Peter Kreeft the renowned Philosophy professor at Boston College addressed this question that has puzzled many for a very long time—is there sex in Heaven?
He says there has to be sex in heaven simply because there are human beings in Heaven and God made all of us, both men and women….in his image and likeness.
That will not change in Heaven.
Whether or not we have sex or sexually distinct social roles in Heaven, he warns are different question entirely.
As he points out sexuality is like race but unlike clothes, an essential aspect of our identity, spiritual as well as physical.
Even if sex were not spiritual, there would have to be sex in Heaven because of the resurrection of the body…a body with identifiable sexual organs.
People easily forget that God invented sex as a favor to men and women…not as a punishment.
According to essayist, Henry Makow, man represents the God Principle.
Woman represents the Creation Principle… God is in love with Creation and vice-versa.
Husbands serve as the surrogates for God while in her soul, the sex act is a living metaphor for the love of God.
It took the Fall to add six and sexual aberrations to the human condition.
Kreeft states that the human body is not a mistake to be unmade or a prison cell to be freed from, but a divine work of art designed to show forth the soul as the soul is to show forth God, in splendor and glory.
The real question is will there be sexual intercourse in Heaven.
This raises the rhetorical question, if we have sexual organs in heaven, what would we use them for?
I have often wondered why God made Adam and Eve with sexual organs if they were not to enjoy sex before the Fall. So it seems logical that they may be used after the resurrection of the body.
One thing is for certain Heavenly sex will not be used for reproduction.
As Kreeft points out—earth is the breeding colony while Heaven is the homeland.
As Christ told the Sadducees there will be no marriage in Heaven.
Everything on earth is analogous to something in Heaven.
Heaven neither simply removes nor simply continues earthly things.
If we apply this principle to sexual intercourse, we get the conclusion that intercourse on earth is a shadow or symbol of intercourse in Heaven.
Kreeft speculates about what that could be?
It could certainly be a sort of spiritual intercourse—and, remember, that includes sexual intercourse because sex is spiritual.
This spiritual intercourse would mean something more specific than universal charity.
He says that it might be a special communion with the sexually complementary that is something a man can have only with a woman and a woman only with a man.
Before the Fall God created woman because a man is made complete by such union.
God recognized that it was not good that the man should be alone.
And as Kreeft says God does not simply rip up His design for human fulfillment.
Kreeft also reasons that the relationship need not be confined to one in Heaven.
Monogamy is strictly for earth.
On earth, our bodies are private.
In Heaven, we share each other’s secrets without shame, and voluntarily.
In the Communion of Saints, promiscuity of spirit is a virtue.
The relationship may not extend to all persons of the opposite sex, at least not in the same way or degree.
If it did extend to all, it would treat each differently simply because each is different—sexually as well as in other ways.
I think there must be some special kindred souls in Heaven that we are designed to feel a special sexual love for.
This general love may have even developed here on earth.
Like many have a circle of friends, people could develop an unfulfilled circle of love during their earthly stay.
But this would differ from romantic love in that it would be free, not driven and it would transcend all earthly cares, responsibilities and obligations from soul to body, not from body to soul.
Nor would it feel apart from or opposed to the God-relationship, but a part of it or a consequence of His design.
These love relationships would also be totally conscious and unselfish.
Kreeft calls it the ethical goodness of agape, the selfless love joined to the passion of eros.
But would it ever take the form of physical sexual intercourse?
Here Kreeft cautions us that we should not kowtow to modernity’s sexual monomania but consider it because it is an honest question about something of great significance to us now, and because we want to know all we can about Heaven.
Since there are bodies in Heaven, able to eat and be touched, like Christ’s resurrection body, there is the possibility of physical intercourse.
We know Heaven by earthly clues.
Earthly human sex has three levels of meaning: the subhuman, or animal; the superhuman, or divine; and the specifically human.
Animal reasons for intercourse include (i) the conscious drive for pleasure and (2) the unconscious drive to perpetuate the species.
