Friday, September 14, 2007

The Most Awkward Post I've Written Thus Far...

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.--Matt. 22:23-33

This past Wednesday evening, in our Singles class...yes, that's right our SINGLES class...we started out by reading this passage of scripture. We began with a discussion about marriage in heaven. This, of course, led to a discussion about the afterlife and heaven in general. And naturally, this flowed into a discussion about sex in heaven.

Do I have your attention yet? I thought so...

Our minister shared with us some ideas on this, and we spent the evening discussing them. What does this very vague reference to being "like the angels" mean??? Does it mean that we will no longer be gendered bodies??? Our minister doesn't seem to think so...neither do I. We looked at the only example we have of the resurrected, redeemed body so far...that is Christ. His resurrected body, although able to do some weird things like going through locked doors, was still a physical body with flesh and bones and the ability to digest food. Also, it had a resemblance to His body before His death--retaining the scars in His hands and feet. Based on this example, I believe it is safe to at least speculate that our resurrected bodies will be exactly that...they will still be our bodies--just different--changed--redeemed.

We discussed the idea that there will be a new heaven and a new earth--and the idea that these might be actual physical places, just better than what we know now--more physically real than what we know now. Is that the case? Is the earth we live on now a mere shadow of the new earth, and are our temporary bodies merely shadows of what our redeemed bodies will be??? I think that's a very valid possiblity...and in fact, seems to be the one that makes the most sense, at least in my mind.

And if this is the case, is it safe to say that certain activities of this world, such as sex, are mere shadows of what is to come? This is an idea that we talked about in class, an idea that some of us girls were still discussing after class...the idea that there will be something to experience in heaven relating to our sexuality. We discussed some of Hank Handegraaff's ideas from his book, "Resurrection," about this topic. He believes that, because God made us as sexual beings, our sexuality is part of who we are, and will likely remain so, even in the life that is to come. Will there be sex in heaven? "Yes and no, " he answers. He says no, there will not be a physical act such as what we think of now in this world. Rather, sexuality, which God intended to be pure and yet humans have corrupted it, will be redeemed, like everything else. Male and female will enjoy each other, not necessarily in body, but in soul. He says this pleasure, which will be infinitely better than what we know now, will be driven, no longer by our selfish physical desire, but rather by selflessness and agape love.

I'm not sure how much of those ideas I am ready to buy into...or even understand for that matter. Like I said, some of us girls were sitting around talking after class...still asking questions that we didn't have time for in class. So I believe I will ask them here and see what you all think...

One friend of mine stated, "I always thought the primary purpose of sex was procreation, and that the pleasure of it was secondary. So what purpose would this serve in heaven?" She raises a valid question. However, I'm not sure I subscribe to the idea that procreation is the primary purpose of sex--for there are many who either cannot or choose not to procreate, yet I would believe there was something wrong in their marriage if they did not have sex. Any thoughts on this?

Earlier in our discussion, our minister very emphatically stated about his wife, "She's a great girl, and I love her! But I am NOT going to be married to my wife for eternity!" In the midst of our gasps and laughter, he continues, "Hey! Jesus said it, not me. So I'm counting on it..." To which our Singles minister interrupted with, "I'm sure she is too..."

Now if this is the case...and I believe it is, as Jesus did, indeed, say that there would be no marriage in heaven...the next question my friend had was, "If there is no marriage, how is this experiencing of the sexes to take place? I mean, if sex outside of marriage is sinful in this world...how will that work in heaven?" I don't think I have an answer for that one either. But perhaps it's the physical act that is sinful outside of marriage...the physical act that will not necessarily be taking place in heaven??? I dunno...the whole idea makes my head hurt a little.

Are you as confused yet as I am??? Good! Feel free to comment to that effect.

If it seems as though I am speaking about something of which I have no clue...you're exactly right. As someone who has never been married, and someone who really never has...

I look forward to hearing some ideas and possible answers to these questions from some of you with different...older and/or married...perspectives.

I think that's enough headache inducing questions for a relaxing Friday evening--I need sleep! Much love to you all!

6 comments:

Keith Brenton said...

So how do we factor in spiritual sexuality with the idea that we will be like children?

"Jesus replied, 'The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 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, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children , since they are children of the resurrection." - Luke 20:34-36

I wonder if the answer has something to do with innocence, purity, and God's passion for the flesh he re-creates to be eternal, imperishable, incorruptible.

mmlace said...

Hey now! This is my blog...your older/married perspective is supposed to offer possible answers to my questions, not complicate the issue w/yet another question! ;) My head hurts again...

Nevertheless, I'm always grateful for your input! Thanks!

Keith Brenton said...

I dunno. Really. I know that if I had to be eternally married to my first wife again, neither of us would be in heaven.

There's probably at least a chapter on this subject in Rob Bell's Sex God, and I'm guessing he has more insight into the matter than I do, since it would not occur to me to write such a book.

(Hey, i'm still uncomfortable with the fact that Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. That's just not something we talk about in Sunday School.)

I get the picture of eternity as a place of rest for the believer; a place of joy and feasting; a place of music and praise and gratitude; of light without darkness and light without death.

Most of all, it's a place where God and His Christ are enthroned forever - and, you know what?

That sounds pretty fulfilling to me: the companionship of the Creator and the Redeemer of Creation and the seven-fold Spirit of God.

That's good enough!

mmlace said...

Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll have to see if I can get my hands on a copy of it. And thanks for sharing...I like your picture of eternity. The Presence of God--what more do ya need??? (Before I got a new phone a couple of weeks ago, one of my ringtones on my old phone was 'Better Is One Day.' Kinda the same idea--guess that's why I like that song.)

Oh, and on a semi-related note--how's that book on eschatology coming? It is coming, right???

Keith Brenton said...

Eschatology may indeed be realized before this book is done ...

mmlace said...

Hmmm......I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing....