I was debating with some Seventh-Day Adventists friends a few weeks ago. One friend wanted to know what kind of bodies we will have in Heaven. I’m thinking just a soul or spirit judging from 1 Corinthians 15:35-49. What do you think?
We will have physical bodies but they will be perfect. Sounds great to me!
I think you will find this catholicanswers link useful…
We won’t have bodies until the final judgement takes place at which point they will be glorified and perfected.
Willl we resemble ourselves in any way?In otherwords would you be able to recognize all the people you know by their faces?
The link cited above says this (thanks bearontherun!): “The Church teaches that at the resurrection the bodies of the just will be re-modeled and transfigured to the pattern of the risen Christ. Like his body, our resurrected bodies will be those of a person in his prime. They will be incapable of suffering. They will have a spiritual nature—not that they will be pure spirit, but they will be like that of Jesus, who could penetrate closed doors after he had risen. They will have a new agility in that they will be able to obey the soul with great ease and speed—so that when the spirit is willing, the flesh will no longer be weak! Our bodies will be free from all deformity and will reflect God’s beauty to the degree that our souls do.”
I’ve thought quite a bit about this, as I too have been accosted by Seventh Day Adventists/Jehovah’s Witnesses (they aren’t the same group, but have common origins) who are doggedly insistent that we will have real physical bodies in heaven. I pointed out to them that real physical bodies require a physical infrastructure to support them…they need food to keep alive, fuel to keep warm, houses to live in, all of that stuff. When the bodies are “immortal”, as presumably ours in heaven are, you run into a whole host of problems (an immortal body ultimately needs an infinite amount of food, which needs an infinite amount of fertilizer, which implies an infinite amount of organic waste, which needs…well, you get the idea). When your drain gets stuck in heaven, who fixes the plumbing? You need an army of hidden helpers to do all the yucky and unpleasant work…angels, I suppose, will weed the heavenly gardens and tend to the sewage treatment plants. I should say that this line of reasoning seems to make them very uneasy…they were quite discomforted by thinking about this, as I believe a lot of their popular conventions of heaven envision us as living in a sort of sinless agrarian Southern California valley, or something.
Be that as it may, because of the enormous technical problems involved in keeping organic humans alive, no, I tend to think we live in heaven as spiritual. The risen Christ looked like a physical body, but he could pass through walls and suchlike, so he obviously wasn’t corporeal like you and I are now (when I strike a closed door, it hurts!).
Yes, we will be able to recognize each other. Our knowledge in heaven will be greater, not less.
Here is more from Catholic Answers (the same link as earlier) showing that we will know each other in heaven…
"Of the four Gospel accounts, only Luke and John mention anyone having difficulty recognizing Jesus after he had risen from the dead.
Luke (24:13-35) recounts the episode of two disciples on the road to the village of Emmaus on the day of the Resurrection. It wasn’t a case of them not recognizing Jesus because his appearance had somehow changed. We are told “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” until he had explained how the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled by him.
In the Gospel of John, the apostles have trouble recognizing Jesus when they are fishing near the Sea of Tiberias and Christ is standing on the shore (Jn 21:1-14). But we’re told that the boat is at least 100 yards off shore, so it’s not surprising that they didn’t recognize him at once.
Similarly, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus immediately outside the tomb until he called her by name (Jn 20:14-16). Perhaps in this instance he was some distance away also. More than likely she was so intent on finding his dead body (“Tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away”) that his risen body escaped her recognition. Mourning, she also may have not looked Jesus in the face until he said her name, and her eyes were full of tears in any event (20:13). And she might have been supernaturally prevented from recognizing him, just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus had been.
Thomas was able to identify Jesus’ body (Jn 20:24-29), and the rich man had no trouble recognizing Lazarus and Abraham even without their bodies (Lk 16:20-24), so we will have no trouble recognizing our loved ones–provided we end up in the same place."
I’m not sure if we will have bodies or the appearance of bodies in Heaven. Catholic doctrine teaches humanity is fundamentally both flesh and spirit. When are bodies die, a significant part of our humanity is lost.
Its my opinion, and I stress that this is my speculation, that when we die, we lose all contact with the outside world, as all our senses our provided through our bodies. Those who die in a State of Grace will be united in spirit with Christ, and experience perfect joy until the bodily resurrection at the end of time.
Those who die in mortal sin, however, will be nothing more than a shadow, disconnected from both the world and God, forever…
Catholic doctrine states that we are both spirit and flesh, and that Christ died and rose from the dead so that we may do the same. Its ambiguous what we will look like in heaven, but we are promised that it will be a time of perfect joy, in unity with God.
We can base our bodies off of Christ’s after the resurrection. He was able to walk through walls, didnt need food, and was different enough to where his disciples did not immediately recognize him. So they will be made of matter but it will be fundamentally different than the bodies we have now.
I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I plan on being some kind of dragon.
What about the elephant man?Would anybody be able to recognize him in his new body?What about babies who die at birth?will they be adults in heaven?
Absolutely NOT! The greek word SOMA used by Saint Paul in that text definitely means a BODY!
And, like the body you’re breathing in now, the pneumatikon soma (spiritual body) that S.P. spoke of, will be solid and take up space. This, after all, is essential to being a body!
But it will be, in S.P.'s words, powerful and glorious. While you will remain a human being (head, hands, feet, neck, nose, kneecaps, etc, just like our LORD!) you may not look much like you do now.
God Bless and ICXC NIKA!
That is precisely why you need a body.
In any case, this is not a matter for philosophizing, as the NT (S. Paul) clearly states, there is a pneumatikon soma (spiritual body).
You say that the resurrected body will take up space and have a head, hands, feet, etc.
Would this include reproductive organs?
It would seem so because the resurrected body will be gendered - male and female.
But there is no marriage in heaven.
So why would gender be preserved?
And the answer is, because the gender of your body AND mind is not just for carrying on sexual behavior.
In addition to “sex,” your gender governs such basic attributes of your being as your body build, muscular strength, voice, some finer aspects of your senses, and even the subtler functioning of your mind.
All of which combine to make you “you.” The “you” wouldn’t be complete without the gendered attributes, even in a life and body without what we think of as sexual behavior.
God Bless and ICXC NIKA.
But how would men and women relate to each other in the resurrected state? Would there still be some sort of complementarity?
Of course there would be. But how that would work is not clear to our present mind.
So women will be as fascinating as ever?
Even more, I’d say. Remember, our naturalbodies are “lowly” while our pneumatikon soma will be “powerful and glorious.”
Jesus said that in heaven we will be “like angels”. He also said that there is no marriage in heaven.