Spiritual & Biblical Interpretations of Life

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How Marriage in Heaven Is Not Like on Earth. Analysis of Luke 20:27 on the Resurrection and Marriage (And Yes There Is Sex in Heaven): Inspiration from the Internal Meaning of the Scripture

 Most people without a lot of religious affiliation agree with the idea that there is marriage in heaven. I am active on twitter and find that there are many, mostly evangelical christians, that roundly deny this because of the verse in scripture, Luke 20:27, where Jesus appears to say there is no marriage in heaven. I am a hospice chaplain and many times I have sat with a spouse who knows in their heart that they will be with their loved one once again in heaven. You don’t have to be a hospice chaplain to experience this, many who have lost loved ones experience this perception. (In fact in my view you have to be hard hearted to not sense the wonder of seeing the beloved again in heaven.) You can tell the ones who are in true love; they have no interest or need of another partner. They seek the beloved, and know they will be with them again. This is because what is spiritual looks to the eternal, what is worldly only to the temporal. This is expressed in the scripture, ‘what God has put together, let no man put asunder’. Nevertheless, I would like to look at the scripture on marriage that most point to. (In a second article on this subject I will adduce several other scriptures which directly refer to marriage in heaven).

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage,36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[b]38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. This sentence describes earthly marriage. ‘This age’ refers to the external sense of our time in life, or the time of marriage on earth. External development always proceeds the internal, because earth is the foundation of heaven, the two need each other symbiotically in order to exist. The natural is the base for the growth of the internal. Marriage on earth can have many causes and reasons, some of which are developmental, and some of which are false. For example, on earth there can be arranged marriages, marriage for the sake of children, for sex, for prestige, for money, and so on. There are also marriages that begin in love, that it is in an innocent state (some would say infatuation), and it develops into true love – or not. Nevertheless, even if it is not true love marriage on earth is sacred in its purpose and has good uses, and is meant to be maintained with integrity to the end if at all possible.

But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. This refers to the afterlife and to the nature of marriage in heaven. Those who are worthy are those who love the Lord and lived a good life and are thereby able to enter heaven. The age to come and in the resurrection of the dead teaches that there is an after life. Our soul does not die but lives eternally. God made us to be destined for heaven; we have a soul and consciousness made in his image and this cannot die. What He creates is eternal by virtue of its internal connection to the Lord. Will neither marry nor be given in marriage makes the distinction that marriage on earth is not like it is in heaven. In heaven there can be no external reason for marriage; in heaven the external and false reasons are simply not possible because in heaven we are our soul, so the pair can only bond based on the true love and wisdom in their soul. The soul is the entire human form, just as the body is, but it is the spiritual form of it that is our inner self. In the spiritual world the ruling love of every person is seen and experienced; we cannot hide there as on earth. The scripture is telling us that in heaven marriage is only from true love, there are no external reasons for it. It is from friendship, tender love, wisdom; it is a delight of love from full perception of each other, a complete partnership. The partners know and love each other in every particular of talent, character and disposition, and this love grows greater for eternity. Each partners internal will delights in the others good more than them self. 

They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. This means that all who have ever been born and will be born are the child of God. We are a child of God in the sense that the human soul is a receptacle of life from God; like the eye is an organ that receives light from the sun, the soul is an organ (the highest form in the universe) that receives life (love and wisdom) from God. This verse also means that all humans are made to be in the Lord’s kingdom, so when we live well we can be prepared for heaven. In regard to marriage this means that only those who love the Lord can enter heavenly marriage. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. To enter heaven one must acknowledge that Jesus is the divine human, and the one God of heaven and the universe, the one who created us and gave us life. But it is very important to understand that it is part of the Lord’s infallible justice that even if one did not know of Jesus on earth, but lived in such a way that they acknowledged God in some way and did good to others then the state of their soul can be taught to see that Jesus is the God of heaven. Then they can enter, and many do, often more easily than Christians who have fixated doctrines. 

But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. By this the Lord again teaches that there is an after life and everyone enters the after life. I think it is also implied in this verse that one will enter either heaven or hell in the afterlife. And to enter heaven, depending on a person’s state of love and how they lived in the world, it requires an intense, or not so intense, preparation to finally be able to enter there. (This is known as vastation and a huge subject for another article.)

 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. This re-affirms that there is an afterlife by virtue of our unbreakable bond to God who created us as I described before. 

A lot of people say that we can’t know much about heaven, but anyone that listens to the spiritual sense of the Bible (and of life) can absorb its principles and internalize them. Everything in heaven is relational and takes place by a process just as much as it does here on earth. People tend to have the vague idea that what happens there does so in some magical way. In heaven we are in the same human form as here except we are continually growing into the bloom of youth, our abilities are hundreds of times more refined and astute than here because we are not encumbered by the slow processes of the material. We do not have the natural body but a spiritual body, which is the soul that we had in our body while here on earth and looks the same.  All happiness in heaven is based on use and the expression of internal skill in the service of others and God. Marriage love is the highest use in heaven because it fulfills the highest purpose.

