Does No More Human Marriage and Sex in Heaven Mean God Won’t Fulfill My Heart’s Desires?

Question from a reader:

Dear Randy, your book Heaven got me really excited because I shared all the same beliefs as the people you include in your book. But you and all other Christians I know share the same horrible and depressing belief about sex and marriage in the new heavens and New Earth. 

When I heard this interview, I was so angry. It seems like single men should have as much sex as possible before the Lord comes because God is taking it away forever! As a human male, why would I be excited to be the “Bride of Christ” and have sex with Jesus? Or be married to my Heavenly Father? How is this encouraging or exciting? 

You could say it’s just a metaphor. If that’s true, then TRUE marriage and TRUE sex is gone forever… but you say we still get to eat food and play sports… who cares about those things?!

So in the end…. Satan wins. He will destroy marriage and sex forever. I’m truly just mad at God, and I hate His terrible plan! God hasn’t given me the desires of my heart for these things, and apparently, He never will. 

Answer from Doreen Button, EPM staff:

My heart breaks for you as I hear your anger and disappointment. One of the truly difficult parts of responding is knowing only the bits about you and your pain that you’ve presented in a few paragraphs, so please forgive me if I miss the mark because I don’t know your story.

Based on what you’ve shared it sounds like you are deeply disappointed with God because He hasn’t given you “the desires of your heart” by bringing a partner into your life. You are lonely and want to experience what you believe others have and believe you won’t ever get to enjoy. That’s a tough place to be and if it were a true representation of who God is and how He treats His children, you’d have a very good reason to be depressed and angry.

I only have a few paragraphs to address this and it’s hard to be brief without being blunt, so I hope you’ll hear my longing to help and direct you upward and not feel like I’m coming at you with a punch in the nose. I’m praying (as I did before I began this and will continue to afterward) that the Spirit will use my feeble attempt at sharing God’s heart to reach your heart and that He’ll begin to transform your disappointment back into anticipation for the life to come.

God (Father, Son, and Spirit) love you more than you or I are capable of grasping. Everything He has done for us and provided for us has been to show His glory and to help us regain our status as His image-bearers that we lost in Eden. He knows what we need. He knows our desires because He built desires into us.

Unfortunately, humankind’s choice in Eden caused our desires to twist. The serpent wants us to look at what God offers, give Him the finger, and turn away to chase what “looks pleasing to the eye, and also desirable...” We may think we can plead ignorance because we don’t know how good God’s goodness is until we’ve truly surrendered and experienced it, so we don’t know what we’re missing out on.

Ironically, God’s gifts are ALWAYS (yes, I raised my voice because I don’t want you to miss it) “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” As C.S. Lewis put it so memorably in Weight of Glory, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

In Psalm 37, we’re told that if we delight ourselves in God, He’ll plant His desires within us. He’ll use our delight for Him to untwist our desires into the ones we were meant to have.

In the video, Todd mentioned C.S. Lewis’s comment about a child assuming sex included chocolate because he couldn’t imagine anything better. It’s not God’s fault that we can’t imagine anything better than sex. If our focus is on sex (or food or money or any created thing) it becomes a kind of god to us. We set it up on a pedestal and gaze at it with longing and expect it to provide us with a happily ever after if we bring it the right offerings. Even God can become an idol when we treat Him as if He’s obligated to give us what we want if we behave just so.

My point in all this is to ask you to re-think your priorities. If your priority is a great sex life, then you are not a Jesus-follower, you are a self-follower…following your own desires. That’s a dead end. Sex can be great, but it’s a gift from God to married people that points toward His deep love for us. It’s a shadow of the reality to come. And until you chase after Him even harder than you’re chasing after pleasure, you will never know how amazing it feels to be held in His arms and loved like you never thought possible.

I’ve walked in your shoes. I know the disappointment and frustration and loneliness that comes from focusing on anything other than Jesus. I get that it sounds weird for a hetero guy to fall in love with the God-Man, but trust me, I’ve also experienced the other side of “delighting myself in the Lord” and His love is beyond ANYTHING (sorry to yell again…this is important!) you can imagine. And the best part? We don’t have to wait for the New Earth to experience it. As hard as it is for me to imagine anything better, without our sin nature in the way, our joy will exceed all expectations and wishes!

Please don’t give up on God. He loves you. He wants you for His very own and doesn’t want to share you with any other desires or longings. He does want you to share ALL of your desires and longings with Him, and He wants you to let Him fulfill those in His way and His time because He knows exactly what will make you happiest. Take your anger to Him. He won’t be shocked or surprised. Take your loneliness and longing to Him. He promises never to leave you or forsake you and to provide for your needs.

His responses are sometimes very different from what we expect, but they are always not just good, but the BEST. (OK, I’m done shouting now.)

Response from reader:

Hello Doreen, thank you so much for your letter to me regarding my anger and my pain. Thank you also so much for your prayers and care for me. It really does mean a great deal to me!

This week, the Lord revealed to me what you said about sex and fulfillment in marriage being an idol on the throne in front of Jesus. I surrendered this and laid it before Him. I greatly struggle with the idea of God as a good Father. Especially seeing Him as not showing favoritism or picking the children He loves the most. When I watched that YouTube interview of Randy talking about sex and Heaven, it struck me deeply in some of my greatest wounds that all my greatest fears about God and His character were true. The fears that He doesn't care, doesn't care about my heart or desires and He for sure does not want to bless me. I just wanted to say your letter really helped me and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to write and show compassion towards me. 

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Doreen Button is one of Randy Alcorn’s staff editors, a certified biblical counselor with r3stored.com, and provides ministry support through lifeimpact.care.

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