Hi, Coco,

I prefer (1) because I'm not sure that "heaven" can be defined as a physical place. In theology, it tends to be defined as a spiritual state, but that is beyond the scope of this forum.

If the place is physical, then both "where" and "the place/city/country/company, etc. where" can be used. Notice that both are emphatic (it would be more natural to say: I live in Buenos Aires / I was born in Argentina / He works at Coca Cola).

- Buenos Aires is where I live.
- Buenos Aires is the city where I live.

- Argentina is where I was born.
- Argentina is the country where I was born.

- Coca Cola is where he works.
- Coca Cola is the company where he works.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
In theology, [heaven] tends to be defined as a spiritual state, but that is beyond the scope of this forum.

Hi, Coco and Gustavo,

Even though heaven as a theological concept goes beyond the scope of this forum, "heaven" is also used figuratively to refer to what one finds to be an ideal state of being even in worldly life. Now, consider this common proverb:

  • Home is where the heart is.
  • Home is where you hang your hat.

"Home" is not necessarily being used in the sense of one's own house, or apartment, or what have you, in those proverbs. The referent of "home" could be any number of things. Indeed, "wherever that may be" could be added to each.

"Heaven is where my father is" could be read in a similar way. The speaker's father could be alive and well, and the speaker could be saying that heaven is, for her, being with her father, wherever he is.

"Heaven is where my father is" could, of course, also be read in the sense of "Heaven is the place where my father is." In that case, the sentence is a kind of clefted version of "My father is in heaven" ("Heaven is where my father is").

If the sentence "Heaven is where my father is" were spoken by Christ, Buddha,   Mohammad, etc., we could imagine still another meaning, one according to which "father" might better be capitalized: "Heaven is where my Father is."

But, again, that goes outside the scope of this forum.

homehat1

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