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Joseph wrote:

Hi, guys —

Hope you are enjoying the Advent season. I have a quick question about life in Heaven.

What I know about Heaven is that, in Heaven, our primary focus of love will be on Christ and that we all will be in a Communion of love in Christ.

My question is about the relationship that I will have with other members of Heaven . . . members other than Christ, Himself.

  • Is it correct to say that in Heaven, we will love each and every other member of Heaven (i.e. members other than the Christ) with the same level of depth, the same level of intimacy, and the same level of closeness as Christ?

A simple, yes or no, would be sufficient for an answer but if you would like to add more, it would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Joseph

  { Will we love each and every other member of Heaven with the same level of closeness as Christ? }

Eric replied:

Hi Joseph,

I don't believe this is a defined article of faith so any answer would be speculation.

Even Jesus loved some disciples more than others (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7). Also there are different kinds of loves:

  1. there is the love of friendship (philia in Greek)
  2. unconditional love (agape)
  3. sexual love (eros), and
  4. family/patriotic love (storge).

One can certainly love people as friends differently and still love them constantly with unconditional (agape) love, though as we see in the example of Jesus, he doesn't seem to even love everyone constantly with agape love so I would argue, based on speculation from the Scriptures, that in the Resurrection, we will not necessarily love all people equally.

Eric

Paul replied:

Dear Joseph,

Levels of love are very difficult to intelligibly measure for many of the reasons which Eric provided.

If one commits an act of love, by an act of the will to the good of others, which will be the case in all the saints, it's difficult, if not impossible, to quantify it. On the other hand, if by love we mean eros rather than agape, it would make sense that we don't necessarily have the exact level of [emotion, attraction, and passion] for each individual. That's true in this life and may also be the case in the next.

The bottom line is that we will love Christ, the angels, and saints, and all creation with a love untainted by selfishness, within the everlasting community of God's kingdom.

Paul

Bob replied:

Joseph —

I agree with Eric. While God's Love is constant, it is a different depth according to its object.

The Holy Trinity shares a love between each Person of the Godhead that is greater than any other Love can be by definition. Then each soul, inasmuch as they reflect that divine love, share in that Mystical Union and love according to their capacity.

So, God loves the Blessed Virgin Mary most as far as humans go because she is the greatest reflection of divine love.

We will follow suit.

Bob

John replied:

Joseph —

To be slightly a contrarian, all of us are individuals but we are also In Christ . . . His Body, so the Love for the Father for the Son, extends in the same intensity on that level to the Entire Body and vice-a-versa. Remember, we can't separate the Head, Jesus, from His Body. That would be a form of Nestorianism, which seeks to divide the Person of Christ. As we fully partake in the Divine Nature in Heaven, by grace, we are indeed like Him so there is a tremendous Organic Unity.

Each of us is a unique expression of God's Love. If there was only one sinner to ever have lived, Christ would have died for that sinner, so I don't really disagree with what by colleagues have written, but am simply giving you the flip side of the same coin.

This is indeed a mystery that we won't fully understand until we are there.

Hope this helps,

John

John later replied:

Joseph —

Let me add one more thought. It is not about how much God loves each of us, even in the case having a closer relationship while on earth with Jesus. Rather it's more about our willingness and therefore capacity to receive That Love.

  • Will there be levels of this in Heaven?

I would say to a certain extent because Jesus indicates levels of reward in Heaven. He talks in parables about those who return ten talents being put in charge of ten cities.

I doubt He is talking about literal cities . . . rather He's talking about capacity to enjoy the immense and infinite love that God has for each of us, yet at the same time, no one will be envious that another seems to be loved more, as we will all be giving Glory to God for His great Love and Mercy.

We will bask and celebrate the love that He has for others as well as the love He has for us.

John

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