Will Our Heavenly Bodies Reflect Our Spiritual Maturity?
Question from a reader:
In your book Heaven you theorize about what age our resurrection bodies will look like. I think our resurrection body development will match our spiritual development. Hebrews 5:12-13 speaks of baby Christians still in need of milk, not solid food. Those less mature will have childish bodies and will need to do a lot of growing up on the New Earth, while those fully mature, like the servant with 10 talents, will be immediately ready to receive great responsibility on the New Earth. What are your thoughts?
Thoughts from Julia Stager, EPM staff:
That’s an interesting thought, and seems to be more convergent with Randy’s views of Heaven than divergent. In Heaven we’ll continue to grow, probably at different paces and in different ways. It seems natural we’ll have different starting points when we arrive in Heaven because of the continuity between our lives here and how our life will be there. Randy talks about this in his Eternity 101 class when he gives the example of being in Heaven with someone who was a professional musician on earth. In eternity, Randy will be able to play the violin (or learn it) much better than he can presently, but he’ll have a lot of “catching up” to do and maybe never surpass how great the professional musician will be. But, at the same time, the musician probably won’t be as proficient in writing (or tennis, for that matter!) as Randy will be.
As far as receiving responsibility, the parable of the talents does seem to imply that those who are more mature/capable will be given more responsibility from the time they enter Heaven. Something Randy quotes from C. S. Lewis comes to mind:
The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.
Though there will differing levels of skill and responsibility, everyone will fit perfectly into the community!
Thoughts from Randy Alcorn:
Good thoughts, Julia! I do see a much clearer biblical basis for us being at varying levels of mental development and skills than of us being at different life stages in the resurrection. If I were to guess, I would think our bodies will be equally mature in terms of apparent age, though there could definitely be differences in proficiency such as those you mentioned. Of course, that’s all a guess. The notions of remaining finite and of learning and growing in understanding (e.g. Eph. 2:7), and the differences reflected in differing rewards have definite biblical support. The difference in physical maturity does not.
I did speculate in the book that it’s possible God might not skip forward in terms of apparent age, so that a child who dies at six might begin at six in the resurrection so as to grow up on the New Earth (or possibly in the millennium). This would be an incredible joy for the believing parents who would discover they did NOT miss the enjoyment of those years in their child’s life, but they were only postponed to a time where their joys will be far greater because they will never be overshadowed by the possibility of loss, suffering, death, alienation or rebellion against them or God.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.