Marriage in Heaven: A Response to Tom Wenig

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Deeply Wounded:

Hi Lee, it’s me again. I am still struggling with how I am single and alone. I saw this article and found it ludicrous. I also cringed because it claims that sin permanently altered marriage, which was originally going to be permanent but now will end because of sin. Would love it if you would respond to this and help heal my deep wounds, if you’ve got some extra time on your hands:

I long for marriage and intimacy and a husband so bad. If this article were true, then I should be extra angry at Adam and Eve for taking away my opportunity to be together forever with my soulmate.


Deeply Wounded

Hi Deeply Wounded,

When people have wrong doctrine in their head, it clouds their vision. In the very first sentence of the article you linked, Pastor Tom Wenig gets Jesus’ words about marriage in the resurrection wrong. And it all goes downhill from there.

Let’s take a closer look. Along the way, perhaps we can exorcise a few more of the false “Christian” demons that have been tormenting you for so long.

Reading the Bible wrongly

In the first sentence of his article “Marriage and the Afterlife,” Pastor Tom Wenig writes:

In my last entry, I spoke briefly about Jesus’s words in Matthew 22, where Jesus states that “in the resurrection” we will neither be married or given in marriage but will be like the angels.

In his previous blog post, Mr. Wenig had quoted Jesus’ words directly from the Bible, slightly altering the translation in the New International Version:

At the resurrection people will neither marry or be given in marriage; they will be like the Angels in Heaven.

—Matthew 22:30

Then why does he get it wrong in this follow-up article? Why does he write that Jesus said “we will neither be married or given in marriage,” when Jesus’ actual words were, “People will neither marry nor be given in marriage”?

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bayley gives us the answer in his wonderful classic Great Truths on Great Subjects, containing six lectures originally delivered in Brighton, England, in the 1850s. He says:

When we have been used to a certain doctrine, and suppose it to be in a certain part of the Scriptures, we unconsciously quote the Scriptures as we have been in the habit of doing, although, perhaps, mistakenly. Many people quote the Scriptures as they have been used to them, but never have their attention directed to see what the Word exactly says.

What, exactly, does Jesus say?

Let’s look at Jesus’ exact words, in the exact wording of the same translation Mr. Wenig used in his earlier article:

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30)

There is no issue with the word “resurrection.” It refers to our future rising up from death.

The issue comes with the words “marry” and “be given in marriage.” Each of these is a single word in the original Greek.

The Greek word for “marry” here is γαμέω (gameō). Its primary meanings in the Bible are “to lead in marriage, take to wife,” “to get married, to marry,” “to give one’s self in marriage.” It can also be used of giving a daughter in marriage.

The Greek word for “be given in marriage” is ἐκγαμίζω (enkamizō). Its primary meaning in the Bible is “to give away in marriage: a daughter.” Its secondary meaning is “to marry, to be given in marriage.”

Since the two words are used together here, and the Bible doesn’t waste words, clearly the first one refers to a man marrying a woman, and the second one refers to a woman being given in marriage to a man. This reflects marriage customs in many traditional cultures throughout the world, in which a man is seen as actively taking a wife, whereas a woman is seen as passively being given to a man in marriage by her father, or by her family of origin.

Both words are about the act of getting married. Neither is about the state of being married. In present-day language, one word refers to a groom getting married, and the other refers to a bride getting married.

What does Mr. Wenig say?

However, like most Christian pastors, Mr. Wenig’s vision is clouded by the traditional Christian doctrine that there is no marriage in heaven. He therefore subtly and probably unconsciously misreads the Bible, changing the first word from “marry” to “be married.”

He makes the same mistake later in the article, where he writes:

Jesus said in the resurrection we are neither married or given in marriage, but are like the angels.

In short, Mr. Wenig reads the first word as referring to the state of being married, and the second word as referring to the act of getting married. His entire article is based on the premise that Jesus said we are not married in heaven.

Jesus didn’t say that.

