I have a Mormon friend that finds forever marriage very important to him and I tried explaining how Heaven is going to be so much better then any marriage or person. He then asked “What is there to do?” I haven’t studied much about what life is going to be like in Heaven and I know we all can’t really know the fullness of it but he still put up the argument of marriage being a forever promise or “eternal covenant” with God that cannot be broken. How can I better explain that this can be broken after life on earth?
Thank you for your email. You ask a very interesting question. While I’m not sure how you can better explain biblical marriage to your friend, I do hope my comments might be of some value to you…
Your friend’s concern regarding marriage and eternity represents a fundamental difference between the ways Mormons and Christians view eternity. I was once told (by a Mormon man) that my (biblical) view of heaven (i.e., focusing on being in the presence of God — along with my believing loved ones) was nice, but incomplete; he said it was like going to a fancy restaurant, enjoying the salad, and leaving before the entree was served. For him, being in the presence of God was along the lines of an appetizer, not a meal.
For Christians, our focus is on what the Bible calls our “first love.” We live in an intimate relationship with God, marked by profound love and deep worship. So our hope for eternity, our deepest longing, is to be in the presence of our God forever. God promises this to His people. Since this is our greatest desire, it is enough to know this about our eternal future. God doesn’t tell us much more, and that’s okay. In Genesis we are told that God Himself is our reward:
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’” (Gen 15:1 NKJV)
How awesome is that???
Mormonism, on the other hand, leads followers to a different focus and a different longing. Their relationship with their God is not the focus of their spiritual hope. Their hope and great love is toward the concept of family. Husband, wife and children — this is what makes them happy and fulfilled in this life, and what they long for in the next as well (please understand that I am generalizing here).
Mormonism teaches that marriage (i.e., a marriage that is sealed in a Mormon temple) is eternal; but the Bible teaches no such thing. Christians do not make eternal marriage covenants (as Mormons do). We understand that marriage to our spouse is for this life only, as Jesus teaches (see Mark 12; Mark 12:25 and Marriage in Heaven).
In the end, of course, it all boils down to faith. God told Abram to “go” and he went, not knowing where he would end up.
“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.” (Genesis 12:1-4).
God tells us that we will love Heaven. Indeed, He has put that longing in our hearts. “What is there to do?” your friend asks. It doesn’t matter. We believe God, and therefore we know that Heaven will be greater than we can even imagine. That is enough. If God is your first love, it is more than enough (Psalm 84:10).
Mormonism tells people that after enjoying the “salad” of being in Heavenly Father’s presence, they can go on to the main course: power, eternal progression, eternal increase, etc. Mormonism promises people Godhood — the same life Heavenly Father lives, with all the same attributes Heavenly Father possesses. Marriage, one LDS manual taught, is “a laboratory for godhood” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual, 65. See Mormons Yawn at Christian Heaven). Mormons are taught that God is a “glorified man,” and that their purpose in this life is to be worthy enough to achieve Godhood (i.e., become a glorified man/woman) as well — just as Heavenly Father did. They expect to receive glory and honor from their spiritual offspring throughout eternity. The biblical revelation of Heaven does not fit their theology at all.
For your friend to recognize that Heaven is so much better than any marriage or any person (as you’ve said), he needs to recognize and come to know the God who is. When he comes to “love the Lord God with all [his] heart and with all [his] soul and with all [his] might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), he will say with the Psalmist, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). Then Heaven will sound incredible.
Thank you again for writing, Jenny. May God equip and use you to help your friend see the awesome glory of our great God!