Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Deeply Wounded:
It’s me again. I came across this article by a man named Jack Wellman who appeals to the story to bluntly claim that there is no marriage or sex in Heaven.
He claims that it won’t be a thing because there won’t be need for procreation, that we’ll all be married to Jesus, etc. What he says rings hollow for me, because I have been just abandoned by my twin flame/soulmate. I looked at the comments, and there’s even a comment by Jack where he is completely dismissing one of your articles that I really love. Basically, Jack claimed that you “missed the point,” further wounding me. Jack claimed that we’ll basically spend time in eternal contemplation with God and there won’t be any sex allowed, and even spiritual castration. It inflicts me so much. I wish Jack and his friends knew how much they are hurting single people like me who long for true marriage love that is eternal and holy. Could you perhaps write an article in response to Jack’s afflicting, painful claims?
Hi Deeply Wounded,
Thanks for reaching out with your question. I am sorry you had to experience the loss of love. I am even more sorry that “Christian” writers such as Jack Wellman are doing the opposite of what Christ did for us. Christ said:
When a supposedly Christian teaching causes pain, affliction, and sorrow for people of good heart, you can be sure that it is not the teaching of Christ or of true Christianity.
And indeed, the article by Jack Wellman contains many unbiblical and false statements that cause pain and suffering instead of the joy that Christ gives. The comments at the end of his article show that you are not the only one who has been wounded by Mr. Wellman’s false claims.
For the full version of why Mr. Wellman’s article is so mistaken, please see:
That article and its sequel go into great detail about Jesus’ statements on marriage. In this article, we will deal specifically with Mr. Wellman’s unbiblical statements about heaven, angels, sex, and marriage.
Does the Bible really say that?
Strange but true: traditional Christians who thump the Bible and insist that the Bible is the only source of Christian belief often don’t pay much attention to what the Bible actually says. Oh, they give big long strings of Bible verses. But if you actually read those verses, and read them carefully, you’ll find that most of them simply don’t say what the preacher claims they do.
What’s going on here?
Instead of paying attention to the Bible’s own words and reading things out of the Bible, these so-called Christians are reading things into the Bible to make it say whatever they happen to believe based on their church’s doctrines.
And quite often these “Christians” are just plain sloppy in their reading of the Bible. Their mind is already made up. They don’t want to be confused with the biblical facts.
What was the Sadducees question?
Mr. Wellman’s article “Will There Be Marriage And Sex In Heaven?” is no exception. The author gets it wrong in the very first sentence after the initial spate of questions that opens the article. He writes:
Jesus addressed this question when the Sadducees asked him about whether there will still be marriages in heaven and whether they will still be married.
(All quotations from Mr. Wellman’s article are exact copies of the original.)
But the Sadducees didn’t ask either of these questions. Here is Matthew 12:19–23, using the translation Mr. Wellman quotes in his article:
“Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her”
Notice that the Sadducees did not ask Jesus about whether there will still be marriages in heaven as Mr. Wellman says, nor did they ask him whether they will still be married. They asked which of the seven brothers the woman will be married to in the afterlife. And of course, it was a rhetorical question.
It is important to read the Bible carefully, and pay attention to exactly what it says.
The Sadducees weren’t interested in whether or not there was marriage in heaven. They weren’t interested in whether or not they would be married heaven. They didn’t even believe in heaven. So they would never ask these questions. Instead, they were creating a hypothetical situation involving the ancient law of levirate marriage in order to prove to Jesus that there was no resurrection, and no afterlife.
Mr. Wellman’s misreading of the Sadducees’ question shows that he has missed the point of the story. It isn’t about whether there is marriage in heaven. It’s about whether heaven exists in the first place.
If we don’t understand this very basic point about the story, we will misunderstand Jesus’ words in it just as Mr. Wellman—together with the vast bulk of traditional Christians—has misunderstood them.
When people fail to pay attention to exactly what the Bible says, they come to wrong conclusions about what the Bible means. The Bible is not loose or sloppy in its language. Every single word is there for a reason.
Are angels genderless?
Are we still male and female after death? Are angel sexless beings? On this question Mr. Wellman seems to be unclear. In some places he speaks as if we will still be male and female in the afterlife. In other places he denies it. For example, in two of his comments he writes:
There are neither male nor female in heaven.
Jesus said angels are neither male or female.
However, he provides no Bible passages to support these statements. That’s because there aren’t any. Jesus never said that angels are neither male nor female. And the Bible never says that there is neither male nor female in heaven. Once again, Mr. Wellman is reading things into the Bible rather than reading things out of it.
The Bible makes it clear that angels do indeed have gender.
When angels appear in the Bible, they are commonly called “men.” And when they are, the original Hebrew and Greek use the specific word for “a male.” The Old Testament uses the Hebrew word אִישׁ (‘iysh), “man.” The New Testament uses the Greek word ἀνήρ (anēr) “man” or the word νεανίσκος (neaniskos), “young man.” When it refers to angels, the Bible does not use Hebrew word אָדָם (‘āḏām) or the Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), both of which mean “person” without reference to gender.
