Heaven (Part 28) - Will We Remember Our Lives on Earth?


Heaven (Part 28) - Will We Remember Our Lives on Earth? Will We Know What is Happening on Earth? 1. Will we remember people and our lives on earth? (Carey) A. Yes, we will. B. The rich man who died and ended up in hell remembered his father and brethren (Luk 16:27-28) and Lazarus (Luk 16:24). i. It is therefore logical to conclude that Lazarus remembered his family on earth and the rich man. ii. And therefore, it's logical to conclude that all of the people in heaven will remember people and their lives on earth. C. Both those in heaven and hell remember the events of their lives. i. The rich man in hell remembered the good things he received during his life on earth (Luk 16:25). ii. Lazarus was comforted because of the bad things he experienced on earth (Luk 16:25). iii. He would have needed no comfort if he didn't remember the bad things that happened to him on earth. D. The martyrs in heaven remember that they were martyred and they remember their murderers (Rev 6:9-10). E. If they remember their martyrdom, there is no reason to think they wouldn't remember other events in their lives. F. The members of the Thessalonian church were comforted and encouraged by Paul telling them that they would see their loved ones in Christ again who had died and gone on to heaven (1Th 4:13-14). i. This would be no comfort if when they got to heaven they did not remember those people and their relationship with them that they had on earth. ii. It would only be a comfort if they remembered them and their lives with them on earth and could therefore pick up with them where they left off. G. The thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom (Luk 23:42). i. Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise that day (Luk 23:43). ii. Would it make sense to think that the man would not remember meeting Jesus and hanging next to him on a cross when he got to heaven? H. If we won't remember people and our lives on earth, then we wouldn't remember the things that we learned from them. i. Therefore, we would not remember the gospel and the rest of the truth of scripture that was taught to us by them. ii. Would it make sense to think that we would remember the things that our preacher taught us about Jesus but not remember anything about the preacher himself? I. If we won't remember our lives on earth, then we wouldn't remember all the things that God delivered us from. i. What would we praise God for in heaven if we didn't remember that we were sinners and didn't even know what He saved us from? ii. How could we be grateful to be redeemed if we didn't remember that we were sinners while on earth? iii. Can you imagine if you got to heaven and asked Moses what it was like to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and he replied, "I don't remember"? iv. Can you imagine if you asked Noah what the flood was like, and he said, "what flood"? J. If we won't remember our lives on earth, then we will have no idea what we are being rewarded or punished for when we get to heaven (2Co 5:10; Luk 14:14). i. Can you imagine getting to heaven and hearing "well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Mat 25:21), and thinking "what did I do?"? ii. Receiving rewards and punishments suggests that we would remember what we did that merited them. iii. We will give an account for every idle word we spoke in this life which means that we will remember the things, both good and bad, that we said on earth (Mat 12:36). iv. Our works we did on earth follow us to heaven and will therefore be remembered (Rev 14:13). v. We will enjoy treasures and blessings in heaven in the form of rewards that we laid up on earth which implies that we will remember what we did on earth to acquire the rewards in heaven (Mat 6:20-21; Mat 19:21; Luk 12:33; Luk 19:17; 1Ti 6:19). K. If we didn't retain our memories of people and events in our lives on earth, then we would lose our identities and cease to be ourselves. i. Think about a person with advanced Alzheimer's who has no memory of the people and events which made up his life. ii. Such a man remains himself physically, but ceases to be himself mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. iii. If we don't remember our lives on earth and the people we shared them with, heaven would be like a giant nursing home where nobody knows anyone else nor remembers who they are. iv. "Memory is a basic element of personality. If we are truly ourselves in Heaven, there must be continuity of memory from Earth to Heaven. We will not be different people, but the same people marvelously relocated and transformed. Heaven cleanses us but does not revise or extinguish our origins or history. Undoubtedly we will remember God's works of grace in our lives that comforted, assured, sustained, and empowered us to live for him." (Randy Alcon, Heaven, pp. 68-69) L. What about the former creation not being remembered? (Isa 65:17) i. Isa 65:17 says that the former heavens and earth will not be remembered, nor come into mind. a. It doesn't say that our identities, lives, brethren, family, and friends will not be remembered. b. The verses cited above show that we will remember those things. ii. It could be that the new earth will be so magnificent and awe-inspiring that the old will pale in comparison and therefore will not be thought about after we get to the new one. iii. An analogy might help to illustrate the point. a. If you had your house completely remodeled and the new version far exceeded the old in beauty, utility, and comfort, you would soon forget about the old house. b. So it will be with the new heavens and the new earth. iv. Randy Alcorn made some salient points on Isa 65:17. a. "The people who believe we will not remember our present lives often cite Isaiah 65:17 as their proof... However, this verse should be viewed in context. It's linked to the previous verse, in which God says, "For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes." This doesn't suggest literal lack of memory, as if the omniscient God couldn't recall the past. Rather, it's like God's comment to Jeremiah: "I...will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:34). It means that God chooses not to bring up our past sins or hold them against us. In eternity, past sins and sorrows won't preoccupy God or us. We'll be capable of choosing not to recall or dwell on anything that would diminish Heaven's joy." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, pp. 343-344) b. "Our minds will be clearer in Heaven, not foggier. Memory is basic to personality. The principle of continuity requires that we will remember our past lives. Heaven cleanses our slate of sin and error, but it doesn't erase our memory of it. The lessons we learned here about God's love, grace, and justice surely aren't lost but will carry over to Heaven. Father Boudreau states, "For the sins which so often made us tremble, are washed away in the blood of Jesus, and are, therefore, no longer a source of trouble. The remembrance of them rather intensifies our love for the God of mercy, and therefore increases our happiness."" (Ibid, p. 344) c. "Even though God will wipe away the tears and sorrow attached to this world, he will not erase from our minds human history and Christ's intervention. Remember that Christ's resurrection body has nail-scarred hands and feet (John 20:24-29). Seeing those scars in Heaven will always remind us that our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. Heaven's happiness won't be dependent on our ignorance of what happened on Earth. Rather, it will be enhanced by our informed appreciation of God's glorious grace and justice as we grasp what really happened here." (Ibid) d. "The New Earth will include memorials to the twelve tribes and the apostles (Revelation 21:12-14). This indicates continuity and memory of history. If we're aware of others' pasts on the old Earth, surely we'll be aware of our own. God's acts of sovereign faithful grace will never be erased from our minds. Heaven's happiness will be dependent not on our ignorance but on our perspective. We'll see and know as never before." (Ibid, p. 345)
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