One Christian author categorically states “people won’t own anything in heaven.” He believes this will assure our equality.
But what about the different “dwelling places” believers will have in Heaven (Luke 16:4,9)? What about the treasures Christ commanded us to store up “for ourselves” in Heaven (Matt. 6:20)? What about the different crowns and rewards God will hand out according to our works (2 Cor. 5:10)? What about the fact that we have an “inheritance” that will be given us in Heaven (Col. 3:24)? Doesn’t the word “inheritance” mean something tangible that will belong to us?
Will one believer’s crown be as much mine as it is his? Of course not. What about the white stone God promises to give to overcomers, with our new name written on it, a name no one else will know (Revelation 2:17)? Will you and I have equal possession of those stones or names? No. The one God gives you will be yours, not mine. The one he gives me if I’m an “overcomer” will be mine, not yours. Is this ownership wrong or selfish? Of course not. Ownership is never wrong when it’s God distributing to us possessions he wants us to own!
Heaven is not a socialist utopia in which private ownership is evil. Materialism, greed, envy, and selfishness are sins, “ownership is not.
Our different personalities, rewards, positions, and names in Heaven not only speak of our individuality, but of how God, who loves us all, finds unique reasons to love us. I love my wife and daughters, but I love different things about each.
Of course, God is the ultimate owner of all things. He owns not only all of Heaven, but everything on earth (Deut. 10:14; 1 Chron. 29:11-12), including the land (Lev. 25:23), the animals (Ps. 50:10-12), and all wealth in the possession of people (Hag. 2:8). He owns not only all things but all people (Ps. 24:1). He owns our very bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
So what is “ours” is ultimately God’s, including whatever he gives to us. But that is every bit as true here on earth as it is in Heaven. And the fact that God owns whatever is “mine” does not mean there is no distinction between what I own and what others own. The early Christians generously regarded their possessions as not just for them, but for others, and shared them generously (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35). But this did not negate private ownership. Peter told Ananias that his property belonged to him before he sold it, and the money belonged to him after he sold it (Acts 5:4). His sin was in claiming to give to God and others what he secretly kept. While in Heaven we will no doubt delight in sharing our treasures with others, they will still be our treasures, generously given to us by God.
For more information on the subject of Heaven, see Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.