The people who saw angels in the Bible saw men, not some genderless being.
Here are some examples, taken from the article What is the Biblical Basis for Humans becoming Angels after they Die? (which I also invite you to read):
While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21, italics added)
Here Gabriel, who is seen by Christians as an angel based on Luke 1:19, 26, is called a “man.”
When an angel appeared to Manoah and his wife (Samson’s parents) in Judges 13, they identified him as a “man of God,” and both they and the narrator also refer to him as a “man”—although he is also clearly identified as an angel. Manoah even calls the angel “a man” when he talks to him (see Judges 13:11), and the angel does not correct him. This suggests that the angel had no problem thinking of himself as a man like Manoah.
In Zechariah’s vision of the horsemen in Zechariah 1:7–17, the lead horseman, who was “standing among the myrtle trees” is referred to both as a “man” and as an “angel.”
No female angels appear in the Bible. But if there are male angels, certainly there are female angels as well. For people who believe what the Bible suggests, which is that angels are simply humans who have died and go to heaven, it should be abundantly clear that women are not going to become men in the afterlife, while men remain men. And even if angels were a separate creation (something the Bible never says), it would be completely unbalanced for God to create only male angels. It would not fit the pattern of God creating humans male and female, both in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26–27).
Mr. Wellman’s statements on this subject are contrary to the Bible. Not only does the Bible never say that angels are neither male nor female, but it portrays angel visitors as being men, which implies that there are female angels as well. And if there are both male and female angels, then there are both male and female humans after death as well.
God did not create us male and female only to rip away our gender after death. To do so would be to destroy the person we are.
Will there be no sex in heaven?
Like most traditional Christians, Mr. Wellman thinks that there will be no sex in heaven. He writes:
Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven and there is no giving in marriage and no sex in marriage.
Let our focus be on Christ and not “dreading” there being no sex in heaven.
No records exists in Scripture where sex is mentioned to happen in heaven or angels having sex. Jesus said no marriage or sex in heaven and I believe Him.
There will be no sexual intercourse in heaven. The appetites and desires of this world will give way to higher and infinitely more gratifying delights in the world to come like being the presence of and service of God.
Once again, Mr. Wellman provides no Bible passages saying that there is no sex in heaven. That’s because there aren’t any. The most he can say is that Scripture never mentions sex in heaven. Does this mean that if Scripture never mentions deer, antelope, and buffalo in heaven, no cowboy can ever go to his eternal home on the range where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play?
Scripture does not provide a detailed list of everything that exists in heaven. Just because the Bible doesn’t mention sex in heaven, that doesn’t mean it can’t possibly exist in heaven.
Traditional Christians commonly think that there is something inherently worldly, unspiritual, and just a bit dirty about sex. The Bible says no such thing. In fact, the very first commandment God gives to the very first created humans in the Bible, before they ever committed any sin, was:
Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28)
And how do we humans “be fruitful and multiply?” By having sex!
Just three verses later, the Bible says:
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
This includes the male and female human beings whom God had just created, and whom God had just commanded to be fruitful and multiply.
Far from being inherently worldly, dirty, and sinful, sex is a very good part of the original creation of God.
Why, then, do traditional Christians balk at the idea of sex in heaven? Why are they so prudish, when God declared man, woman, and by implication sexual intercourse between them, to be very good? Why do they think it is so outlandish that male and female angels would have sex in heaven? There is no biblical basis for the traditional Christian squeamishness about sex. God is not a prude.
Further, there is a common idea in traditional Christianity that the only purpose of sex is reproduction. And yet, Christian ministers and churches commonly contradict themselves about this—as Mr. Wellman does in his article. Here is what he writes in his section titled, “No Need for Sex in Heaven”:
Sex was created by God to bond male and females together as one in a relationship that is like that of Christ and His Bride, the church. The church has become one with Christ. Sex is also made for procreation (having children) but it is a way of having two people, male and female, come together in the most intimate relationship possible. Two people become one in unity, family, and harmony and their DNA creates one child at a time (save for twins or more). This unique gift from God is designed only for those who have made lifetime commitments to one another. In Genesis 2:24 is says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Mr. Wellman gives procreation as the second purpose of sex. His first statement and his greatest emphasis about the purpose of sex is that it is to bond males and females together in the closest and most intimate relationship possible, mirroring the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Why, then, does he think that in heaven, where no babies are born (something I happen to agree with him about), there is no need for sex? Just because the secondary purpose of sex—procreation—is no longer is needed, does that mean that the primary reason for sex is abolished?
Like other traditional Christians, Mr. Wellman thinks that our relationship with Christ will so far surpass our relationship with our spouse that we will no longer want sex and marriage in heaven. And yet, millions of fervent Christians here on earth who have a close and joyful relationship with Jesus Christ still find deep joy and satisfaction in their relationship with their husband or wife. Why should this change after death?
