Do we retain our ethnicities in heaven?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Pergamum, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I think we retain our ethnicities in heaven. But others point out "new bodies."

    So, do you think we retain our ethnic identities in heaven? And why or why not?
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I'd like to make sure I understand what you mean. As I use the word ethnicity, it is not really about our bodies. It has to do with shared cultural characteristics, like the language you speak.

    The Bible does speak of people with different languages all praising God together in heaven. This suggests some ethnicity with remain, though I would expect these differences to dissipate over time.

    Racial differences are another matter. The Bible hardly seems to acknowledge these as categories at all, although biologists can point to specific genetic markers that determine body features such as skin color. My guess is that these markers will remain to some extent, mostly because we have no statements to suggest that getting an incorruptible body means they are removed. But I also see no hint in the Bible that these differences will matter much.

    The present-day impulse to celebrate diversity has led some believers to picture heaven as the ultimate place of diversity where all the racial differences God created are celebrated. When I hear that, I'm inclined to question it. It does seem there will be some celebration of our national and ethnic diversities, focusing on how God saved people out of all nations and languages. But the celebration of racial diversity is an idea largely absent from Scripture. And the Bible's end-times emphasis overall is more set on celebrating our unity than on diversity, it seems to me.

    I'm generally inclined to be interested in nationality and ethnicity and in getting to know people better by understanding some of these differences, but I have little interest in categorizing people racially. It seems to matter mostly because it often has a role in determining one's ethnicity. Other than that, it has little to say about the real, inner person.
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  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    A related question: Some hold that nations will be judged as nations as well. I am to sure how that would work. Do you believe that and how would that work?
  4. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" I see no reason whatsoever that the racial differences will be erased in Heaven. We will be identifiable, just as Christ was identifiable after being resurrected. Racial difference, anyway, is more than just the colour of our skin so I don't see how they can be removed without removing fundamentally altering the individual. It wouldn't be resurrection so much as creation. But I see no reason, either, that these differences will be the barriers they are today. Revelation is pretty clear that, as mentioned above, those of all the tribes and tongues and nations will be united in harmony praising God. The celebration of diversity which is promoted by the critical race heretics is materialism of the most obnoxious sort and they clearly have no concept of what Heaven will be (they have no concept of the Christian life either, but anyway).
  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    You mean I'll get to eat pit-cooked pulled pork and yell, "How 'bout them Dawgs?" :)

    Seriously, the scriptures don't seem to say much on the topic. We have hints that we'll be recognizable as individuals.

    Language is most intriguing to me and we can see on the day of Pentecost that they were kept distinct. But the unity of all believers worshipping with one language is appealing too.
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If some from every tongue, tribe, and language will be before the throne, then I must conclude that they will still retain their tongue, tribe, and nation.
  7. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with this take.

    Also, to suggest that we would be able to recognize people based on race and outer appearance seems to contradict scripture. Overtime we will shine with a radiance that would put the glow of Moses coming off of mount Sinai to shame. Moses was only in the presence of God for such a short while and we will be in His presence for eternity. Even the Angels in the presence of God have to keep their entire bodies hidden behind their wings due to the glory and Beauty of the One seated on the throne. No where in scripture does it suggest that we will have anyway of hiding ourselves from His Glorious Presence.
  8. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Not sure really since there were people who didn’t recognize Jesus at first. I do believe we’ll be able to fly when we get new bodies and a new earth!
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Revelation speaks of "every tribe, tongue, people, and nation."
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Not if our human nature is essentially the same then as now. :) Of course this off topic.
  11. Ben Chomp

    Ben Chomp Puritan Board Freshman

    Our new bodies are continuous with the bodies that die. The bodies that die are a seed form of the new bodies that we will receive, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15. There is continuity between the seed and the flower.

    God seems to like diversity. Sin has corrupted diversity. God created racial diversity but sin has created racism. God has allowed for cultural diversity and we know that the kings of the earth will bring their glory into the heavenly Jerusalem. But every culture is tainted with sin.

    Sin will be removed, but I don't see why diversity would be removed.
  12. Ben Chomp

    Ben Chomp Puritan Board Freshman

    At Pentecost language was no longer a barrier between people. Diverse languages still existed, but there seemed to be a miraculous understanding.

    Because of sin we have miscommunication and barriers that exist even within one language. Our words are not pure. Wittgenstein believed that if we could simply discover or create the perfect language that most of our other problems would also be solved.

    In heaven it may be that diverse languages still exist, but they only serve to enhance understanding and communication rather than hinder it. Maybe the fact that there will be 1,000 words for "glory" will only enhance our understanding of glory. Or maybe there will be one perfect word for "glory".
  13. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    I assume you refer to the following:
    Revelation of John 5:9-10
    And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.
    It seems like the focus is the kingdom of God is coming from all of the world, not that the groups of people are recognizable.:2cents:
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Both. Unless we are going to look like Robots or all be some generic color, I think we will retain some aspect of our ethnicity.
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