Question: Will there be families in heaven?
My Answer: There are two things to consider… the objections to the idea of families in heaven, and some appropriate biblical references.
Why would we not have families in heaven? Well, here are reasons that are sometimes given.
• If we know one another, then that would mean we have memory of this earth. How can we enjoy the blessings of heaven and still remember the suffering and pain of this world?
• If we know one another, then that would mean we would remember relationships. What about our lost loved ones? Would we grieve because they were not in heaven?
• Our relationships in heaven will be higher and better than the earthly relationships we know now. We will not know each other in the same way we do here. This means we will know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, but our earthly relationships will be forgotten totally.
• It seems that Jesus explicitly taught against families being in heaven (see Luke 20:34-35).
A Biblical Inquiry
The bottom line is that we simply do not know what our relationships in heaven will be like. We may consider the following however…
• There are many parallels between the original creation in Genesis and the new creation in Revelation 21 and 22. Since it is evident from Genesis that God created mankind to exist in families, there may be an eternal aspect to this basic human relationship.
• David said that he would go to be with his dead son (2 Samuel 12:23). The comforting implication in David’s words is that he would know him in the next world. It also seems implied that he would know this child as his son.
• Scripture teaches that “love is as strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6). It is hard to believe that the special love that God gives a man and a woman, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and even friends, will be canceled by death.
• The family lineage of Jesus Christ is recognized in heaven—He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
• It is noted that Christ redeems humanity from “tribes” of the earth (Revelation 5:9). A tribe is a group of families or clans. It is a social category that is family based. It is a group that united by kinship. Indeed, the Greek word (phule) is translated “kindred” six times in Revelation.
• There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of testimonies of dying saints who have seen the other side. Many of these have testified to recognizing deceased children, spouses, and siblings. Perhaps they were still using earthly terminology, however, their recognition included familial recognition.
• The teaching of Luke 20:34-35 (and the parallel passages in Matthew 22:29-30 and Mark 12:25) certainly instructs us that our relationships in heaven will not follow present, earthly human relationship patterns. But, we can count on this: Whatever God is going to do with marriages and the families in eterntiy, it is sure to be better than anything here on earth!