One of the verses that has confused me a lot over the years is the following.
Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
This seems to imply that there is no sex in heaven. From the standpoint of us in our current bodies, the idea of eternity without sex sounds, well, like hell.
Note that both of these visions of heaven are CHILDLIKE. They are meant to explain to children the concept of eternity with God. They are not very good adult versions. In fact the “eternal spring” idea of heaven sounds remarkably like HG Well’s dystopian version of the Eloi.
Remember, also, that these images do not come from the Bible. In fact, the Bible is remarkably silent on what heaven is actually like. It mainly tells us what is NOT there.
Re 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Re 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
There are only a few indications of what it will be like.
I John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Revelations 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
We also get the Revelations 21 and 22 telling us about the outside of heaven, jewels, a river of life, a tree of life and that Jesus is the light thereof. But nothing about how we live when we get there.
In his book “Job” the agnostic Robert Heinlein does an artistic job of making fun of heaven. He shows it as an overcrowded city with everyone divided into classes like a bad imitation of Hindu castes.
But, I think Paul does the best job of discussing this issue in his chapter on the resurrection.
I Corinthians 15: 39-44 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
So, in other words. We cannot imagine what our spiritual bodies are going to be like or what we will do with them. If we are like to be like Jesus, then we should have “joy unspeakable and full of glory” but not as if it was an eternal ecstasy high (for even this would be boring) but rather some sort of joy that we can’t imagine at this time.
Ok, having said all we actually know about heaven, let’s move on to sex, which we know a whole lot more about.
What is it that we really like about sex? Why do we talk about it, think about it, dream about it, do it, so often? I think the answer it (at least) threefold.
- Orgasm- Well, duh, it feels good. Moments of upswelling pleasure that differ from the moments surrounding it.
- Intimacy – There is something wonderful about joining together physically with another person – “becoming one” in a physical, emotional, and spiritual way that is unlike any other activity in the human existence
- Fulfilling a primal drive – Let’s face it, to have sex, sleep, and eat food are three things that we love to do because we simply NEED to do them.
So, in this new unimaginable resurrected body, will we still be able to feel good, be intimate, and fulfill our basic needs?
Somehow, I think that the God who created sex is not going to leave out these three important features from our next life. I’m certain we shall have moments of upswelling joy (“And when the beasts cry holy, the four and twenty elders cast their crowns before the throne…..”) We will have true intimacy with God himself (we are the BRIDE of Christ) and I am confident that we will have a purpose that we can fulfill. I don’t know what this purpose is, it may be different for each person – just as it is for the angels.
So, this all comes down to is a matter of Faith. We either believe God loves us and wants us to be happy, or we don’t. If we believe in God, then we simply must trust that all of the joys of sex will be in heaven and will be greater and more wonderful than they are down here.
So, sex as in penises and vaginas? Probably not. But sex as in upswelling pleasure, joyful union and fulfilling desire. Yes.