Answer: Heaven is most certainly a real place. The Bible very definitely speaks of heaven’s existence—and access to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ—but there are no verses that give us a Mapquest-style location. The short answer to this question is, “heaven is where God is.” The place referred to in this question is called the “third heaven” and “paradise” in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, where the apostle Paul tells of a living man who was “caught up” to heaven and was unable to describe it. The Greek word translated “caught up” is also used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in describing the rapture, wherein believers will be caught up to be with the Lord. These passages have led to the conclusion that heaven is beyond the earth’s airspace and beyond the stars.
However, since God is spirit, “heaven” cannot signify a place remote from us which He inhabits. The Greek gods were thought of as spending most of their time far away from earth in sort of a celestial equivalent of the Bahamas, but the God of the Bible is not like this. He is always near us when we call on Him (James 4:8), and we are encouraged to “draw near” to Him (Hebrews 10:1, 22). Granted, the “heaven” where saints and angels dwell has to be thought of as a sort of locality, because saints and angels, as God’s creatures, exist in space and time. But when the Creator is said to be “in heaven,” the thought is that He exists on a different plane from us, rather than in a different place.
That God in heaven is always near to His children on earth is something which the Bible expresses throughout. The New Testament mentions heaven with considerable frequency. Yet, even with this frequency, detailed description of its location is missing. Perhaps God has intentionally covered its location in mystery, for it is more important for us to focus on the God of heaven than the description or location of it. It is more important to know the why than the where. The New Testament focuses on the purpose of heaven more than telling us what it is like or where it is. We have seen that hell is for separation and punishment (Matthew 8:12; 22:13). Heaven, on the other hand, is for fellowship and eternal joy and, more importantly, worshipping around the throne of God.