While I was getting my hair cut my hairdresser related to me a question one of her young children asked about whether or not poop smelled in Heaven. The next day I received the following email.
Remember the question T asked? Does poop smell in heaven? Well I told her I asked you and she squealed “MOM!! That was NOT my question! My question was did poop smell before the “Fall”?”
I’m still laughing….K
Isn’t it nice to have a precocious daughter who asks penetrating questions adults would never think to ask!
Like you, I was tempted to dismiss her question with an adult chuckle! But, upon further review, I realized that her question may well have theological and cosmological implications!
However, before we dive into an answer, may I first share a few common-sense thoughts about answering Tess’ present and future-childhood questions?
?Take her questions seriously! They are certainly serious to her!
?Tell her what you know to be true in a way that she can comprehend for her age level.
?Only give her answers you know to be true—and avoid giving her answers you know little or nothing about!
?Make finding the answer a joint mother-daughter endeavor. Frankly, the time you spend with her is probably much more important than actually finding the answer. By the way, thank God for the internet in helping us find answers! Unfortunately, I have no idea what search word you would enter to find the answer to her question. A simple “I don’t know” is probably best. Then let her “ask roger.”
?Introduce her to another of the “Mysteries of Heaven”. There are some things we will never know until we get to heaven. We all have to live with mystery. The sooner we all learn this truth the better!
Again, my first inclination was like yours—to laugh. Then, I got to thinking. Trying to figure out whether poop smelled before the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin (Genesis 3:1-6) depends on your view of creation! (Whether poop will smell in heaven is easier to answer. We will deal with that issue in just a moment.).
If you are a seven-day, twenty-four-hour creationist then you have to decide whether or not the animals had time to poop during the short time between their creation to the creation of Adam and Eve on the sixth day. You also must decide whether they ate and pooped before Adam and Eve had time to eat the forbidden fruit? If they did poop before the Fall, then poop did not smell because decay did not occur until after the Fall. But, then on the other hand, you have to consider the fact that poop by its very nature is decay. If the first poop came after the Fall then, of course, poop stank. Poop continues to smell as a residual reminder of the Fall into sin.
Seven-day-twenty-four-hour creationists must also consider that God invited Adam and Eve to eat of the trees in the Garden. Obviously, the fruit and roughage would have produced much poop—and they both had noses. When God pronounced the curses at the Fall the fact that Eve would have pain in childbearing means that their bodies immediately began to decay and die. We know that physiological changes occurred at the Fall which have direct bearing on the answer to Tess’ question.
If you are a theistic evolutionist who believes that God used evolution (or some process like it) over millions of years to create life on earth then you will answer that, of course, poop smelled because multiples forms of reptilian and mammalian animals produced a lot of poop long before God finally created man. If theistic evolutionists are correct then they must figure out when the first man and the Fall actually occurred. The window is probably sometime in the last 25,000 years as man morphed into homo sapiens sapiens. Some say that Adam was a special creation of God (Genesis Two). Others postulate that Adam was the first person who developed God consciousness! Nevertheless, the only possible answer to your daughter’s question for a theistic evolutionist is that poop smelled and its odor was unrelated to the Fall.
By the way, if you are a Gnostic, then nobody has poop to poop.
If you are a Pharisee you sin if you say the word, “poop”.
If you are an fatalist then “poop happens.”
If you are a Calvinist, then these issues are already decided and you really don’t need to know.
If you are a free-will Armenian, then you have a choice: to poop or to be constipated….
If you have a dog then you scoop poop!
Now, enough foolishness aside, may we consider the question she did not ask, but the one you thought she asked: “Does poop smell in Heaven?”
Based on Paul’s discussion of spiritual bodies, poop most assuredly has no smell in Heaven. In fact, there will be no poop. Therefore, let’s address Tess’ question in the light of spiritual bodies. She may find these thoughts intriguing. This is more than she asked but might provide a great teaching moment for you both—and generate many more questions!
Let me summarize Paul’s overall teachings regarding our spiritual bodies from 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
?Physical bodies are like seeds and spiritual bodies are like the plants that grow out of the seeds. They are related but certainly not the same.
?God has created all sorts of bodies from human to stellar and each has its own form and features.
?Spiritual bodies are perfectly designed for use in the spirit realm just as physical bodies are designed for use in the physical world.
?At the resurrection bodies that were buried perishable, decaying and powerless will be raised imperishable, functional and filled with power and glory!
?When the trumpet sounds at the Rapture Jesus will return from Heaven accompanied by the spirits of all the Christians who have previously died. Immediately their graves will open and their resurrected physical bodies will unite with their spirits to produce the spiritual bodies they will live in for eternity. By the way, I don’t understand how God will raise a body that has decayed dust to dust as mentioned in the Book of Job. I suppose one molecule of leftover body is all God needs to accomplish the resurrections!
?At the moment of the Rapture those Christians who are alive will never die but will transition immediately from their physical bodies to their spiritual bodies.
?Spiritual bodies are distinct from one another. We will know each other and have great fellowship with others in Heaven.
Paul is not the only one who teaches about the future state of our spiritual bodies: Let me share with you several more characteristics mentioned by John the Apostle.
?We will look like Jesus. John wrote in 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Our spiritual bodies will reflect the nature, glory and imprint of Christ.
?We may well know what is occurring with our friends and loved ones—and with the world in general—here on the earth (Revelation 6:9-11).
?Spiritual bodies can cry! God will eventually need to wipe away all the tears of sorrow and suffering in Heaven (Revelation 21:4).
?There will be no marriage or weddings in Heaven. Instead we will be like the angels (Matthew 22:30). The reason marriage will be obsolete in Heaven is probably because the intimacy and companionship we experience in marriage on earth we will experience with others and with God Himself! (Of course, Kathy, she may ask you about the by-products after the Marriage Feast which occurs in Heaven after the Rapture. Good luck answering that!!)
The glory of the work of Christ on the cross and of our resurrection victory is triumphantly declared by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well Kathy, I hope my answer gives some help and direction in responding to Tess.
Oh, and by the way, if any of you reading this letter are parents of young preschoolers you may find the book, Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi (Kane/Miller Book Publishers) a great resource in potty training.