Think about this from within yourself for a moment. Beauty is the form of love. The Bible says of true earthly marriage and especially heavenly marriage that ‘the two shall become one’. This speaks directly to the principle of Union which is the nature of God, of life, and the origin of all spirituality. Union is always a dynamic use between two different things that serve each other in oneness (as in male and female, earth and sky, heaven and the church, body and mind, love and wisdom, the heart and the lungs). In the principle of union the individual entities become ever more particular in their distinct identity while working together in an ever increasing symbiotic harmony. In heaven men and woman become more beautifully and distinctly in the form of a man and woman (for eternity); and in so doing become more and more wise and happy and ‘one’ in the deepest desire of their will. The more the two become one in marriage the more the individuals become their true self and perceive that God is the source of all Good.  It is invaluable to understand that our soul is a receptacle of life from the Lord; just as the eye is an organ that receives light, our soul is a spiritual organ that receives love and wisdom from God. Furthermore, all angels are former humans. We have all the parts of the body there as here, and we have places to live, churches, gatherings, magnificent gardens, cities, and a million other such things of life. The human form is a universal form because God is in the human form from the beginning, only he is infinite and we are finite. We are made in his image, only He is the source, and we are receptacles. Our freedom, will, and body are gifts from Him.

And yes, there is sex in heaven, only it is from pure love and innocence. There is nothing lascivious in it as here. This is very hard for many religious types to accept, but the resistance comes from their own pre-conceptions. People who love the Bible from common sense have no resistance to this idea because they know from experience and an intuitive spiritual sense that all life is relational by nature. (This truth is also entirely Biblical, which is what Evangelicals want to see, and which I will show further in the second article on this subject.) The mistake that some religious people make is to put doctrine before life. This is not what the Bible teaches. Doctrine is meant to serve life. Jesus teaches to love first, not impose doctrine first. Men and woman have all the parts of the human form in heaven as they do here; everything in heaven has use, and has a profound correspondential purpose. This is pictured no-where more profoundly than in the beautiful and sacred use between the genitals of a man and a woman. Yes! the genitals are in their origin wonderfully Godly, moral and spiritual. The physical use of the genitals is a reflection of the spiritual use and nature of Man and Woman: a man being a form of wisdom and a woman a form of love; and the two enter into a joyous union together. Like yin and yang, both a man and woman possess the faculties of love and wisdom, but a man is primarily a form of wisdom and a woman that of love. As C. S. Lewis said (paraphrase), ‘God is the inventor of pleasure and all the delights of life, the devil just abuses them’. All the delights of life come from use, that is, the expression of internal skill that magnifies joy in ourself and in each other. Touch is the essential expression of love and it is many times more exquisite in heaven. Sex in heaven is a magnificent and beautiful expression of love; it is completely private between conjugal pairs who love with a pure love. It is a gift from the Lord and they give all praise to Him.

Sex, love, procreation, marriage, and heavenly partners – all correspond to each other – and are on a continuum that fulfills the highest purpose in all creation, that is, to be born and go on to fulfill the end purpose of every individual by becoming angles in the Lord’s kingdom! The orgasm is the most transcendent experience of the body because it is the natural correspondent of the most transcendent spiritual experience, which is the unspeakable happiness of true love and partnership. Touch is the sense that fulfills the expression of inspired conjugal love.

Let us take a moment to take a look at the source of Marriage love. Marriage love originates in God, the divine human. In Him is the Holy Marriage between His divine soul and divine body, a bond that Jesus formed in the glorification process that resulted in the resurrection. From the Holy marriage in Him proceeds the pre-eminent sphere of all spheres called he conjugal sphere. This sphere is the heat in all living things that is compelled to procreate; and it is much more than that, it provides the fruitfulness in all life, a profound source of joy and fulfillment. It is implanted from creation for men and woman to desire each other and to bond in a love that brings the highest happiness possible. Of course on earth we are in the balance between good and evil so all things can become perverted, but not so in heaven. God himself has no needs but one, and that is to be of use. He exercises His use in all the individuals of humanity. His purpose is for all people to become angels and enter heaven and live in use and happiness for eternity. But human beings in order to be alive and human must be free. Freedom is the only way a person can have sovereignty and identity; freedom is thus sacred for it is the means of salvation, and at the same time it is the cause of Hell. Hell is for those who reject God’s love and purpose.


