Will We Retain Our Individuality Living on the New Earth?

While teaching my Eternity 101 class, I answered the question, “Will We Lose Our Personalities in Heaven?” Below is my response, followed by an edited transcript:

Our friends each have certain mannerisms—a unique combination involving their sense of humor, personalities, and certain ways and idiosyncrasies. People ask if we will lose those in Heaven and my response is, “Why would we?”

Of course, if you’re talking about something sinful, we’ll lose that. But their sin nature is not likely what you enjoy about your friends.

Where does this variety come from? Who made our friends? Who made each of us? God did! And since God’s in charge, what possible reason can explain His reasons for making us other than who we are, except to make us the same people only better? We’ll be completely righteous.

Would He take away from us on the New Earth the gifts He’s given to us on this earth? Would He take away from us in Heaven the particular interests and passions He’s given us here?

I think we underestimate just how much of our lives here is from the hand of God in the first place. The life that we now know and the things we enjoy so much—the parts untainted by sin—we would naturally expect to have carried over, including distinctive personalities.

Besides, if we weren’t ourselves in the afterlife, then we couldn’t be held accountable for what we did in this life. The Judgment would be meaningless. If Barbara is no longer Barbara, she can’t be rewarded or held accountable for anything Barbara did. She’d have to say, “But that wasn’t me.” The doctrines of judgment and eternal rewards depend on people’s retaining their distinct identities from this life to the next.

Too often, we import concepts from eastern religions into our view of the afterlife. We’re influenced by ideas like: “We’ll all be absorbed into that great cosmic consciousness. None of us will be individuals. There will be perfect unity. The ‘old’ person who was will no longer be.”

From a biblical perspective, that’s nonsense. God made us individuals, and we will always be individuals. You can have unity with other individuals, which we’ll experience as all being part of the bride of Christ. But the obliteration of individuality is not taught in Scripture.

Browse more resources on the topic of Heaven, and see Randy’s related books, including Heaven.

Photo by Melanie Kanzler on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries