As an Eschatology teacher in a very small Seminary in Brazil, this is the question that I always hear in my classes about the Eternal Estate. On the one hand, this question is extremely complex and difficult to answer because it involves emotional issues: love and compassion for our beloved ones. On the other hand, this question is simple and easy to answer, if we are only analyzing the logical argument that surrounds it.
Leaving aside the emotional side of this issue, let’s look at it logically only. This frequent question is based on the premise that it is impossible the coexistence of following three elements in heaven: 1) happiness; 2) love for someone who is in hell; 3) the knowledge that a loved one is in hell. In other words, when someone asks this question, he is saying, between the lines, that it is impossible to be HAPPY in heaven, while having the KNOWLEDGE that someone that I LOVE is not there.
Observe how the three elements appear in the sentence, which indicates that the person asking the question does not see the possibility of their coexistence. Thus when someone ask me this question, I always try to show that these three elements can coexist perfectly and harmoniously in Heaven. To show this, I point out to God as an example. He is simultaneously: 1) the happiest person in the universe; 2) the person who most loves all human beings; 3) and the person who most know ALL things about all human beings.
God loves infinitely more our family ones than us and, as the only omniscient being, He knows all about them, while he is perfectly happy. If God is happy, knows everything, and loves perfectly at the same time, this shows that the premise of the question is false. That’s why this is an easy question to answer, in a logical sense, because God is the answer.
If someone believe that he can not be happy in heaven (in that sense), he is assuming that he loves and know people more than God does. Therefore, when a woman asked me this question in a occasion, I answered her with other questions. I asked: who is happier, you or the perfect God? Who loves your family more, you or the God that died for them? Who knows more your family, you or the omniscient God? That is not a kindly answer, but a truth that reveals how we can be happy in Heaven.
This shows that happiness in heaven will not come for having our memories erased, or through reduction of our knowledge. We will be happy in heaven because our knowledge will be increased and our emotions and feelings will exist in an amazing harmony through our body’s glorification. As Randy Alcorn says that “ happiness in Heaven is not based on ignorance but on perspective.” Erwin Lutzer also pointed out that “in heaven we shall be comforted, not because we know less than we did on earth but because we know more.”