Both would be absent in Heaven.
For although there are unimaginably great pleasures in Heaven, we are not driven by them.
Remember there is no need for breeding because the species is complete.
Transhuman reasons for intercourse include (i) idolatrous love of the beloved as a substitute for God and (2) the Dante-Beatrice love of the beloved as an image of God.
As to the first, there is, of course, no idolatry in Heaven. No substitutes for God are even tempting when God Himself is present.
As to the second, the earthly beloved was a window to God, a mirror reflecting the divine beauty. That is why the lover was so smitten.
Now that the reality is present, why stare at the mirror? The impulse to adore has found its perfect object.
Furthermore, even on earth this love leads not to intercourse but to infatuation. Dante neither desired nor had sex with Beatrice.
Specifically human reasons for intercourse include (1) consummating a monogamous marriage and (2) the desire to express personal love. As to the first, there is no marriage in Heaven.
But what of the second?
Kreeft thinks there will probably be millions of more adequate ways to express love than the clumsy ecstasy of fitting two bodies together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Even the most satisfying earthly intercourse between spouses cannot perfectly express all their love.
If the possibility of intercourse in Heaven is not actualized, it is only for the same reason earthly lovers do not eat candy during intercourse: there is something much better to do.
Candy is one of children’s greatest pleasures. Since they are children they cannot conceive of a pleasure so intense that it renders candy irrelevant.
Only if you know both can you compare two things, and all those who have tasted both the delights of physical intercourse with the earthly beloved and the delights of spiritual intercourse with God testify that there is simply no comparison.
This spiritual intercourse with God is the ecstasy hinted at in all earthly intercourse, physical or spiritual.
It is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong, so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that just elude our grasp.
No mere practical needs account for it.
No mere animal drive explains it. No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or sees sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God.
Human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, that losing and finding the self, that oneness-in-manyness that is the heart of the life and joy of the Trinity.
That is what we long for!
That is why we tremble to stand outside ourselves in the other, to give our whole selves, body and soul: because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.
And this earthly love is so passionate because Heaven is full of passion, of energy and dynamism.
A Passionate God?
While God does not have ephemeral emotions as we do, just think about the energy he expressed in making the world and the sacrifice he had to make in offering his only Son to save his creation from darkness—to think of this love as any less passionate than our temporary and conditioned passions is a most disastrous fantasy.
And that consuming fire of love is our destined Husband, according to His own promise.
Sex in Heaven?
Indeed, and no pale, abstract, merely mental shadow of it either.
Earthly sex is the shadow, and our lives are a process of thickening so that we can share in the substance, becoming Heavenly fire so that we can endure and rejoice in the Heavenly fire.
That sounds like he is saying that we may be in for a much bigger surprised than transpired on our respective wedding nights.
Who knows–maybe the Muslim suicide bombers will get what they prayed for.
In Soul Food, I wrote about both the importance of the body and the soul and how our civilization has for centuries bifurcated the two as some kind of warring entities.
The truth is that they are intricately woven like a fine hand-made or in this case God-make garment.
To separate them or pull out their threads and is to kill the body, thus ruining the garment of life.
Both need each other as Adam needed Eve.
That’s why one of the most interesting teachings of the Catholic Church is on the Resurrection of the body, presumably at the end of time.
Quite frankly I don’t know why we have to wait…forever how long that may be.
The body has been the vehicle for the activities of the soul’s will and should be risen at the same time that the soul is.
John Paul II was emphatic when he wrote in his book, Love and Responsibility that it cannot be forgotten that our bodies will be resurrected in the end.
In the book he discussed what role our masculinity and femininity will play in the afterlife, especially since procreation will not be part of it.
For a fuller explanation of this, look for Part III.
It may be a little difficult to imagine what our heavenly bodies might look like but ESPN’s special photo shoot on world-class athletes gives a brief hint as to what our heavenly might look like.
