Featured Stubbed toes in the new creation

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Jack K, Dec 2, 2019 at 8:47 AM.

  1. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    In class yesterday, a nine-year-old made the comment that our resurrected bodies will no longer be able to feel any pain. Her example was that if we are walking along and stub our toe, it won't hurt.

    I hesitated to affirm that, and we had a brief conversation about our resurrected bodies, the new creation, and what we do and do not know about these things. I told her she might be right, but we don't know enough to be sure.

    Certainly, our resurrected bodies will not die, but does being "incorruptible" mean not able to feel any sense of pain? And certainly, our future life with God will mean no more "mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore" (Revelation 21:4), but the context there seems to be the end of evil and death and serious suffering, and the comfort of being with God, rather than stubbed toes. So I hesitated, mostly because it feels to me like some kind of pain response is a natural and good part of being fully human and having a truly human body, and to assert that we won't feel anything when we stub a toe sounds dangerously close to imagining an ethereal, less-than-bodily existence.

    But was I right? How should I have responded?
  2. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Surely we can say that we won't step on LEGOs in the New Creation though, right?
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  3. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I don't know, never thought about it. I think you gave her sound advice. We shouldn't speculate outside of what we know. But that was a hilarious story!
  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It's a good example of the sort of question that regularly comes up when you teach kids, and it's a big part of what I like about teaching kids. In this case, I found I hadn't thought much about it either, perhaps not enough, and didn't feel ready with a good answer. I'm second-guessing myself today, and want to learn more or hear a few further ideas.
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Absolutely! In that case, we are talking about one of the great evils resulting from the fall, for sure. ;)
  6. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    I think it is always wise to show hesitation if unsure of an answer. Too many times men, in order to avoid "seeming" ignorant, will shoot falsehoods from the hip instead of simply saying "let me get back with you".

    That said...I believe there will be no more pain in heaven. So I would praise the Lord for the simple truth exclaimed by this 9 year old and have a follow-up conversation commending the conclusion she drew from your likely faithful teaching. So maybe we will still stub our toes in heaven or maybe not, but regardless, there will be no more physical or spiritual pain.:2cents:
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  7. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    See Romans 17, Ephesians 7 and Hebrews 14. These passages are the only ones off the top of my head that will help.

  8. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Full confession: I googled Romans 17:hunter:
  9. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Why, in a state of glory, would anyone stub a toe to begin with? There would be no falls ( no pun intended).
  10. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    Can you stub toes on a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15)?
  11. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Are you telling me you have never had your spiritual toes stepped on?:flamingscot:
  12. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    I would put this matter in the "can God build a rock that He cannot move?" bucket.
  13. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    Once or twice. Done it myself. Thanks for the light:detective:

    Though, in 1 Corinthians 15 we are talking about a body that transcends ours like a flower does its seed. It's hard to say we are comparing apples with apples.

    Christ walked through locked doors. I'm sure that He's worked out something in the mansions He is preparing us.
  14. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    My guess is toe stubbing is a result of the noetic effect of the fall...
  15. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I simply see Heaven as a place of no pain whatsoever. The Bible does teach that as you pointed out, so I would rest there and not force a context of uncertainty on the passage. Of course though, we won't know until we're there.
  16. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    You mean he opened doors very subtly? ;)
  17. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, may that be so!
  18. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Fascinating question. We can't know, but would momentary pain be a blessing saying: "don't keep doing this," which we would willingly obey out of respect for our Creator?
  19. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    That's the core question. But is there a sure answer, or do we just not know with certainty?

    That seems plausible to me. A life in which nothing ever goes wrong would seem to be a life with no learning and growth, which does not seem very creaturely. Might things sometimes go wrong (like a stubbed toe), but not in a way that they frustrate us as they do now in this fallen world? If so, it seems sensible to think our own glorified nature would be one reason such happenings are blessings in our lives.
  20. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    I've been looking forward to skydiving without a parachute, face-planting into a golden street, and walking away rejoicing.
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  21. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    An observation that is broadly relevant to the OP:

    All ugliness of the body is the result of sin, and the body of every redeemed man shall at last be perfect in beauty, and yet the beauty shall be as various in the redeemed as their individuality.

    Thomas E. Peck, Notes on the Acts of the Apostles in Miscellanies of Rev. Thomas E. Peck, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Theology in the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, ed. T. C. Johnson (3 vols, Richmond VA: The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1895-97), 3: 117.
  22. Jo_Was

    Jo_Was Puritan Board Freshman

    Indeed! Children do not typically have the fear that adults have of asking a "stupid question" and so they often ask very interesting, pointed questions!

    I have had the privilege of teaching middle schoolers in Sunday School and it is not just interesting but sometimes insightful the types of things they are perceptive about or show concern over through their questions.

    I have established a tactic that, when faced with a question textually, I often put it back on the students to do a "Bible drill" of sorts to think if they know about the context or ways we can answer the question based on their Biblical knowledge--like Where can we go to explore this? What Scriptures talk about or address this? Or what we could glean from the Confession or catechism we hold to (this works well because right now we are in the Heidelberg Catechism). That is more doable I think for older students, but it often allows me to reemphasize the importance of the Biblical text and the openness of having questions that we may not have the full answer to, but using the resources we have such as Scripture, preaching, commentaries, catechism/confession, etc. I also like to tease them that if they want to learn further an answer that is either unknown by me or simply "too big" of a topic for them to really have sufficient understanding, it may take time, maturity, and a PhD if they want to be satisfied, and they'll just have to return to Mrs. Wasdin in a few decades and engage me in discourse about the topic. I think poignantly about a recent question I had from a student that was basically the infra/supralapsarian debate in a nutshell but rather than necessarily going into all of the philosophical nuances, shared how the Reformed can generally approach the issue and encouraged him to become a philosopher (half-joking, though some students in the class have expressed interest in church history and philosophy). He might not do that last bit, but kids are surprisingly much more OK with nuance, ambiguity, or mystery than adults are. So it's much easier to express "I don't know" or "It's complicated" and turn it back to a conversation that gets more at the heart.

    That said, the one thing they do know for certain is Augustine's Four-fold State of Man because that just so happens that it helps to answer a lot of questions that come up in my class lately and it's never to early!

    TL;DR - Children are amazing sponges and they sometimes like to feel like real hoity-toity philosphers and big-T theologians when you give them the chance to explore something "big" and "important." :D
  23. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I wouldn't want to stub my toe in heaven...
  24. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Has @Joshua hacked your account? :violin:
  25. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I absorbed wisdom through osmosis.
  26. James 1689

    James 1689 Puritan Board Freshman

    I discussed this way to deep :) Like one of those how many angels could stand on a pin head conversations. My thought was could we feel warmth or cold, and if so, could we feel to much warmth or cold. That's when the bottom fell out and we begin discussing why there would be no thorns in heaven to stick us :) Yeah, I am going to just stop thinking on this and wait for the glorified body :) Good question and thanks for the interesting conversations brother
  27. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

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