Sex In Heaven C. S. Lewis Quote Graphic

C.S. Lewis On The Possibility Of Sex In Heaven – [Quote]

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“The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternatives either of bodies which are hardly recognizable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards to the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard [the] absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.”
– C. S. Lewis

Sex In Heaven C. S. Lewis Quote Graphic

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  1. Some people do see the fun in funeral: the funeral of sexual passion.
    Jesus was referring only to levirate marriage in his answer to the sadducees, not the union of a man and woman in an intimate sexual relationship. The Greek words used for marrying and being given in marriage, gamousin and gamizontai, refer to the legal institution of marriage. This was not needed with the first couple, Adam and Eve, so says nothing about the actual married state. He created marriage and sexual passion for spouses and being alone was the one thing God said during the creation account that is not good. It makes no sense to believe God would change his mind about the ideal state for males and females if he is the same forever. If simply being more aware of God’s presence and love makes marriage unnecessary, than God would have had no reason to create gender and sex to fulfil a different kind of intimate desire to begin with, because God and Adam had exactly that kind of relationship we’ll have with him in the renewed creation, before Eve was made. At the beginning God said for us to be fruitful and multiply, giving no indication it was to ever stop. If simply being part of God’s image is all the justification needed to have gender, then sperm, egg cells, breasts and wombs will be unused, and God doesn’t make things for no use. The female figure is designed the way it is to fit babies during birth. keeping a libido is justified.
    If people interpret Jesus answer to the sadducees as claiming no one will be married anymore, then we can’t be married to Jesus after the last resurrection either. The description is given of God as a husband to his people in parts of the old testament, like Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. That wasn’t meant to sever marriages of male and female couples anymore than being described as Jesus bride is in Revelation. Marriage of male and female couples and sexual passion is the most joyful and pleasurable of God’s creation, yet so many Christians have claimed that that’s the only thing he will not restore, but we get to keep food which is bland by comparison. The ideal of eternal paradise for Christians who are prudes is hell to most other people, including other Christians. Just because some people manage to not care if they can continue having a sinless sexually intimate relationship with someone for eternity, doesn’t make it fair to teach that those who do much prefer to keep feelings of sexual attraction and being in love with someone, what many people love most about our existence, should somehow not care.

    1. Hello Eric! Thanks for your sizable engagement with this. You make some interesting and rather bold claims here though for sure. Tons of questions arise for me… Things like, “Why would you assume Jesus is only referring to levirate marriage?” He doesn’t say he is. Sure it’s the context, but notice he doesn’t answer the context but the bigger picture and just says marriage. Also, “Why would Adam and Eve have legal terms for marriage? They were the only two humans at the time and yet we are still told God joined them.” Yet your argument of the created order and genders being original even while they were abiding with God in the original creation is a compelling argument to me. However, it kinda fails when we consider that we are told we are to be given completely new bodies. It’s a huge jump to assume we are going to be given completely identical bodies to this with “sperm, eggs, breasts, wombs” and so on. It feels like a dangerous thing to consider because of some people’s tendencies to take that now and run to absurd places with that thinking presently, and yet, don’t we have to consider that to be a possibility for the new creation and our new glorified bodies?

      The “marriage to Jesus” idea being done away with if we do away with marriage in general seems pretty far-fetched to me. The whole idea is symbolic anyway. We, as billions of people, being the church, are the bride of Christ. Obviously we’re not talking about the same thing. It’s symbolism. And yet, perhaps, our marriage and sexual intimacy now is only the symbolism of that which is to be “real” then… and thus we won’t need or even desire this concept you’re fighting for then.

      And that’s how I’d conclude to the whole rest of your argument for sexual pleasure being the greatest thing we know in creation and thus it’s a hell of an idea to do away with it and all be prude. I’d simply say, read the quote again. That’s the point. You really have no idea what is to come; what will be pleasurable; and what will be satisfying. It takes no ounce of imagination for me to think God can do far better than what we know here. And, in fact, if you consider that Jesus was celibate and clearly longed for communion with God more than communion with a woman, I think you’d see some strong evidence that perhaps sexual intercourse is not the greatest pleasure man can experience, even now. Perhaps it is only symbolic of the true communion and oneness we are to experience.

