Do you think things like lost limbs will be restored to our potential transitional bodies in the present Heaven, or will that occur with our resurrection bodies?
As C. S. Lewis expressed in his space trilogy, we have become “bent” (sinful) versions of what God intended. Your deceitfulness, laziness, lust, deafness, disability (including lost limbs), and disease are not the real you. They are temporary perversions that will be eliminated. They’re the cancer that the Great Physician will surgically remove. His redemptive work is such that never again will they return.
We don’t know exactly whether we’ll have physical forms in the present Heaven. But we do know that we’ll be free from sin and the curse the moment we leave this earth to be with the Lord. I believe that means we won’t suffer from the effects of diseases or disabilities in the present Heaven, while we await the resurrection.
Consider Christ’s story about the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Lazarus was covered in sores and likely crippled as he was laid at the Rich Man’s gate (verses 20-21). When he was carried by the angels to the intermediate, or present, Heaven, he received comfort, and seems to have been free of physical disabilities (verse 25).
In my book Heaven, I share about my friend David O’Brien, who suffered from a severe form of cerebral palsy since birth. His cerebral palsy was gone the moment he left this world for the present Heaven, but the biggest treat will be at his resurrection, when he will have a new body, forever free of disease.
When blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby wrote the lines “His glory we shall see” and “When our eyes behold the city,” her thoughts were all the more significant because her eyes had never seen anything. She’d tell people not to feel sorry for her because the first face she’d ever see would be Christ’s. Her sight was forever healed in 1915 when she died and left this world.
The following diagram illustrates the biblical view of the future for those who know Christ. The part of the graph below that depicts life on the present Earth is the only one that takes a dip, representing the physical and mental decline of old age that so many experience under the Curse. But at the point of death, it’s followed by a dramatic upward movement in which the believer goes immediately to be with Christ in the intermediate Heaven. However, even though that’s a vast improvement, it’s not the believer’s peak. We’ll be resurrected, eventually living on a resurrected Earth. Our knowledge and life experiences, certainly, and probably our skills and strength, will continue to develop. In other words, we will never pass our peak.
So we do know for sure that our resurrection bodies will be free of the curse of sin, redeemed, and restored to their original beauty and purpose that goes back to Eden. I often think of how paraplegics, quadriplegics, and people who have known constant pain will walk, run, jump, and laugh in the New Earth. Believers who are blind now will gawk at the New Earth’s wonders. What a special pleasure for them.
Browse more resources on the topic of Heaven, and see Randy’s related books, including Heaven.
Photo by Doug Maloney on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.