Some of us who struggle with our waistlines have concerns that we will still be overweight in heaven. We are worried about having to choose the low-calorie option at the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9) and wearing a tight white robe for all eternity. Actually, it’s not a trivial question. It raises very important issues: what will we look like in heaven? Will we have crooked teeth, bald heads and knobbly knees? And what about those with lost limbs, scars or deformities?
These are important and sensitive issues, but they are also tricky ones. The Bible talks a lot about believers being raised from the dead and going to be ‘with the Lord’ forever but it offers us few details. Our best information comes from the descriptions of Jesus after the resurrection and from teaching in the letters, especially by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Given our limited data, the safest answer to most questions to do with heaven is simply ‘we don’t know’. Nevertheless, some things can be said and let me suggest five certainties that I find in the Bible that are helpful.
First, heaven is going to be a joyful place of fulfilment and perfection where we who have followed Christ will experience the full presence of God and spend an eternity safe from any form of anxiety, pain, grief, suffering or evil. And ‘evil’ includes fear, shame, disgust and self-loathing.
Second, heaven is a real, solid place and we who, thanks to Jesus, get there are going to be equally real and solid. Any idea of faint, transparent spirits holding harps and sitting on fluffy clouds should be ignored. In heaven we will have bodies that are more solid than those we have at the moment.
Third, in heaven we will be very different to what we are now; as different, Paul says, as a seed and the plant or tree that it grows into (1 Corinthians 15:36–37). That extraordinary change may explain why we are told so little about the resurrection body: it would be hard to explain to a tadpole what it’s like to jump like a frog, or to a caterpillar what it’s like to fly like a butterfly.
Fourth, our new bodies will be perfect and glorious. Now although that’s an idea that greatly appeals to me when I look in the mirror, step on the scales or go to the doctor, neither I, nor anybody else, knows exactly what that means. Nevertheless, what we will have will be a definite improvement on the disintegrating bodies we have now. Those of us who follow Christ are not going to merely get some cosmetic makeover, but a whole-body upgrade!
Fifth, despite this extraordinary change we will, however, keep our identity in heaven. If you have put your faith in Jesus, then it is you personally who will be in heaven. The disciples were in no doubt that the Jesus who met with them after the resurrection was the same man they had followed for three years. The same principle will apply in heaven: despite our upgraded bodies you will still be you and I will still be me.
Because heaven is a place of perfection, I think we will each have a perfect body in shape and size. We definitely won’t be visiting Weight Watchers. We will be whole and healthy, no pains, aches, no diseases and with 20:20 vision as there will be so much to see.
Will I be fat in heaven? No! I will be happy and content with everything.
This is an excerpt from J.John’s latest book, “Will I be Fat in Heaven? And Other Curious Questions,” which is now available for pre-order.
Canon J.John has been an evangelist for four decades. He has spoken in towns, cities and universities in 69 countries. As an evangelist, minister, speaker, broadcaster and writer, J.John communicates the Christian faith in a practical way. He has his own weekly TV program, which is broadcast globally, and a number of podcasts. He has written several books across a range of subjects including the ‘Theology for Little People’ series to help children understand biblical truth. J.John lives near London in England. He is married to Killy and is a father and grandfather.