Don't you think that it's odd that in almost every religion that has a heaven-and-hell concept, that heaven is always considered to be up above us?

And hell is always considered to be down below us?

Even in philosophies that don't have these concepts, there still seems to be something more sacred about what is above us rather than what is below us.

I've wondered in the past if this came about because of people seeking spiritual solitude on hills and mountains - and finding their inner peace up there away from the crowds...a heavenly experience, perhaps?

What do you think?

Why is Heaven up, and Hell down?

asked 17 Oct '09, 04:56

Stingray's gravatar image


edited 17 Oct '09, 06:47

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦

Yes, I think your observation in paragraph three sounds like a possibility. But I think that another consideration is that the ground represents the place where bodies are buried and the flesh decays. It's not a place (down there with the rotting bodies) that a living person wants to be, so it becomes equated with the undesirable final destination. It's a basic human desire (always with exceptions) to live, and not to die. The ground (down below us) represents what we do not want.. to die. Bear in mind that hell has not always represented a place of punishment, simply a place where the dead go. So the desire to avoid it is not necessarily to avoid punishment, but because we would rather not die.

The sky, on the other hand, is up away from the troubles of the earth. As you pointed out, the high places (hills and mountains) are places where one can get away from the crowds and find peace, and I'll add, a palce where they are set free from their troubles. I can't stand on a hilltop without feeling "above it all", separate from all the strife going on down in the valleys below. In addition, as we go up, we are closer to the sun, which gives life and light. Light is preferable to darkness because we feel safer in the light (it appeals to our desire to survive), the hidden things that threaten us in the darkness are not as threatening when we can see clearly.

So I think that at a basic, primitive level, human beings found the sun and the high ground preferable to the darkness and shadows, death and the grave. It would naturally follow that as concepts of heaven and hell developed they would be associated with these primitive feelings, up is good, down is bad.


answered 17 Oct '09, 06:27

John's gravatar image


The sky with its blue skies and clouds during the day, and the star-filled sky at night inspires visions of heaven. The word heaven actually meant "sky" before the 11th century.

The middle of the earth with its searing temperatures, red-hot molten rock, and generally inhospitable conditions, is reminiscent of hell. Hell is variously translated as "underworld", "grave", "pit", or "death" in the Bible.


answered 17 Oct '09, 06:24

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 17 Oct '09, 06:49

Heaven and Hell are vibrational. We cannot achieve our desires from a low vibration of fear for example, as we are thus disconnected from God by our belief in that place of fear. Heaven is the peak vibration of light and our connectedness to God, that connection of love, the place by which our vibration enables us to create all goodness in our life. Hell is place of darkness below that vibration of light, Heaven the place of light. Most of us tread the path between the two, going from one to the other in our lives. It is up to us to be aware that this is how we create our lives and learn how to create and achieve as much Heaven as we can here on earth.

So I see this as being all about the fact that we understand inherently, before man understood physics, that light is the higher vibration, darkness the lower. Even in primitive times, and the times of sun worship for example, it was known that prosperity and joy comes from the light that makes things grow and thrive, and fears of loss, and of hardship come from the dark of the night and the lack of light in the winter. The equating of Heaven to the light in the sky above, and the equating of Hell from below is a natural conclusion in any society and thus, any religion.


answered 17 Oct '09, 14:25

Rebecca's gravatar image


edited 17 Oct '09, 14:54

I was just going to answer this but you covered it pretty close to my thought on the matter.

