Will we be like ghosts floating in heaven?

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By BibleAsk Team


The question of whether the saints will be like ghosts floating in heaven or not, has fascinated humanity for millennia, with various religious traditions offering diverse perspectives on what awaits beyond the veil of mortality. In Christian theology, the resurrection of the dead plays a central role, promising believers a glorious transformation into incorruptible beings in the presence of God. This exploration seeks to delve into the biblical teachings on the nature of resurrection bodies, addressing common misconceptions and illuminating the hope that awaits God’s faithful.

The Promise of Resurrection

A. Christ’s Resurrection as the Prototype:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:20 – “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
  2. Philippians 3:20-21 – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ serves as the prototype and guarantee of the future resurrection of believers. Christ’s victory over sin and death inaugurates a new era of hope for humanity, offering the promise of transformation and eternal life to all who are united with Him through faith.

B. The Hope of the Saints:

  1. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

Believers eagerly anticipate the day of resurrection, when the perishable will be clothed with imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. This transformation signifies not only the defeat of death but also the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan, restoring humanity to its intended glory and fellowship with God.

The Nature of Resurrection Bodies

A. Like Christ’s Glorious Body:

  1. Luke 24:36-43 – Jesus appears to His disciples after His resurrection, demonstrating His bodily presence and eating with them.
  2. 1 John 3:2 – “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

The New Testament affirms that the resurrection bodies of believers will be like that of Jesus Christ after His resurrection. Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances emphasize His physicality and continuity with His pre-resurrection body, dispelling notions of a disembodied existence in the afterlife.

B. Bodies of Flesh and Bones:

  1. Luke 24:39 – “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
  2. Philippians 3:21 – “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the resurrection bodies of believers will not be ethereal or immaterial but will possess tangible flesh and bones. Jesus’ post-resurrection interactions with His disciples underscore the physicality of His resurrected body, reassuring believers of the reality of their future bodily existence.

Dispelling Misconceptions

A. Ghostly Existence:

  1. Luke 24:37 – “But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.”
  2. Acts 1:9-11 – Jesus’ ascension into heaven in bodily form, witnessed by His disciples.

The idea of believers existing as disembodied spirits or ghosts in the afterlife contradicts the biblical portrayal of resurrection. Jesus’ disciples initially mistook Him for a spirit when He appeared to them after His resurrection, highlighting their unfamiliarity with the concept of bodily resurrection. However, Jesus’ subsequent actions and teachings affirm the physicality of His resurrected body and the reality of bodily existence in the heavenly realm.

B. Eternal Disembodiment:

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 – “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
  2. Revelation 21:1-4 – The vision of the new heaven and new earth, where God dwells with His people.

While the apostle Paul speaks of a heavenly dwelling or “building from God” in 2 Corinthians 5, this does not imply eternal disembodiment but rather receving immortal bodies. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan involves the restoration and renewal of all creation, including the resurrection and glorification of believers in resurrected bodies, in which they will dwell in the presence of God forever.

Biblical Perspective of the Saints in Heaven

The Bible gives a picture of heaven where real people will be doing real things as follows:

  1. Have real flesh and bone bodies (Philippians 3:20, 21).
  2. Celebrate the love and companionship of God (Revelation 21:3; (Isaiah 66:22, 23 ).
  3. Enjoy their children (Isaiah 65:23).
  4. “Build houses and inhabit them” (Isaiah 65:21).
  5. “Plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (Isaiah 65:21).
  6. Travel and explore without ever becoming weary (Isaiah 40:31).
  7. Realize their fondest ambitions (Psalms 37:3, 4; Isaiah 65:24).
  8. Find pleasure in the work of their hands (Isaiah 65:22).
  9. Socialize with loved ones (Matthew 8:11; Revelation 7:9-17).
  10. Have optimum health (Isaiah 35:5,6; Philippians 3:21).
  11. Appreciate their animals (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25).
  12. Experience the beauty of nature (Ezekiel 47:12; Isaiah 35:1, 2).
  13. Be delivered forever from death, pain, sickness and all the consequences of sin (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 22:3; Isaiah 65:23).

A person who misses out on heaven has made the ultimate mistake of his life

Conclusion

In conclusion, the biblical teachings on the resurrection of the dead offer a profound and hopeful vision of the afterlife for believers. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the resurrection bodies of saints will not be ethereal or ghostly but will possess tangible flesh and bones, resembling the glorious body of Jesus Christ after His resurrection. This assurance of bodily resurrection underscores the similarities between the present life and the future kingdom of God, affirming the significance of physicality and embodiment in God’s redemptive plan.

As believers anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promises, may they find comfort and encouragement in the hope of resurrection and the assurance of eternal fellowship with God in glorified bodies, experiencing the fullness of joy and life in His presence.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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