So far in this series, I have discussed our resurrection bodies, our memories, and the environment of the New Earth. What about our daily lives? Since we will live forever, won’t life in Heaven become boring? What will we do in Heaven? In the last two parts of this series (see links below), I will discuss what we will actually do in Heaven. In this particular article, I want to write about work and culture in Heaven. Will we get up every day and do some kind of work? Will there be continuity between human culture on this Earth and the New Earth? Will there be work and cultures in Heaven?
Will there be work in Heaven?
I bet many people had to take a double glance at that question. The idea that we will work in Heaven sounds horrible. Will we really get up every day just so we can go to a job to pay the bills? First off, to say that work in itself is evil is wrong. God is the original worker. He was working when he created the world. Secondly, God gave Adam work to do while in Eden before sin come into creation. Genesis 2:5 says that God “took the man [Adam] and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Revelation 22:3 tells us that we will serve Christ on the New Earth. To serve someone means to be active and to accomplish tasks.
We also need to realize that it was the curse that made work mundane and toilsome (Genesis 3:17-19). Work was originally meant to be something that we loved to do, however, sin ruined that. Today, we get up, go to work, come home, pay some bills, go to sleep, and repeat. Yes, there may be a few other activities in that schedule, but for the most part, there is not much else. And to top it all off, no matter how hard you work, you still die and leave everything behind. Please understand, I do not say all of those things to make you feel depressed. It is the result of sin that all of this has happened.
Yet, we need to remember that work was created as a good thing. Who doesn’t like the feeling after a day’s hard work? Who really likes to be unemployed? Not many. However, this leads us to the next question related to work: what kinds of jobs will we have in Heaven? Naturally jobs that are directly connected with sin and death will not exist in Heaven. There will be no need for doctors and nurses, military personnel, firefighters, police officers, etc. Since there will be no sin in the world at that time these kinds of professions will not exist.
So what kinds of jobs will exist on the New Earth? It is interesting to note that the very first person in Scripture to be filled with the Spirit was a craftsman. Exodus 31:1-6 tells us that a man named Bezalel was filled with the Spirit and chosen by God to make artistic designs for the Tabernacle. It is said that God gave Bezalel the skills, abilities, and knowledge to be a craftsman.
God is the one who gives us our skills and talents. He is the one who gives us the abilities to be writers, teachers, scholars, doctors, designers, engineers, musicians, artists, and everything else. There is nothing inherently evil with many different kinds of careers and skillsets.
Genesis 1 tells us that God gave mankind the dominion mandate. We were supposed to spread out through the earth from Eden, and take dominion over the earth. To take dominion does not mean to “dominate” like many believe. We are to take care of God’s creation. This requires different kinds of work, including the ability to learn. Yes, we will learn in Heaven. Many Christians assume that we will know everything, but Scripture never says this. Only God knows everything. Since God is infinite and eternal, it is unlikely we will ever come to the end of learning.
My dream job is to be a Professor and writer. I love to do research and teach others what I have learned. I truly believe that these are some of the things that I will be doing throughout eternity. Although I have a degree in Theology, there are other things that I love as well, including Zoology (the study of animals), botany (plant biology), and Geography. Will I be doing any of these? I think I probably will. In part 2 of this article, I wrote about how we will probably travel through the universe. Will we be able to visit other planets and study them? If so, I’ll be one of the first to sign up and go on an adventure to learn as much as I can.
You will continue to use your gifts and skills throughout eternity. If you currently work in a job like medicine or crime, which will no longer exist in Heaven because they are dependent on the Curse, you will use your skills for something even better. We will use our talents, skills, and interests (which God gave us) to do the work of God and glorify him.
The popular evangelist Billy Graham said about work in Heaven, “God never intended for people to be idle and unproductive – on earth or in Heaven. Heaven is about serving – not ourselves, but Jesus Christ…” We will create new things, study the world, and do the kinds of work that we love and is pleasing to God. We will never have to worry about hating our jobs in Heaven.
What about culture?
