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Is peace an attribute of Paradise?

1. Introduction

Peace is the absence of fighting and war. It is security, wellbeing and harmony [1]. Peace is desirable in Islam, although it also allows violence and war. In Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the example for peace making, who establishes a Kingdom of Peace where all believers are to be healed of evil powers.

2. Focus in Qur’an to Paradise with the world of senses

The Arab religions before Muhammad had no vision about an afterlife beyond death. Therefore the Qur’an with its view of a Paradise in which the blessed stay forever after the Last Judgement, opened new perspectives, including one or more gardens for the soul and pleasure for the eyes (e.g. Qur’an 43:71, 67:15) and good food (e.g. Qur’an 13:35, 14:23, 47:15) [2]. Some Sufi’s and Islamic thinkers have reservations to a much pronounced sensuous description of Paradise, supported by Qur’an 75:22-25 – Yusuf Ali: “Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty), Looking towards their Lord; And some faces, that Day, will be sad and dismal”. See also Qur’an 9:72: “but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment”. Therefore God guides to the perfect path and to the home of peace (Qur’an 10:25). More and more Muslims are open for a more metaphoric interpretation of the descriptions of Paradise in the Qur’an.

3. Focus in New Testament to Paradise with peace

The New Testament is focused on eternal life in Paradise. According to many people, peace is a situation without a violent conflict. The New Testament defines peace in relation to justice, that is healthy relations between people with wealth and a good governance that serves the true interests of all people. Therefore a program is necessary to realize peace [3], including acceptance of the governance, escaping to another area and the Messianic way. Christian faith is free from the world of senses in Islam. Therefore faith in the Jesus Christ as Savior of mankind is the purest faith [4].

4. Conclusion

Islam is oriented to contemplation, surrender and being rational acceptable, while Christian faith is focused on the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not peace as a social program, but as inner peace that can be expressed as a true relation with God [5]: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). At the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, Jesus opened the door to Paradise to mankind again: “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). When Jesus presented himself to his disciples after the resurrection, he said: “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you!” (John 20:21). Therefore peace is an attribute of Paradise.


Notes:

1. Peace, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume IX, A-Bhu, Brill, Leiden 2011, 658.
2. Paradise, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume IX, A-Bhu, Brill, Leiden 2011, 529.
3. Terrence J. Rynne, Gandhi and Jesus, The Saving Power of Nonviolence, Orbis Books, New York, 2008, 100-101.
4. Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith (translated by H. R. Machintosh and J. S. Steward), Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1928, 38.
5. Peace, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume IX, A-Bhu, Brill, Leiden 2011, 658.

Qur'an 19:33: Is Jesus peace?