We’re back with Randy Alcorn, an expert on what the Bible says about heaven. Randy, thanks for joining us. Here’s a question near to my heart: Will there be baseball in heaven? In other words, we know there will be play in heaven (Isaiah 11:8 and Zechariah 8:5 seem to indicate this), but will competitive sports carry over from this world — games like baseball and basketball and golf?
We know we are speculating on this, but I believe there is every reason to expect there would be. There is continuity. Instead of asking the question, “What will there be on the new earth that will be the same as on the old earth?” we should kind of turn it around. What would we expect to be different? Well, we know there won’t be sin. We’re waiting for the “new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). We know that for sure. So there won’t be sin.
I actually had a pastor who was disagreeing with my comment — that I would expect there to be sports on the new earth — tell me, “Now when we say ‘sports in heaven,’ there is the present heaven and the pre-resurrection heaven.” I am not even talking about that. I am talking about the eternal heavens after the resurrection that will actually be centered on the new earth — the new heavens and new earth — a physical realm. And he said, “Well, yeah, but there couldn’t be sports, because sports bring out the worst in us. Sports make us sin.”
I said, “First of all, sports don’t make us sin, but certainly I know what you are talking about. I coached high school tennis for many years. I have seen guys at their worst. But also, I have seen them at their best in sports.” He said, “Well, yeah, but we can’t have anybody lose ever in a game in heaven.” And I am thinking, “Well, why not? Why could we never lose?” It is okay to lose. It is okay to have a competition and not have it all be about you.
I even used this illustration: When I played tennis with my guys that I was coaching, I wanted them to develop to the point where they were finally able to beat me, and I celebrated with them — trying as hard as I could to win — when they did beat me. And this, I think, shows that even in this life we can have vested interest in someone else’s success. But certainly on the new earth sin won’t be there. As Paul Helm says, “We will not sin. We won’t want to sin. We won’t want to want to sin.” And so that just won’t be part of our world.
So, I would say, Where did sports come from? Who gave us the ingenuity to even create them as human beings? Clearly it is from God. We are made in his image. Satan did not come up with the idea of sports.