The Bible is not sloppy in its language. If Jesus said that in the resurrection, people “will neither marry nor be given in marriage,” that’s exactly what he meant. When traditional Christian pastors subtly bend Jesus’ words in the direction of their church’s doctrine, intentionally or not, it sends both them and their followers down a path of error.

For much more on what Jesus did and didn’t say, please see:

Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?

“Like the angels”

What about Jesus’ final statement in Matthew 22:30, “they will be like the angels in heaven”?

In yet another blog post, “Like the Angels,” Mr. Wenig says:

Jesus’ statement says only this: there will be no marriage after the resurrection and angels don’t get married.

Jesus didn’t say either of these things.

As discussed just above, Jesus did not say there will be no marriage after the resurrection. He said that people won’t get married after the resurrection. There’s a big difference, as shown in the article about marriage in heaven that I linked for you just above. Personally, I have no intention of getting married in heaven because I’m already married.

Jesus also did not say that angels don’t get married.

Traditional Christians such as Mr. Wenig believe that angels are a separate race of beings. They believe that angels were originally created in heaven, and that some of them fell from heaven and became demons instead. (None of this is biblical, of course). Angels are deathless beings. For angels, there is no resurrection. When Jesus says that in the resurrection people neither marry nor are given in marriage, from a traditional Christian perspective this must be talking about people, not angels.

Even from a traditional Christian perspective, it is incorrect to say that Jesus said angels don’t get married.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark (12:24–25) give a shortened version of what Jesus said. We get a better idea of exactly what he meant in the fuller version of his words given in Luke:

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 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, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34–36, New International Version)

However, this translation doesn’t quite capture the flow of the original Greek. Here are the same verses in the traditional King James Version

And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

And once more in Young’s Literal Translation:

And Jesus answering said to them, “The sons of this age do marry and are given in marriage, but those accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the rising again that is out of the dead, neither marry, nor are they given in marriage; for neither are they able to die any more—for they are like messengers—and they are sons of God, being sons of the rising again.”

(“Messengers” is a literal translation of the Greek word for “angels.”)

You see, “and they can no longer die” does not quite capture the οὔτε γὰρ (“for neither”) in the original Greek, which signals that Jesus is moving on to a new thought in verse 36.

In the resurrection we are like the angels not because we don’t get married, but because we never die.

Traditional Christians commonly lose focus and switch over to thinking that the passage is about marriage in heaven. But Jesus himself was laser-focused on the real question raised by the Sadducees: whether there is a resurrection. That’s what Jesus’ reply is all about.

The Sadducees said that we die, and that’s the end of it. Jesus said that those who are worthy of the resurrection do not die, because they are like the angels.

More reading the Bible wrongly

Unlike Jesus, Mr. Wenig quickly loses focus, and gets farther and farther off track. He has no excuse for this. In the second sentence of his article he says:

The true focus of that discussion with the Sadducees was that there was such a thing as the resurrection of the dead.


But then he throws it all away in his next two sentences:

For those of us who don’t doubt that, our focus shifts to the topic of marriage in the afterlife. So let’s concentrate on that topic.


As Mr. Wenig himself had just said, that’s not what Jesus was talking about!

The whole point of the passage is that the Sadducees did doubt the resurrection of the dead. In fact, they flatly denied it. Jesus did not allow himself to get side-tracked into side issues. He kept the discussion on its true focus, death and resurrection, as his wrap-up clearly shows:

But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31–32)

The very fact that some Bibles add the heading “Marriage in the Resurrection” to this story in the Gospels shows that the translators and editors—who are mostly traditional Christians—have missed the point of the story.

Why would the Saducees ask about marriage in the resurrection when they didn’t believe in a resurrection? No, they were concocting an elaborate hypothetical situation involving the law of levirate marriage to argue that there cannot possibly be any life after death.

Jesus’ words do have some bearing on marriage in the afterlife, as my article linked earlier, and its sequel, “Marriage in the Resurrection: The Deeper Meaning,” show. But because traditional Christians’ vision is clouded by their doctrine that there is no marriage in heaven, they just keep on misreading what he said. They keep thinking it’s all about marriage in heaven when the whole conversation is about death and resurrection.

