Yesterday, we looked at what we can learn about heaven from Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22. In those chapters, we see God’s original design for the earth and how He will one day make the earth new. You can read yesterday’s post here, if you missed it.
Let’s continue our look at heaven by answering a few questions…
Are we going to eat and drink?
Yes, we will eat and drink. Genesis 1:29-30 says:
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. ”
And Revelation 22:1-2 says:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
It looks like we’ll be vegetarians in heaven, at least that seems to be God’s original design. Death is the result of sin and since there will be no sin in heaven, I don’t see us killing animals to eat them. Speaking of animals, I used to believe there wouldn’t be animals in heaven, bu they existed in Genesis 1 and 2 before the fall, so I see no reason why they wouldn’t also exist with us on the new earth.
The river of the water of life will flow down the main street of the city. And the tree of life will be growing on each side of the street. Is that what we will eat and drink to keep our bodies healthy and alive forever? Possibly.
What will we do on the new earth?
Adam was given work to do in the garden and both Adam and Eve were given responsibility for subduing the earth and ruling over the animal kingdom. Working and having responsibility is part of God’s design for us.
Revelation 22 tells us that His servants will serve Him. The great difference is that there will no longer be any curse. As a result of the fall, the ground was cursed in Genesis 3. Work became burdensome. That will not be the case on the new earth. Work will be joyful and fulfilling.
Of course, we will also worship. In Revelation 4 and 5, we see a picture of thousands of angels and people around God’s throne singing to Him. Worship will be more than singing though. Our lives, our relationships, our service–it will all be worship. In fact, God’s name will be written on our foreheads. Think about that. Every person you come in contact with on the new earth will be a reminder of God’s name.
Let me mention one more thing about work and service that I’ll qualify by saying this is only my opinion. I believe there will be a lot of continuity between our current life on earth and our future life on earth. For example, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to use to serve in God’s kingdom. Some are gifted at hospitality. Some are gifted at teaching. Some are gifted at leading or administration. There are many different gifts and abilities given by the Holy Spirit.
Since these are spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, I think it’s possible that some gifts would continue on for use on the new earth. I also think it’s possible that some of our natural talents and abilities, even our desires and preferences might carry over. If, for instance, someone is a gifted cook and enjoys showing hospitality to others–could it be that those gifts would also be employed in New Jerusalem?
If we’re going to eat and serve and live in relationships with others–could it be that there will be cafes or even coffee shops in New Jerusalem? If so, we will need someone to prepare the food and serve the coffee. Maybe someone gifted in singing and playing the guitar will be there.
Again, I’m only guessing some of this may happen.
Will we be married in heaven? And if so, to whom?
Luke 20:27-38 says:
27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Jesus makes it clear that there will not be marriage in heaven. Actually, there will be marriage, but it will be between Jesus and His bride, the church. Marriage as we know it today though, will not exist.
That brings up at least a couple questions for me. First, what about sex? If there’s not going to be marriage in heaven, then it sure seems like something will be missing without sex.
Let me encourage you with this thought–sex between a husband and wife, as good as it is, is just the appetizer. It’s just a reflection of the reality that awaits us. I don’t believe there’s anything in this present life that will be better than what we’ll experience on the new earth. So if marriage and sex will not be a part of things, then there will be something better.
Speaking of better, I can’t help thinking that sin has severely dulled all of our senses. Our hearing, our eyesight, our taste buds, etc.–are all effected by our fallen state. So how much better will food taste and a cool breeze feel on a warm day when we have new bodies and are living on the new earth.
One last thing, about marriage and the relationship between men and women on the new earth. In Genesis 2, God says that it’s not good for the man to be alone. This is before sin ever enters the picture. All of creation has been pronounced good, except the fact that man is alone.
If it was not good for the man to be alone before the fall, then I can’t help wondering what that will mean on the new earth. Jesus was clear–marriage will not exist, but will there be some type of friendship between men and women that we don’t yet understand?
Maybe someday you and I will get together in New Jerusalem and talk about all this!
Obviously, there are many other questions and issues we could discuss. I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and discover what it has to say, or not say, about heaven and the new earth. It’s absolutely critical that you and I develop a biblical worldview. I also recommend Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. He has explored the questions I’ve talked about here and many more.
Okay, I’m going to hold off on answering one more question until tomorrow. And it’s this:
If heaven is really going to be on the new earth, then where are the people who’ve already died and what are they doing now?