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Let me just pretext by saying I am not a Christian and everything I say is based on my limited knowledge as a non-christian. I am asking this question purely out of curiosity. Please correct me if anything I say is wrong.

So as I understand, it is believed that marriage continues into the afterlife and you are reunited with your spouse in heaven. I also understand that earthly marriage ends at death and you are allowed to remarry as is stated in "til death do us part".

My question is, what does Christianity say happens in heaven after a widow herself dies, if she did remarry? Does she pick a husband? Is she married to the latter husband? Or the first? Or is polygamy allowed in heaven?

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    @DongLi, you're assuming Ethan is aware of that particular passage. But, yes, virtually this exact question is answered, quite directly, by Jesus Himself.
    – Matthew
    Jun 3, 2023 at 14:18
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    @Mathew, the bodies the saints will have in heaven will be new glorified bodies like those of the angels. Jun 3, 2023 at 14:21
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    Not all denominations believe the same on marriage and afterlife ask fot a specific denomination answer to get best response
    – Kris
    Jun 3, 2023 at 22:41
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    Your assumptions are wrong. Marriage does not continue into the afterlife. Hence "till death do us part".
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 4, 2023 at 11:37
  • Perhaps OP's confusion is due to hopeful comments about seeing loved ones again after they have died, which are well-grounded.
    – Nacht
    Jun 5, 2023 at 1:35

3 Answers 3

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Matthew 22:23-30
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

Not all Christians follow Jesus' words here to the same conclusion, but the belief that there is no marriage in the New Creation¹ is common.

One article notes that there will likely be no need for marriage, as we will be with God and will have abundant companionship, and also that procreation will likely have ceased (after all, infinite time, zero death rate, and non-zero birth rate is a recipe for a population problem). Others note (1, 2) that marriage is an earthly shadow of the relation between Christ and the Church. Since that relation will be fully realized in the New Creation, it seems likely that its lesser echo will no longer be needed.

That said, there are dissenting beliefs. Personally, I tend to feel that such beliefs fail to resolve the very Question asked (as well as raising others, such as how it can be fair for someone who died unmarried to be forever less than those that did marry), and that the dissolution of marriage at the Resurrection seems more satisfactory.

(¹ Despite popular use, "heaven" is a misnomer and does not refer to the Christian's promised reward or the place redeemed Christians will inhabit.)

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  • Could you please clarify what that means as I do not quite understand. I did actually Google this question first, and came across that passage, but then decided to ask it here as I didn't fully understand what that quote from Jesus meant.
    – Ethan
    Jun 3, 2023 at 17:27
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    @Ethan Doesn't he mean simply that the marriage relationship does not exist in heaven, so nobody has the status of "husband" or "wife"? Jun 3, 2023 at 19:03
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    No births because how would those born in Heaven choose.
    – Joshua
    Jun 5, 2023 at 17:26
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As @Matthew's answer aptly presented, Jesus was asked this very same question. His answer was simple:

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, KJV)

In the Bible, God's angels never come as male or female. They are not husbands or wives, and there are no angel babies. Angels do not marry, nor have children. Jesus is saying that in our transfigured, post-resurrection bodies, we will be like the angels in this respect.

There is a reason for this.

Throughout the sin-experiment on this earth, those who learn to rise above sin and who have obtained victory over it will be so inoculated against sin that they will never consider sinning again. As the prophet Nahum tells us:

What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. (Nahum 1:9, KJV)

Sin will never again exist.

But what would happen if we continued to have children in the New Earth? Being told that sin is bad, and knowing this from personal experience, are two vastly different things. Sin could be experimented again, by one of those who did not know any better. And, given an eternity of time, it would almost be a matter not of "if" but of "when." Sooner or later, sin would again emerge. But this must never, never happen. Therefore, the creation of "free moral agents" ceases after this sin experiment is finished.

