Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can they communicate with each other?

For example, in Islam they believe that people in Heaven cannot talk or communicate to each other, because they are in some kind of "nirvana" (this is the wrong word, but I am not native EN speaker) or a happy-hybernated-statis state, and they can talk to each other. Something like in the movie The Matrix where the bodies are connected to a computer and they cannot move, but feel happy.

What does the Bible say about people in Heaven communicating with each other?

share|improve this question
1  
This largely depends on what you believe about the soul. Is it immortal or not? Mainstream teaches it is, but a large population teaches it is not. Mawia gives a good answer that a mainstream follower would give and I think my comment gives a good rebuttal for the other side. –  fredsbend Mar 15 '13 at 7:26
4  
Apart from a continued procreation, heaven is just the restoration of the life Adam had in Eden. Adam and Eve had ears to hear and mouths to speak. –  Mike Mar 15 '13 at 14:53
1  
As posed, this question isn't answerable. I have to agree with a vote to close, but it might be possible to edit this to make it more answerable. Please see this post for suggestions: Tips for editing a question to make it suitable for re-opening It also explains why this question isn't a good fit as-is. –  David Stratton Mar 15 '13 at 19:00
    
Related: Are there walkie-talkies in heaven? –  svidgen Apr 1 '13 at 21:02

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

They can, it seems. The clearest example is from Luke 16:22-25:

22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
25 Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that [...]

The rich man is in hell, suffering, and he cries out to Abraham. Abraham is dead and in a far-off and elevated place.

If even this person in hell can speak with Abraham, then surely Lazarus, who is right beside Abraham (and not secluded and separated from him like in the "Matrix" description you give), must be able to speak to Abraham.

share|improve this answer
    
Hah, how could I not remember this one. This is better :-) –  Mawia Mar 15 '13 at 7:44
7  
Using parables for anything other than their intended purpose is pretty dubious exegesis. One can't hang theological details on parables if the purpose of the parable was not to illustrate that detail. This parable doesn't seem to be meant to say anything about the nature of existence in heaven, so much as it illustrates the importance of heeding God's word in this life so that we are not permanently cut off from him in the next. You could use this to illustrate the separation between heaven and hell, but this would not even work to prove communication between the two, much less inside of one. –  Caleb Mar 15 '13 at 13:27
    
@Alypius Where exactly does it state that a parable must be based on fact? That actually seems against the definition of a parable. You wouldn't actually say that the servants, birds and seeds, lamps, barns, and wheat fields in all the other parables must be factually existent things? Why does this get that distinction? The picture of the after life in this parable was a well known pagan Greek/Roman idea. It was used to show that some will never choose God. Whether that picture is factual cannot be assumed because it is a parable. –  fredsbend Mar 16 '13 at 4:47
    
Discussion continued in chat –  fredsbend Mar 17 '13 at 4:53
    
This is an interesting read along the same lines of our disagreement here. The first part specifically discusses parables in a few places. –  fredsbend Apr 2 '13 at 23:50

Sure they can.

Matthew 17 (NIV) 1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

In this story, the spirit of Moses was talking with Jesus who was in the flesh. Elijah was also in flesh because he was taken to heaven alive. Although the place was on Earth, if they can communicate on earth, I don't see any reason why they would not do the same in Heaven.

share|improve this answer
1  
Elijah did not die! Nor is he dead now. He was taken up in a Chariot of fire. Some argue that Moses was resurrected! That would mean that neither of them were dead at the transfiguration nullifying this argument. Just showing the other side. –  fredsbend Mar 15 '13 at 7:24
    
I checked them and most of them are just speculations. I will still stick to my point. Good info though. :) –  Mawia Mar 15 '13 at 7:31
    
This uses an example taken from before payment for sins were made. Thus, it does not refer to heaven, but to Paradise. –  Narnian Mar 15 '13 at 13:39
1  
Where Abraham was in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. It wasn't heaven, but the place of the dead. People in heaven do not see people in hell and communicate with them. –  Narnian Mar 15 '13 at 13:43
2  
I believe they can, indeed, talk in heaven. I'm just asserting that this verse is not valid proof of that. Verses from Revelation where the saints are singing together and such would be valid evidence, though. So, correct doctrine, but invalid evidence. –  Narnian Mar 15 '13 at 13:48

As the commenters have already pointed out in response to other answers, the various points in the Bible which might be seen as answering this question are ambiguous. The only passage that I've seen that claims to answer it definitively comes from outside of mainstream Christianity. In the book of Doctrine and Covenants--a collection of revelations and teachings accepted as canonical by the Latter-Day saints, and held to be authoritative along with the Bible and the Book of Mormon--we read:

And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.
-- Doctrine and Covenants 130: 2

While these revelations are not accepted in mainstream Christianity, to the Latter-Day Saints this passage provides comfort and reassurance that those we count as friends and family and loved ones in this life will be able to maintain such interpersonal relationships with us throughout eternity.

share|improve this answer

In Revelation 21, the future new heavens and new earth, I would conclude there will be communication based on this description.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

share|improve this answer
    
The question is on Heaven, not on New Jerusalem. –  Mawia Mar 15 '13 at 15:26
1  
You or I might make that distinction, but I'm not sure that the asker is doing the same. I usually call the ultimate good state of all souls "heaven" ("Do you want to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell") which, according to Revelation, is also called "new heaven and new earth". –  AndyClaw Mar 18 '13 at 18:12

Mawia and Alypius gave a good answer here for a mainstream follower. That would be that mainstream teaches the immortality of the soul. They would say that the person must go somewhere after death. The other side, which is sizable and includes 7th Day Adventists, teaches that the soul is not immortal and the dead are dead; it is like sleeping or being unconscious.

The bible has several passages that are very interesting concerning this topic. The most notable is probable the one Mawia quoted.

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matt 17

Most Christians would agree that Elijah did not die (2 kings 2) so his presence is therefore not revealing for this topic. For the mainstream belief in the immortal soul it is obvious that Moses' soul was just as lucid and able as his body. For the lesser taken view of the mortal soul, there is an argument (although weak, in my opinion), that Moses was resurrected. This is one of the 7th Day Adventists sites. They are one of the larger groups that believe the soul is mortal and the video in the link covers their logic on Moses' resurrection very well.

The next most notable passage is of Saul and the medium of Endor. Saul was a good king who had turned wicked, and in desperation turned to a medium to consult his dead counselor Samuel. Something does actually appear and what it is I will not try to say but, again, both sides have a ready answer. See this post on the topic.

Now the next one is probably more commonly quoted than the story of Saul and the medium and it is also the one Alypius chose to use on this post. It is actually a parable of Jesus where two men die and see each other and father Abraham in the after life.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19

Mainstream, immortal soul theology would say there really is no argument here. They are in an afterlife conversing and these are the very words of Jesus. The less taken, mortal soul theology would argue that this was a parable and it is not even about death and the after life. It is meant to show that the Prophets and the Law (the books of the Old Testament) should be enough for anyone to believe. If they do not believe those then even someone coming back from the dead would not convince them to believe. See this post and this post for further study on this particular passage.

Both sides have good and bad points, but that is your decision. I have provided the groundwork for you to learn about both and make an informed decision.

As for describing heaven as 'like Nirvana' I cannot find nor have I heard of any such passages.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.