Note: The following text is part (indeed, a draft) of a book that I am writing about heaven. I translated it because a discussion raised on a post, by a friend of mine. 

GENDER IN HEAVEN

Throughout history, different positions on this issue were presented by respected theologians. However, this book favors the continuity of gender in eternity. But that does not imply the continuity of sexual activity, but only that in eternity the glorified saints will continue to have the same gender. Men will continue to be men and women will continue to be women.

This view was expressed by Justin, for example (100-165 d.C)

[1]. Jerome even claimed that: “if the woman shall not rise again as a woman nor the man as a man, there will be no resurrection of the dead.”[2]Augustine said that: “He… who created both sexes will restore both [sexes].”[3]

Does not Jesus clearly speak about a genderless humanity in eternity (Luke 20:35-36)? Macarthur answer this question as follow:

“Some believe Jesus’ reply to the Sadducees means we will all be genderless creatures in heaven. But that is not a necessary conclusion from what Jesus actually said. Nor does Scripture elsewhere picture the redeemed in heaven as without gender. Certainly the resurrected body of Christ does not appear to have been turned into an androgynous figure. When Mary saw Him after the resurrection, she supposed that He was the gardener—a man’s occupation —and spoke to Him as “Sir” (John 20:15). Others recognized Him for who He was. Our gender is part of who we are. Nothing in Scripture suggests that men will cease to be men or that women will cease to be women. But there will be no marrying or giving in marriage. Marriage as an institution will pass away. “[4]

Mark David Walton, who wrote an excellent article about that specific issue, says:

Far from saying that there will be no distinctions of gender in the new creation, Jesus said in essence that those who are male in heaven will not take a wife, nor will those who are female be given in marriage. New marriages  will be no longer necessary because there will be no more death. The need for procreation will have ceased.[5]

It’s interesting how the Bible describes the creation of humanity saying that “male and female, He created them” (Gen 1:27). This means that gender is part of the very nature of humanity. Mark Walton is correct in stating: “Gender is more than just an accidental attribute of human nature, peripheral to the human experience. Gender is an essential part of who we are.[6]

I agree with Erwin Lutzer who says: “Christ made it clear that we will not marry in heaven nor be given in marriage. But that does not mean that we will be sexless. In heaven, we will retain our female or male gender. Your mother will still be known as your mother in heaven; your son or daughter will be known as a member of your earthly family.”[7]

Was Jesus genderless after his resurrection? Rand Alcorn answers this question as follow: “Of course not. No one mistook him for a woman—or as androgynous. He’s referred to with male pronouns.”[8] He complete:

“We’ll never be genderless because human bodies aren’t genderless. The point of the resurrection is that we will have real human bodies essentially linked to our original ones. Gender is a God-created aspect of humanity.”[9]

  1. S. Lewis, in the book ‘Miracle,’ says that there will be no more sex (as an act) and marriage in heaven, however, that does not exclude the continuity of gender.[10]

Murray Harris says that there will be continuity of gender in eternity because “sexual identity is an essential part of personality, and personality is retained in the resurrection.“[11]

Dispensationalist author Wayne House also affirms a continuity of gender.[12] The same view is exposed by the theologian Jack Cottrel.[13]

Gordom R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest, in the book ‘Integrative Theology,’ say:

Jesus did not say that we would cease to be male or female when he taught that resurrected people would not marry or be given in marriage (Luke 20:35-36). Gender is part of who we are as persons… Our maleness or femaleness will be necessary to our recognition of one another in heaven.[14]

Hank Hanegraaff says:

“…we are sexual beings by nature or essence. Consequently, sex is not just something you do. Sex is what you are! Thus, the foremost reason we can say with certainty that sex will exist in eternity is that sex is not merely a word that describes an erotic experience; it is what we are by essence. In the beginning God created us male and female (Genesis 1: 27) and that is likely how it always will be.” [15]

The same view is exposed by Rolland McCune:

“Sexual identity will be retained in the resurrection since it is a part of an individual’s personal identity. Being “like the angels” in the resurrection (Matt 22:30; Mark 12:25) means there will be no sexual activity in the resurrected state.”[16]

 


 

Author: Leonardo Costa

 


 

Notes:

 

[1] Mark David Walton,  What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation. Em Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9. Pg 23.

[2] Mark David Walton,  What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation. Em Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9. Pg 23.

[3] Mark David Walton,  What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation. Em Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9. Pg 23.

[4] MacArthur, J. The glory of heaven: The truth about heaven, angels, and eternal life (137–138).

[5] Mark David Walton,  What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation. Em Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9. Pg 19.

[6] Mark David Walton,  What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation. Em Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9. Pg 24.

[7] Lutzer, E. W. One minute after you die: A preview of your final destination (66).

[8] Randy Alcorn. Heaven (Kindle Locations 5479-5480).

[9] Randy Alcorn. Heaven (Kindle Locations 5480-5481).

[10] C. S. Lewis. Milagres. Pg 130

[11] W. Wayne House. Creation and Redemption in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 35. 1992. Pg 10.

[12] W. Wayne House. Creation and Redemption in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 35. 1992. Pg 10.

[13] Cottrell, J.. The faith once for all: Bible doctrine for today (568).

[14]Gordon R. Lewis; Bruce A. Demarest. Integrative Theology (Kindle Locations 37022-37023).

[15] Hanegraaff, Hank. AfterLife (Kindle Locations 748-751).

[16] McCune, R. (2010). A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things (p. 406). Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.