June 26, 2019

A Return to Eden

Is there sex in Heaven? Peter Kreeft, the renowned Philosophy professor at Boston College, addressed this loaded question many years ago. On its surface this sounds like an easy question since most Americans spend an inordinate time thinking about, preparing for, and seeking out sex on earth.

Professor Kreeft admits that when it comes to dreaming, fantasizing, feeling, and experimenting, Americans lead the pack. But as for a serious rendering of the multi-levels of sex, Americans are the JV team. In his vested opinion, we are rank amateurs in the art of worldly sex. To Kreeft, there is no subject in the world about which there is more heat and less light. He believes that we cannot understand what sex in heaven might be, unless we fully understand what it means on earth.

For starters, Professor Kreeft says there has to be sex in Heaven simply because there are human beings in Heaven and God made all of us, both male and female…in his image and likeness. This will not change in Heaven. He also points out sexuality is like grace but unlike clothing, an essential aspect of our identity, spiritual as well as physical.

People easily forget that God instituted sex as a favor to men and women…not a punishment. According to Genesis, He recognized that it was not good that the man should be alone. 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 woman embodies His creative principle, making the sex act a living metaphor for the love of God.

It took the Fall of Man to add earthly sex with its rucksack of 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. Saint John Paul II could not have said it any better.

The vital question that will undoubtedly interest most people is will there be sexual intercourse in Heaven? Since there are bodies in Heaven, able to eat and be touched, like Christ’s resurrected body, the possibility of physical intercourse certainly is plausible. It is also logical to argue that there would have to be sex in Heaven because of the resurrection of the body…a body with identifiable sexual organs.

I have often wondered why God made Adam and Eve with complementary sexual organs in the first place if they were not to enjoy sex before their sin. I hardly think God would have done that in anticipation of the Fall. It seems logical to me that they may very well be used after the resurrection of the body with identifiable sexual organs.

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. If we apply this principle to sexual intercourse, we arrive at the conclusion that intercourse on earth is a shadow or symbol of intercourse in Heaven. Heavenly sex will provide a new answer to sultry Peggy Lee’s provocative question, Is that all there is?

While the Bible says there will be no husbands and wives in Heaven, it does not preclude sharing both realms of love with an entire circle of love that could include past friends and loves. 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.

Kreeft speculates about what could be. It could certainly be a sort of spiritual intercourse. In my opinion, a purely spiritual intercourse would seem illogical when pitted against ideas in St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body because of its reliance on the complete integration of spirit and flesh, that is body and soul.

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, and so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that often elude our grasp. No mere practical needs account for it.

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. Anything else if a faux imititation.

In the Communion of Saints, the 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 have developed an unfulfilled circle of love during their earthly stay.

But this would differ profoundly from romantic love in that it would be free, not driven by passion or lust, 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 actual physical sexual intercourse? He seems skeptical about the likelihood or even possibility of sexual love in Heaven. He warns of the danger of modernizing Heaven’s eschatology. But we should 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.

He 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 is not realized in Heaven, Kreeft reasons, it is only for the same reason earthly lovers do not eat candy during intercourse. There is something much better to do. Since children cannot conceive of a pleasure so intense that it renders candy irrelevant, the same may be true of adults who cannot conceive of a greater pleasure than what they get from each other because it does not exist on earth.

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 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 opposite sex because God loves God in the Mystical Trinity. We are pale reflections of that love.

Sex in Heaven then?  Why not! 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. 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. That sounds like Professor Kreeft is saying that we may be in for a much bigger surprise than transpired on our respective wedding nights.

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Written by
William Borst

WILLIAM A. BORST has taught at virtually all levels of education from elementary school through university, published commentaries in many local and national publications, and hosted a weekly talk show on WGNU radio for 22 years. Having recently served as editor of the Mindszenty Report, Dr. Borst is the author of two prominent books: Liberalism: Fatal Consequences (1999) and The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy (2005). He holds a PhD in American History from St. Louis University.

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Written by William Borst