What Age Will I Appear in Heaven? (Episode 363)
The following is a transcript of the audio.
Randy Alcorn joins us one last time for Heaven Week, filling in for John Piper. Randy, I have one last question for you—for now at least. We know the human body changes radically from conception to age 90. So at what stage in bodily progression will our resurrected bodies appear? We are told there will be children in heaven. Will there be elderly folks? Will there be a range of age appearances? Will we appear the age in which we died (like Jesus, apparently) — or younger or older? Or will everyone appear to be 25-years-old, in the prime of life?
This is another one of those areas where we have to speculate. We don’t have the direct biblical teaching on this, but we do have the direct biblical teaching of having real actual human bodies as created by God not subject to sin and death and suffering. We have the continuity of the appearance that we would assume that as Jesus looked like the Jesus that he was, we will look like the people that we were. You will look like Tony. I will look like Randy. We will be able to recognize each other, all that.
But I think in terms of the challenge of when an elderly person dies will that person look elderly, we would assume not, because there is a peak of physical vitality in this life and whatever that age is I know I am passed it.
But maybe it was the 20s. I don’t know. But... so we still have the benefits of having many good things about us that we develop more with age, but physically there is the passing of a peak. And this is why historically many theologians speculated—it was all speculation, I guess you would have to say—that it was perhaps the age of Jesus when he died, you know, our perfect Savior and often believing that he died either at age 30 or age 33, depending on different perspectives. And Peter Lombard argued that, medieval theologian.
Thomas Aquinas made the same arguments that Christ when he died he said was 33 and therefore we will all be 33 in the resurrection. Well, I am not sure you can totally fall for that logic, but it is a great thought. It is a great idea and it is certainly possible. And I think that one of the interesting dynamics of what age we will be in heaven comes from an understanding of all the research that has been done on DNA, because DNA... if our resurrected bodies have DNA and DNA could actually be a means that God uses, of course, he doesn’t need to use a means, but when they found the DNA of these, you know, Egyptian Pharaohs that are thousands of years old, it is actual DNA and if we had the ability to do, could reconstruct a person, a clone, but, you know, and that itself, I think, suggests that there could be a continuity between us at our peaks.
Now then the question in the resurrection and so that the older person becomes a younger person again, but in a body without suffering. However, what about those who have never reached that peak? What about children who died? Well, we do have those passages in Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 65 that seem to clearly have some children on the new earth. And so I think one possibility with that is they could be resurrected at the age they were when they died. If that is the case then God would not fast forward. He would not skip any stage. And I think in some ways that would almost make sense that there would not be a skipping of stages, but that they as children could literally grow up on the new earth.
Now if that is the case — and that is speculation — but to me it would fit beautifully with Luke six and other passages where God brings comfort to the mourners and in the sense of you have been through this, but I will compensate in the world to come in the resurrection. You have experienced mourning. I will give you laughter. You were deprived of raising a child who died at a young age. Maybe you will be able to be there with your child as he or she grows up on the new earth without threat of death, harm, abuse or anything else. And to me somehow I just believe it would be just like our God to perhaps do that. And then the rejoicing there will be in contrast to the loss and the misery and the suffering on earth will be celebrated for all eternity because everybody will know: You know what? I loved raising my kids on the old earth, but, wow, to have grown up here.
And with that profound thought, Heaven Week must come to an end. Such a rich week, thank you Randy! There’s so much more to learn and discuss about heaven. For more see Randy’s bestselling book, simply titled Heaven. And be sure to check out his ministry, Eternal Perspective Ministries online at epm.org. We appreciated hearing from our first podcast guest Randy Alcorn, and perhaps well do this again in the near future. But next week we return with all new episodes from John Piper. Monday, I’ll ask Pastor John if wedding and engagement rings are a waste of money. Until then, I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanks for listening to the Ask Pastor John podcast. Have a great weekend!