This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the fact that in Heaven – probably both the present Heaven and the New Earth – we will have physical bodies. The descriptions given of those dwelling in both of these places are very physical, and if we use the example of Jesus after His resurrection, we know that He was still a physical being and that He ascended to Heaven as a physical being. So if this is the case, if we will still have physical bodies similar to what we have now on this earth, what will our bodies be like? Today’s study tried to answer this question.
Will We Still Have Our Five Senses?
The first part of today’s study talked about how we will most likely still have all of the senses we currently have on earth. We will be living on a New Earth, which has many of the same features that our present earth has – flowers that smell nice, beautiful sunsets, and birds that sing. Alcorn says that scripture speaks a lot about eating in Heaven, so we can assume that our taste buds will be working when we get there. All of these things will require senses to be able to experience them, so we can be sure that we will have those senses. The present earth is under the curse of sin, so much of what we experience today is a dulled version of what we will experience once that curse is removed. Our senses will probably be enhanced the point that we will discover new things in the same areas we have experienced for years on the present earth.
Will We Experience Hunger & Digestion?
As I mentioned above, there are many examples of passages in the Bible where it talks about us eating in Heaven, so we will definitely be taking in food while we are there. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will ever be hungry. And there are scriptures that talk about us never being hungry – Revelation 7:16, speaking of the saints who come out of the tribulation, says “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.” Many take this to mean that we will not experience hunger, but if you read the passage in context, that is not what it’s saying. The remainder of that verse and the next says “The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” What it is saying here is that God will provide for us and take care of us. Never having to be hungry or thirsty doesn’t mean that we won’t have an appetite or a desire to eat or drink. It only means that when we do, food and drink will be provided for us. And if we have physical bodies that are only enhancements of the bodies we currently have, we can assume that we will digest the food we eat and probably also need to eliminate waste. Some people might see this as disgusting, but as Alcorn puts it, “no aspect of our God-created physiology can be bad.”
Will We Maintain Our Gender?
When people read passages like Galations 3:38 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis added) – they often assume that there will be no sexual distinction between those in Heaven. I guess they assume we will all be androgynous beings, neither male nor female, but rather some kind of blended being with the best of both genders. But this is not what this verse teaches. If read in context, one can see that Paul is saying that there is not distinction between those who can receive salvation – men and women are equal in Christ, but not the same. I really like what Alcorn wrote in his novel Deadline (and quoted in this study):
“But as for you being a man, what else would you be? [God] may unmake what men make, but he does not unmake what he makes. He made you male, as he made your mother and wife and daughters female. Gender is not merely a component of your being to be added in or extracted and discarded. It is an essential part of who you are.”
Will We Wear Clothes?
Adam and Eve, in their perfect condition prior to eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, wore no clothes and were not ashamed. Some people believe that we will return to this unashamed state when we get to Heaven, and will therefore wear no clothes. It’s not like we’ll have to worry about shame and temptation! But in Revelation 3:4 it speaks of those in Heaven “dressed in white”, and in Revelation 6:11, when the martyrs cry out, “each of them was given a white robe.” Passages like these make it appear that we will be dressed in Heaven. Whether or not we will be wearing robes or some type of clothing similar to what we wear today is yet to be seen.
Life in Heaven, in many ways, will be nothing like it is here on the present earth. We have never lived in any condition except the one in which we now live – with sin, corruption, shame, guilt, and oppression – so we have a hard time imagining what life would be like without those things. But in many ways, the New Earth will be very much like what we already know and experience. Only these experiences on the New Earth will be greatly enhanced, to the point that they will be both familiar and new at the same time. Much of what I studied today is speculative – whether we will wear clothes or digest food – but it is still comforting for me to see that things will not be so different that I do not and can not understand them or imagine them.
Click HERE to see the next post in the series.