Christian sexual ethics, sex in afterlife, lovemaking in afterlife, sex in Bible, Bible teaching sex, is there sex in Heaven, swinging, C.S. Lewis, Augustine, Peter Kreeft, Billy Graham
Is There Sex In Heaven? Muslims say yes. Most Christians say no. Billy Graham says maybe. What’s the answer? Tom Gruber takes a provocative look at the “lovemaking in the afterlife” controversy.
Is there sex in Heaven? Mormons and Muslims say yes. Most mainstream Christians say no. What’s the answer?
I’m reminded of a cartoon from a popular men’s magazine. Near the entryway at the Pearly Gates, a sign was prominently posted: WELCOME TO HEAVEN: YOUR ETERNAL SEX-FREE HOME! The new arrival was downcast. “What’s wrong?” Saint Pete asked. “I’m no monk,” the man replied. “Neither do I aspire to become one. Any chance of getting a one-way ticket to Hell instead?”
I’ll never forget that cartoon because it expressed exactly how I felt at the time. It was the swinging seventies. I was 25 and still a virgin. I had witnessed the woman of my dreams become the lawfully wedded wife of someone other than myself─not once, not twice, but three times. Love stunk! Isn’t it ironic?
The thought-provoking lyrics of a popular Tina Turner tune got my wheels turning in overdrive. I asked myself, “What DOES love got to do with it?” In my college days, I had turned down numerous sexual opportunities because I was saving myself for my wedding night. Now, I began to question the whole institution of marriage. Like Mae West, I had nothing against the institution; I simply didn’t feel ready to confine myself to an institution. So I dived headlong into the swinging scene. Since then, I’ve had some fantastic sex with hundreds of women. During most of this time, I felt like what I was doing was wrong, but I was having way too much fun to quit.
Then one fine day, in the cool of the evening, in the heat of a hot tub somewhere in a Sin City Swinger’s Club, a lady who claimed to be both a Christian and a Bible expert introduced me to the idea that swinging is not necessarily a sin. The things she was saying made sense. I wanted to believe her, but it went against the grain of everything I had been taught. Years later, after much thought, prayer, and research, I reached the conclusion that she was right. I enthusiastically proclaimed my newfound utopian ideology to anyone who would listen. Most Christians thought I was a heretical lunatic.
Since then, I’ve refined my arguments. Most Christians still think I am a heretical lunatic. As a result, I’ve been bounced from one church group to another. I still may not be able to prove my position beyond a shadow of a doubt, but over the years, I have compiled an avalanche of compelling evidence.
I’m now persuaded, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is sex in Heaven. And although I am in a small minority, I’m not the only one. Several pastors here in Columbus, Ohio also believe in sex in the afterlife; two of them are reformed. According to Billy Graham, “People say that the Bible teaches there's no sex in Heaven. If sex is necessary for our happiness and fulfillment, it'll be there.”
I’ve just published a new book through lulu.com entitled Is There SEX In Heaven? A Biblical Case for Lovemaking in the Afterlife. In the book, I examine the main reasons why most Christians reject the idea of sex in the hereafter. Those reasons are:
1. Arguments from apathy: wondering about sex in Heaven is irrelevant.
Many, when asked if they believe in sex after death, give glib responses. “We’ll see when we get to Heaven!” Or, “We shouldn’t speculate on such things.”
Although worrying about sex in Heaven─or worrying about anything, for that matter─is probably not the best use of one’s time, sex in Heaven is important because sex on earth is important; at least to most people. So it’s logical that people should have a natural curiosity about such things. But the dogma of many top theologians who insist that there cannot possibly be sex in Heaven has done much to squelch our natural curiosity. C.S. Lewis asserted that we are forbidden to even consider the possibility of sex in Heaven. In my judgment, such dogma has been a stumbling block and a source of great discouragement to countless multitudes. Lewis and others have often compared having sex with eating candy. Yet sex is way more important to the average adult than candy is to most kiddies; it’s not even in the same ballpark. In Chapter 1 of my book, I establish that even though answering our concerns about intercourse in the hereafter is not essential to us getting there, it is vital for other significant reasons.
2. The experts can’t be wrong.
Actually, sometimes experts are wrong; just look at church history. Augustine, regarded by many as the greatest Bible expert of all time, considered it sinful to enjoy sex─even if you’re married and are trying to make a baby. This is just one of many examples that could be given. We now live in a day and age where many people want to let the experts do their thinking for them. In fact, even some of the experts seem to want to let other experts do their thinking for them. Case in point: I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard people parrot the sexual opinions of C.S. Lewis without really thinking them through. Yes, Lewis was a great theologian. But, in my opinion, there were numerous flaws in his interpretations of sex in Heaven. Christians should not rule out heavenly coupling simply because the majority of Bible experts have taken that position. I don’t question the motives of any of those experts. I believe most of them are sincere. I respect them, and I agree with much of what they have to say. Nevertheless, no expert is omniscient or infallible.
