Marriage on the New Earth?

I have been married to my wonderful wife now for eight months and must say that the relationship is the second greatest experience that envelops my life (the first being the relationship I have with God). Here, though, is what bothers me concerning the marriage relationship:

It is difficult, if not impossible, for me to conceive of any worthwhile existence without my wife. If marriage was instituted by God before mankind fell from Him, how would a pure marriage relationship (between a man and a woman) not persist on into our future existence? If I am to be married to my wife on this earth, that marriage is instituted by God and I am to invest so much of my life under the authority of Christ to this marriage; why must the love I give to my wife become void in the resurrection?

I must admit, I find it difficult to believe that God would have us dedicate so much of our existence to one another only to separate us from the intimacy that He created for us to enjoy.

Let us consider the beginning. God created man, and then created woman out of man, giving the woman (Eve) to the man (Adam) as a suitable helper (Gen. 2). There was created, by God, a marriage relationship.

  • This marriage relationship was not designed for procreation, though procreation was commanded for the sake of filling God’s earth with His image. This will undoubtedly be fulfilled in the coming of the new earth (Rev. 21). Thus, we must know that procreation will not be on God’s agenda, nor will there be a need for it as there is now. People will not continue to have children on the new earth.
  • The man and the wife together were to be stewards of God’s creation. They were to rule over the earth. This command, given by God has not yet become void, nor can we know whether or not it will be void on the new earth. If mankind is to be God’s authority over creation, then men and women are to fulfill that role together.
  • Furthermore, the man and the woman united present a full (though currently corrupted because of human sin) image of God (Gen. 1:27). If we are to be the full image of God on the new earth, then we must exist in unity (man and woman).
  • The primary purpose of the marriage relationship, as presented in Genesis 2, was to grant the gift of companionship. Because God did not want man to be alone, He created woman. Now, neither man nor woman have to live alone, but have each other. Concerning this, we must note that man was not alone in the Garden of Eden. He had God and lived in perfect relationship with God because he had not yet rebelled against God. Yet, God still blessed man with the companionship of a wife.

Considering these things, it is entirely plausible for us to dream of the marriage relationship continuing on into our existence with God on the New Earth. It is also reasonable for us to think that we will experience this type of companionship on the New Earth even if some have not experienced these pleasantries on this earth or experienced them in a way that may not have been so pleasant. It is rational for some to think that they will be reunited with a lost spouse or gain a spouse after living a celibate life. But even considering the rationalities we can plausibly hold concerning our future existence, we must consider the words of Jesus Himself as He spoke to the Sadducees concerning the Resurrection. Consequently, amidst the wedding imagery of the entire Biblical narrative, this story remains the only story that apparently insinuates that there will be no marriage on the New Earth.

Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same happened to the second also, and the third, and so to all seven. 27 Then last of all the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.”
29 Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:25-30 HCSB)

There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying, left no offspring. 21 The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?”
24 Jesus told them, “Are you not deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. (Mark 12:20-25 HCSB)

Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up and questioned Him: 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother has a wife, and dies childless, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife and died without children. 30 Also the second 31 and the third took her. In the same way, all seven died and left no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her.”
34 Jesus told them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, since they are sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:27-36 HCSB)