Our bodies were not only created to be in union with another human person, but also to share in spiritual union with God, which is the ultimate goal of human existence.
I know many people, especially women, might shutter at the thought of having their bodies visibly present in eternity.
Theologians speculate that our bodies will be glorified.
The imagery often projected is that we will wear flowing robes that will make it hard to distinguish man from women.
To me this is a repudiation of all John Paul II’s ground-breaking book about the human body.
I have already written that my view conceives of heaven as partly a nude beach where we are free to wander, swim in the ocean, breathe in the air and exhilarate in the beauties of God, nature and our fellow-men and women without any fabric restrictions.
St. John provided his ideal and highly mysterious vision of Heaven in the Book of Revelation, which is arguably the most difficult of all the books of the Bible.
Even before ESPN the human body attracted many creative people from the first time man learned to capture stick figures on a wall, through the fine arts of European painting.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir celebrated the gift of feminine beauty with his many nudes of voluptuous women in the late 19 century.
In each attempt the artist was trying to capture the beauty and true of the model’s inner soul–the invisible soul if you would of the material human body.
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the best at trying to present the perfect human body in all of its divine proportions.
Da Vinci drew The Vitruvian Man circa 1490.
He believed the workings of the human body were analogous to the workings of the universe.
Nature so designed the human body that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is always a tenth part of the whole height.
The open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same while the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth.
In his book, Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image Toby Lester pointed out that da Vinci’s drawing corresponds in nice ways to existing descriptions of Leonardo that exist.
Lester believes that the drawing of The Vitruvian Man was actually a self-portrait.
His opinion rests on the reports of many of da Vinci’s contemporaries, who of described him as being very finely built, strong, very beautiful with locks of hair that curled and went down to his shoulders.
It was originally named The Poet and alleged to have been Dante, contemplating
The statue is obviously nude and seems to depict perfections of the human body while engaging in a mental or even spiritual activity.
I used to quip that he was thinking about where he left his clothes.
The human body is the pinnacle of God’s creation and in Heaven we can expect a throwback or return to that Sixth Day when God did his best work.
To me this is just an added incentive to make the celestial grade.
However I found out early that there were all kinds of heavenly bodies on earth.
In 1966 I was preparing to visit some friends in New Orleans when some of the older men in the small town where I was teachings suggested I look at the heavenly bodies on Bourbon Street.
Someone else had to explain it to me.
Unfortunately the human body of women has often been used for pornographic imagery, which is designed to unsettle normal relationships between men and women.
It has reached epidemic proportions in this country and around the world.
As a result moral society has been reflexive in its encounter with any kind of female or even male nudity because of the pornographic abuse of freedom in the United States.
Pope John Paul II was valiant in his attempt to put the nude human in its proper moral perspective.
Because God created it, the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty...
Nakedness should not be equated with shamelessness. Immodesty is present only when nudity plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person.
The human body in itself is never shameful.
Shamelessness is a function of the interior of a person.’
With regards to viewing nudity, it’s clear that there’s a spectrum of appropriateness.
On one hand, it may be appropriate for a man to view his wife’s or baby’s unclothed body.
During routine examinations a male physician may be within his right to view a woman’s unclothed body.
On the other hand, it’s never appropriate for a man to view a woman even his wife with lustful desire in his heart, whether she is clothed or unclothed.
By definition lust is the desire to use another person like an object for one’s own sexual gratification.
Treating people like things is always morally wrong.
Impurity of body only occurs when nudity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person.
The late pope did warn that concupiscence can create a tangible sexual tension that surrounds relations between the sexes.
In these situations the person must make a real interior effort to avoid any utilitarian attitudes toward nudity in any form.
Appreciation and not desire has always been my rule in such situations.
The human body per se is not impure, nor is the reaction of sensuality, nor sensuality itself.
Lust begins when the will appropriates the reaction of sensuality and reduces the other person – because of his or her body and sex – to an object of pleasure.