Even their widely read translations of the Bible subtly misrepresent what is said in the original languages, not because they intend to translate it wrongly, but because the wrong doctrines in their head cause them to unconsciously bend their translations in the direction of those wrong doctrines. That’s why it is necessary to go back to the original Greek (or Hebrew) and examine exactly what it says.

Does Paul say that marriage is only for this life?

Mr. Wenig goes on to misread yet another passage in the Bible. He writes:

In Romans 7, Paul confirms that marriage is a bond for our current stage of life. He says:

For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.

—Romans 7:2

That context makes marriage sound like something undesirable. That is not Paul’s intent. He is talking about the application of God’s Law to our salvation and uses marriage as an analogy.

This is a bit of a thicket. Let’s untangle it.

The “law of marriage” that Paul is talking about here is not God’s law, but human law. Paul is referring to the principle common in the legal systems of many cultures all around the world that a legal marriage ends when one of the partners dies. At that point, under the laws of most nations and cultures, the surviving partner is free to remarry, and this is not considered adultery. Or in Paul’s words, a woman whose husband dies “is released from the law of marriage.”

And yes, he is using this earthly law of marriage as an analogy in his argument that Christ has freed us from adhering to all the strictures in the Law of Moses that Jewish people must obey as part of their religious life. He is saying that just as legal marriage ends with the death of one of the spouses, so the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our own spiritual death and resurrection in Christ, frees us from the old written legal code of Moses. You can read the entire passage in Romans 7:1–6 (and Paul’s argument continues on from there).

Once again, Mr. Wenig is reading the passage as if it’s about marriage when it’s really about the Law, death, and resurrection. Paul simply uses legal marriage as an analogy to make his point about these subjects.

Legal marriage is an earthly, human institution. Just because humans have bound two people together in legal marriage, that doesn’t necessarily mean God has bound them together. As shown in my two articles about marriage in the resurrection, legal marriage has nothing to do with marriage in heaven. That’s the main practical point Jesus was making with his words about not marrying or being given in marriage in the resurrection. In heaven, there is no legal marriage of the sort Jesus’ listeners would have understood by the word “marriage.”

Paul does not say that marriage is a bond for our current stage of life. Christian pastors who misread Paul’s words this way are missing his point due to the same old false doctrine clouding their vision.

Did Adam and Eve ruin eternal marriage for all of us?

Having already misread one Bible passage after another, Mr. Wenig writes:

Marriage originally was conceived as a permanent and joyful union.

So far, so good. Mr. Wenig believes that God did intend marriage to be eternal.

Then he goes off the deep end:

Since Adam and Eve lived before sin and were created to never die, marriage would have been a part of our permanent condition. Sin not only altered our relationship with God, it damaged our relationship with each other, and apparently changed the plans God has for us. Marriage still remained a positive and honorable bond, but it would no longer be without challenges; nor would it remain a permanent condition.

Oh, boy! Where do we start?

Apparently Mr. Wenig thinks Adam and Eve’s disobedience took God by surprise, and sent God back to the drawing board. Because if God did know that Adam and Eve would disobey, and that from then on marriage would not be a permanent condition, God’s original plan for marriage to be permanent would have had no meaning, since it would apply to . . . no one.

Apparently either God is not all-knowing and couldn’t plan ahead, or God is not all-powerful and humans can cancel God’s plans.

That is not the God of the Bible:

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, “My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”
From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do. (Isaiah 46:9–11)

If God’s original plan was for marriage to be a part of our permanent condition, then that is still God’s plan. And what God has planned, that God will do.

Were Adam and Eve created to never die?

Traditional Christians are mistaken in thinking God originally created humans to live forever on this earth, and that it’s only because of Adam and Eve’s sin that we die.

When God talks about death in Genesis 2 and 3, he is not talking about physical death.

Either that or God was wrong, and the serpent was right.

