Teaching Children About Heaven: Answering Your Child’s Questions
David said, “Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how transitory I am...every mortal man is only a vapor” (Psalm 39:4-5).
Picture a single breath escaping your mouth on a cold day and disappearing into the air. Life here is brief. It is like a dot, which begins and ends and is brief. But from that dot proceeds a line that will go on forever. Death is not a wall but a doorway.
Wise parents help prepare their children for the deaths of loved ones and the assurance of Heaven for those who know Jesus. But there is no Heaven without Jesus. To come to Jesus, you must repent of your sins and place your faith in Him and His work on the cross. You must trust Him to save you (John 1:12). He is the only way to come to the Father and have eternal life (John 14:6). (If you would like to trust Jesus as your Savior, see “Place Your Faith in Jesus” on the following page.)
For the Christian, Scripture says it is better by far to die and be with Christ (Philippians 1:21). Yet many labor under the fear of death, largely because they fail to understand what Scripture says is on the other side. If you do not know Jesus, you will be terrified by death. But much of the fear is relieved if you and your child love Jesus and understand that you will spend eternity in a wonderful place He prepared just for you.
Scripture says, “We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell” (2 Peter 3:13). Unfortunately, many children are not looking forward to this because they have not been taught what the Bible says about Heaven. Hopefully, the answers to the following frequently asked questions will help you teach your child about Heaven.
1. Will we have bodies in Heaven, or will we be ghosts, floating in the clouds? Many children are put at ease about Heaven when you explain that we will not be ghosts. No child wants to become a ghost. The Bible says, “We know that when He appears we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Jesus in His resurrected body proclaimed that he was not a ghost but that He had actual “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
Christ’s resurrection body was suited for life on earth. As Jesus was raised to come back to live on earth, we, too, will be raised to come back to live on earth (1 Thessalonians 4:14; Revelation 21:1-3). Teach your child the doctrines of the resurrection and the New Earth, and he will be excited about life after death!
2. Will we still be ourselves, or will we be angels? Angels and human beings are entirely different creatures (Hebrews 2:5-9). Angels will always be angels and people will always be people. Relocation to Heaven includes becoming better humans (Romans 8:23), not nonhumans.
You will be you in Heaven, and I will be me. Think about it. The resurrected Jesus did not become someone else; He remained who He was before His resurrection. When John was fishing with some of the other disciples, he saw Jesus on the seashore and said, “It is the Lord!” (John 21:7). So you will still recognize friends and family, and they will recognize you, too.
3. Won’t Heaven be boring? Everything good, enjoyable, refreshing, and exciting comes from God. Jesus is creative, fascinating, and anything but boring. Heaven is going to be full of surprises and adventures as we learn more about God and explore His new universe.
God says that on the New Earth “His servants will serve Him” and “they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3,5). Servants are always active with things to do, places to go, and people to see. Rulers of the earth will have plenty to keep them busy!
4. Will we eat and drink? Think about the food you most enjoy. Maybe your idea of Heaven is eating that food for thousands of years. After His resurrection, Jesus asked His disciples for some food and ate a piece of fish in front of them (Luke 24:41-43). He proved that resurrected people can and do eat real food. Other Bible verses say that we will eat at feasts with Jesus in an earthly kingdom.
5. Will we laugh in Heaven? Jesus promised we will. “Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh... Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note—your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:21,23). The Bible promises God will wipe away all of our tears (Revelation 21:4). Heaven will be full of joy. Do you think God ever laughs? In the Bible, God is said to enjoy, love, laugh, take delight, and rejoice.
We were made in God’s image, so we have feelings and express them just as God does. We are sometimes sad now, but in Heaven there will not be anything to be sad about. We will all be happy. We will play, because God put into us a love for play.
6. Will there be animals in Heaven? Romans 8 says the whole creation groans with a longing for the redemption that will be experienced with the resurrection of God’s children. What else in the creation suffers besides people? Animals. The passage shows that redemption is not limited to people, but that the whole earth will be made new. This suggests that some of the animals that lived, suffered, and died on this old earth will be the same ones restored to life in God’s earthly kingdom that is to come. They suffered because of our sin, so their bodies will be freed when we receive our new bodies.
Only God knows for sure what He plans to do. But we know God loves to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:9-11). So if it would please you to have animals with you on the New Earth, God will likely do it.
Place Your Faith in Jesus
If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior and would like to, pray the following prayer:
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and need You. I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead so that I can know You and have eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins. I accept Your gift of eternal life and choose to follow You as Lord. Thank You for giving me a new life in Christ. Amen.
• Wait Until Then (now out of print)