Sunday, January 15, 2023

Will We Recognize Our Spouses in Heaven?

Each morning I receive an email called “Daily Bible Living,” from an Evangelical organization, which promotes some aspect of the Christian life. I have no idea how they got my email address, which is a question I can ask about at least a hundred other groups that send me “urgent” messages all day long. At least the Evangelical group never asks me for money, which is more than I can say about most of the others.

To be honest, I hardly ever read those daily emails because, as the popular meme says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” However, recently the daily email had such an intriguing subject line, I just had to take a look. It said, “Will I recognize my spouse in Heaven?”
Ooh, now that’s an interesting question. I read the article and it made some good points about the Bible being rather short on details about Heaven. Oh sure, Scripture assures us that Heaven will be wonderful, with no tears or sorrow, and only endless joy for those who enter into God’s eternal kingdom. But exactly how it will be is left unsaid.

St. Paul’s comment in his first letter to the church at Corinth says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Paul is saying that  Heaven will be wonderfully joyful, no doubt about that, but our puny little human brains can’t even begin to comprehend just how awesome it will be. The bulk of Scripture seems to take a similar approach, offering many positive statements about Heaven but no specific details.

There is a passage in the gospels where some Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with a bizarre story about a woman who married seven different brothers, one after the other, as each husband died. (You know this is a ridiculous premise, because in real life, after the second brother died while married to this woman, brothers Number 3 through 7 would’ve said to each other, “This lady is bad luck! Steer clear of her!”)
The Sadducees wanted to know, after the resurrection occurs, which of the seven brothers would be married to her, since all seven had been her husband at one time. Jesus replied, “You are misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.”

That’s a very interesting statement from Jesus, but it raises about 100 follow-up questions that apparently no one in the crowd thought to ask.

Years ago, I was in a Bible Study/Prayer Group, and one of the ladies was simply distraught over this passage. She loved her husband so much, she couldn’t fathom how she could ever be happy in Heaven if she were not still married to him.
The key to this situation, I believe, is the nature of God. He is all-good and all-loving, so whatever Heaven turns out to be, it will be exactly what we need, what we want, and what is perfect. God loves us so much, He would never make Heaven “almost” perfect; that is, great in many ways but with the one drawback that we end up being separated from our beloved spouse.

You can look at this with some logical reasoning. First, here are a couple of statements that are true: 1) everyone in Heaven is completely happy, and 2) I won’t be happy unless I’m with my spouse. Therefore, the logical conclusion is: I will be with my spouse in Heaven.

My guess is that our relationship with other souls will be different in Heaven (as Jesus said), and whatever Heaven is like will turn out to be infinitely more amazing than we could ever imagine (as St. Paul said).
So, the answer to that intriguing email subject line is this: “Yes, of course I will recognize my spouse in Heaven, because that’s what it will take for me to be perfectly happy.”

God has not given us a lot of details, but we know without a doubt that Heaven will be wonderful. The main thing we need to do for now is simply trust God and not worry about it 

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