KEY THOT: Jesus says that in the resurrection, marriage will no longer be necessary as we will then be “equal to angels and are sons of God”. In order to understand why marriage is no longer a necessary relationship in heaven, we have to go back to the original purpose of marriage. There are three main reasons why God instituted marriage:
- Procreation: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). It takes a man and a woman coming together to populate the empty earth;
- Companionship: “It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). Man was not created to live alone, for he needs relationships to live and work in this world. So Eve was created to complete (not compete) with Adam. She is to be his friend to share his vision and his partner to support his work.
- Imago Dei (God’s Image): “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). It takes both male and female coming together as man and wife to fully reflect God’s image on earth, for God’s image is shared between the man (the tough one) and his wife (the tender one). Together, Adam and Eve were called as God’s regents to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). The intention is that the created order may know and experience its Creator in the toughness of man and the tenderness of the woman.
But once we have attained the resurrection, the three-fold purpose of marriage is fulfilled and there is no reason to continue that institution.
Firstly in the resurrection, we shall have new immortal bodies that are eternal. The full number of God’s children would have been called and completed in heaven’s roll. Our resurrection bodies would neither decay nor deteriorate nor die. So, procreation is unnecessary as a “replacement” strategy for every generation that lived and died in this world to continue the human-divine legacy. There will always be sons and daughters of God to rule and reign with Christ in God's new heavens and new earth.
Secondly, relationship between brothers and sisters of the Father who lives among them will be so perfect and excellent that it would satisfy completely our need for companionship. God describes loneliness as the "defect" in all humans, beginning with Adam. So Eve was created to remedy that defect. But in the resurrection, loneliness will be banished forever because of the new quality of the heavenly relationships as brothers and sisters of our Father. In comparison, the husband-wife relationship on earth would taste like milk and water. We wouldn’t want to go back to that anymore.
Finally, the imago Dei (which is now the image of Christ) would be perfected in every believer, whether male or female. So we don't need male and female coming together to reflect fully the glory of God. Everyone will be reflecting the toughness and tenderness of Christ in himself or herself. In fact, gender may no longer be a necessary category, for we will be like angels who are neither male or female.
So, marriage is a temporary and temporal institution to fulfill God’s purpose in this created order. If we cannot fulfill God's original purpose in marriage, it's better to stay unmarried, for this is just a temporary state which will be irrelevant the moment we enter into glory.
Father, thank You that marriage is a temporary and temporal institution to fulfill Your purpose. May we live out its purpose while we are here, for in heaven it will not be recalled. Amen.