Heaven does not get much description in the Bible. Revelation 21 and 22 offer a glimpse of the after life, but also note these chapters are describing the New Jerusalem, not heaven.
Since the Bible does not define what heaven looks like or what life will be like, one would imagine a wide array of descriptive words would be used in our songs about heaven.
But after looking at about a hundred hymns that refer to heaven, three very common themes run through these songs when they describe heaven.
1) Mansions. Many hymns, from hokey ones like I’ve Got a Mansion Over the Hilltop to more churchy hymns like When We All Get to Heaven, mention our own personal mansions to spend eternity frolicking in.
2) Sea, Ocean or Shore. Christians are either going to gather by the crystal sea or we will meet on that beautiful shore.
3) Rivers. There is either a mention of a specific heavenly river or crossing the Jordan.
What is interesting about these descriptions of heaven is that two don’t even exits.
The mansion idea is from John 14 and the KJV rendering that “in my Father’s house are many mansions.” The word for mansion can be as generic s a dwelling place. Probably it is better translated “In my Father’s dwelling place there are many places to dwell.” Heaven is big and there’s room for everyone.
It is ironic that Christians, who routinely mock Muslims for wanting to go to heaven so they get virgins, at the same time promote heaven because we get nice, big houses. How is one fleshly lust worse than another fleshly lust?
The ocean, sea and shore stuff, I’m not at all certain what that is referring to. Revelation 21:1 says there is no sea in the New Jerusalem, which is where we base most of our heaven stuff on. What is this sea or this shore we are meeting on? I will be bummed if you all know where it is and I can’t find it and I miss out.
I get the river stuff, there is a river flowing out of the New Jerusalem and crossing the Jordan to enter to Promised Land are nice descriptors. The other two, not so much.