(22 Oct '09, 19:14) Wade Casaldi

Heaven and hell are neither up nor down. Heaven is a term for where we go after this life. Hell is not a place - it is a condition. To be damned is to have the ability to progress stopped and thus be in Hell. Eternal progression is to be able to progress from our fallen state to a state of becoming as the Gods are.


answered 18 Oct '09, 01:37

user-38%20%28yahoo%29's gravatar image

user-38 (yahoo)

Where Heaven and Hell are "located" has to do with gravity. Without gravity there is no "up" and no "down." All humans who have ever lived have experienced gravity, a force which keeps us either close to the ground or in danger of falling to the ground because of gravity's strong pull from inside the earth. In the past, when people didn't even dream of flying in aircraft or going to the moon or circling the earth in a satellite, people had to feel that no earthly creature could ever exist without being in effect pinned to the earth, while the stars, the moon, the clouds ... These "floated" above the earth and were apparently in no danger of ever falling, and so the gods and goddesses, better or at least more admired than ourselves, were thought to exist among them, not subject to the same earthly laws that keep us down. That's why Heaven is "up." On the other hand, the forces of evil, being the opposite of the heavenly forces of good, were located beneath our feet, below the ground, the ultimate destination of those who have "fallen." That's why Hell is "down."


answered 07 Oct '10, 23:54

Jean's gravatar image


wow ! SO true!

(12 Oct '10, 23:42) zvolkov

mother earth is the opposite pole of infinite mind,
the encasement with many sheaths limits consciousness and ability to receive all but lower vibrations,
earth, water , fire, air


answered 08 Oct '10, 11:33

fred's gravatar image


I wonder if it goes back to primitive men living in the trees. The trees are up and far away from predators below. Furthermore, if you fall down from the trees you might die. Maybe it's our instinct; as primitives the instinct to prefer up to down may have kept us safe. Could it be the instinctive and rational fear fo falling?


answered 23 Nov '10, 08:57

Jordan%20Mitchell's gravatar image

Jordan Mitchell

edited 23 Nov '10, 09:04

One reason "up" is good comes from warfare. An army on a hill has the advantage over its enemies in the valley, simply due to gravity. It's easier to throw or shoot projectiles down than up.

If you were wrestling with someone about your size, wouldn't you have an advantage if he let you stand on a little raised platform?

Another reason is that our eyes are near the top of our body, so we can look at things below us more easily than at things above us.

Also, to go up requires effort which (we may think) deserves reward; junk and garbage accumulate from stuff that is dropped and never picked up. = = Hot springs and volcanos showed men long ago that there is heat under the ground. If HELL is supposed to be hot, a likely place for it might be down there with that source of heat. = Before about 1900, no human had ever been farther above the earth than a few hundred feet - maybe it was concievable to rise in a hot air balloon above the highest known mountain. I just read that Humbolt explored the Andes about a century ago thinking they were the highest mountians on earth, and there were places on earth where nobody had ever been, including both poles and probably some parts of Siberia. Heaven had to be some place where humans had never been (physically), so why not UP? = = Jesus spoke to his disciples and then ASCENDED to heaven. Now if we knew which way the earth was pointing at that moment, "up" from near Jerusalem would be the direction of heaven. UNLESS Jesus was smarter than we think - maybe he "ASCENDED" in that direction for a mile or two and then when the disciples couldn't see him any more he zoomed off in some other direction to where Heaven REALLY is.


answered 05 Aug '13, 19:23

Old%20Professor's gravatar image

Old Professor

edited 05 Aug '13, 19:40

The truth is: is there a heaven, and is there a hell? The Bible teaches that the Kingdom of God is within, and is therefore suggesting that the heaven we seek is right here on earth; since God created man from the earth/dust. As within, so it is without, the hell that we talked about is right here on earth, from the dust we came, and to the dust we shall return.

When God created Adam, and Eve his intentions were pure, and he wanted them to live in the Garden of Eden with him as a one family unit. But they disobeyed God, and they listened to Satan, and they both committed the first human sin, and the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death. So it is because of Adam and Eve that we humans have it in our nature to be both good, and evil. If we had no evil, we would have had no reason for a place like Hell!

Now, if you are talking about punishment for the people that are sinners to go to hell, their hell is right here on earth, “The Fires of Hell” that is where their soul will burn forever in eternity on earth. That is their Hell!

Now, if you are talking about the Garden of Eden the Heaven on Earth whereby the good people will receive eternal life, and live with God forever as immortal, then that place is right here on earth/heaven awaiting God’s chosen people.

