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According to the Bible 'sin' by definition is anything that is against God! Which is why God cannot commit sin [Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2], not that He doesn't choose to commit sin. This is because God cannot do anything against Himself [2Tim.2:13]. In other words, it is impossible for God to sin.

However, when we think of the creation we sin because we have the freedom to choose between good and bad. Adam and Eve committed sin because of that freedom. If we assume that they sinned because of the tempter then this is not the case when Satan sinned while being in the very presence of God! Therefore, a free being/entity can commit sin even when that being/entity has no sinful nature internally or a sinful tempter externally.

All those who enter into Heaven or the presence of God and enjoy eternal life will have free-will. But the question is what makes them not to sin again like Satan or other angels that were sent out from God's presence because of their sin?

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Is choosing to commit sin a possibility in Heaven?

The short answer is no.

There is no possibility of sinning in Heaven and thus offending Our Creator further. All will desire to do what is pleasing to God. The desire to sin will no longer exist in heart of the elect.

Will we be free to sin in heaven?

Here is another dilemma. If we answer no, we seem to lack something: free will. If we answer yes, we lack something else: moral perfection. The Heavenly question thus lands us squarely into an earthly and present issue concerning the nature of freedom and of morality and may help us to puncture one of modernity's most pervasive and destructive illusions: the association of freedom with rebellion and of obedience with unfreedom.

Suppose we change the question so as to avoid the ambiguity of the word freedom. Are we able to sin in Heaven? If not, it seems we are programmed and determined rather than free. If so, if temptation is possible in Heaven, Heavenly security against sin is gone. One of the best things to look forward to at death, say the saints, is that "he who has died is freed from sin". If there is even a possibility of sin in Heaven, that possibility may be actualized, for if the actualization of a possibility is impossible, then it is not a possibility but an impossibility.

How can we preserve both free will and sinlessness in Heaven? Once again, God is our model and solution: we solve this pseudoproblem in the same way God does. He is both free and sinless. How? Let us judge our freedom by His, rather than vice versa.

What do we mean by "freedom"? Sometimes (1) political freedom, freedom from tyranny, oppression, or the denial of our rights; sometimes (2) physical power, ability to act, freedom from hindrance; and sometimes (3) spiritual power to choose ("free will"). Of course we will have all three in Heaven, but why won't we be able to sin, since we will have free will?

Because we will also have a fourth freedom, the most important one of all: freedom from sin, from what makes us not ourselves. We will be free to be the true selves God designed us to be, free to be determined by God. This determination does not remove our freedom but is our freedom, for even now freedom is not simply indetermination; it is freedom to be determined by final causes (purposes) rather than efficient causes (things and events that already exist and act upon us). Our free will means that our present is determined by our future rather than by our past. Final causes are at present only mental pictures and desires. To say we are determined by final causes means that we, like God, create by knowing; that as creative artists our knowledge antecedes and determines the truth of its object, the work of art, rather than conforming to its object, as scientific and empirical knowledge does. But we are objects to God (though subjects to the world); we too, therefore, are true only when we conform to God's knowledge of us, God's artistic plan for our identity. Since our highest freedom means freedom to be ourselves, we are most free when we are most obedient to God's will, which expresses His idea of us. Thus freedom and obedience coincide. To obey God is to be free in the most radical sense: free to be me, free from inauthenticity, free from false being, free from the alien within, not just free from the alien without, the oppressor.

This explains a paradox frequently met in earthly experience: that at the moment of freest choice it feels most like destiny, and at the moment of most destined choice it feels freest. Caesar's crossing the Rubicon, choosing someone to marry, a conversion decision - these all feel both more free and more destined than ordinary choices. C. S. Lewis' explanation of this principle is that it is all of us that chooses; nothing is left over.bTherefore there is nothing in us that opposes the choice; it is certain; it is wholly determined. But it is also wholly free because it is wholly self-determined. The whole self chooses, the divided will is healed.

The answer to our question, then, is that "freedom to sin" is a self-contradictory concept. Sin is inauthenticity and freedom is authenticity; sin is our false self and freedom is our true self Sin is part of Hell and freedom is part of Heaven. The question cannot be resolved, only dissolved, because it confuses Hell with Heaven.

Once in Heaven, our will desires only to do the greater glory in His Presence.

Scripture teaches us that in Heaven no sin is no longer existent.

Rev. 22:4 – “And there shall be no curse any more, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads.”

I Cor. 13:12 – “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

Matt. 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

I John 3:2 – “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” - Source

According to Catholicism, the Blessed in Heaven enjoy the gift of Impeccability.

Impeccability is the absence of sin. Christianity teaches this to be an attribute of God (logically God cannot sin, it would mean that he would act against his own will and nature) and therefore it is also attributed to Christ.

Impeccability and Heaven

Early Christians questioned whether the victorious saints in heaven could sin. The widely influential Eastern Church Father and theologian Origen of Alexandria maintained that they could. Official Roman Catholic doctrine holds that they cannot. Although Catholics believe in the gift of free will, saints in heaven already see God face to face and are incapable of sinning (see Pope Benedict XII and beatific vision), i.e., they will necessarily remain in God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (emphasis added):

1045 For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been "in the nature of sacrament." Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city" of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion. 1060 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be "all in all" (⇒ 1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.

