The place of “eternal reward”, usually called Heaven, has a long history in many religious families. According to most encyclopedias, in many religions, it is seen as the abode of God or the gods, as well as of angels, deified humans, the blessed dead, and other celestial beings. It is often conceived of as an expanse that overarches the earth, stretching overhead like a canopy, dome, or vault and encompassing the sky and upper atmosphere; the Sun, Moon, and stars; and the transcendent realm beyond. In ancient cosmologies, heaven is situated in the extreme west or east, on a faraway island or mountaintop, or in astral realms. Plurality and even redundancy is the rule, as multiple heavens overlap with earthly paradises and astronomical spheres.
Many myths of the origin of heaven recount that in the beginning heaven and earth were closely wedded; the present condition of estrangement, marked by the withdrawal of the gods and by suffering, sin, and death, is the result of a catastrophic event for which human ancestors or rival heavenly powers are to blame. A desire to recapture lost intimacy with heaven suffuses the literature of the world’s religions, but there is enormous variety in how different traditions conceive of the longed-for realization of human hopes. The word, :heaven” arrived relatively late into our history of language. We first see the word appear in Old English heofon "home of God," earlier "the visible sky, firmament," probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin-, a dissimilation of *himin- (source also of Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel "heaven, sky"), which is of uncertain and disputed origin. The English word is attested from late 14c. as "a heavenly place; a state of bliss." The plural use in sense of "sky" probably is from the Ptolemaic theory of space as composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense in the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. (the -im ending is a plural form) Heaven-sent (adj.) is attested from 1640s.
The idea of Heaven appears throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word šamayim is the primary word translated as heaven. The NIV Word Study Dictionary defines this word as “region above the earth: the heavens: place of the stars, sky, air; heaven: the invisible realm of God.” There exists a variety of usages.
In the New Testament, the Greek word ouranos is the primary word translated as heaven. This word is defined as “sky, air, firmament, any area above the earth; heaven(s), the place of sun, moon, and stars; heaven, in which God dwells.” Like šamayim, this word is used in a variety of ways.
Scholars have demonstrated that the world view of the people of the Bible was that of a layered world; Heaven, Earth, Water. This view was extended to the structure of Heaven itself. There is no description of how the Biblical authors viewed the heaven in the Scripture. But from the way the term is used, it appears like they divided heaven into three regions; the air in which the birds flew, the area of the celestial bodies, and the abode of God. Yet, the Bible does not give a geographic description of the location of Heaven. Perhaps, they did not want to limit the dwelling place of God, as did the pagan religions and the mythologies that were common to the ancient world.
The majority modern day people, according to polls and interviews, .feel or hope that Heaven exists and is a real place. Scholars point to the words of Jesus; "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am". (John 14:1-3). Most people envision Heaven as being above the earth. This is reflected in modern meteorology. When the sun’s rays break through a thick cloud deck, it is called crepuscular rays. However, according to Meteorologist Michele Powers (NWA), they are also nicknamed “Jacob’s Ladder” (Genesis 28:10-12), based on the dream of Jacob, and “God’s Rays”, which originated from religion, specifically Christianity, where the rays are commonly used to depict a divine presence.
Therefore, the idea of Heaven being the place of eternal bliss and happiness, above us, and the abode of God still permeates our thought. We have not lost the reality of Heaven.