Have you thought about what heaven will be like? Do you have questions about what happens when we draw our final breath?
It’s perfectly natural to be curious about what heaven is like and what our lives will be like when we get there. Unfortunately, Hollywood movies and cultural myths have cluttered our understanding and perspective with false images. Despite what a beloved classic Christmas movie may have told you, every time a bell rings an angel doesn’t get his wings. And people don’t become angels when they get to heaven. But thankfully God’s Word is filled with amazing and exciting glimpses into the realities of heaven.
As a pastor and teacher of theology, I’ve heard questions countless times over the years about what happens after we die. Here is one of the most common questions I’ve heard over the years: “Will we have bodies in heaven?”
Now, once again, Hollywood, cartoons, and popular culture have planted many misconceptions into our thinking about what heaven is going to be like for us. According to those sources, we’re going to float around on clouds, play harps, and eat grapes, and sing all the time.
Many people sincerely think we’re not going to have actual bodies in heaven. They assume we’ll be airy, ghost-like beings with no material substance or form ... like a wisp of smoke. Is this accurate? Or will we have bodies in eternity?
Let’s look at an illuminating passage of Scripture for our answer. It was actually written by Jesus’ disciple John, who was granted a unique glimpse into heaven, which he then recorded in the book of Revelation.
In this passage, John is shown the very throne room of God, and he sees a host of activities going on there. Just imagine how awesome that must’ve been!
First and foremost, John witnesses the extravagant worship of Jesus. But he also sees a multitude of people—humans like you and me—who had been killed for their faith while on earth. Notice that each one of them was given a “white robe.”
Now, let me ask you a very simple question: Why would these individuals be given robes if they didn’t have bodies to cover? Wisps of smoke don’t need robes. (By the way, I believe these were the nicest robes anyone has ever seen. Custom-made for each person!)
There’s also another biblical reason I’m confident we’ll have physical bodies in heaven. The example of Jesus demonstrates it! Take a look at this passage in 1 Corinthians 15 ...
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (vv. 47–49).
That “first man” was Adam. The “second Man” was Jesus. This verse is telling us that just as we are like dusty Adam in this life, we will be like heavenly Jesus in the life to come. In other words, Jesus is our prototype. He had an earthly body. He got tired. He got hungry. And that body actually suffered and died a physical death. But He was resurrected with a heavenly body! And in His resurrected heavenly body, Jesus walked on the earth. The accounts of what He did following the resurrection reveal that such a body will be different from ours in some respects but also very much the same.
Yes, Jesus walked through walls and locked doors—that’s different! And His resurrected body was also walking along a road one day talking to some disciples and then disappeared. Yet, Jesus also ate meals with His disciples. On one of the first occasions Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, He encouraged them to touch His body so they would know that He was real. “Touch the scars in my hands,” He told them (see John 20:27).
Suffice to say, the answer is, “Yes, we will have bodies in heaven."
Of course, there are many other intriguing questions about what we’ll experience in this glorious world to come. That’s why I devoted an entire sermon series to questions like these in The End ... What Happens Next?
Copyright © 2023 by Robert Morris