A common question concerning the resurrection and the eternal state has to do with marriage. In eternity will we be married to our current spouse? This question becomes even more cumbersome if a person has experienced multiple marriages (Matthew 22:23-28).
Romans 7:3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 teach that a person is bound in marriage as long as they are alive. Once a spouse dies the marriage bond is broken. Given the fact that death is the vehicle of choice by which most of us will enter eternity, this means our marriages will effectively be over. When the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with the cumbersome multiple marriage/resurrection question Jesus answered that in the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage (Matthew 22:29,30).
There will be two responses to this idea. Some will be saddened by this news (like my wife Shannon, right my love!). Others will be secretly relieved (careful)! Wherever you fall on this it is hard for us to conceive of life with relationships being redefined. How can you be married to someone for decades and not understand them to be your husband or wife in heaven? How can you be married to a person and not want them to be your spouse also in heaven? Honestly, I don’t know. We know from Scripture that God will be the perfect fulfillment of our relational needs and that in eternity we will perfectly relate to one another. The church in fact is called the “bride of Christ.” The new Jerusalem descends from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. There will be lots of marriage language in heaven, and as such it is safe to say that in heaven we will still know what marriage means, but yet somehow and in someway the relationships will be redefined.
Another common question here concerns gender definitions in heaven. Will we be men and women as we are now? Most mistake Jesus’ comment in Mt. 22:30 that we will “be like the angels” to mean we will be eternally androgynous. This is not the case. John McArthur has a good discussion of this on pp. 135 – 138 in his book The Glory of Heaven.[i] He points out that after Jesus resurrection he was recognized as male. In fact when Mary first saw Jesus in the garden, having no conceivable thought that Jesus would possibly be alive, she mistakenly thought Jesus was the gardener. She referred to him as, “Sir (John 20:15).” After they saw Jesus, Jesus was Jesus, the male Jesus. The same could be said for the postmortem appearances of Moses and Samuel. They were recognized as who they were. There is nothing to indicate their gender had been blurred or redefined. They were male.
A post of this nature will arouse a multitude of questions. I welcome them, but I must warn you, I am like you, I probably cannot answer them. However, if you will send them on in, I will give it a shot Thursday or Friday.