      1. You assume without biblical indication that there will be a difference in the structure of any people in our resurrected bodies, save for any deformities or diseases, that didn’t start until after Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus was still male when he was resurrected. He designed us in his image and gender is part of our design. The point of the new creation is to restore things to it’s original state before humans sinned. Sexual attraction, being in love from that passion, the fulfilment of it with intercourse and the husband and wife relationship needed to have that sinlessly was all part of what was deemed good. God makes no mistakes, so nothing he made needs to be eliminated, so how things were in Eden is not a failed argument. Jesus did not state people won’t be husabands or wives anymore, just that no one will marry or be given in marriage. If he meant the former he could have simply said that relationship will be gone instead of referring to two different acts involved in the legal institutions of mortal marriage.
        The marriage to Jesus being symbolic was part of the point that it’s not meant to replace male and female couple marriage. But that’s still refering to a type of marriage, so interpreting his answer to the sadducees as elimination of marriage in general would mean the same for that relationship with Jesus.
        Using the same reasoning for earthly activities we enjoy, that were made by God for enjoyment, being undesirable because of a sinless relationship with him, one would also conclude that he will get rid of food, water and numerous other things, and simply be with him just existing. But the only thing most Christians have argued will be eliminated instead of restored is sexual relationships. I didn’t claim sex was the greatest pleasure anyone could have, just that of what God created. To relate to God himself and understand purpose and his love to make sense of anything else is required to understand the blessing of what he made for us. Joy isn’t something peope have just by itself independent of Gods creation. It is because of what God has made and done that we have reason to be joyful and grateful to him. He could have just as easily made a fixed number of all his creatures, and have every human interact with him alone and never anyone else. Theres still the fact that God said It’s not good to be alone and made a woman to complete humanity, for the purpose of fulfiling sexual union into one flesh. If God is the same forever, he can’t change his mind about what’s good or not for people. Sexual intimacy can’t be just a representation of the relationship God wants us to have with him, just for God to eliminate it for the later, if in Eden humanity had both. I wouldn’t think Jesus would be interested in sex, since he’s God, and made sex for a unique type of intimacy, specifically for us. It would be odd for God to have sexual desire. Jesus had joy not being a woman or any form of any other creature, so by that logic, there doesn’t need to be women, animals or angels in the new creation.

        1. This is interesting conversation. I think I have just as much biblical evidence to say we may have very different bodies in resurrected form than you do to say we won’t. Consider, like you mentioned, that we will not have disease and deformities, and that would thus mean that we are genetically/cellularly quite different. Also consider that Jesus walked through a wall and appeared in a room and all the other many things spiritual beings do which are both physical and spiritual in form and it’s not without biblical evidence to conclude we could be drastically different. I’d say there’s more evidence to think we will be different than to think we’ll be exactly the same. We don’t know if Jesus was recognizably and obviously still male. The people on the road didn’t recognize him. The disciples in the room weren’t positive (or at least Thomas wasn’t) until seeing the scars. He clearly either did look and function quite different or just could as needed. Just saying, we don’t know much from that. So my proposition of being very different and thus perhaps not having sperm, eggs, breasts, etc. still stands as very likely I’d say. I’m caution to imply “gender as we know it” will be done away with, cause like I said previously, people could go bad places with that presently and they shouldn’t, but it’s possible that it could be. I think we’ll still have gender differences, and just maybe not need sexual intimacy like we do presently.

          As extension: I do agree with you that God doesn’t make a mistake and thus why would he do away with what he originally designed. I think that’s a very compelling argument. But, the one huge question would still remain for me: “Would we procreate and have kids in heaven then?” Cause that was obviously a key point to the design. You could easily argue that was more the point than the pleasure and bonding of the act of sex between man and woman. And, we have no indication that there will be procreation. So again, why would we need and do sex then, and why would it not be done away with as well if procreation is done away with?

          I do not track with your “if marriage is eliminated then so it the church’s marriage to Christ cause it’s a type of marriage” argument. That seems very reaching. We know symbolism is a thing. Like I said previously, obviously we’re not talking about the same thing as 1-to-1 marriage and 1-to-Billions. Earthly marriage being a foreshadow of that, seems to be implied repeatedly through scripture in other places such as in OT prophets as well as quite clearly from Paul in Eph 5.

          Also, I actually do think many people conclude there will be no need for eating, sleeping, or many other activities we do now. There’s many verses and ways this is implied and I know many people believe that’s the case. Maybe we won’t even pee or poop then as well, which again, would eliminate need for sex organs that do double duty in those regards. It all seems very feasible to me.

          If I understand you correctly, and I’m not sure I do, I think I both agree and disagree with what you say about the joy being experienced only through God’s creation and what he has done. I agree that it’s true we experience joy through those things, but the object is not those things but God himself. I think if we only had God, we’d still experience joy because it is him that is what those things point us to, and the source of those things. So yes joy is not independent of God’s creation for us, but only because creation is not independent of God. We enjoy things “unto” God, if that makes sense. Wouldn’t you agree?

