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I think most (if not all) Christians would agree that there will be no sin in heaven. However, we often make mistakes that aren't sinful: accidentally spilling a glass of milk isn't a sin. We don't know everything, we aren't all virtuosos, nor are we all Olympic athletes, but ignorance and a lack of skill and athleticism aren't sins either.

So: will we be perfect in Heaven, mentally and physically?

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4 Answers 4

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Only God is perfect, and (except for Mormon teaching) we will never be God. Ergo, we will never be perfect.

Going a bit deeper into the word, however, when the Bible uses the word perfect, it is typically the Greek word telos. Telos does not imply a state of being, but rather a direction toward the end for which a thing is made. It has the sense of a target, minus the actual arrival.


Note: This doesn't mean our bodies won't be a heck of a lot better - our new bodies will be glorified. That which was sown perishable is raised unperishable. Our bodies will not be affected by sin, and that makes them way better than we can imagine now.

But perfect is a different level entirely.

Think of it as two ants and looking at my belly and saying "Its the largest thing ever!" No, it's pretty massive, but there are larger things. (Until I eat them)

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As always, good answer. –  David Stratton Feb 9 '12 at 5:14
    
I agree. Our bodies will be significantly improved, and I think our minds probably as well. An interesting follow-up question is: will we have limits to what we can achieve, or will we increase in knowledge and skill for eternity? –  Brian Koser Feb 10 '12 at 0:27

We will receive a glorified body like that which was shown to the Apostles on Mt Tabor at the Transfiguration.

The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body." But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God":

CCC 556

And that Catechism entry specifically references the following scripture:

Philippians 3:20-21 (DRA)
20 But our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ,
    21 Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
   

(at the resurrection, not right after death)

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I hope you don't mind that I added supporting Scripture. I was thinking about our glorified bodies but didn't include it because I was focusing on the "accidents" part of the question and didn't think it was relevant, but I think your answer is relevant to "perfection" as it relates to the perfection of our bodies. Good answer! –  David Stratton Feb 9 '12 at 13:09
    
@David thanks, I didn't elaborate too much because I was answering on my iPod and I figured the other answers were pretty good on the scripture. The scripture you added is exactly what is referenced in the Catechism with regards to transfiguration :) –  Peter Turner Feb 9 '12 at 14:02

Ecclesiastes 12:7 NIV

and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

I take that to imply that our physical bodies do not go with us. However it is a gnostic idea. It is custom of modern Christianity to believe that we return to our bodies. Either way, our bodies are not perfect.

We are who we are, in Heaven and on Earth - with free will and all. I suspect that I will not play the harp well the first time in Heaven :)

Another little bit about the distinction between our Earthly bodies:

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NIV

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

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Mainsteam Christianity doesn't teach that we return to our bodies, but rather that we have new resurrected bodies. Gnostic heresy teaches that we have no corporeal substance - that we are energy / spirit / intangible essence. Gnostics say that matter is evil, and therefore we can't be physical beings in resurrection. Its not that we have the same bodies, but we have new resurrected ones. You've cited the verse that talks about this - Our old bodies are no more are new ones than a seed is a plant. I got on your case earlier for saying we had NO bodies whatsoever. (Sorry if I was harsh) –  Affable Geek Feb 9 '12 at 18:56
    
I cried myself to sleep that night, Affable Geek :) My stance is that we are all not right and are striving for more light from God to better understand him and ourselves. I will admit I am wrong - and especially when I am wrong - just ask my wife! –  user1054 Feb 9 '12 at 20:07
    
@AffableGeek We don't know what our spiritual bodies look like. It may be formless or formless to us but completely describable to God. I do not think the spiritual body looks like our human body much. –  user1054 Feb 9 '12 at 20:11
    
Sounds like we married the same woman! –  Affable Geek Feb 9 '12 at 20:45
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@Affable Geek - and we'll be able to recognize each other, if the story of the rich man and Lazarus and the account of the Transfiguration are correct (which, I believe them to be) –  warren Feb 10 '12 at 0:19

Scripture doesn't address accidents and the like. In the context of Christianity, this means the only valid answer is "We don't know".

The King James and other versions do use the word "perfect" in several places in the Bible when describing saved state:

2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you

The above are just the first few I found, but there are plenty more. However, the meaning in the original language is usually better translated as "Mature", "justified", or "sinless" depending on the context and the original word(s) used. They don't indicate the lack of accidents in the manner you described.

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I think the answer to half the questions on this site could be "The Bible doesn't address it, so we don't know." :) –  Brian Koser Feb 10 '12 at 0:23
    
I agree. Unfortunately. And fortunately. This site is great for making me seriously examine my beliefs, and determining what's Scriptural and what's just been taught to me, but could be interpreted differently. –  David Stratton Feb 10 '12 at 0:27

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