While heaven is the hope and dream of every Christian, it is beneficial to recognize the Bible does not provide comprehensive information about the nature of heaven. To be certain, what details are given leaves the future tenet with a sense of awe and anticipation. Yet, this knowledge is limited. Paul taught believers that most of heaven is a mystery by saying, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
One aspect of heaven not unknowable, though, regards the subject of marriage. Many Christians who have lost a spouse to death, longing for a time of reuniting, have wondered deeply about this topic. Those who have remarried following the death of a mate have queried about what this might mean if there is marriage in heaven – to whom would they be wed? These types of questions are certainly reasonable.
Jesus addressed this particular subject as documented in all three synoptics. His teaching was given in direct response to the Sadducees attempting to trick the Lord, and in the process, make Him look stupid. They railed against His authority as He repeatedly foiled their schemes. Their ploy this occasion began with an argument about a woman who had seven husbands and then died. They asked Jesus, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her” (Matthew 22:28). Ironically enough, this religious sect did not even believe in the resurrection having discarded their heritage due to the influences of both Greek and Roman culture. Their question was totally disingenuous.
The motivation behind their question notwithstanding, Jesus squarely answered the inquiry of the Sadducees. Matthew 22:28-30 says, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” This is unmistakably clear. Jesus explicitly says there will be no marriage in heaven. Said differently, your spouse on earth will not be your mate in heaven (and many wives breath the collective sigh of relief).
Despite our love for God and aspirations for residing eternally in His presence, Christians are finite beings, and as such, subject to extreme limitations. It is impossible to comprehend the metaphysical nature of the world to come. It is for this reason the Apostle Paul encouraged believers to adopt a new mindset saying, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Heaven will be altogether different from this present realm. Such dissimilarities mean that certain necessities on earth will not be essential in heaven.
When God instituted marriage, a divinely orchestrated relationship, His reasons for doing so were readily defined. Genesis 2:18 teaches that Adam was in need of a companion. “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Marriage provided man a helper.
The product of this union was discovered in God’s command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 as they were told, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Marriage served as the means of populating the earth.
This model also served beneficially for the spirit and morality of people. I Corinthians 7:2 instructs, “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Marriage functioned as a preventive tool.
Scripture teaches that every earthly reason for marriage will disappear in heaven. Companionship will not be needed in heaven for loneliness will never be an issue. Revelation 7:9 portrays heaven as a place where multitudes of worshippers will gather, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” This verse also points to the fact there will be no need for human reproduction – heaven will be a populated place. Furthermore, the absence of temptation means the possibility of sin will not exist. Marriage will not be necessary for prevention of immoral behavior.
Finally, the greatest purpose for earthly marriage is the reflection it offers concerning the relationship between Christ and the Church. The Bible is full of allusions to God’s people being His bride. The realization of this union will occur in heaven, and be celebrated at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:7 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.” On that celebratory day, the reflection will give way to the reality, and God’s people will be united with their Savior.