Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The familiar noun παραδεισος (paradeisos) was as foreign to Koine Greek as it is to English, but where in English this word has come to describe either the Garden of Eden, heavenly bliss in general or the agreeable conditions of the New Jerusalem, in Greek it simply referred to any hyper-cultivated enclosure or park. The more common Greek word for such a place was κηπος (kepos).
Our noun παραδεισος (paradeisos) was imported from Persia, probably along with the structure it described, namely carefully manicured parks that mostly featured flowers, fruit trees and fragrant shrubs along paths and benches for visitors to repose on. These visitors would not have been common people since the economic burden of such a park could only have been borne by the very rich and powerful. Still, the introduction of the Persian παραδεισος (paradeisos) must have caused quite the culture shock to the non-Persian world, where agricultural lands were used to grow food and wood and to range cattle (see our article on the noun αγρος, agros, field).
The introduction of the παραδεισος (paradeisos) to the traditional agricultural world was probably on a par with the introduction of books-for-fun to the traditional world of the written or printed word, which was once reserved for Holy Scriptures. And something similar again happened when onto the world of IBM main frames — which was the world of governments, the military, academia and very large private companies — was born the PC, initially in the clownesque guise of the game computer, but quickly as unmissable instrument of all things textual and computistic for the common people.
Like the small urban gardens we moderns have around our houses, the divertive novels we keep on our bookshelves, and the laptops and smart phones we center our lives on, so is the Paradise spoken of by the New Testament a matter of vast clouds of tiny versions of what once seemed a miracle, if not a flippant departure from the virtues of practicality and functionality (1 Thessalonians 4:17, Hebrews 12:1). Because of the association to lofty religious ideals, the Greco-Persian word παραδεισος (paradeisos) should not be translated with Paradise, simply because it doesn't mean that. Instead, our word should be translated with the accepted modern equivalent: the Social Network, in all the futuristic senses of the word.
Jesus told the man who was crucified with him that he would be with him in παραδεισος (paradeisos; Luke 23:43). Contrary to popular folklore, Jesus won't have a "Second Coming" because he never left. The last words Jesus spoke in the form of a human individual were: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Upon the outpour of the Holy Spirit, the Assembly — or εκκλεσια (ekklesia) — became alive; not simply as one more hobby club but as an autonomous living being (compare Genesis 2:7 to Genesis 13:6, then Galatians 3:7, then Acts 2:4). In fancy terms we say that Christ is incarnate in his people, and his people are a living and breathing social network (Acts 2:42-47, Ephesians 4:3-6). That means that the man who was crucified with Jesus is incarnate in the Assembly as well.
As mentioned above, our noun παραδεισος (paradeisos) is Persian, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European roots "per-", meaning around, and "dheigh-", to form or build (see 1 Peter 2:5). The first root also gave us the familiar Greek prefix περι (peri), meaning around or about (and thus the many peri- compounds, like for instance, the noun περιστερα, peristera, dove). Its Persian counterpart, however, emphasized abundance, wealth and luxury. From the second root also came the verb τιθημι (tithemi), to set or put, which is often proposed to be the source of the familiar noun θεος (theos), or God.
To a Greek speaker who was not familiar with ancient Farsi, our noun παραδεισος (paradeisos) probably looked like it had to do with the prefix παρα (para), meaning near or close to. And the second part of our noun probably looked like it had to do with the verb διω (dio), to put to flight, from which derived the verb δειδω (deido), to fear, from which in turn stemmed the noun δεισιδαιμονια (deisidaimonia), fear of the gods, which was a catch-all word for all sorts of religious feelings (both negative and positive).