Latest comments
  • Steve I love your essay and can confirm every point from my study of the internal sense and the literal sense of the Word. You have presented the beauty and holiness of true marriage. The marriage of good and truth, of love and wisdom, of the will and the understanding underpin holy marriage. It is so much more than people recognize, so much deeper and higher. We are truly privileged to have been given the state of marriage. When people refuse to marry or say it’s just a piece of paper I grieve because they relegate marriage love to nothing, a mere external relationship that’s easy to deny and break up. My husband and I have been married for nearly 40 years and we didn’t get married until after we suddenly found the internal sense of the Word in a library. It was truly a revelation to open Arcana Celestia and read those beginning verses. In our case I truly believe we wouldn’t have found this if we hadn’t been married. Conjugal Love is a favorite of ours. The marriage ceremonies described there in of people who entered heaven as children and matured to marriage age are beautiful and meaningful. It brings joy to my heart to know infants grow up to meet their soul mates and marry in Heaven.

  • Thank you Steve! You’re a breath of fresh air too. It’s so rare to see the internal sense presented in an accessible way. I’ll continue to read your posts and comment so we can interact meaningfully. I can’t help but think the Lord is guiding us in this effort to bring His Truth to light online. I’m so happy you are sharing your understandings of the internal sense. I’m encouraging my husband to read and write here too. He has written volumes on the internal sense and publishes them in Kindle.

    Do you know any of the New Church people in Bryan Athyn or elsewhere? We visited there once and some stopped to visit us in the early days but we didn’t join the church and they lost interest. They were surprised that people outside the church would read and understand the internal sense. God blesses you and yours.

  • Aloha Steve! Diane and I found the Writings together back in 1981 as we were browsing our University Library shelves in the Bible Commentary section. We came across a shelf containing some 35 volumes all bound in one edition and we marveled that someone could write this much as a commentary to the Bible. We were delighted and were moved to borrow a volume to take home. Diane selected Volume 1 of the Arcana while I selected Warren’s Compendium that contains selections from most of Swedenborg’s volumes. We came home and started reading each our own volume. And we didn’t stop reading for hours every day for months! Years later we completed a study of every volume. We were overjoyed, transported to heaven, and our love for Jesus was multiplied the more we came to understand that He is God the Creator, that He is Human and Divine, and that conjugial love awaits us in eternity where the two of us jointly will be one angel.

    In 1985 I formulated and published a book length essay titled The Doctrine of the Wife. There was only one principle in the DOW, namely, that a husband must never overtly disagree with his wife. I tried to adhere to this principle since then and I am still trying hard today (I am 81 now). But I fully believe that it is a correct position that is justified in the Writings.

    I join Diane in thanking you for your worthwhile effort in publicizing ideas from the Writings and bringing them into contemporary modern day topics such as marriage, politics, and science. May the Lord deepen your wisdom and bring success to your task.

    Leon James
    The Unity Model Of Marriage (2008)

  • Aloha Steve! I want to make a comment on your statement: “But it is very important to understand that it is part of the Lord’s infallible justice that even if one did not know of Jesus on earth, but lived in such a way that they acknowledged God in some way and did good to others then the state of their soul can be taught to see that Jesus is the God of heaven. Then they can enter, and many do, often more easily than Christians who have fixated doctrines.”

    This is truly awesome. We can love a God who is the God of all people, not just those of a specific religion or faith. Eternal conjugial happiness belongs to every individual who “did good to others” in this life because that is what God wants us to do. We can say this another way: we do good to others when we compel ourselves not to do evil to them. This is especially necessary when we witness our own thoughts and feelings every day in ordinary situations. If we feel angry or criticized and entertain negative thoughts about it, we are harming others in our own mind. If this becomes a habit of thinking and feeling in daily life then we cannot get rid of it in the afterlife, and hence heaven is not possible for us to live in where harming others is impossible. So I make it a point every day in all situations to observe my private thoughts and feelings about others and toward others, compelling myself to desist from thinking badly about others because it is a sin, or contrary to God’s love and wisdom.

    And yet we must think rationally as well and recognize when evil is being perpetrated by others and hurting the common good. We must take a stance on this and not go along in our mind with the practice of hurting others unjustly. This “political” caring is also part of being and doing good.

    Leon James

  • Thank you so much for this. You quoted CS Lewis. Did you know that CS Lewis contradicts himself by claiming that “there’s no sexual things or marriage in heaven,” and then tries to compare sex to chocolate, a bad analogy? I just can’t believe how so many Christians take that verse in Mathew, Mark, and Luke so literally and fail to see the historical context and they take it too literally. It just makes me cringe. I used to be a fundamentalist Christian myself and I used to believe that too, but I couldn’t sleep at night and it inflicted deep wounds in me. I think Christianity is supposed to heal wounds not inflict them. Once I really began to long for true eternal marriage love was when I found out about Swedenborg. I’ve read his books ever since and ive been working on myself for God and in hopes that I will someday see my soulmate and kiss him again (he left me because we had a few misunderstandings. I wasn’t in the right mindset, and that caused those misunderstandings). Thank you for your better interpretation of the Bible.

    All best,
    Deeply Wounded