What Would Heaven Be Like?
In our brief chat the other day I was asking about the situation of someone having several husbands/wives ( one after the other) on earth, so what would their relationship be in heaven and would they know who is who etc? Also, would we know who we used to be on earth? Plus would we know of the sin we had? Also would you be able to go space travelling to explore his wonderful universe and not just living in the new Jerusalem, other wise it is such a waste if you don’t have the benefit of viewing it?
On the subject of heaven, is there sadness in heaven? Because I would be gutted if I found out some friends and family weren’t in heaven. So maybe the question should be would we recognise people in heaven?
I’m afraid this is a long reply, because there are FIVE questions here!:
1. What relationship do people have “in heaven” compared to that which we have on earth?
2. Will we recognise each other “in heaven” (=will we be recognisable as the same people we are here?)
3. What memory would we retain of ungodliness on earth (both ours and other people’s), and would we regret?
4. Will we be aware that some of our nearest and dearest chose not to be in God’s presence?
5. Will we be able to explore the rest of the Universe?
I hope you get charged extra for trying to get all these questions into one space on the discussion board!
So here goes:
1. What relationship do people have “in heaven”
In Mt 22 24-30, Jesus tells us that “at the resurrection” we will neither marry, nor be given in marriage. Instead we will resemble the angels.
Jesus uses the idea of “at the Resurrection” for us, rather than our concept of “In Heaven”, which he uses of the angels.
By talking about resurrection, he underlines the fact that we will by then have PHYSICAL bodies. The Bible says our resurrection bodies will be like his (1 John 3 2 and several other places)
However, these physical bodies will not be made to reproduce, so presumably will not need to be either male or female.
So I won’t be married to my wife, nor she to me then.
So what of our intense and loving relationship – and if I can be personal here, what about the depth and intensity of a sexual union? Will we be denied that “after the resurrection”?
Will God give, to a fallen and corrupt people on earth, better things here than they will get when they are restored to the fullness of his presence? Surely not! Surely the blessings of being there will be BETTER than we have here, not worse.
When we think of the picture the Bible paints of God’s bridegroom love for his people, we must accept that the intensity of our marriage relationships here on earth is only a PICTURE of the real relationships in the life to come.
So the relationship I will have with my wife, though not a marriage relationship, will be MORE intense than it is here on earth. Yahoo! Augustine had the opinion that the joy that we will receive from God in our souls will “overflow” into our resurrection bodies in a “voluptuous torrent” of pleasure.
But what about you – will you be excluded from that? No! Because my wife and myself will no longer have a marriage relationship, we will relate to all of God’s people equally, (though undoubtedly my wife and I will share more memories than we share with others – provided we recognise each other— which takes us to the next question.)
So your relationship and mine – whoever you are – will be even deeper than my earthly relationship with my own wife.
2. Will we know each other, and will we be who we are now?
We are told that, after his resurrection, Jesus’s followers generally did recognise who he was, (though at one time his identity was hidden.)
So if we have the same sort of resurrection body as his, we shall be able to recognise each other.
The resurrected Jesus also had the same character and personality which he had before his death, so we can expect that our character and personality will survive into our new bodies.
(That means I will still have the same weird sense of humour – beware!)
Paul tells the Thessalonians not to grieve for their loved ones who had died, because they will be restored to them at the resurrection. (1 Thess 4 13). If they couldn’t recognise them, what would be the point?
So we will recognise our friends and they will recognise us.
3 & 4. What is the nature of the Life God has for us after “the resurrection”.
On the one hand…
If, after we die, we have no memory of what happened in this life, how can God call us to account or for reward for what has happened?
We will remember our level of commitment to God (some will say “Lord, Lord did we not … and so on. Matthew 7:21-23) Similarly in several other stories Jesus tells (Mt 25 35-40)
And when we are given rewards for what we have done in this life, we won’t be standing there saying “OK, What’s this for then? We will remember.
So our memories will be intact, in fact if we didn’t have them, how would we recognise God, or Jesus?
On the other…
To the dying thief, Jesus called it “Paradise” – a place of happiness and contentment, where every need is met, and nothing is wanting.
God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more mourning or crying or pain (Rev 21 4)
Somehow, although there will be memory, there will be no pain for us.
So, for those we love who are not committed to Jesus, let these thoughts spur us on to claim them in prayer and tell them in person.
And if they are already dead, remember that no one knows what interaction God has with the human soul in those last moments of life. They might seem only seconds long to us, the onlooker, but to God a day is like a thousand years. We can never say of any person that they died without God.
5. Will we be able to explore the rest of the Universe?
Jesus had a resurrection body which could disappear from one place and appear in another. He could disappear on one side of a locked door and reappear on the other side.
We will have bodies which work in the same way.
I call this “Beam me up, Scotty”!
I don’t think we will be restricted about where we explore in the whole universe – what else would it be for?
When I have a bit of work done in our house which makes it a nicer place to live, I can’t wait to show my closest friends.
God had had to wait a long time to show us – I bet he’s itching!
Great questions – enjoyed doing these!