I understand and certainly accept the logic of good and evil on earth and why evil is necessary in order for man to have free will. My question is, how will this be in heaven? It doesn’t appear that one can "sin" in heaven due to the explanation given to the rich man and Lazarus about the "great chasm", but if so, why not? What about the angels? Do they have "free will"? It would appear that they do because of the fall of Satan, but if so, how is it that they do not sin regularly as man does? If we continue to have free will in heaven, how is it that we won’t sin? And if the answer is that we will be "remade" in heaven to be able to not sin then why couldn’t we have been made like that originally? It seems that would have saved a lot of trouble!


It is my opinion that you are asking one of the absolute best questions one can ask about Christian theology.  I have puzzled over this question much and for a long time.  There is a sense in which the answer to this question is not important to us as humans.  Practical questions for us are ones which deal with things of this life.  One can argue that such questions are best left to faith and trust in God.  We will find out when we get there. 

For me, I cannot blow off such a question so easily.  There are aspects of the human condition which are so ingrained and "natural" to our thinking that, for myself, I cannot conceive of existence without them.  These include the positive role of suffering in our lives and the the possession of free will.  How can there be joy without suffering?  In the human condition there is no joy without suffering.  Indeed I cannot conceive of a place with one but not the other.  If I understand heaven and hell correctly, each has only one but not the other.  As for free will, how can we experience true love if love does not come from a will which is free to give or to withhold that love?  Again, I cannot understand how we can have one without the other.  Your question is intriguing.  Will we, like the angels, have some sort of free will, but one which is nevertheless radically different from the freedom of will we have in the human condition?  My heart tells me yes, but that is not a source of good authority.  In the scene in Revelation 4 in which throngs give glory and honor to God, there is no dissenting voice.  When we are in heaven, will we love everyone exactly equally?  Will we have relationships with one another?  Will we have the freedom to sin?  It seems not because Revelation 21 describes a place with no suffering.  Sin causes suffering.

Here is one way of viewing it.  For those who have devoted their heart and energy to trying to love God and to remaining undefiled, they are granted this wish in heaven.  Those who have wanted all along to give God all their heart and their pure devotion will be made able to do so in heaven.

Here is the problem with this question as I see it.  The Bible only gives very obtuse information.  Botton line, I believe we are left to speculate and to imagine.  The descriptions of "life" in heaven are very symbolic.  They lack details. The rational person in me wants answers to these questions.   I am afraid we are left with statements such as that in 1 Corinthians 2:9.  "No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has preparedfor those who love him."  Yet Paul follows this with the enigmatic statement, "…but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."  We are left in a position in which we must trust in the provenance of God.  Jesus said, concerning heaven, "Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms."  Perhaps the writer of Hebrews said it best.  "Now faith is being… certain of what we do not see.  That is what the ancients were commended for." (Hebrews 11:1)

I wish I could give you a straight answer, but, as interesting and important as your question is, my answer is that we will have to wait and see.

John Oakes

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