It is known that the Heaven and the Hell we seek: is right here on earth. “That this is it!” And it is all going to happen right here on “Earth” when God is right, and ready to return to his people!


answered 09 Oct '10, 00:37

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

it may be a matter of evolution, higher grades of consciouness are lighter and upwards towards spirit, while coarses grades contain heavier or downwards, more attached to substance. and yes, it may be happening all around us, yet we cannot perceive it. let go of the value judgement that heaven is all good and hell is all bad

(24 Nov '10, 01:54) fred

@ Fred, so if heaven is not all good, and hell is not all bad, please be my guess and enlighten me. I would love to hear your school of thoughts. Thank you.

(24 Nov '10, 02:10) Inactive User ♦♦

Vee, briefly,heaven and hell may not be localities as death may not be the opposite of life. it has taken awhile to look past the fear imposed by my religious upbringing and that we are only physical beings, but rather consciousness undergoing continuous and unceasing change. fred

(24 Nov '10, 20:42) fred

@Fred, thank you for clarifying your point. The good thing about these questions and answers is the fact that everyone seem to have a different perspective about things, and this enables us to see things from a very different perspective, and this is what I enjoy most about this site. Great Minds!

(25 Nov '10, 06:13) Inactive User ♦♦

Vee, the next part is, that since we are all part of the whole, the good, the bad, and the ugly are then also part of us. the 'labeled' good have learned to (found a way to) use their will to control separateness and are no loner its captive while the 'labeled' bad have more to learn. fred

(30 Nov '10, 02:12) fred

@ Fred, thank you for the additional information.

(01 Dec '10, 02:28) Inactive User ♦♦
showing 2 of 6 show 4 more comments

Ok, I will chance a different approach, hope won't offend anyone. What if, the reason hell is down is not just because the dead gets buried underground. Keep in mind the burial of the dead is a relatively recent thing in human history, up to now quite a few cultures around the world choose to incinerate the bodies.

So, perhaps, it has to do with some negative-doing entities that live there, say in hollow places within the Earth. Maybe they were not so loved by a particular creator and thus were the inuendos of Hell and the devil/satan being under. Perhaps they are there to help with our lessons of negativity, so they have to play the bad guy for us, and have been made to live there.

Heaven being up is a very obvious thing which many have touched upon already.

Thank you, namaste


answered 24 Nov '10, 13:32

daniele's gravatar image


Its easier to come down the mountain than climb it, isn't it? the same applies here. When a person overcomes their ego, their greed, surface based materialism, their groundly lusts and quests for that which is better, more geniune, the truth; Allah will elevate them and enter them a high paradise.


answered 21 Feb '12, 05:32

springflower's gravatar image


Reality: Heaven is within, hell is projected all around when Heaven is not seen within

Perception: Heaven is up there in the sky, hell is below deep in the earth.

I think perception view is established from our ancient ancestors having similar wonder about the celestial universe and either having experiences of things coming to earth from the heavens or creating myths to explain certain predicaments on earth by way of things/people coming from the heavens.

I think hell is relatively recent myth and has to do with how we handle burial and whether that body/soul of the deceased will rest with eternal comfort or will be tormented because of how they lived their earthly life.

I think the hell myth works best if it is not seen and thus we can make up all sorts of creatures and environmental details about what that place is like. Same goes with heaven. The further away it is from earth, up there in the sky, the better our description of that realm will be.

The up/down still works as a teaching aid based on strong preconceived notions for the sense of direction and movement. But as literal interpretations, in a 3D universe, on a round planet, up and down could be interchanged and no one would be the wiser.


answered 08 Aug '13, 13:41

Jman's gravatar image


if you are shouted at (negative) you bow your head down if you are praised (positive) you hold your head high when you smile the corners of your mouth point up when sad the corners point down you curl up in a ball and hit the deck during despair you unfurl and jump to the sky during elation shares up happy, shares down unhappy- tears fall down, laughter rises- in conclusion positive=up negative= down maybe its just that simple, maybe


answered 10 Aug '13, 00:31

paul%20st's gravatar image

paul st

edited 11 Aug '13, 23:38

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