Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by “Heart broken and worried”:
I recently lost my fiancé a month ago we just got engaged on Christmas Eve. We were together for 6yrs and both have been divorced. This all still is taking a toll on me. He was only 39yrs old. The only thing that has brought me any comfort is since I came across your site. I want to thank you for that before I get to my question and I have so many. He and I had the most unbelievable bond and a connection mentally and physically and in every way imaginable not like in either of our previous marriages. We always said we were soulmates and God put us in each other’s lives for a reason. I am completely devastated and feel like more than half of me is gone and my biggest fear I guess really revolves around my question. If we will be able to be together in heaven in the after world and have the intimate relationship like we had here on earth and be able to be intimate in heaven. It was more than physical it felt like a spiritual connection and True Love. I’m doing as much reading as I can do and building my relationship with God and Jesus and just hope that not only will I be able to spend eternity with the Lord but with him the same as it was here but better. I hope you can bring me some comfort at this time.
First, I am so sorry to hear about the death of your fiancé. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve him and miss his presence with you. I’m glad the articles here have given you some help and comfort in assuring you that the two of you will be together again when it comes your time to move on to the spiritual world.
I can also assure you that when you rejoin him in heaven, you will be able to resume your relationship just as it was before, including sexual intimacy, and it will indeed be even better than it was here. That’s because the two of you will be living in the spiritual world, and will have spiritual bodies that can express your oneness of mind and heart in lovemaking even more fully than is possible in our physical bodies here on earth.
Now for a little more background and detail.
God created us as sexual beings
What was the very first commandment God gave to human beings?
No, it wasn’t the commandment not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That doesn’t come until Genesis 2.
Here it is, from the sixth day of creation in Genesis 1:
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:27–28, italics added)
Yes, the very first commandment God gave to the male and female human beings that God had just created was, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
And how do we do that?
By having sex!
Contrary to the common but mistaken notion that the Fall of Humankind had something to do with sex, and that sex is inherently tainted with evil, God commanded us to have sex before things went seriously wrong in Genesis 3.
And even before God created woman out of man in Genesis 2, the Bible had already said that God created humankind male and female in the image of God. (On Genesis 1–3 and what they mean for our marriage relationships, please see: “What are the Roles of Men and Women toward Each Other and in Society?” and its follow-up article, “Man, Woman, and the Two Creation Stories of Genesis”)
In other words, sex is not only an integral and good part of God’s original plan, but by being male and female and expressing it physically in the act of sexual intercourse, we are expressing the very nature of God. For more on this, see: “How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?”
We remain sexual beings after death
Now, the things God does are not temporary, but eternal. If God created us male and female from the very beginning, and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply (by having sex), then that is not something temporary; it is permanent.
Jesus himself referred to God’s original plan in this regard when he said:
Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no person separate. (Matthew 19:4–6. See also Mark 10:6–9)
Why, then, do some people say that married couples are separated at death? God created us to live forever in heaven. And God created us male and female to be united in marriage. This means that God created us to be married, not just temporarily here on earth, but eternally in heaven.
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not say that there is no marriage in heaven. What he said was that people don’t get married in heaven. For a lot more on what this really means, please see these two articles:
Short version: legal marriage as we think of it here on earth does not exist in heaven. There is no need for it, because there is no need for property, inheritance, and other legal rights in heaven. But spiritual marriage continues after death, assuming we have built the type of character here on earth that makes it possible for us to be in a loving marriage.
To put it plainly, from the very beginning God created us male and female, and commanded us (in polite terms) to have sex. That wasn’t a mistake on God’s part. Rather, God creates us as sexual beings, male and female, because that is an essential part of who we are as human beings. And if God created us so that our sexual identity is a core part of our human identity, then we will continue to be male and female, and to be both spiritually and physically attracted to and united with one another, even after death.
