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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

13 April 2006

Heavenly Questions

Q: Will we know our loved ones who have gone before us when we reach heaven? How will we look in heaven? What clothing will there be? What will be our appearance? Where do we look for these facts, such as old people looking young again?

A: Almost every Christian I’ve met seems to think or hope that we’ll recognize all our loved ones in eternity. However, Scripture gives no clear answer in this regard. We know that our Lord raises the bodies of the saints to glory and that they are like Christ’s own resurrection body, yet the details remain completely unclear.

The Great DivorceChristian author C. S. Lewis (he of Narnia fame) wrote a story called The Great Divorce. In it, he speculated about the form of our resurrection bodies. The gist of his descriptions was that those who died young looked incredibly ancient and wise while the old still had the spring and the sparkle of youth.

Lewis also speculated that those some would wear clothes as a sign of some special grace of God while others would be naked, yet fully clothed in righteousness. Aside from certain white-robed people mentioned in Revelation, we aren’t told much about our clothing in the life to come.

In eternity, we don’t even know if all our scars and the like will pass away, or if some will remain as tokens of faithfulness to Christ (and Christ’s faithfulness to us), just as he kept His wounds in His resurrection. We also have no idea what memories will remain — or if any thoughts of the old life will persist in the life to come.

All of these questions, however important they seem now, will assume a new perspective in eternity. What truly matters is that we’ll be with Jesus and His Father forever in perfect bliss. Whatever form we take, however we are clad, and whomever we might remember from earth, we know that joy is ours forever.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Blogger Preachrboy said...

Well said, as usual, Pastor. I have often speculated that in our resurrected bodies we will NOT bear any scars or reminders of our sinful life. Those would seem to be an encroachment of death and corruption.

Christ's wounds, on the other hand, serve as a "badge of honor", and a reminder to us, also, of his saving work for us. So instead of shame, they are to his glory.

Otherwise, the best hint we have of our resurrected bodies seems to be in 1 John 3:2 -

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

14 April, 2006 01:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At our Lord's Transfiguration {MT 17, for one], that the disciples were given to recognize Moses and Elijah - whom they had *never* before met - would give some indication as to our knowledge of each other in heaven; after all, "now, we know in part ... now we see as in a mirror, dimly; *then* we shall know fully, even as we be fully known." [I COR 13:9, 12]


14 April, 2006 18:40  
Blogger Xrysostom said...

But what (or who) do will we "know fully"? Is it each other? or Christ? As for knowing Moses and Elijah, perhaps the disciples heard our Lord call the two prophets by name.

14 April, 2006 21:53  

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