This is from Theophilus, about 180 A.D.
God transferred man from the earth, out of which had been produced, into Paradise, giving him meanse of advancement...In respect of beauty, this place, Paradise, was made intermediate bewteen earth and heaven.
I've understood and been taught that there is an intermediate place between earth and our eternal destiny, whether heaven or the Lake of Fire.
For the believer it is paradise~for the lost it is hell. These are places where the soul is kept. Then at the resurrection and judgement the body & soul is reunited for our eternal destiny (Heaven or the Lake of Fire).
Some (Like the 7th Day Adventists) believe in "Soul Sleep", that when ya die, the soul is dormant/sleeping until the resurrection, then judgment is meted.
Anyhow, that's how I've understood these things
The following scriptures are from the Bible (not the SDA's manual) and all seem to support soul sleep.
Acts 2:34 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens
Job 14:14-15 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come
. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Psalm 13:3 3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump
: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed
John 3:13 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven
, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
How do you explain them?
And how do you explain that Christ himself said he would be "as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth
. " Matthew 12:40
That does not sound like "paradise" in the heart of the earth.
Mark 8:31 31 "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again
. " Christ said that "after three days" he would rise again - not during those three days.
Even the two witnesses have no life when they are dead for 3.5 days. Revelation 11:11 "And after three days and an half
the Spirit of life from God entered into them
, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. "