Sunday, May 17, 2020

Will we eat and sleep in heaven?

It might be asked why the resurrection of the body is necessary if heaven/the intermediate state can simulate embodied experience. After all, even ordinary dreams can vividly simulate embodied experience. 

One thing that can't be simulated is starting a new family. It takes a body to procreate. In the past I've done several posts that question the traditional interpretation of Mt 22:23-33 (par. Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40). I won't revisit that issue here. 

But take the question of whether we will eat in heaven. It's possible for God to simulate the sense of eating food. In principle, a disembodied soul could be given that experience. 

But as a rule, God does through natural means what can be done by natural means and reserves the miraculous for what can only be done miraculously. 

Not only is eating a pleasant physical activity in its own right, but a social activity. It makes sense if the saints resume eating in the final state, on the new earth. Although it doesn't absolutely require a body to simulate the experience, it seems less fitting in heaven.

Or take the question of whether we will sleep in heaven. Having a disembodied soul experience simulated sleep is even more artificial than simulating consumption. 

Not only is sleeping a physically pleasant experience, but so are pleasant dreams. Sometimes we have nightmares, but that's because we live in a fallen world. Since heaven is already like a collective dream, orchestrated by God, simulated dreams would be highly artificial. It makes sense if God reserves the resumption of sleeping and dreaming for the world to come–when our bodies are restored. 


  1. I wonder, too, what those who are currently in hell do? Food is definitely pleasurable and good, and communal, but these are gifts from God, something people in hell can't enjoy by definition. Eating, sleeping, and communal activities occupy so much of our time on earth, and in heaven, so if these are absent in hell, what will they do with all that time?

  2. What about reading? I have more books than I'll ever get to in my lifetime, will there be a most awesome theological library in heaven ;)

  3. What about the parable of the Talents and the parable of the Minas? In both the believers reward is authority over something. Will there be work in heaven? We will continue to be human, like Adam was created. Will everything in heaven be supernatural? For example if I want an apple, do I just think apple and it's there? Or do I perhaps have to go get an apple? That would imply supply and demand.