Here’s what God said:

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16–17, italics added)

Here’s what the serpent said:

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4–5)

And here’s what happened when Eve, and then Adam, ate from that tree:

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  (Genesis 3:7–8)

God said that they would die “in the day”—or in common English, on the day—that they ate of it. The serpent said that they would not die. If God was talking about physical death, then God was wrong and the serpent was right.

The entire passage has nothing to do with physical death. Adam and Eve were created to die physically just like every other human being. The death they died on the day they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a spiritual death. It was the death of their innocence. Suddenly they were aware and ashamed of their nakedness. They covered their nakedness and hid from God because they knew they had done wrong.

We humans were never, from the very beginning, meant to live forever on this earth. God created us to live out a lifetime on earth, and then move on to our eternal home in heaven. These early stories in Genesis are not about our physical life on earth, but about our spiritual life and our relationship with God. See, for example: Which Tree is in the Middle of Your Garden?

God’s plans for us do not change because of our actions. From the beginning, God planned for us to live forever in heaven, and for us to be married forever in heaven. People who stubbornly refuse God’s gift of eternal life and eternal marriage will indeed find themselves out in the cold. But for people who accept God’s love and wisdom into their mind and heart, and follow God’s commandments in their life, God’s plans remain the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What God joins together, nothing can separate

The Meeting of a Family in Heaven, by William BlakeWe could continue examining the rest of Mr. Wenig’s post, but he only digs himself deeper and deeper into the muck of speculation and error. Some of it is truly strange! And none of it is worth listening to, because it is all error piled upon error.

In the end, like other traditional Christian preachers, he promises that we will experience some vague undefined relationship in heaven that will be better than marriage. And just like the others who say this, his words ring hollow to anyone who has experienced the deep joy of real spiritual marriage.

Fortunately, they are all wrong. Their false doctrines have clouded their vision, rendering them unable to read and understand what the Lord says to us in the Bible.

When God joins two people together in marriage, nothing—not even death—can separate them.

This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships, The Afterlife
29 comments on “Marriage in Heaven: A Response to Tom Wenig
  1. I’m thinking that I would respond to myself. They don’t allow comments for whatever reason, maybe risk of spam or trolls.

    • Lee says:

      Hi WorldQuestioner,

      Interesting that a Jewish Rabbi is basing his response to the question largely on the New Testament—presumably because the questioner identifies as a Christian. Of course, I don’t agree with the Rabbi’s answer. And I think it is (unintentionally) cruel to give that answer to a disabled person who longs for sexual intimacy but cannot have it here on earth.

  2. Jason says:

    I agree that marriage will exist after the resurrection. However when I brought up Matthew 19:6 in a discussion I encountered this objection: “Matthew 19:6 only says let no MAN separate, but GOD has the right and ability to separate. If he joined something together he also has the right to separate it if he deems it a good thing. And since God is giving us something better than marriage in heaven it’s not bad for God to separate a couple.”

    I can refute the “something better” part easily. But how would you refute the “man cannot separate but God can” part?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Jason,

      Perhaps the best refutation is Jesus’ statement that “if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:25).

      Does God undo what God has done? If so, then God is a house divided against itself. But Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, “I know that everything God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it or taken from it.”

      This is tricky, because there are places in the Bible where it says that God changed his mind. But those passages are speaking according to the human appearance in order to reach unenlightened human beings who cannot raise their minds to the true eternal, unchanging nature of God.

      Also, Christians have commonly made the mistake of thinking that a human wedding ceremony means that God has joined the two people together. This is obviously not the case, as many of those marriages do end in divorce, quite commonly due to adultery. If God had put those two people together, they would not have separated.

      Finally, the Bible simply never says that God separates married people at death. That is a human idea pursuant to a human misreading of Jesus’ words. And as you already know, the Bible never says anything about something better than marriage replacing marriage after death. That is also a human idea pursuant to a human misreading of Jesus’ words.

