word was used by Xenophon and others for an orchard or royal hunting park in Persia, and it was taken in the Septuagint to mean "the garden of Eden," and in New Testament translations of Luke xxiii.43 to mean "the Christian heaven, place where the souls of the righteous departed await resurrection". It seems to contain imagery of a "place of extreme beauty, blissful state”.
The later writers of the Old Testament seem to equate Paradise with the Garden of Eden. The “intertestamental literature” (writing which appeared between the completion of the Old Testament and the writing of the New Testament) completes the transition of the word to a religious term. Human history will culminate in a divine paradise. Since Israel had no immediate access to the garden at history's origin or conclusion, paradise, sometimes called Abraham's Bosom, was associated with the realm of the righteous dead awaiting the resurrection of the body.
However, the term Paradise received its greatest clarity in the words of Jesus. The New Testament understands paradise in terms of its Jewish heritage. In Luke 23:43 Jesus promises the penitent thief: "Today you will be with me in paradise." The sense of Paradise being an intermediate state was transformed by Jesus' emphasis on being with him "today." No longer is paradise just an anticipatory condition awaiting the messianic presence at the end of the age. There is an immediacy in the words of Jesus. According modern Catholic scholarship, Paradise in this instance is used as a synonym for the Heaven of the blessed to which the thief would accompany the Savior, together with the souls of the righteous of the Old Law who were awaiting the coming of the Redeemer. Some have termed this a “First Heaven”. It is not to be confused with Purgatory which is the final cleansing and reparation for sins. There is no punishment in Paradise, only the joyful awaiting of the completion of the messianic event.
The imagery of Paradise also includes “The Garden of Mary”. A common image of Paradise is the rose garden, enclosing the Blessed Virgin Mary and the infant Christ as the Lamb of God. Heaven is sometimes envisioned as the restored garden in which the saints adore, rejoice, dance, and worship the Blessed Trinity. Sometimes the heavenly Church is symbolized by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a smaller garden, recreating with saints, angels and the infant Christ or with Christ the Lamb of God. The post-resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalen in John 20:15 depicts Christ as gardener, and some artists associate the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and Emmaus with a garden. The post-resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalen in John 20:15 depicts Christ as gardener. Hints of the eschatological garden may sometimes be seen in artistic renderings of the Last Supper, the Appearance to Mary Magdalen, and the Road to Emmaus.
Overall, Paradise is mentioned in the titles of the Catechism (1:4, Profession of Faith), although the actual place name is not used in the articles. However, the Bible agrees with the Church about Paradise being a place of surpassing joy, intrinsically connected to Heaven. Sometimes, the line between Paradise and Heaven is blurred. In all cases, should we be worthy of Paradise, Jesus will be with us.