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Daily Luther: What Will Life in Heaven Be Like?

July 31st, 2012
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Just as Adam lived the natural life with the five senses and all sorts of natural functions of the body, so all of his children from the beginning of the world to its end live, one just like the other. For the words “the image of the man of dust” mean that we all bear with us the same form and essence and live and do in every respect as Adam and Eve lived and did. They led the same kind of life, they ate, drank, digested, eliminated, froze, wore clothes, etc., as we do. Therefore, in external aspects there was no observable difference between them and us. Later, however, we shall divest ourselves of that image and essence and receive another’s, namely, the celestial Christ’s. Then we shall have the same form and essence which He now has since His resurrection. Then we need no longer eat, drink, sleep, walk, stand, etc., but will live without any creatural necessities. The entire body will be as pure and bright as the sun and as light as the air, and, finally, so healthy, so blissful, and filled with such heavenly, eternal joy in God that it will never hunger, thirst, grow weary, or decline. That will indeed be a far different and an immeasurably more glorious image than the present one. And what we bear there will be far different from what we bear here. There will be no dissatisfaction, no annoyances, no hardships to bear, such as we have in this lazy, lame image, where we must bear and drag this heavy, indolent paunch about with us, lift it, and have it led. No, there it will swish through all the heavens as swiftly and lightly as lightning and soar over the clouds among the dear angels. St. Paul was intent on impressing these thoughts on us so that we might accustom ourselves already to rising into that life by faith and remember what we are hoping and wishing and praying for when we recite the article: I believe in the resurrection, not only of the spirit—as the heretics said—but also of that very flesh, or body, which we bear on our necks. We believe that it, too, will become a celestial, spiritual body. For what St. Paul discusses in this entire chapter with so many words is only an explanation of this article. He teaches nothing but what these two words contain and convey: “resurrection of the flesh.”

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:48–49 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

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  1. July 31st, 2012 at 19:22 | #1

    We will no longer eat, drink, walk, or stand? Where does that come from?

    The resurrected Lord Jesus ate fish (Luke 24:43); was this just to prove that he wasn’t a ghost, or does it show us something about our resurrected bodies as well?

    “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (Lk 13:29 ESV). Is this feast entirely figurative?

    Is the new earth entirely figurative as well? Did Luther just uncritically inherit some ethereal, medieval view of “heaven” and not examine it in light of Scriptures?

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