  3. Evilwestsidefan says:

    Marriage was made to help man serve God while on earth. After our bodies wear out that changes our role because we no longer serve God on earth. Because it is different that helps with what happens when one spouse dies and the remaining spouse enters marriage with a new spouse. How everything works out is God’s will, and man has little ability to even have a slight grasp of what that entails.

  4. Foster Caldaroni says:

    I am reading Swedenborgs book Conjugial Love and noticed this verse.
    I can place it on record as a fact that those who die as children grow up in heaven. When they reach the stature of young men of eighteen years, and girls of fifteen, they stop at that point, and the Lord then provides marriages for them. These, both before and after marriage, are quite unaware what sexual impropriety is or that it can exist.#444

    Fifteen is rather young don’t you think? Thats still a child I rather doubt God is a pedophile and would marry off an eighteen year old young man to a fifteen year old girl. granted eighteen is still young, but it’s still the age of an adult.
    This makes me question this man Swedenborg’s honesty about having these experiences.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      In general, when reading Swedenborg’s book on marriage love it is good to keep in mind that it was not written in our time and culture, but in 18th century northern European culture. The various practices and gender roles that Swedenborg describes in that book are drawn from that culture. Swedenborg saw the existing gender roles and relations of his day as expressions and illustrations of the inner spiritual natures of men and women. For the most part, he didn’t question or critically examine those particular cultural norms of the day. This doesn’t mean that’s how things must always be done in every culture.

      In short, it’s best to read Swedenborg’s accounts of men, women, and gender roles in his writings as descriptive, not prescriptive. They are meant to illustrate deeper spiritual realities about men and women.

      Specifically on the age at which, according to Swedenborg, young women and men get married in heaven, we can look at this both from an earthly cultural and biological perspective and from the perspective of how the spiritual world works.

      On the earthly cultural perspective, although it is common in Western countries today to think of age eighteen as the time when young people are ready to get married, and the laws of these countries reflect this by setting the age of consent at 18, that is not the case in every time and culture. Here in South Africa where Annette and I are currently living, the age of consent is not eighteen, but sixteen. Even today the age at which young women and men are considered ready for marriage varies in different nations and cultures around the world.

      In earlier eras, most cultures around the world were rather pragmatic about sex. The idea of “soulmates” and of marrying for love had not become such a dominant force as it has in much of the world today. Rather, young men and women married and began having children when they were either biologically or financially ready to do so. Since men were generally expected to be able to support a wife (or wives) and children, and it might take some years for a man to establish himself financially, men commonly married when they were a bit older. Young women, meanwhile, had no such constraints. They could marry as soon as they were past puberty and of child-bearing age. And families were eager to marry off their daughters as soon as they could advantageously do so. Therefore a common pattern was for young women to marry as teenagers, and young men to marry in their twenties, thirties, or even older.

      Biologically also, human females go through puberty earlier than human males. They are therefore commonly psychologically ready for marriage earlier than males are.

      All of this goes into Swedenborg’s assignment of fifteen as the age of marriage for young women, but eighteen as the age of marriage for young men. Keep in mind that in heaven, these are not chronological years as we count them here on earth. Earthly time does not exist in the spiritual world. Rather, “fifteen” and “eighteen” refer to the state of mental, emotional, and physical development of people of those ages.

      Present-day Western cultures tend to keep their children mentally and emotionally young and dependent until they hit eighteen, twenty, or even later into their twenties when they graduate college. But many cultures around the world, and in earlier eras, do not have that luxury. They need their young women and men to take on adult roles as soon as they are physically mature enough to do so. And because that is the expectation, young women and men mature more rapidly emotionally and intellectually in those cultures. Their mental maturation tends to match their physical maturation more closely than it does in many Western cultures.

      In this, those non-Western cultures are closer to how things work in heaven than the average Western culture of today.

      In the spiritual world, there is no separation between mental and physical growth and maturation as there often is here on earth. Children who grow up in heaven grow mature in body in exact pace with their mental and emotional maturation. That’s because in heaven, outward things perfectly reflect and express inward things. This means that when a girl or boy has matured mentally to the point of being able to have adult thinking and reasoning capacity, that girl or boy becomes a young woman or young man. Their physical development reflects their mental development.