Most who try to say marriage will continue in Heaven do so because they are addicted to the physical aspects of marriage and cannot bear the thought of giving these up. However, we are told in the Bible that the wonders of Heaven surpass our imagination. We will not even miss anything that we no longer have. It will be like discarding the worthless in favor of something of greater value than we have ever known.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV)

God knows what will make us happy, and is prepared to do so beyond our wildest imagination.

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    Could you provide some references (preferably biblical) for your assertions connection procreation and the emergence of sin?
    – bob
    Jun 4, 2023 at 17:50
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Let me add a different view to this.

It is evident that procreation and sexuality were part of God's original intention for us (Gen 1:26-27: they were already created as man and woman), Gen 2:22-24 show clearly that sexual relations were part (or were intented to be part) of our life in paradise. Therefore the argument that the New Creation will offer us so many wonders surpassing our imagination that we would not want or need sexual relations anymore are hard to hold up against Gen 1 and 2. I would rather argue that proper sexual relations are part of these wonders and child birth with no pain and damage likewise.

Marriage is strongly linked with inheritance: The eldest son gets half of the father's possession. So it was crucial to ensure that the right man gets that blessing (cf. the confusion, violence, etc. caused from Jacob/Esau, Gen 27). A system in which you had a certain probability that a specific child was a specific man's child (remember: mater semper certa, pater semper incertus) made this issue a whole lot easier. That is also the reason for the draconian punishments on adultery: It disturbed family trees and inheritance lines for generations to come.

Infertility is a consequence of the Fall of Man. Therefore it cannot exist in the New Creation as our bodies will be restored to their original perfection (cf. Gen 1:28, Gen 30:1, Ex 23:26, Dtn 7:14, Psalm 113:9, Psalm 127:3-5, Luke 1:36, passim). Especially Ex 23:26 underlines my point: God promises a place that knows no infertility.

This is not contradicted by Matthew 22. Jesus speaks of marriage, not procreation. In Paradise there was no marriage either yet procreation was intented to exist there.

Additionally: since there was no pain in paradise when giving birth (cf. Gen 3 where painful childbirth is mentioned as a consequence of the Fall) there neither will be in the New Creation, so it will not do any damage to women to bear many children.

Also, there is no mentioning that the space will be limited.

After all, this question is an adiaphoron, though an interesting one.

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    Jesus did not need to mention procreation in saying there would be no marriage. The Bible is clear on that matter: bastards were not to enter God's congregation (see Deuteronomy 23:2). Perhaps you believe in the hedonistic "free love" philosophy--sex without the marriage. As much woe as sexual crimes have caused on this sinful planet, I think many will be relieved to know they will not have a constant reminder of it in Heaven. Eden had a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that won't be in Heaven, despite being part of the original creation. Some things were for this time, not the next.
    – Biblasia
    Jun 4, 2023 at 20:25
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    Was there actually any birth in paradise?
    – U. Windl
    Jun 4, 2023 at 21:43
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    @Biblasia: Thank you for trying to contribute to the discussion. Your argument with Dtn 23:2 requires a prior definition of a legitimate marriage, so it cannot be used as an element of such a definition (circular argument), not to mention that it's only up to the "tenth generation" (if infinity would have been meant, seven or a multitude of seven would have been used). Saying "sexual crimes" have caused so much woe is like saying religion causes most wars. It's an unfounded argument. Jun 6, 2023 at 7:09
  • @U.Windl: For man we have no sexual conjuction mentioned before the Fall of Man (Gen 4 seems to be the first mentioning if I didn't overlook anything). For animals one can deduce from Gen 2:18 that they at least performed the act, though not explicitely mentioned: There is something man cannot perform alone while the animals, who all have their helpers, seem to have performed it already. Also that none of the animals fits as a helper (note: many animals are helpers in a practical sense to man) implies the sexual nature of the act (cf. Gen 2:22-24). Jun 6, 2023 at 7:17
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    @PatricHartmann Basically I wanted to say that it makes little sense to claim "child birth with no pain" (in paradise) when there were no births there.
    – U. Windl
    Jun 6, 2023 at 7:45

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