The work that we do ties in with human culture. Revelation 21:24 records for us something very interesting: “The nations will walk by its light [God’s light], and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” What exactly are the nations and the kings bringing into the New Earth? Let me quote one scholar:
“It has been plausibly suggested that it [Revelation 21:24] describes the way the new creation will receive all the appropriate fruits of human culture and development that have been produced throughout the course of history. Every legitimate and excellent fruit of human culture will be carried into and contribute to the [splendor] of life in the new creation. Rather than the new creation being a radically new beginning, in which the excellent and noble fruits of humankind’s fulfillment of the cultural mandate are wholly discarded – the new creation will benefit from, and be immensely enriched by, its receiving of these fruits. Far from being an empty and desolate place, the new creation will be enriched with the sanctified fruits of human culture. Nothing of the diversity of the nations and peoples, their cultural products, languages, arts, sciences, literature, and technology – so far as these are good and excellent – will be lost upon life in the new creation. Life in the new creation will not be a starting over, but a perfected continuation of the new humanity’s stewardship of all of life in the service of God.”
In the beginning mankind was given the dominion mandate (as I mentioned earlier), the command to rule over the earth and to develop a culture that glorified God. Sadly, because of our fall into sin, that mandate has never been fully carried out, at least in the way God intended. However, as I have been writing about in this series, sin and the Curse will be removed and mankind will finally be able to fulfill God’s commands without the temptation to do wrong. Our minds, our bodies, our relationships, and our environment will be restored to what God originally intended. Scholar Anthony Hoekema speaks about the potential to come and the continuation of human culture on the New Earth, the following way:
“The possibilities that now rise before us boggle the mind. Will there be “better Beethoven” on the new earth, as one author has suggested? Shall we then see better Rembrandts, better Raphaels, better Constables? Shall we read better poetry, better drama, and better prose? Will scientists continue to advance in technological achievement, will geologists continue to dig out the treasures of the earth, and will architects continue to build imposing and attractive structures? Will there be exciting new adventures in space travel? Shall we perhaps be able to explore new Perelandras [Perelandra is a book by C.S. Lewis]? We do not know. But we do know that human dominion over nature will then be perfect. Our culture will glorify God in ways that surpass our most fantastic dreams.”
“[I]n the life to come various types of people will retain their unique gifts. These gifts will develop and mature in a sinless way, and will be used to produce new cultural products to the everlasting glory of God’s name. In the resurrection we shall retain our individuality, but in a heightened way. This means that we shall not only still possess the gifts God gave us, but that our potential for exercising these gifts will then be realized to the full—as it never was in this life.”
Revelation 21:24 tells us that not only kings, but nations will come into the Holy City. This implies that all the different cultural contributions of different ethnic groups will no longer be in competition with each other, “but will harmoniously enrich life in the Holy City. Christ, who is the lamp of that city, will then draw all these cultural products into his service, for the glory of his Father.”
Kings in the days of Bible were more than political rulers; they were the representatives and bearers of the cultures of the nations over which they ruled. John is here speaking about the cultural and artistic contributions of various national groups which shall then have made their home in the [New] Jerusalem.” Life on the new earth is a restoration of all things, not the elimination of all things. Those things that are removed from the world are sinful. Art, music, literature, technology, and many other things that are good will continue to exist on the New Earth. I wonder if I will be able to sit down in Heaven and read one of my favorite books – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I guess I’ll find out someday.
The last thing that I want to mention about the continuation of culture on the New Earth is human languages. The Bible tells us that before the Tower of Babel there was only one language. Multiple languages came about because of sin. So it is reasonable that God may remove all the different languages that currently exist.
However, I am open to the fact that God may allow the different languages to continue to exist. It is not the languages that are evil; it was the sinful act of mankind at Babel that caused God to do what he did. Perhaps there will be one main language, but God will allow us to remember what we spoke on this Earth. I admit that I am speculating, but it is interesting to think about. Maybe we will create new languages like Tolkien did for Middle Earth. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.
In Heaven, we will work, but it will be a meaningful job that you will love and that will glorify God. For the first time in history, we will be free from sin to use our skills and God-given abilities to do things that we cannot imagine. We will build, create, and learn in ways we never dreamed possible. There will also be a continuation between human culture today and in the New Earth. The good things that mankind has created will not be removed, but restored and redeemed along with mankind.
What do you think? What do you think you will be working on in Heaven? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.
 Randy Alcorn. Heaven (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2004). 317-318. Hank Hanegraaff. Afterlife (Brentwood: Worthy Publishing, 2013). 30-31.
 Alcorn, 413.
 Billy Graham. The Heaven Answer Book (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012). 49.
 Cornelis P. Venema. The Promise of the Future (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000). 480-481.
 Anthony Hoekema. “Heaven: Not Just an Eternal Day Off,” Christianity Today (June 6, 2003), http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/juneweb-only/6-2-54.0.html?paging=off