The idea that we as individuals are married to Christ is not biblical. The Bible says that the Church is Christ’s bride. It never says that individual Christians are Christ’s bride. (And what about men? Are they Christ’s bridegroom?)
God is not a polygamist. God is not married to every believer. Rather, God is married to all of us together, collectively, in the form of the Church. The Church is another name for God’s kingdom on earth. It consists of all people who love the Lord and follow the Lord’s commandments.
Just as there are many happily married couples in God’s church on earth, which is collectively married to Christ, so there will be many happily married couples in God’s kingdom in heaven.
And if sex was originally created by God as part of the “very good” relationship between man and woman, then there is no biblical reason to believe that there is no sex in heaven. There is every reason to believe that God will continue to bless married couples with the wonderful intimacy of sexual intercourse. For more on this, please see:
Once again, Mr. Wellman is reading things into the Bible that simply aren’t there. The Bible never says that angels don’t have sex. The Bible never says that there is no sex in heaven. And the Bible never says that individual Christians are married to Christ.
The Bible also never says that in heaven we will spend all of our time in rapturous contemplation of Christ. That idea is based on a narrow, literal, and unenlightened reading of part of John’s spiritual vision in the book of Revelation. But unpacking the real meaning of what John saw in that vision would take an entire article of its own.
For now, ask yourself this question: If angels spend all their time worshiping God, how could God send angels on missions to people on earth, as recorded many times in the Bible?
No, the Bible makes it clear that angels have jobs to do, just as we have jobs to do here on earth. Angels do not spend all of their time attending some eternal celestial worship service. God set aside one day each week for worshiping and contemplating God, not seven days.
Will there be no marriage in heaven?
Now we get to the main issue. Over and over again, Mr. Wellman claims that there is no marriage in heaven. Here are some examples taken from the article and from his comments at the end of it:
This means that there will be neither marriages of one to another or that they will procreate (have children). The angels also do not marry nor do they bear children.
Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven and there is no giving in marriage and no sex in marriage.
Jesus said we will be like the angels in heaven, who do not procreate, . . . . Thank you for your comment, but there is no marriage in heaven.
I read the reply, and besides a typo or so, but there will be no marriage in heaven for the resurrected, although their relationship will continue.
Obviously they have ignored what the Bible teaches that there will be no marriages in heaven.
Jesus said no marriage or sex in heaven and I believe Him. Married couples may still work together or be close in their relationship, but marriage as we know it, will not happen to the children of God after Jesus rules the earth and we are changed.
Jesus teaches here that marriage is a relationship to be enjoyed in this life, but it will not carry forward into the next life. While we do not lose our identity in heaven (Luke 16:23), we will not hold the same relationships that we do on earth. Our existence will be quite different from what we are used to here. The fact that there is no marriage in heaven implies at least two other things: 1) There will be no procreation in heaven; the number of the redeemed is set, and, with no death, there will be no need to propagate the race since believers will have eternal life. 2) There will be no sexual intercourse in heaven. The appetites and desires of this world will give way to higher and infinitely more gratifying delights in the world to come like being the presence of and service of God.
Here Mr. Wellman lets it slip that he thinks that married couples may still be close in their relationships. But he steadfastly denies that there will be marriage or sex in heaven.
However, if there is no marriage in heaven, then the heart and soul of a married couple’s relationship to one another will be ripped out. If marriage does not continue in heaven, then it is just empty words to say that our relationships can continue in heaven.
The fact is that neither Jesus nor anyone else in the Bible says that there is no marriage in heaven.
What Jesus does say is that people don’t get married in heaven.
Now, if you ask me whether I plan to get married in heaven, I will say “No.” Why? Because I’m already married! Married people don’t get married. That’s why Jesus’ statement that people neither marry nor are given in marriage in the resurrection doesn’t bother me at all.
However, I’ve already covered Jesus’ words about marriage in the resurrection in great detail in this article, and in its sequel:
My belief is that people who wish to be married will already be married by the time they move into their eternal homes in heaven, even if they were never able to get married on earth. There will be no need for them to marry and be given in marriage, because they’ll already be married.
Whether I’m right or wrong about that, the simple fact of the matter is that Jesus did not say angels aren’t married, and he did not say there is no marriage in heaven. The Bible doesn’t say that anywhere else, either.
Once again, Mr. Wellman is claiming the Bible says things that it simply doesn’t say.
God gives joy, not wounds
And so to Deeply Wounded and all the other good people who have been disheartened and wounded by false teachings such as the ones in Jack Wellman’s article, I say: Take heart! Heaven is much better than what these so-called Christians teach. They are teaching human doctrines, not the Word of God.
Yes, there will be marriage and sex in heaven. When God joins two people together in marriage, it is not temporary, but eternal, just like everything else God does. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:14:
I know that everything God does will endure forever.
This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.
For further reading:
- How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?
- Who Are the Angels and How Do They Live?
- Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?
- Marriage in the Resurrection: The Deeper Meaning
- Marriage in Heaven: A Response to Randy Alcorn and John Piper
- Is There Sex in Heaven?