Paradise is the term for a place of timeless harmony. The Abrahamic faiths associate paradise with the Garden of Eden, that is, the perfect state of the world prior to the fall from grace, and the perfect state that will be restored in the World to Come.
Paradisaical notions are cross-cultural, often laden with pastoral imagery, and may be cosmogonical or eschatological or both, often compared to the miseries of human civilization: in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, a land of luxury and fulfillment. Paradise is often described as a “higher place”, the holiest place, in contrast to this world, or underworlds such as Hell. In eschatological contexts, paradise is imagined as an abode of the virtuous dead. In Christian and Islamic understanding, Heaven is a paradisaical relief. In old Egyptian beliefs, the otherworld is Aaru, the reed-fields of ideal hunting and fishing grounds where the dead lived after judgment. For the Celts, it was the Fortunate Isle of Mag Mell. For the classical Greeks, the Elysian fields was a paradisaical land of plenty where the heroic and righteous dead hoped to spend eternity. The Vedic Indians held that the physical body was destroyed by fire but recreated and reunited in the Third Heaven in a state of bliss. In the Zoroastrian Avesta, the “Best Existence” and the “House of Song” are places of the righteous dead. On the other hand, in cosmological contexts ‘paradise’ describes the world before it was tainted by evil.
The word “paradise” entered English from the French paradis, inherited from the Latin paradisus, from Greek parádeisos (παράδεισος), from an Old Iranian *paridayda- “walled enclosure”. By the 6th/5th century BCE, the Old Iranian word had been adopted as Assyrian pardesu “domain”. It subsequently came to indicate the expansive walled gardens of the First Persian Empire. The term eventually appeared in Greek as parádeisos “park for animals” in the Anabasis of the early 4th century BCE Athenian Xenophon. Aramaic pardaysa similarly reflects “royal park”.
Hebrew פרדס (pardes) appears thrice in the Tanakh; in the Song of Solomon 4:13, Ecclesiastes 2:5 and Nehemiah 2:8. In those contexts it could be interpreted as an “orchard” or a “fruit garden”. In the Septuagint (3rd–1st centuries BCE), Greek παράδεισος parádeisos was used to translate both Hebrew pardes and Hebrew gan, “garden” (e.g. Genesis 2:8, Ezekiel 28:13): it is from this usage that the use of “paradise” to refer to the Garden of Eden derives. The same usage also appears in Arabic and in the Quran as firdaws فردوس.
The word’s etymology is ultimately derived from a PIE root *dheigʷ “to stick and set up”. It is reflected in Avestan as pairi-daêza-. The literal meaning of this Eastern Old Iranian language word is “walled (enclosure)”, from pairi- “around” and -diz “to make, form (a wall), build”. The word is not attested in other Old Iranian languages, though hypothetical roots in these languages may be reconstructed, for example as in Old Persian*paridayda-. The idea of a walled enclosure was not preserved in most Iranian usage, and generally came to refer to a plantation or other cultivated area, not necessarily walled. For example, the Old Iranian word survives as Pardis in New Persian as well as its derivative pālīz (or “jālīz”), which denotes a vegetable patch.