God created sex. He was the matchmaker for the first couple, Adam and Eve, and designed the pair to “become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). In the rest of the Bible, sex is celebrated in proper relationships, but it’s condemned in inappropriate contexts. This has led many people to wonder if there will be sex in heaven.
The Bible teaches that there won’t be sex in heaven. The absence of physical intimacy in heaven isn’t because sex between a husband and wife is inherently sinful. Rather, in heaven, men and women will experience a level of intimacy with God and others that will transcend the physical intimacy of this life.
What does the Bible actually teach about sex? What is the full explanation for why there won’t be sex in heaven? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Physical intimacy in the Bible
According to the Bible, the proper context for sex is marriage.
A relationship in which a man and woman vow to be committed to each other, despite trials, hardships, and challenges, is the healthiest context in which to experience the vulnerability, connection, and bonding that occurs during physical intimacy.
It’s also the best context for one of the potential results of sex, having children.
Does heaven not have sex because it’s sinful? There will be no sin in heaven. Is this why there is no sex there? Neither marriage nor sex is the result of humanity’s fall into sin. Sex isn’t an expression of rebellion against God. On the contrary, God designed it to be a part of his plan for Adam and Eve before the serpent tempted them to disobey.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24-25, ESV, emphases added)
Sex is part of God’s righteous plan for marriage. According to God’s plan, a husband and wife are only to “be united” and “become one flesh” with each other. Adultery is strictly forbidden in the Bible (e.g. Ex. 20:14; Prov. 6:32).
Furthermore, it’s in the context of marriage that a man and woman can be unclothed, and therefore unguarded, without shame.
What is the proper context for sex?
Though God created sex, not all forms and expressions of it please him. People have the free will to misuse the gift of sex. The Bible is clear that the proper context for sex is marriage.
A permanent, committed, covenantal relationship (i.e., one based on a solemn promise) is the best context for the depth of intimacy that sex enables, as well as for raising children.
“The Bible offers more than a fallen world can ever imagine, placing sexual pleasure within the holy covenant of marriage, combining restraint with passion, pleasure with protection, sense with sensibility.”Alber Mohler
In the context of marriage, the Bible celebrates sex. Among some people, the Bible has a reputation for being prudish, but certain sections are so transparent in their praise of physical intimacy that they make some readers uncomfortable.
Passages like the one below from Song of Solomon show that the Bible celebrates sex in its proper context.
How fair and pleasant you are, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like a palm tree; your breasts are clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the finest wine. (Song of Solomon 7:6-9, ESV)
What warnings does the Bible give about sex? Though sex is celebrated in the Bible, there are also warnings about improperly taking part in the behavior.
- Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (ESV)
- 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (ESV)
- Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (ESV)
There is no marriage in heaven
The Bible clearly teaches that there won’t be marriage in heaven. People will neither remain married once they get to heaven nor get married once they are in heaven. Marriage, according to the Bible, is for this life, not the next one.
- Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (ESV, cf. Luke 20:34-36, Mark 12:22-25). There is no marriage in heaven, according to these verses.
- Romans 7:2, “For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage” (ESV). Death, which preceeds entry into heaven, ends marital commitments.
- 1 Corinthians 7:39, “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (ESV). Again, death, which preceeds entry into heaven, ends marital commitments.
There will not be sex in heaven
To envision a type of intimacy that transcends the experiences of present-day relationships, even healthy and righteous ones, is difficult to imagine. However, there are many aspects of heaven that will be like this.
- What will it be like to live forever? We don’t exactly know, but it will be good.
- What will it be like to see Jesus Christ face-to-face? We don’t exactly know, but it will be good.
- What will it be like to be free from death, mourning, crying, or pain? We don’t exactly know, but it will be good.
- What will heaven be like without marriage and sex? We don’t exactly know, but it will be good.
In his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis writes about the lack of sex in heaven. He uses an analogy of a boy who loves to eat chocolate to explain heaven, even without marriage and sex, will be joyful. Lewis begins his explanation by stating that the Bible teaches that there will be no sex in heaven:
‘The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternatives either of bodies which are hardly recognizable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast.
By “perpetual fast” — and by “fast” Lewis means abstaining from something — he means that people anticipate being in a constant state of want and unfulfillment because there will be no sex in heaven. But this is the wrong expectation:
As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer “No,” he might regard the absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality.
Like the small boy who can’t imagine great pleasure without chocolate, people in this world can’t imagine the great pleasures of heaven without sex being involved.
In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing which excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.
Lewis teaches that in heaven, people will have relational experiences that transcend sex. This doesn’t mean that gender is erased.
Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now understand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendor.
Sexuality is part of God’s original design (Gen. 1-2) and will be retained in heaven.
Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away the weapon they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them.”
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