      Because of this, young women in heaven who have gone through puberty and become physically mature are also mentally mature. It is the same for young men. And apparently in heaven girls mature into young women more quickly than boys mature into young men, just as happens biologically here on earth. Or perhaps they mature at the same pace in heaven, but Swedenborg had to use the different ages for females and males for his illustration of this subject because of the different ages that they reach physical maturity here on earth.

      Here on earth, many children receive a very poor education and upbringing, such that even though they may be physically mature, they are not mentally and emotionally mature. That is not the case in heaven.

      Because this is how the spiritual world works, there is no need to delay marriage beyond when a young woman or young man is mature both mentally and physically. Doing so would only cause anxiety and frustration, since at those times of maturity analogous to our ages of fifteen for girls, and eighteen for boys, they are prepared and ready to begin married life. This, once again, is a consequence of the vastly superior upbringing and education that children who are raised in heaven receive compared to those who grow up on earth.

      Having said that, it’s best not to get too literalistic about the ages of fifteen for girls and eighteen for boys. Once again, chronological time as we know it on earth does not exist in heaven. Those ages are meant to give a sense that girls and boys who grow up in heaven get married as soon as they are mentally and emotionally mature enough to get married. In heaven, where everything is more perfect than it is here on earth, this happens exactly when they have reached the earliest state of adulthood.

      I hope this throws some light on the subject for you.

  5. 450. (v) In certain cases sexual love cannot without damage be completely prevented from being expressed in fornication.

    It is useless to list the damage that can be caused and effected by too strict a repression of sexual love in the case of those who are troubled with a superabundance of sexual drive. In their case this may be the cause of certain bodily ailments and mental problems, not to speak of the unrecognised evils which may not even be named. It is quite different in the case of those whose sexual love is so weak that they can resist the strains of its lust; and equally so with those who are free while still youthful to enter into legitimate cohabitation without the waste of worldly wealth, so at the first outset. Since this is what happens in heaven when children have reached marriageable age, no one there knows what fornication is. But things are different on earth, where marriages cannot take place except once the period of youth is over, as often happens in kingdoms where there is a long period of obligatory duties, and the means of keeping a house and family have to be earned; only then is it possible to court a worthy bride.

    What’s the gist of what he’s saying here?

    What did swedenborg define as “fornication” is it actual sexual intercourse or say masterbation? If fornication is masturbation I think most men and probably s good number of woman will be in danger of hell.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      “Fornication” as used here means sexual intercourse outside of marriage. This would not have been “free love” as it is today. Rather, as Swedenborg says in the next section, “Consequently in large cities brothels are tolerated.” In other places he speaks of taking a mistress, but that the man must confine himself to one mistress, and not sleep with multiple women, and the mistress must not be a virgin.

      This, of course, was written within the culture and practices of 18th century Europe.

      Basically, what he’s saying is that some unmarried men are going to have sex, because they have a strong sex drive, but for social and financial reasons they cannot get married until later, so they should not promiscuously sleep with multiple women, and certainly should not “deflower” virginal women, but should either use the services of a prostitute or take a sexually experienced mistress and sleep only with her.

      This is not something Swedenborg recommends, but something he allows for to prevent even worse violations of marriage, not to mention to avoid adverse physical and mental health consequences that were commonly seen as resulting from a man suppressing a strong sex drive.

      Masturbation was generally seen as forbidden in the culture of the day, not because there’s actually anything wrong with it, nor because it is forbidden in the Bible, which it is not, but simply because over the centuries strictures had been put in place against it. To my knowledge, Swedenborg never takes up the subject of masturbation. But please see the series of articles on that subject starting with:

      What does the Bible Say about Masturbation? Is Masturbation a Sin?

      Short version: No, people are not in danger of hell if they masturbate.

      • The Greek word porneia, translated “fornication,” means more than just sexual acts.

        • Lee says:

          Hi WorldQuestioner,

          Yes, in the Bible it’s a little more complicated. But Foster was asking about something Swedenborg wrote.

