Plato thought there was an ideal world where ideas live. Independently of people. These ideas throw a shadow on the material world we live in. By examining this material world we can get knowledge of the world of ideas. But this knowledge will never be perfect. We can make a 3D cube from stone or we can construct an image of it in the head but it will still be a reflection or shadow. Math gets close but still it doesn't give the idea itself. Maybe Plato had a different view regarding the last (his cubes, tetraheders, dodecaeders, etc. are thought by him to be perfect "Platonc" objects corresponding to how the ideal world looks like). I am not sure. Of course there are many more objects thinkable than his Platonic objects.

Is his ideal world comparable to the concept of heaven? Of course the question is what I mean by comparable. Well, both offer an ideal world. An idealized version of reality. In heaven there is no wordly suffering, for example. In the ideal world of Plato the ideas don't suffer from human contamination. What are the differences? Can his ideal world be compared with heaven in the first place?

  • I would appreciate if the downvoter explained. I really don't give a damned about downviting as long as explained. I can help it to have interesting questions... Jul 10, 2021 at 13:15
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    What do you mean by "comparable"? Plato's world was static and unchanging, Heaven is full of living souls. On the other hand they are both perfect and eternal. Please clarify your criteria for comparison. Jul 10, 2021 at 16:15
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    The OP's quick answer to their own question, and their subsequent comments, shows that this question is about pushing a personal philosophy. I am voting to close it. Jul 10, 2021 at 16:28
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    @GuyInchbald Who is pushing? You are pushing. To close it. Everybody is free to not agree. This is an open discussion. Pushing... Jul 10, 2021 at 16:34
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    I hesitate over this question. I can understand from the comments why there is objection to it but I prefer to let it run. I am clearer about what the Platonic world of Forms (if it existed) would be like than I am about Heaven (if it exists). Yet there may be some value in conceptually juxtaposing the two - it's certainly a novel association nowadays.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Jul 10, 2021 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is. Heaven is an ideal (and eternal) place too. Life on Earth is just a shadow from life in heaven. Just as the ideas of Plato are. We can approximate heaven on Earth as we can approximate the ideas in the ideal world (the world of ideas). There is a one to one correspondence between the world on Earth and the ideal world or the heavenly world. All good, just, or nice experiences are present in heaven, like all ideas (especially the mathematical ones and of these especially the Platonic geometrical objects) are present in the world of ideas. An idea can be approximated by constructing it's physical appearance. Like we can approximate heavenly elements.

There are differences though. Plato's world is a unique world. Heaven though can't exist without hell. Both worlds coexist. In one you experience only suffering [like experiencing endless repetition of things as is described in the book "Het Leven van een Dag" (the life of one day)].

The elements of both worlds clearly differ too. The world of ideas that Plato envisioned contains mathematical ones only. Heaven includes these also and on top of it a considerable portion of the wordly world (only in a heavenly way).

Apart from both being eternal, both having an existence outside the worldly domain, and both having elements (which differ in Nature though), the Platonic world will never be entered by people. I think this is the biggest difference. In heaven there could be Platonic ideas present. So the Platonic world is a sub world of the heavenly world but contrary to heaven it cannot be entered. Elements of both though can be experienced on Earth but in an approximated way.

  • You answer your own question the same day you post it. This strikes me as very odd, it sseems almost as if you posted the question just so you could post your answer. Can you explain why? Jul 10, 2021 at 16:18
  • @GuyInchbald Well, this is an anwer and question format site. I had already an idea about the answer (yes they can). It is a good philosophical tradition to use the dialogue. Jul 10, 2021 at 16:20
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    OK, so you did it to peddle your own answer, not to ask others to help you out. Jul 10, 2021 at 16:26
  • @GuyInchbald I have not accepted my own answer. Jul 10, 2021 at 16:32
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    No, it is not.... Jul 11, 2021 at 10:26


Plato, generally beleived that a man, carries from his birth, knowledge, attributes and experiences and that what we consider as "learning" is in fact the recollection of that knowledge from previous lives.

Before their birth, souls "live" in this ideal world (world of ideas), which is a "place" like paradise that contains all souls and ideas that give shape and meaning to all entities and things in our (common) world.

That's why in Greek the word truth (αλήθεια) is etymologically the a-λήθη, the remembering.

Without the body and the sensory system that many times mislead, the soul, in that world (of ideas) could see the truth without distrortion, ie. in it's purest form. From this, follows that the birth consisted of some kind of fall (strong correletion with the biblibal term) in which the soul gets imprisoned in the body and bound by possible incorrect understandings because of the senses ... so, using our intellect e.t.c. during our lives we can try to remember the truth that we once knew ...


Heaven, means the sky. (in Greek [ουρανός] and Arabic [sama] the word means exactly that. In the English language you have to search the etymology). The word is used many times interchangeably with the word paradise. Without goind here into details about the differences and the original (biblical) usages of the words, I could say that Heaven and the Word of Ideas of Plato are very similar (ontologically).

  • A number goes to Plato's heaven only if it is perfect. By contrast, you go to Heaven only if you are perfect :-) May 9 at 9:46
  • @Mikhail Katz, Ι take this as a nice joke. (Perfect numbers had ontological ramifications for the Pythagorians and the neoplatonics). May 9 at 10:10

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