          I think we land in quite a spaghetti of questions and things to discuss if we start saying that “if God made it this way, then it was good, and thus he cannot undo what he once deemed good or else he’s a changing God” because, if we want to make that claim, we would have to also live in a garden (we won’t, it’ll be a city), and have a serpent tempting us (we won’t, he’ll be destroyed), and so on.

          Lastly, I’m quite confused by your last statement because Jesus was God, yes, but also fully man. He needed food and sleep and so on. He made those too. He was fully man and no doubt had all the working organs (like you’ve said as well). So, we’d surely conclude he felt all the same interests as the rest of us. I simply don’t understand your last sentence. My point was that he clearly had greater joy in knowing God than knowing another person through sexual intimacy, which all men and women can do now and will do forever.

          1. Just about every argument you made to claim something as evidence for no marriage and sexual intimacy for eternity is either contradicted by other parts of the bible or is a moot point. We won’t have diseases or deformities because that was part of the curse of sin, something not good. No physical ailments does not equal no reason to have gender. Not having those issues is a difference from our current bodies, so I already made the point that we won’t be completely the same. Yes, there is evidence Jesus was still male and recognized as one. Mary specifically referred to Jesus as sir, mistaking him for the gardener near the tomb. People not initally knowing it was Jesus doesn’t indicate they didn’t know the person was a male. The bible contradicts that idea with how mary addressed him. Jesus also still ate food after his resurrection.

            We won’t be in heaven forever, our eternal home is earth in the restored, good condition. One can only argue the reason for sex and marriage being more for reproduction than intimacy if one ignores other parts of the bible. The reason for marriage and sexual relationships was clearly stated in direct response to the only thing in creation God deemed not to be good. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a help meet suitable for him”. And after the account of Adam and Eve’s first meeting it is stated that that is the reason a person will leave their parents to be united with a spouse and become one flesh. Procreation is never stated as the reason for marriage and sex, but for intimacy it is stated to be the reason in genesis and taught about all throughout song of songs. The reason for reproduction is to produce more people for God to have relationships with. He gave that ability to his earthly beings before humanity sinned and could die. No death is no reason for no reproduction, which the bible contradicts as a factor for sexual relationships anyway. There is no indication God has a reason to get rid of any of that.

            I have made the point already that I know the bride of Christ is not refering to a literal marriage. The point was that if someone interperets what Jesus said to the sadducees as meaning he’ll eliminate marriage and sex, than that same rationale would conclude that the bride of Christ can’t be an actual marriage, so cant be a replacement for male and female couple martiage. There are no clear indications by any ot prophets that marriage is a mere representation of God’s ideal relationship with us. Paul in Ephesians 5 just states “this is a great mystery, but I speak of Christ and the curch”. That doesn’t indicate marriage is a representation, he’s simply making a comparison. As I’ve mentioned twice already, humanity had God’s ideal relationship and sexual intimacy with marriage at the same time, before Adam and Eve sinned. There is no need for a representation of something if one already has what the thing is a representation of, so marriage and sex is not a representation to keep us happy before something meant to replace it.

            You inconsistently apply the knowledge that the bride of Christ is figurative, but interperet in the same book literaly the vision of the city. There is no evidence it is going to be a literal part of the new creation. Most of revelation is visions, and there are only a few of which that are explained as to what the literal things are that they are representations of. Even if that was literal, there is nothing stated about that being a raplacement for a garden. It is possible to have both, like many gardens within the city. And people could still leave it to see gardens and geologic features in other parts of the renewed creation. And the serpent tempting us was not part of God’s creation that he deemed good, but was itself a deviation of his creation. God clearly didn’t approve of the srpents way’s because it was Satan in a different form, the person who comitted the first sin and why God created hell. The whole motivation for the serpents deception was to ruin what God established, which Satan succeeded at. There is no justification to think the serpents actions were part of God’s ideal for creation.

            The only desire I stated Jesus didn’t have that he gave humanity, which you agree with, was sexual. Having joy with knowing God is not a reason to get rid of any of his creation, hence why he made what he did at the beginning of Genesis, including sexual passion, when humanity already had the ideal relationship God wants with us. Not everyone will have joy with God forever. Many will suffer for eternity.

    2. Eric, that is a well thought out response, with which I totally agree. I have a hard time understanding the mentality of prudes and the sexless. I am a Catholic, and it seems that St. Augustine’s writings have had somewhat of a gnostic effect, especially when it comes to sex (the false notion that sex is inherently evil). Fortunately, the Church Fathers are not infallible, and we can forgive their occasional errors. But others might get taken in by them.)

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