What Will We Be Like in Heaven?

What Does the Bible Say About the Resurrection Body?

Glimpse of Heaven
Photo Source: Pixabay

Simply put, we will be who we are right now in heaven. You will be you, and I will be me. There's nothing in the Bible to indicate that we'll become chubby cherubsghosts, or other worldly creatures.

I'll still look like me, and you will still look like you. We will recognize each other. Scripture gives us a pattern for what we'll be like in heaven when we look to Jesus Christ and his resurrected body.

1 John 3:2 says, "Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." (NLT, bold emphasis added.)

1 Corinthians 15:49 tells us, "Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man." (NLT, bold emphasis added.)

While there's certainly much we won't know until we get there, Scripture gives us a glimpse of our future selves in heaven.

What Will We Look Like in Heaven?

We will be human beings--unique individuals--just as we are now. In our present state, we have DNA and fingerprints unlike anyone else. The same will be true in heaven. Our personhood and identity will be intact, but in a reconstructed form.

We will be called by name in heaven. Jesus referred to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Lazarus in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:11, Luke 16:25).

One thing we can count on, our bodies will be far better than they are right now:

He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.  (Philippians 3:21, NLT)

God created our bodies, but they were corrupted by sin and subjected to death (Romans 7:24).

  Heaven promises a renewed, sinless body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).

These two passages give us a good picture of Jesus' resurrected body:

But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

“Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.  (Luke 24:37–43, NLT)

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.  As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! (John 20:19–20, NLT)

Jesus' resurrected body had substance. The disciples could touch and feel him. Jesus ate food and spoke with the apostles.

Although we may have some changes in our appearance, we will know each other in heaven.

A few times when Jesus appeared to people, they did not recognize him at first (John 20:15, Luke 24:13-35). But after spending time in the Lord's presence, they knew who he was, suggesting that our inner identity will stand out beyond any changes we experience.

It's possible that those who die in old age will all be restored to their prime years in heaven. Randy Alcorn's novels about heaven suggest that parents may see their children as young, and children may see their parents as older. In his book, In Light of Eternity, Alcorn supposes that our age in heaven could change according to the places, purposes, and people we are with:  "I expect heaven won't be a place of 'no ages' but of 'all ages.'"

We will not be genderless in heaven. Matthew 22:30 says, "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (NIV)  Some interpret this verse to mean that we will be genderless like the angels.

  But when Mary first saw Jesus in his newly resurrection body, she referred to him as "sir," thinking he was the gardener.

The verse simply means that there will be no more marriages in heaven between humans because we will be united with Christ as his bride. This does not negate the likelihood of a close relationship with our spouse in heaven.

Eating and Drinking in Heaven

Jesus not only ate food in his resurrected form, he spoke of us eating and drinking in heaven (Luke 14:15; 22:18). And he said he would drink wine with the apostles again in heaven (Matthew 26:29).

In Revelation 7:16, the Bible tells us there will be no hunger and thirst in heaven. Apparently we won't need life-sustaining elements like food, drink, air to breathe and shelter. Nevertheless, we will enjoy them in eternity. 

A Spiritual Body

Our resurrected body will be an actual "spiritual" body  (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) with substance, capable of talking, walking, touching and being touched.  Yet, in heaven we will be able to appear and disappear (John 20:19, Luke 24:31).

In Acts 1:9, Jesus ascended into heaven, defying the laws of physics. It's thrilling to consider that flying is likely one way that we'll move about in heaven.

A Body Before the Resurrection of the Dead

Scripture indicates that we will have some form of heavenly body even before our resurrection. Perhaps it will be as Alcorn calls it, a "temporary preresurrection body."

  • In Luke 16:19-26, the rich man and Lazarus have physical descriptions of a body including fingers and a tongue.
  • In Revelation 6:11, those who have died and are in heaven before the resurrection are wearing white robes.
  • According to 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, when we die, but before the resurrection, we will leave our earthly bodes and be clothed in our heavenly dwelling.

Paul Longed for His Heavenly Body

The Apostle Paul yearned for his new life in heaven. He considered his earthly body to be merely a tent or a temporary home. He knew that a gloriously transformed body was waiting for him to inhabit in heaven:

We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. ... So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. ... Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.  (2 Corinthians 5:2-8, NLT)

The Bible is clear--we will be changed in heaven. We will receive a vibrant, renewed body.  If you're older than 50, you probably just shouted hallelujah. You will still be you, and I will still be me, only new and improved.

And best of all, we will finally be at home--in the place we were made for--in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord and God the Father