My one question is this, and I am not sure that it can be answered satisfactorily this side of our existence with God on the New Earth: why would God institute marriage in perfection for the sake of companionship, only to dissolve it in a restored state of that perfection? It seems counter productive and illogical to act in such a way. Now this thought is either a result of my impaired rational facilities or it is a correct thought and we have interpreted the above story wrongly.  Of these two options, I am not sure which is true, but I am convicted to share my thoughts with you on the subject. As we continue on, we must remember that much about our existence to come will remain unknown to us at this present time. God has not chosen to reveal those things to us yet because, in our service to Him on this earth, we are to live in this world; not just stand by and wait for our future existence (which we would do if we knew exactly how glorious it will be). With this in mind, here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Even though Jesus claims that none will be married or given in marriage, we must contend with our uniting eternally with Christ. It is described throughout scripture as a type of marriage relationship, where the bride (God’s Church) will be united with the Lamb (Jesus- Rev. 19:7). Furthermore, after the marriage there will be a great marriage feast in which we will eat from God’s table (Rev. 19:9). This does not include the sexual aspect of marriage, but nonetheless incorporates the companionship, unity and satisfaction we will have in Christ. Despite Jesus’ claim that no one will marry or be given in marriage, the concept of marriage will remain and we will experience a relationship with God that is just as intimate (if not more intimate) as the relationship Adam and Eve first had with God in the Garden.
  2. The fact that the concept of marriage will still exist and that we will experience a type of marriage in Christ, must mean that Jesus, in His rebuttal to the Sadducees, did not include all notions of marriage and may not have been denying a pure notion of the marriage relationship at all.
  3. Jesus was primarily addressing the false precept that a resurrection state did not exist. He was defending a resurrection, not attacking a concept of marriage. Even so, we must realize that if Jesus was God, then what little He shared about our future existence must be true.
  4. In Luke’s account, Jesus explains by saying that since there will be no death, there will be no need for procreation, which was an essential part of the marriage relationship in His day. If a woman could not produce, she was worthless to society in the mind of popular culture. Furthermore, a woman being married to a man meant that she was his property (not a helper or companion). These notions of marriage are not Biblical descriptions of what marriage should be. It is possible that, since Jesus is not referring to all notions of marriage (see #2), He could be stating inadvertently that people will not be the property of people on the New Earth and that we will not need procreation to continue on a certain family line.
  5. There should be no doubt that we will experience pure companionship on the new earth, both with Christ and with each other. If marriage was designed for pure companionship, we can still reasonably hope for it in light of the above passage.

A quick Google search (or Bing if you protest Google’s internet dominance) will provide a plethora of opinions regarding the subject. No doubt, there are some reading this who were curious and typed “will we marry in Heaven?” into their search bar. As for arriving at a conclusive answer, I am not sure it’s possible. There is room to interpret a systematic look a Scripture in both directions; but to do so conclusively is to rely too heavily on personal speculation. As for hope, though, we can always hope. We can hope to be reunited with our spouses as we are ushered into a pure and unhindered life existence. Those who are not married can hope to experience such a delight on the new earth. Those who have been married multiple times or who were married to an unbeliever can hope to overcome those implications as we dream and live for the future life God will provide for us. In light of all our hope (which we can reasonably hold) we must remember that things will be the way that God has already designed them to be. According to Revelation 21, there will be unhindered happiness and joy. There will be no crying or emotional pain. People will not die any longer! We will experience pure companionship. According to John 10:10, Jesus came to give life and give it to the full. We will not fall short of a full and abundant life on the New Earth. Whatever God designed life to be (which I believe the first married couple experienced in the Garden), we can guarantee that we will experience it to its fullest. We will serve God, we will worship God in that service, we will enjoy that service, we will be with God and we will be along side each other. Through everything and no matter what our future existence will look like, we give God praise and trust that He will provide something greater than any of us could ever imagine!

P.S. I hope to share that full life with my wife (even if we don’t get to be married) =).

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7 thoughts on “Marriage on the New Earth?

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  1. You have advanced some very good thoughts on the subject, those expected of a newlywed. I have been only married about forty-four years, give or take a few days, and i still consider myself a newlywed. Forty-four years is a very short time in the context of how time flys when you’re haveing so much fun.
    But, I firmly believe that I will not be married to my beloved sister in heaven, my wife here. I do believe firmly that we will have that complanionship with each other that I also will have with my other brothers and sisters. That companionship will be through the pure enjoyment and everlasting throughout all eternity joint worshiping and praising so great a Being, my God, Savior and Spirit. To fellowship together will all for all time and eternity as a family who so lovingly shares a fellowship with the patriarch of that family.
    The family that was given me, my Dad as my head of his family, me as the head of my family and my sons as the patriarchal head of their families. So shall my worship be to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as the everlasting eternal patriarchal head of the family. I, as the bride along with all the sisters and brothers, the saints who have served, honored, and given all for the priviledge to serve and be called partakers of everlasting covenant as promised to Abraham and even as far back as Adam.
    Just as a point of interest, in the pureness of the relationship that existed between Adam and Eve, they had no relationship that begat offspring until after sin and the fall and expulsion from being allowed in God’s holy prescence.
    I still love and admire your writing and ministry. Continue on and carry the torch and light of salvation my brother.

