Heaven: Will We Have Desires?

by Randy Alcorn

We’ll have many desires in Heaven, but they won’t be unholy desires. Everything we want will be good. Our desires will please God. All will be right with the world, nothing forbidden. When a father cooks steaks on the barbecue grill, he wants his family to listen to them sizzle and eagerly desire to eat them. God created our desires and every object we desire. He loves it when our mouths water for what He’s prepared for us. When we enjoy it, we’ll be enjoying him.

One of the greatest things about Heaven is that we’ll no longer have to battle our desires. They’ll always be pure, attending to their proper objects. We’ll enjoy food without gluttony and eating disorders. We’ll express admiration and affection without lust, fornication, or betrayal. Those simply won’t exist.

I tried to express that in my novel Safely HomeWhen one of the characters reaches Heaven, he has a conversation with the King: “I feel like I’m drinking from the Source of the Stream. Does this mean I’ll feel no more longing?” The King—the Source—replies, “You will have the sweet longing of desire that can be fulfilled and shall be, again and again and again. [Heaven] is not the absence of longing but its fulfillment. Heaven is not the absence of itches; it is the satisfying scratch for every itch.” [1]

Not long after we finish one meal, we start looking forward to the next. When a fun ride is over, we want to go on it again. Anticipation, desire, is a big part of joy. Since we’ll be resurrected people in a resurrected universe, why would that change?

Christianity is unique in its perspective of our desires, teaching that they will be sanctified and fulfilled on the New Earth. Conversely, the Buddhist concept of deliverance teaches that one day people’s desires will be eliminated. That’s radically different. Christianity teaches that Jesus takes our sins away while redeeming our desires. Desire is an essential part of humanity, a part that God built into people before sin cast its dark shadow on earth. I’m looking forward to having my desires redeemed. (Even now, as redeemed children of God, we get tastes of that, don’t we?)

Won’t it be wonderful to be free from uncertainty about our desires? We often wonder, Is it good or bad for me to want this thing or that award or his approval or her appreciation? Sometimes I don’t know which desires are right and which aren’t. I long to be released from the uncertainty and the doubt. I long to be capable of always wanting what’s good and right.

In C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, his characters arrive in New Narnia. Lucy says, “I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.” [2]Augustine expressed a similar thought: “Love God and do as you please.” [3] We will love God wholeheartedly—and therefore will want to do only what pleases Him.

God placed just one restriction on Adam and Eve in Eden, and when they disregarded it, the universe unraveled. On the New Earth, that test will no longer be before us. God’s law, the expression of His attributes, will be written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). No rules will be needed, for our hearts will be given over to God. David said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Why? Because when we delight in God and abide in Him, whatever we want will be exactly what he wants for us.

What we should do will at last be identical with what we want to do. There will be no difference between duty and joy.

Excerpted from Randy’s book Heaven.

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