      • Foster Caldaroni says:

        Why does Swedenborg seem to contradict the Lords words about there being no marriage in heaven ? These people died as children, they weren’t already married to each other before death.
        What sexual behavior did Swedenborg mention that killed marriage love? I get the idea by reading this book it’s only Committing adultery and not caring about the damage you cause by it.

        • foster caldaroni says:

          Here’s what the world pornia translates into I don’t see masterbation
          On there.

          The original meaning of the Greek word porneia is “to prostitute” or “to sell.” However by the time of the New Testament, porneia had a very broad meaning that included sexual behavior such as prostitution, extramarital sexual intercourse or adultery, paedophilia, promiscuity, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, premarital sex and bestiality. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament states,

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          Yes, the Greek word πορνεία (porneia) originally referred to prostitution, or selling/buying sex for money, but it became a general term for all kinds of sexual immorality, not to mention unfaithfulness in the broader spiritual sense of being unfaithful to God by worshiping other gods and breaking God’s commandments.

          That web page (which you linked here) seems to be rather fundamentalist in its perspective. And fundamentalists are all hung up on homosexuality, so that they see it everywhere. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not about homosexuality, nor is the reference to it in Jude 7 about homosexuality. See:

          What is the Sin of Sodom?

          Also, though the Bible condemns male same-sex, it doesn’t say anything about lesbianism, probably because the idea of women having sex with women didn’t really compute for people of those cultures. To people of those cultures, sex meant “penetrating with a penis.” Since women don’t have penises, people generally didn’t think of women doing physical things with one another as “having sex.” Yes, there were exceptions, reflected in some ancient literature, but even Romans 1:26–27 doesn’t actually say that women had sex with other women, as it does that men had sex with other men. It only says that females “exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural.” It doesn’t specify what that unnatural intercourse was. But as I said, since evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are all hung up about homosexuality, they see it everywhere they look, even when that’s not what the original authors of the Bible were talking about.

          For a much more extensive discussion of homosexuality and the Bible, please see:

          Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity

          I already referred you to my articles on masturbation, so I won’t go into that further here.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          Jesus is commonly misquoted as saying that there is no marriage in heaven. That’s not what he said. His words were very specific:

          Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. (Luke 20:34–35)

          First, he doesn’t say they aren’t married. He says they don’t get married. But he is even more specific than that. He says that they “neither marry nor are given in marriage,” referring to the existing marriage customs of the day, which still exist in many cultures around the world even today, in which a man takes a wife, and a woman is given away by her father, or her family, as a wife to some man.

          That doesn’t happen in heaven. And none of the associated social and legal accoutrements of earthly marriage happen in heaven, either. There, “marriage” is simply a union of minds, entered into mutually by two people. There is no “marrying and giving in marriage.” For more on this, please see:

          Swedenborg “seems to contradict the Lords words about there being no marriage in heaven” only for people who aren’t paying attention to exactly what Jesus said, but instead are reading their own meanings and preconceived notions into his words. When reading the Bible, it is important to pay attention to its exact words, and not add and subtract things.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          It’s not so much the sexual behavior as the attitude behind the behavior that kills marriage love. Yes, adultery destroys marriage. But it is the attitude in the mind of an adulterer that marriage is unimportant, whereas pleasure in sexual variety and in stealing other people’s partners is enjoyable and good, that really destroys marriage.

          Someone who is seduced into an adulterous liaison, but later regrets it and repents from it and commits himself or herself to never doing it again has indeed committed adultery, but that adultery will not destroy marriage in him or her because it was not intentional and purposeful adultery, and the person learned from the experience and took steps afterwards to get back on a path toward marriage.

