The Gospel Truth

Heavenly Sex? | May 23, 2013

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.

A consequence of 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.

The great beginning

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.

Dante and his Beatrice

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.

An eternal moment

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.

Something 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.

File:72-houris.jpg

A Muslim and his 72 virgins

Who knows–maybe the Muslim suicide bombers will get what they prayed for.

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11 Comments »

  1. I am not going to worry about whether there is sex in heaven. I just want to get there to be with God. He will take care of the rest. 🙂

    Comment by Eloise Moran — May 23, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

  2. The purpose of sex is to propagate and to promote conjugal love. God did not tell me but I think we won’t need to propagate in heaven and we will be overwhelmed with God’s love. What about all the poor people that are virgins, single, and never married? I think it is an earthly passion so we will take on the responsibility of procreating to fill heaven. Just my thoughts. Pax

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — May 24, 2013 @ 2:57 am

    • Mary:

      I guess the interesting thing about an afterlife is that it can be totally subjective. The Bible and even the Church tells us very little about what to expect. You would think hat they would try to offer more incentives to sway the indifferent. the fear of Hell was used in Medieval times to frighten people into submission to the moral law. That does not work in today’s cultural climate. I think Kreeft was on to something to get people to think more about the infinite variables of what heaven may be like. It seems to work for young men in an evil way in the Muslim religion. The Bible did say that there were I think seven mansion prepared for us in heaven. To me that might mean heaven is very subjective. If one was celibate on earth and enjoys being that way, he or see would enjoy Heaven in a different manner than those that needed the conjugal closeness of another person or maybe even persons.

      Comment by bbprof — May 24, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

  3. I think I was taught that we would have a “glorified
    body” as opposed to our earthly body. We would not
    have to eat and would not do what we do on earth to
    continue human life (intercourse). If we did have to
    eat then how and who would prepare the food? Would
    we then have bathrooms for our current physical needs?

    What would a person do who has multiple spouses
    due to the death of the previous ones?

    Don’t think there is sex in heaven – love like the love
    God has for each of us.

    MFritz

    Comment by MFritz — May 24, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    • I don’t there is any specifics on the glorified body. It seems to me that our bodies would be recognizable to others and JPPII in his TOB seemed to say that we would be male and female. The gloried part might just mean at the best shape that we were ever in and then some….like some perfection of form. It is all speculative.

      ________________________________

      Comment by bbprof — May 24, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

  4. Here is a note sent to my e-mail from a college classmate. I trust his comments will ring true for many people.

    I am encouraged somewhat. The “somewhat” is based on the reality that most of the heavenly host is at least our age. Unless the celestial corner drug store purveys an occasional timely dose of one of the various medicinal aid substances (guaranteed at least 95% effective) on the terrestrial market today, sex in heaven will most likely be, as it surely is for our age cohort, a good deal less frequent (to say nothing of less energetic) than it had been during our prime on earth.
    Then again, “resurrection” might cover more territory and anatomy than we tend to accredit.

    As that geezer with the German helmet on the old Dean Martin show used to say, “Verrrry interesting!”

    Comment by bbprof — May 25, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

  5. My response to the note above: I think the series of articles I have done on the body, soul and heaven are good examples of what Father Andrew Greeley has called the Catholic imagination. The beauty about our faith is that our minds can soar with the angels as to the infinite variety of experiences that might be available to us beyond the clouds. If the Church did a better job selling eternal life more people might try harder to get there. As it is now, most people think of Frank Sinatra or any recent loved one who died as playing golf with St. Peter. These are kind of childish expressions of something they have not really thought about. I have let my imagination go on some of the above in an attempt to soar with the angels of my better nature. I hope it said something to you. BB

    Comment by bbprof — May 25, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  6. Someone has been quoted as saying “they will be like angels in heaven . . .” – enuf said. The christformed imagination of initmacy with God you muse about helps me imagine our Surprise about the Joy (so much more than mere ‘pleasure’) when we experience the Reality, as we cry out: “Wow! Who wouldda thunk??”

    Comment by huffer — May 29, 2013 @ 1:04 am

  7. Absolutely no sex in heaven for all Holy Cross graduates. Especially, St. Louis Browns Fan. This came to me after 10 Our Fathers and three Hail Mary’s,and everyone knows this, once those Hail Mary’s leave your lips, they go right to God’s ear (on his left side)

    Mike

    Comment by Mike Ellington — June 5, 2013 @ 12:15 am

    • Truly profound as usually. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by bbprof — June 5, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  8. Your art.,
    Heavenly Sex? | May 23, 2013 was sort of ridiculous
    I’ve read Kreeft, and while i admire him greatly, and like much of what he writes, on this i think he sounds almost sex obsessed, or a little looney.
    Granted, the body is part of God’s creation. But to me this earthly body is just that , a body we use while we live here on earth.the spiritual realm will be “solid” even w/out atoms and molecules. As discovery in physics has shown, the wispy “airy, fairy ” world is actually world we live in –since everything and everyone is made of trillions of atoms which are mostly empty space.take away the electrical forces or whatever that hold things together , and it all falls apart! my point being, we don’t need to think of some sort of super sexual, re-engergized paradise in order for humans to be happy. many ppl who have had out of body experiences say the physical body no longer seemed important to them ..and yet also felt quite whole and alive.
    also, and this is just my opinion, while physical attraction can be powerful and quite enjoyable, the thought of having to endure looking endlessly at millions (billions?) of resurrected sex organs just does not appeal to me. i think of “heaven” in much more intellectual terms. also, just think of what we are required to believe in re a physical body. one problem, whose atoms do we get? –since we will live forever in these new bodies, will be ever touch ourselves? i’m not being facetious. i mean think of it, would a resurrected man , for instance, ever, once even , touch his new sex organs? what about space, gravity, size, weight shape of a new body?
    i guess i’m illustrating absurdity by being absurd.
    sure, i want to live forever –but i believe i can do so w/out some sort of re-energized super sexual “paradise”
    R

    My response: You make some valid points but we really don’t know—we can only hope, dream and pray…perhaps heaven…like beauty…will be in the eye of the beholder. Amen to that. BB

    Comment by Bill Borst — September 15, 2014 @ 2:26 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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