Impeccability and Purgatory

The 13th-century, Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas taught that souls in Purgatory cannot sin (Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 83, Article 11, Reply to Objection 3), let alone the saints in heaven. This is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, although there are different opinions on the reasons for the impossibility to sin.

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  • Very good analysis and new insights into the freedom in Heaven. However, my question is regarding the reason why can't we sin in Heaven while sin itself was originated in Heaven, so to speak, when Lucifer [Satan] and some other angels chose to commit sin in the very presence of God. What makes us different from angels as far as the freedom to choose to commit sin in Heaven? Sep 20 '20 at 5:31
  • Well since Revelation describes a ”new Heaven” there has to be a distinction with the Heaven that God created at the start of redemptive history before humanity and the one that is to come with a redeemed humanity as a bride for the Son. If the new Heaven wasn’t any different to the first one there would be no reason to create a new one right? But there is no way to give an exhaustive biblical answer I don’t think. @TeluguChristian
    – kangistaja
    Sep 21 '20 at 8:53
  • I see your point. However, the difference between the old heaven and new heaven has very little to do with the freedom of choice the redeemed will have in the presence of God. The very first sin occurred in the presence of God as a result of the free choice of a free being, who had no sinful nature to begin with! But how's this going to be different for the redeemed? Sep 21 '20 at 10:34
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Well, this question had troubled me for a long time when I first came to Christ and started to study the Bible. But, one day as I was discussing a biblical issue with another born-again believer the answer to this question struck me like a lightening. Here is the answer that dawned on me [I believe it is the Holy Spirit who gave me]...

  1. God cannot sin because of Hi nature.[Titus.1:2; Hebrews.6:18; 2Timothy.2:13]
  2. The redeemed will become like Him [Christ] when they see Him. [1John.3:2]
  3. The redeemed will share in the divine nature. [2Peter.1:4]

Therefore, the redeemed cannot sin! That means sin is not a possibility for the redeemed in the world to come, because of their new-nature. Interestingly, this nature is far higher than the nature of angels!

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    this may well be true, however, lets not forget, Lucifer rebelled in heaven and the biblical definition of sin is "rebellion". So to say its not possible to sin in heaven is ignoring that reality. Personally, i think that there will always be the possibly of sin in heaven...that will be an eternal possibility. I just do not think that any created being in the future will ever choose that option knowing what it has caused over the last 6,000 years or so on this planet...and lets not also forget that God has disproven the charge that Lucifer made against him by also dying for us on the cross.
    – Adam
    Jan 11 at 1:41
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God is going to make all things new, in the recreation when the old heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire, being replaced with "a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell" (2 Peter 3:10-13). This righteousness is that of God. All sin will have been judged, and all unrepentant sinners removed so as to never contaminate God's holy heaven. The devil also having been cast out of heaven and confined to the old earth, then being cast into the eternally burning lake of sulphuric fire (with all his minions), everything and everyone left will be perfect in holiness and upholding God's righteousness. They will be so glad to be shut of sin and satan, rejoicing in God's righteous judgment and punishment of them, their hearts will be purified, and they shall be as Christ when they see him face to face. Here are a list of scriptures from Revelation to show that:

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." 20:10

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." 21:1

"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." 21:5 Page 51 "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." 21:8

"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." 21:27

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." 22:3-4

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." 22:14-15

Those Bible promises are sure, and show us what the new heavens and the new earth will be like. We can be utterly assured that total revulsion against all sin will be the identifying mark of those who are granted access into God's holy presence and that nobody will have the slightest inclination to even think about sin, let alone commit it. After all, everyone will know what happened to the first creature to sin - satan - and agree that God's wrath upon him was righteous and just.

As to "free will" and choice - Human nature can be tempted but not the divine nature. Christ came as the New Humanity, for the old, Adamic humanity has to be replaced. That is why a new humanity arises in and through Christ - a new creation. The 'vessels of wrath' prepared by God for destruction (Romans 9:22-23) are prepared by their own behaviour. The consequence of their deeds is destruction. Yet God prepares vessels of kindness, prepared for glory. They do not assert "their free will" but, like Paul, cry out, "Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?" the answer being in Romans 8:1-3 that, thanks to Jesus Christ, they have been set free from the law of sin and death. They are new creatures in Christ. The question of "free will" should not be looked at from the point of view of sinful humanity that clings on to it, but from what God's words tell us about how he transforms by grace vessels for glory - totally.

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  • Re divine nature cannot be tempted: what happened when the angels forsook their place in heaven and went marrying the daughters of men? Gen 6:1&2
    – Kris
    Jan 10 at 21:18
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    I haven't seen any evidence in the Bible that the angels of God possess divine nature. Jan 11 at 4:47
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    @Kris Although your comment was not addressed to the PO, he/she nipped in first! I would add that no created creature has divine nature. God first gave some creatures angelic nature; God gave others human nature. Divine nature is uniquely the Creator's - God's - nature. When Jesus was tempted, that was his human nature being tempted, as he had become flesh, lowering himself to dwell for a season on earth, but he totally resisted all temptation.
    – Anne
    Jan 11 at 12:03
  • @Anne. Your explanation gives more clarity on the issue Kris raised. Jan 13 at 6:31

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