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My musings on what heaven is like and what it means to have a glorified body.
We have an example of someone with a glorified body — Jesus. He could materialize and dematerialize at will. His resurrected body had a material substance — he made it a point to demonstrate this.
My theory about all this is that the glorified body is similar to a dream-body — the body we sense we have in our dreams. In the spiritual world of heaven this kind of dream-body is very tangible and real just as it seems to be when we are dreaming. That is why when we are half-asleep we sometimes experience our physical body which is laying in bed and at the same time our dream-body which is surfing or flying or performing other impossible feats. During sleep we catch glimpses of what it will be like in heaven when we fully-inhabit our glorified body.
Those in heaven with a glorified body can materialize in this world. Since this world is a physical, material world, these materializations are physical and material.
The glorified bodies in heaven do not have internal organs because they are not needed. We will eat food but it will not be to nourish our bodies but to delight our spirits. The form of the body will change as our moods change. Thus, the disciples could not recognize Jesus because he looked different. But then, his form changed and he looked familiar to them so they then recognized him.
In the new heavens and new earth this physical, material world will disappear altogether. However, the heavenly world will still remain and we will be given glorified bodies in which to enjoy heaven. We will have all the powers we have in our dreams. We will surf and fly. We will spend every moment worshipping God. We will have our hearts' desires fulfilled just as we do during good dreams. It is interesting that many psychologists think that dreaming is a form of wish-fulfillment. I think they got it right.
I suspect that this physical, material world will not be destroyed at all but that some day the sun will expand to engulf the earth and thus the world will be destroyed by fire. Or perhaps an asteroid will collide with the earth. When Christ returns to judge humans and the angels, there will no longer be humans in the physical, material world nor dark, evil spirits influencing the physical, material world.
But perhaps the physical universe will continue to exist and God will inhabit it with some new kind of creature like humans?
The new heavens and new earthwill not have any pain and suffering. When we dream we sometimes experience nightmares or fitful, fretful dreams. These negative dreams will not occur in heaven because there is no influence from the dark spirits. Those who do not end up in the new heavens and new earth will reside in another dream world, one with constant interference from the dark, evil spirits who now plague our world. In fact the horrors of hell will be similar to nightmares and those fitful, fretful dreams.
In heaven, symbols are real. Heaven has a mystical, ethereal quality in which symbols have a real substance. In this physical, material world symbols are constructs of the mind and have no material substance. In heaven, however, symbols will have a real existence. Thus there will be archetypes such as those postulated by Carl Jung.
Since the Saints who are now in heaven can intercede for us and answer our prayers, we will also be able to do so once we are in heaven. Presumably we will still be able to intercede for those in this physical, material world by reaching into the past and interacting with those in this world. Since the Saints in heaven can intercede for us on earth, this implies that they can focus on many things at a time — but perhaps this is merely because they have an infinity of time to do so.
The Saints in heaven do not yet have glorified bodies so their experience is limited to those experiences which don't require a body. Their experiences do not include those generated by the senses. They can think, reflect, speak, communicate, feel, worship God, etc. But they can't surf or fly except in their imagination.
The material, physical body has senses. Sensations from the senses enter our minds and our souls and form memories which reside in our souls in intricate detail. Once we die we reside in heaven with a soul but no body. We will still have an active intellect and will, but we will no longer be collecting memories from our material, physical senses. Thus we will only be able to recollect upon those things we did while alive here on earth. Our souls will interact with the souls of those still living here on earth (as well as those in heaven) and we will pray and intercede for them. In purgatory we will ponder the deeds we did while alive and will finally shed our attachment to those sinful tendencies (concupiscence) we had while alive on the earth.
Once the final judgment occurs and we are given resurrected bodies we will again begin to collect new data from our physical, material senses. We will surf, fly, worship God, etc., and remember doing these things. But now, free from sin, all our memories will be happy memories.
Every possible configuration of physical, material conditions will be possible in heaven (but only those which are holy, good, and pleasing to God). When we eat, the food will be chewed, swallowed and then forgotten as it is in this current world. Once the food is swallowed and forgotten it will cease to exist. We will not require a stomach and intestines to digest food because these activities do not form part of our conscious existence. If we reflect upon our internal organs we will have internal organs, but once we turn attention elsewhere, they will cease to exist.
The Eucharist is a glimpse of heaven. If we consume the consecrated host (body, blood, soul, divinity of Jesus) in faith then we are experiencing life as we will in heaven. I believe that the doctrine of transubstantiation states too much about what is really occurring. Jesus is present because we believe he is present and because he gave us this sacrament as a way to worship him and to have union with him. If the host falls into a gutter Jesus is not desecrated. If a person desecrates the host, that person is desecrated, not Jesus. What happens to the host has no effect on Jesus whatsoever. When we worship Jesus in the Euchatist or in adoration of the blessed sacrament, we are worshipping Jesus as we will in heaven. What is mere faith in this world will be reality in heaven. In eating the consecrated host we are coming into unity with Christ in faith as we will in our every action in heaven.