Is there a hierarchy in heaven?
Levels in Heaven
(By heaven I mean whatever paradise you espouse as part of your theology – wherever you will spend eternity with God/Jesus.)
Are there degrees of reward for the human participants in paradise? Are some humans going to have more status in the afterlife? Will they be more happy based on their actions during their life?
Matthew 5:19 certainly seems to imply a hierarchy of some description:
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:19)
or Romans 2:6-7
God; 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life (Rom 2:6-7)
Breaking the rules whilst on earth seems to affect your standing in heaven. Good deeds appear to raise you higher in heaven.
This idea of a pecking order in heaven does bring up some theological problems. If some people will be holier/happier in heaven than others, then how can everyone be perfectly happy? And given humans will still have freewill, is there no possibility of jealousy? The whole fall of Satan seemed to be linked to his jealousy of his lesser place in heaven.
Are we going to go from a world with massive, painful inequality to an afterlife which still has inequality?
Let me know your thoughts below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your passage is Matthew 5:19 instead of 5:9