    glenn

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  2. I have been working on a paper (word Doc.) on eternal marriage. if you could provide me with an E-mail address I will be more than happy to send you what I have so far.
    GOD Bless

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    1. I would love to read your paper! Please use the “Contact Me” form and I will reply so you can get my email address. I am a bit weary of spammers using email addresses found on comment feeds. Thanks!

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  3. I am a believer of eternal marriage although “officially” my church does not. When we discuss about the subject in church , the three scriptural passages that you quote above are always the bulldozers that my brethren use against me. I don’t go into heated arguments, so when things are calm I always present an analysis of Jesus’ statement. The marriage issue here is a side dish. They were talking mainly about the resurrection. But in Matt. 22:30, Jesus gave the parameters of the marriage issue; within the context of time and place. People will not marry in: time – at the resurrection, and place – in heaven. Was Jesus talking about the New Earth? No. In Luke 20:35 it’s more clear. The NIV says: people of this age marry . . . but . . . in that age . . . will neither marry . . . What age is that? the age of the resurrection. Why is it called an age? because it is a period of time between the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4) and the second resurrection (Rev. 20:5). That period is the time spent in heaven (Rev. 20:6). After that the earth is cleansed with fire and renewed, and the New Jerusalem comes down to a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1). God’s original plan is to be restored. Is marriage part of God’s original plan? There might be modifications, but the principle sticks because God is true to His word. And Jesus quoted it from Gen. 2:24 and added in Matt. 19:4-6 – “. . . so they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (NIV). Will God separate me and my wife in the new earth? I love my wife that’s why I’m happy that my God never changes.

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    1. Thank you for your input. I believe, though, that the resurrection does refer to the entire existence of the resurrected body. The Sadducies, as you pointed out, did not believe there would be such a state. So, Jesus was referring also to humanity’s existence on the New Earth in the resurrection state. It is also difficult to determine the “when” in the book of Revelation since it was written in the apocalyptic genre. It was not meant to answer any when question, only to establish the supremacy of Christ against the “rulers” (natural and spiritual) of the earth. You are good to bring up the fact that God never changes. It is difficult to think that His original design would be any different as He restores His creation to Himself. At the same time, however, one cannot claim that there will be or will not be a state of marriage on the New Earth between men and women. There may be, in which case Jesus, as He was talking to the Sadducies, claimed that there would be no marriage as they thought of marriage. There also may not be, in which case the purpose marriage has now will be accomplished and we will no longer care to qualify the relationships we have in that way. We do know, though, that there will still be intimacy and that there will still be love: for we will all be one family under God Himself.

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  4. Hi, this topic interest me so much because I share the same sentiment:- Why would God put so much emphasis on marriage and the human family only to take it away in the new earth when only then we can truly be happy and enjoy our marriage partner and being married in a perfect state as God intended it from the beginning.
    Also, Glenn T your argument that Adam and Eve “didn’t have offspring till they sinned” doesn’t make sense because God commanded Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply” before they sinned. This means that God intended a perfect man and perfect woman who are married to each other to have children

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I think the most we can say on this topic is that there may be marriage, but it will not be a marriage based on ownership like it was for these Jews as Jesus pointed out. It may also be the case that people will just not be married to one another. I never want to be guilty of reading something into Scripture that is not there to read, so we must leave the question at, “We don’t know.” This however does not mean that we can’t hope. No matter our hopes of what the renewed creation will be like, though, I think we can say with some level of confidence that it will be far better than anything we can actually dream of or hope for.

      You should also know that Glenn is a good friend of mine and someone I consider to be a mentor in my life. I can assure you that he is the type of person who thinks things through deeply before he gives his opinion. Thanks again for your comment!

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