Will there be sex in Heaven?
I can’t point to Scripture to support this, but I have heard teaching (that I believe was based on Scripture) that life in Heaven will likely be similar to life on Earth in that we will do many of the same things. I understand we will have work, and raise children (though I am unclear on where they will come from), and garden, and enjoy pleasures such as eating and drinking and presumably other pleasures as well. Since we have established that sex is very much intended for pleasure independently of procreation, does it follow that there will be sex in heaven? I understand we will have new physical bodies, and though we will “neither marry nor be given in marriage”, does that mean there will certainly be no sex? Or could it be that the much attempted, always failed idea of “free love” will actually be fulfilled once we are all essentially one in spirit?
Please understand this just occurred to me out of the blue recently, so my logic may be entirely off! I could be missing something obvious and do not want to maintain any ideas that are contrary to scripture. It is, truly, a question.
to add to this speculative discussion, I quote from C.S. Lewis’ chapter 16 of Miracles, titled Miracles of the New Creation:
“One point must be touched on because, though I kept silence, it would none the less be present in most readers’ minds. The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternative either of bodies which are hardly recognizable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now understand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendor. Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away weapons they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them. ‘Trans-sexual’ would be a better word than ‘sexless’ for the heavenly life.”
Note: I like the idea of my sexual “weapons” that I used as a conqueror during life (walking in purity, staying faithful to my wife, giving great pleasure to my wife in our marriage bed, etc.) being retained and celebrated for splendor. I also find Lewis’ use of the word “trans-sexual” rather than “sexless” interesting here, and would love to see it reclaimed from its present fallen usage in our modern world.
I believe that although Luke 20 teaches we won’t marry or be given in marriage in Heaven, we will be known and will know one another. This implies a deep intimacy between human beings that will rival what we feel now during sex. The mystery is that we will have new bodies in Heaven, yet we will not use them in the same way as we did on Earth. We can sure that whatever God has in store for us, it will be good, and it will likely eclipse anything pleasurable we have experienced on Earth. That is and has been His nature and intent for us.
Leah and SC put forth perspectives based on scripture – I agree. Consider this practical, dilemmic question. If a believing man or woman remarries another believing spouse after the death of a believing spouse, when they all get to heaven which pair – the first or the second – will enjoy sex together?
Sexual intercourse is a God-ordained created intent; Adam and Eve were commanded by God to procreate. Sex for intimacy is is also a God-ordained created intent; Eve was created to join with Adam in intimate companionship. When we get to Heaven the need for procreation will be unnecessary and we’ll enjoy perfect companionship. That eternal state will trump any pleasure on earth. Therefore, the desire and need for the pleasure of sex, as we know it, will be moot.
God did not ordain polygamy (theological exegetical commentary abounds on the Creation intent for marriage to be one man and one woman until death parts them) even though men of old engaged in polygamous relationships. Logically then, polygamy will not exist in Heaven. Again, that renders the question of ‘will there be sex in Heaven’ moot.
The part about raising children sounds just like what my Jehova Witness friend teaches. She uses Isaiah 11:8 to mean that there will be marriage, child-bearing, and child-raising in heaven. Although we agree that there will be a new earth, she believes God will still live elsewhere in Heaven, whereas I believe we will still live on earth, but heaven will come to us (Revelation 21:2)
The Bible is not very clear about what the resurrection will be like. Based on 1 Cor. 15, I tend to think that we will have a very different body from the one we have now, and will not engage in eating, drinking, or sex. The Bible often refers to sex as a desire of the flesh, and flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. Whatever it is like, you can be certain that we will find it completely fultilling!
@ShadowSpirit I absolutely agree that whatever it is like we will find it completely fulfilling! (I often use that to rationalize my belief that my departed pets await me there; if they do not, I will not miss them but for now it makes me less sad. 😉 ) I am not a Jehova Witness and I have only heard about the possibility of raising children once (I will have to try to remember the Scripture that was shown me about that) but I remember it clearly because it was during my long wait for a child and I took comfort thinking perhaps I would get to care for a baby in Heaven since I might not have the opportunity here on Earth. I had hypothesized to myself that maybe all the babies killed by abortion or child sacrifice in ancient times would be allowed to grow up and those of us who never got to be mothers would be allowed to participate. NO SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT at all for that; just a broken heart trying to imagine how Powerful Daddy might fix it.
I think it’s possible we were looking at Isaiah 65.20, but I just read a commentary that argues this applied to the OT covenant if the Israelites had succeeded in keeping it.
So maybe the whole idea is off base; I just got to wondering. 🙂
I had an answer typed out but it errored on me when I went to submit. Hopefully, I can recreate it.
I’m theologically undecided on this one. Looking at Genesis 2, the garden is the closest representation of “Heaven on Earth”. Of all the good God has created, He declares it is not good for the man to be alone. This is why woman is created in the first place. So we as humans are created to be in relationship with one another. I’ve heard this reasoning used to explain that we will recognize and be in relationships with one another in Heaven. By extension, I would think that this would extend to the marriage relationship, but that is refuted directly by Jesus in Mark 12, as you mention. Perhaps through the transfiguration at resurrection our new bodies will not require the nourishment and comfort that sex provides, since we will be in perfect communion with God. And because the marriage relationship is a mirror of how God sacrificially loves us, maybe we don’t need that example in Heaven when we can fully bask in His majesty?
Going back to Genesis, it isn’t until after the fall that we hear of Adam “knowing” Eve and getting pregnant. So when did Adam and Eve first have sex? In the garden they were naked and unashamed, and God had Adam name all the animals, so it stands to reason Adam would have noticed a few rabbits in line getting busy. Plus, God told man to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” in Chapter 1, so sex from at least a procreation standpoint was valid pre-fall. But it isn’t clear when Adam and Eve first consummated their marriage, and honestly, the devirgination of Adam and Eve would be a tough kid’s Sunday school lesson.
Even though personally I’d love to believe we’ll have perfect relationships including sex with our spouses in Heaven, I’m not going to be bummed out if it isn’t the case. The alternative is much worse! I sometimes feel like we try too hard to understand things that are beyond human comprehension (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even people who were eager for the Messiah missed the purpose of His kingdom. They were expecting a political kingdom to conquer the Roman empire. So much of the language of the prophetic writings in the Bible are tough to understand because of the world and culture when they were written. I believe much of John’s writings about Heaven in Revelation and Jesus’ descriptions of the kingdom of God will make much more sense when we get there.
I think there is some truth there. But I really think we will be so overcome by being in the presence of God we really won’t be thinking about it. We will have reached our final redemption and our redeemed bodies will no longer need to be the picture of Christ and the Church because the great mystery will be reality.