  6. Foster Caldaroni says:

    Conjugial Love #482
    By Emanuel Swedenborg

    [2] From this union of souls, conjugial love, which is there in its spiritual holiness and purity, flows down into the life of the whole body, and fills it with blessed joys, so long as the path of its outflow remains open, as happens with those whom the Lord makes spiritual. Nothing else so blocks and stops up this location, or spring and outflow, of conjugial love as adultery, as is clear from the Lord’s words, when He said that only on account of adultery was it allowed to divorce a wife and marry another (Matthew 19:4-9); and also from the statement in this passage that anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery (verse 9). So when that pure and holy spring is stopped up, it is, as said before, encumbered with foulness, like a gem surrounded with dung or a loaf with vomit; such foulness is totally opposed to the purity and holiness of that spring, that is, conjugial love. This opposition produces coldness in marriage, and proportionate to this is the wanton pleasuring of scortatory love, which destroys itself of its own accord. This is a sinful evil, because what is holy is covered over, and its outflow into the body is obstructed, and what is profane takes its place and the outflow of this into the body is opened up. As a result the person becomes hellish instead of heavenly.

    So if man is married to a divorced Woman, he commits adultery? and a divorced woman can never remarry or both he and her new husband are adulterers?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Divorce is a complicated subject. It depends greatly on the type of culture, and many other factors. I do plan to write an article or two about divorce at some point attempting to at least partly untangle its complexities. If you read Jesus’ words literally, it is a very strict standard for divorce. If you read them spiritually, it is a somewhat different message. Same for earthly vs. spiritual marriages.

  7. caionsouza says:

    Hi Lee,

    Reading Marriage Love some weeks ago, there is an very interesting part where a heavenly couple break up because of a very sneaky evil spirit that tells them that their marriage is not eternal, therefore shaking their ideals and making them split their ways to later find their true partners of each other. This implies that the described couple were probably of newcomers since they were still not fully expressing their true nature and beliefs. I like how this verse emphasis on how important is the value and concept of forever union and eternity for couples in Heaven and even here in Earth, something that for non-Swedenborgians and unfortunately a large portion of the world population, is a very hard concept to cope .
    I myself for example, always believed that a true love never ends since even my childhood, but when growing up that concept lost a lot of it’s basis (until i found your blog and Swedenborg), because looks like everywhere, except for some fairy tales and romantic movies, the concept of an romantic couple enduring forever is treat like something repulsive, sticky and specially, unachievable. Sometimes i think sadly on how many very happily couples ended their amazing relationships because of those factors 😦

    • Lee says:

      Hi Caio,

      Do you happen to remember where in Marriage Love you read that? It’s not ringing any bells for me. Not that people who are mismatched don’t break up in the spiritual world under various circumstances. I just don’t recall that specific passage in Marriage Love.

      And yes, the general belief in the mainstream “Christian” world that marriage is not eternal has many damaging effects on people’s relationships. It is very sad that the so-called Christian Church is busily putting asunder what God has joined together.

      • caionsouza says:

        Hi Lee,

        Sorry, I misquoted the book, actually it’s Conjugial Love! 😅

        Page #252, 216a.(6)

        • Lee says:

          Hi Caio,

          FYI, Marriage Love is just a more ordinary English translation of the same book title, traditionally translated Conjugial Love. But “conjugial” isn’t really an English word.

          Thanks for the reference. The reason I was a bit confused is that in the incident recounted in #216, it is not newcomers, but a married angel couple whose idea of eternity in marriage is taken away; and when the one who did this is banished, they once again knew that their marriage would last forever.

          What it does show is the great pain brought upon happily married couples when they are told that their marriage will end at death. I can’t count the number of people who have come here in pain because they have been told this by their priest or minister, their husband or wife has now died, and they are sorrowful and afraid that their marriage is now over, and that all the happiness they had in it is gone forever.

          It is a cruel thing to say to someone who has experienced the beauty and the joy of real marriage love.

        • caionsouza says:

          Hi Lee,

          Thank you for the clarification! Here is what happened for all this confusion about my misquotation and interpretation about the verse…
          I actually read the two different cases of the angelic couples #216a [2] and [3] as a sequential event of the SAME couple! 😅

        • Lee says:

          Hi Caio,

          Yes. Makes sense.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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