Will there be disability in eternity?

Following the demise of my laptop I had to call a halt to blogging for a while, so my thoughts on the Book of Acts are currently handwritten in a notebook, and I will start to copy them up here soon on my shiny new laptop!

In the meantime, here is a post which I wrote for Through the Roof, and which is reproduced here by kind permission.

In the course of my life and work I’ve met plenty of disabled people who have had enough of limitations and pain and would give almost anything to be free of their condition. I’ve also met plenty of disabled people who tell me that even if they could be instantly cured, they wouldn’t want to because their disability is part of who they are and they’re completely at peace with that. Which just goes to show that there’s no right or wrong way to feel about being disabled.

The one thing all these people have in common is that they don’t want to be dismissed as nothing more than their disability. People don’t want to be noticed because of their white cane or their wheelchair, they want to be known and appreciated for the person they are. I remember a doctor in hospital once pointing my daughter out to some of his students and saying, “That one’s a CP.” I responded, “No she’s not, she’s a little girl who happens to have CP.”

One question I often get asked when I’m speaking at events around the country is, “Do you think disabled people will be healed in heaven?” I’ve heard other speakers – disabled people or parents of disabled people – give various replies to this. For some it’s a straightforward, “Yes, of course. There’s no disability in heaven.” Others, though, don’t see it as such a black and white matter. One person said he thought God would deal with it on a case by case basis, and another mother said that if her son with profound and multiple disabilities were healed, he would be so completely different that he would no longer be the same person. Since God created him and knows and loves him for the person he is now, the answer had to be no.

Because I get asked this so often, I’ve given it quite a bit of thought, and of course my answer, like everyone else’s, is guesswork informed by Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul describes our bodies now and the resurrection bodies we will one day have. Our current bodies, he says, are perishable, dishonourable, weak and natural. The bodies we will have after our resurrection from the dead will be indestructible, glorious, powerful and spiritual. I suspect that a body which is all those things – indestructible, glorious, powerful and spiritual – is so far beyond the ability of our finite minds to grasp that the question of whether it is “healed” will turn out to be completely irrelevant.