Here is how Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) put it:
Love for the other sex, especially, continues after death, and so does marriage love for people who come into heaven. These are the ones who become spiritual on earth. Love for the other sex remains with people after death because then men are still male and women are female, and masculinity in a male is masculine in all of him and in every part of him. The same goes for femininity in a female. And every particular—in fact, every little detail—of them offers union. This disposition to unite has been implanted from creation, so it is always there, and this means that the one yearns and longs to unite with the other.
After all, people were created male and female in this way so that the two of them could be like one person, or one flesh. And when they do become one, taken together they are a complete person. Without this union they are two, and each is like a divided or half person. Now, because this attraction hides deep within each particle of a male and each particle of a female, and because the ability and the drive to join together into one is in each particle, a mutual and reciprocal love for the other sex remains with people after death. (Marriage Love #37)
Yes, there is sex in heaven
If you’re with me so far, you can see that even though the Bible is not a manual on sex and marriage, if we take God’s words and actions about man, woman, marriage, and sex in the Bible seriously, we can see that sex and marriage are not temporary, but eternal parts of who and what we are as human beings.
And that is precisely what Swedenborg reports based on his extensive experience in the spiritual world. (About that experience, see: “Do the Teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg take Precedence over the Bible?”)
Swedenborg reports that because of the mistaken notions of traditional Christianity about sex and marriage, it is common for people who realize they have died and are now in the afterlife to think that they are no longer really male and female, that there will be no more sex, and that they will no longer have sexual organs.
In a story told in Marriage Love #44 two angels assure some young men who had recently arrived in the spiritual world that they are just as much men as they were before:
Two of the newcomers asked whether the human form in heaven is exactly like that in the natural world. The reply was that they are exactly alike, with nothing taken away from the man or from the woman. In short, a man is a man, and a woman is a woman, with all the perfection of form with which they were endowed by creation. “Please step aside and check yourselves over, to make sure you are just as much a man as before.”
But they still weren’t quite sure, so a little later in the conversation:
The three newcomers asked whether married couples in the heavens have the same kind of love as they do on earth. The two angelic spirits replied that it is exactly the same. Then seeing they wanted to know whether the ultimate delights were the same there, they said they were exactly the same, but far more blessed, “because,” they said, “angels’ perception and feeling is much more exquisite than that of human beings.”
Despite the somewhat delicate language of a book on marriage published in the 18th century, the meaning is clear: When we are angels in heaven we continue to make love just as we do here on earth. And because our spiritual body has a heightened sense of touch compared to our physical body, and our mind can fully perceive the sensation and meaning of what our body is experiencing, we can feel and enjoy sex even more intensely than we do here on earth.
And just to be crystal clear, this is not some wispy “spiritualized” substitute for the sexual intercourse that couples share with one another in bed. It is the real thing, exactly as we engage in it with our male and female bodies here on earth, only even better.
Sex is a physical expression of spiritual oneness
For people who have been brought up with traditional notions that sex is somehow unspiritual and dirty, all of this may be just a little hard to accept.
Sex in heaven? Really???
But consider what sex is.
Yes, of course, biologically sexual intercourse is a means of reproducing and continuing the species.
But physically, sexual intercourse is the closest two human beings can get to one another. In the act of having sex, two bodies become as one as it is possible for them to be.
And isn’t this the perfect expression of the oneness that people who are truly married in spirit feel with one another? As the relationship grows, the partners more and more think, live, and love in connection with each other. Their feelings become one. Their thoughts become one. Their lives become one.
This inner and interpersonal oneness is expressed in the physical oneness of sex.
For those who have experienced this full connection, like “Heart broken and worried” whose question sparked this article, sex is not just some incidental add-on to marriage that we can easily leave behind when we die. Rather, it is the ultimate expression of spiritual marriage and true love. Without it, the oneness of marriage would not be complete on all levels.
That’s why it is especially important for those who have experienced true marriage to know that yes, after death God continues to bless soulmates not only with marriage, but with lovemaking that goes beyond anything we have experienced here on earth. When angel partners make love, it fully and joyfully expresses the oneness they feel with each other in their hearts, minds, and lives.
This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.
For further reading: