What will heaven be like?

Sunday, 11/10/13

The Gospel gives us the story of Our Lord’s confrontation with one of the Sadducees. They were Jews who accepted only the first five books of the Bible, books which did not go beyond the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And, since those books made no mention of a life after death, the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife. In an attempt to discredit Jesus before the people, this Sadducee made up a story that made fun of Our Lord’s belief in an afterlife.

Now, the Jews had a custom they called the Law of the Brother-in law. It provided that when a man died without fathering a son to carry on his name, his widow had to bed with his brother until she bore a boy to be called the dead husband’s son.

The scenario the Sadducee made up had a woman, who by being forced to marry a string of six bother-in-laws, ended up with seven husbands in heaven. The Sadducee concocted his story to get the crowd to join him in laughing at Jesus and at a heaven where a woman would be bed hopping between seven husbands.  

In his reply, Jesus eventually made the Sadducee see that he too believed in heaven. He did that by pointing out that the Sadducee, in priding himself at being a follower of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was implicitly showing his belief that those three ancients were in existence somewhere.

But, before getting around to that, Jesus gave us some positive information about our heaven. He said we would be like angels. We have all heard many ill-informed sermons about what heaven will be like, but we have never heard one silly enough to speak of a human or any other creature being born there.

Paul tells us we will know God as he is, and since all beauty and all knowledge comes from God, we will have a busy eternity getting to know God.

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