Our earthly bodies can also be the transmitters of spiritual joy.
With regard to our earthly bodies St. Francis, the namesake of the Catholic Church’s new pope, was quoted in Omer Engelbert’s definitive biography about the 13th century saint as saying that spiritual joy is as necessary to the soul as blood is to the body.
What Francis missed here was the fact that because of the body’s meticulous make-up bodily hormones can transport feelings of heavenly ecstasy through the blood to every inch of the body and even the soul.
I have felt this in my own life with the incessant and overpowering feelings of joy, well-being and near mind-expanding ecstasy after a therapeutic massage.
These feelings were not just ephemeral but not only made me smile more but warmed my relationships with all the people I came in contact with that day.
As I have stated before these are not just temporary feelings but to me a foretouch of what heaven may be like.
I feel that they are ground in my religious faith and inspire me to look to the heavens above with hope, anticipation and high expectations.
I recently attended my granddaughter’s concert at Visitation Academy in St. Louis.
The first song their choral group sang was the old Simon and Garfunkel hit, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
That song and many other message-oriented songs are food for my soul.
They send me into a momentary reverie that touches my heart and elevates my spirit.
Some religious, spiritual or even classical hymns also send my soul soaring to unimaginable heights.
Music is one of the great feeding stations for a person’s soul and I am always pleased to have an opportunity to sup at a musical table.
People don’t talk very much about the human soul.
Since Charles Darwin and Karl Marx infected Western Civilization with the disease of dialectical materialism there has been a concerted effort among the left to eliminate any idea of the soul.
Professor Benjamin Wiker has a new book out, entitled Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became our State Religion.
The book underscores the fact that if acceptance of a human soul is ever eliminated from the culture, it will open the modern world to all kinds of moral evils.
Maybe that is already happening.
What would happen if there were no soul?
The Christian religion totally falls apart.
It would have no real reason to exist, except maybe feeding the poor.
Christ would then be reduced to a savior for people who don’t need one.
His cross could then be reduced to firewood for the poor and the Catholic Church would be not much more than the largest Bingo operator in the world.
If a mere corporal body is the only thing that exists…like the lower animals, why should anyone treat them any better than animals?
If life is just material, then there is no God.
As Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in the Brothers Karamazov if there were no God then nothing is forbidden.
There would be no right nor wrong, just the arbitrary will of governments.
This would eliminate any opposition to abortion, homosexual marriage, euthanasia and even Holocausts, such as the one that the Nazis created.
The Bible would be reduced to a work of fiction.
It was the Bible where man received his original dignity.
In the Book of Genesis God created man and woman on the Sixth day and said this was very good.
This first book also says that God created man and woman in His image and likeness.
This is a revolutionary idea that has lost its meaning through thousands of years of history.
Think about this statement.
He made men and women with distinctive but complementary sexual organs.
However our sexuality transcends the organs.
Being a man or a woman encompasses much more than our respective genitalia.
At the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn, a man and a woman, both nude, hula-hooped in silence for 35 minutes.
According to the New York Times article, to the small gathering, seated on the floor below, this was beautiful rendition of the beauty of the male and female bodies in a rhythmic motion that locked the transcendence from mere organic differences to something inherently uplifting and artistic.
Actor Maurice Chevalier once said about this: Vive la difference.
Unfortunately in our unisex culture we have forgotten his profound comment.
While the nude bodies of Adam and Eve reflected the beauty, power and majesty of God’s creative love, after the Fall that beauty and love became a vehicle for lust and shame.
The first parents had to cover their nakedness because they did not want God to see them in their shame because they had brought sin into the world.
They were human beings and it was their souls that had offended God, not their bodies.
Both had an integral unity of body and soul that was more like a liquid mixture that reflected both the material and the immaterial.
Throughout history that took mixture became bifurcated into a critical duality that has dominated religion, philosophy economics and politics ever since.
Throughout the early history of Christianity, many different cults of heretics emphasized the spirit over the body.