I don’t mean to rain on the parade of all the so-called experts. But since I do find many fatal flaws in their arguments, for the greater good, I feel a responsibility to speak out. It’s understandable that many would take the word of these experts over someone like me. So in Chapter 2 of my book, I give examples of the dogma of a few experts, expose the holes in some of their logic, and explain why yours truly, Tom Gruber, is credible.
3. We won’t have sex in Heaven because we won’t have physical bodies.
Two out of three Christians don't even believe that they will have physical bodies in the afterlife. It's difficult to imagine how it would be possible to have sex without having a physical body. Therefore, the purpose of Chapter 3 is to make a strong case for a physical, bodily resurrection of all believers.
4. We won’t have sex in Heaven because we’ll no longer be male and female.
Even among those who do believe in a physical bodily resurrection, there are those who don't believe our resurrected bodies will be gender specific. In other words, even if we will still have physical bodies, many believe the possibility of sexual intercourse is ruled out because our resurrected physical bodies will no longer be male or female.
In Chapter 4, I show that Galatians 3:28, which speaks of believers in Christ as being neither male nor female, is not referring to God making us androgynous in the afterlife. We will still be male and female in Heaven.
5. An end of breeding necessitates an end of sex in Heaven.
The Bible indicates that there probably won’t be any breeding going on in Heaven. Therefore, many have concluded there’s simply no point to having intercourse after we die. As Peter Kreeft puts it: “Earth is the breeding colony; Heaven is the homeland.” In Chapter 5, I demonstrate that an end to breeding does not necessitate an end of sex.
6. The Beatific Vision rules out sex
Many believe that once we get to Heaven, we’ll be so enamored by the Beatific Vision that we won’t even care about sex. Although I’m certain that the Beatific Vision will be spectacular, in Chapter 6, I demonstrate that the idea that the Beatific Vision will somehow cause us to mystically lose all interest in sex is both illogical and unbiblical.
7. Jesus said there is no sex in Heaven.
Actually, Jesus said no such thing; notwithstanding, many have interpreted His words this very way. The parallel accounts found in Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27, and Luke 20:27-38 have been used to rule out the possibility of sex in Heaven more than all other passages in the Bible combined. In fact, they are the only passages of Scripture that even hint at the remote possibility that there may not be sex in Heaven. My task is to put these passages in their proper perspective, taking into account the cultural context within which they were written. By putting the words of Jesus under the electron microscope of rigid scrutiny, my job is to help the reader determine, as precisely as possible, what Jesus actually meant when He put the Sadducees in their place and proclaimed a cessation of marriage in the resurrection. Since the proper understanding of these passages is one of the main keys to answering our question concerning sex in the afterlife, much space is devoted in Chapter 7 to giving these words of our Lord proper consideration.
8. A cessation of marriage in Heaven can only be understood biblically as an end to all sexual relations in the afterlife because all sex outside of marriage is, by definition, sinful─no exceptions.
Scripture emphatically tells us that some sexual activities are sinful. Sexual sins of any variety are clearly denounced in the Word of God. Yet even though sex outside of marriage can be, and often is, sinful, it is, nevertheless, a misnomer to define sexual sin as being synonymous with all sex outside of marriage. The Bible gives us a few exceptions to this rule, which is erroneously regarded by some as a universal absolute. Levirate marriage and polygamy are considered, as well as the sexually seductive relationship between Tamar and Judah. This begs the question: What is sexual sin and why is it wrong? Chapter 8 explores that question.
9. Our marriage to Jesus rules out sex in Heaven.
Since we’ll be married to Jesus in Heaven, many claim it would be sinful to simultaneously be married to anyone else, even a former spouse. In Chapter 9, I demonstrate that being married to Christ in no way makes it necessary to give up sex.
10. Sex is too earthly to be heavenly.
Many believe sex is too dirty to carry over into Heaven. Someone once said, “Sex is dirty; so save it for someone you love.” On the flip side, others believe sex in Heaven is too good to be true. In Chapter 10, I argue that sex in Heaven is too good not to be true. Furthermore, an absence of sex in Heaven simply makes no earthly sense.
Is there sex in Heaven? Since the Bible doesn’t answer this question directly, I cannot say for certain. However, as someone who has done extensive research on the subject, I believe a compelling case can be made for sex in Heaven. Giving up sex for lent is one thing; giving up sex for eternity is a hermeneutic of a different color.
That's my opinion. What's yours?
ABOUT TOM GRUBER
Author Tom Gruber writes on various topics relating to sexual ethics. His latest book is entitled Is There Sex In Heaven? published through lulu.com Tom Gruber’s blog site is http://www.christianstalkingaboutsex.com/, which provides an interactive forum where Christians can express their opinions on a wide range of topics related to Christian sexual ethics. All thoughtful opinions are welcome!