To many, including St. Augustine the human body, especially the mores seductive features of the female body, were the material of sin and self-degradation.
In a word the human body was evil and had to be hidden as much as possible.
This attitude dominated the Gnostics, the Cathars, and the Albigensians.
The most successful of these heretics were the Cathars, who believed all visible matter was created by Satan.
This even included the human body.
Human souls were thought to be the genderless souls of Angels trapped within the physical creation of Satan cursed to be reincarnated until the Cathar faithful achieved salvation through a ritual called the Consolamentum.
Many Catholic leaders implicitly sanctioned this erroneous belief.
They did so because to them the soul lived for eternity while the body was destined for corruption and disintegration.
Salvation was the work of the Church and it was of the soul, not the human body.
The Enlightenment changed some of this as the Church lost much of its power and influence, especially during the French Revolution.
The Enlightenment emphasized man’s reason and the superiority of scientific fact over the superstitions of religion.
Darwin, Marx and later Freud, were the first ones to deny the soul.
Without the soul men and women had nothing to cling to in life but their bodies.
This led to the sex revolution where men and women sexually united in pairs, groups and as frequently as their stamina and organs could take.
The sex drive, now completely separated from procreation, became an end in itself.
The human body became a cult.
Bicycling, jogging, weight training, yoga, aerobics and all kind of transcendental mediation activities sprang up everywhere.
They were running, bicycling and training so as to extend their material lives as long as possible because they have been told by the powers that be that this was all that they had going for them.
Funny thing I always see people running on a Sunday morning.
They can get up to run but what about Mass or a Sunday service some place?
The end of the soul advocates received a great lift in 1996 when writer, Tom Wolfe, the author of The Right Stuff published an essay in Forbes Magazine Sorry but your Soul just Died.
His article defined the boundaries for the final battle by focusing on brain imaging, the new technology that watches the human brain as it functions in real-time.
While brain imaging was invented for diagnostics reasons, Wolfe underscored its importance for broaching metaphysical and eschatological issues, such as the complex mysteries of personhood, the self, the soul and free will.
Wolfe envisioned that neuroscience would have an enormous impact on how people viewed life, death and other human beings.
He predicted that this new science was on the threshold of a unified theory that will have an impact as powerful as that of Darwinism a 100-years ago.
The debate over man’s soul dates back to 17th century French philosophe Rene Descartes’ dictum Cogito ergo Sum. (I think therefore I am.)
Traditionalists have always regarded his maxim as indicative of man’s dual nature of body and soul.
This gave rise to the ghost in the machine fallacy, the notion that there is a spiritual self somewhere inside the brain that directs and interprets its operations.
Wolfe’s article challenged this idea, stating that neuroscience proved there is not even any one place in the human brain where consciousness or self-consciousness is located.
According to Wolfe science and pharmacology have replaced religious faith by altering the chemistry of the brain, which also dulled the moral sense.
Echoing Nietzsche, Wolfe predicted that the next generation would believe the soul, the last refuge of values, is dead because educated people no longer believe it exists.
It is also clear that the death of the soul movement is symptomatic of a larger scheme.
Cryogenics or the freezing of the dead so that medical science can later resurrect them is a part of transhumanism, a utopian attempt to establish man’s earthly immortality.
The first cryopreservation was in 1967.
To fill the void created by the death of the soul, these modern Doctor Frankensteins have sacralized the earth and made man’s body the object of immortalization.
So while they believe man does not have an eternal soul, his body through scientific discovery and manipulation can eventually achieve earthly immortality.
This effectively flips Christianity on its head.
It is another and maybe more dangerous attempt is to replace an eternal God with an eternal man, which is the fulfillment of the serpent’s promise of ye shall be like gods, in the Garden of Eden.
How important is it for us to understand and oppose this new attack?
If science can eliminate the immortal soul, then Christ’s death, Resurrection the Christian faith are all in vain.