Sex on Earth as It Is in Heaven

A Christian Eschatology of Desire

By Patricia Beattie Jung

Subjects: Religion, Gender Studies, Theology
Paperback : 9781438463827, 298 pages, January 2018
Hardcover : 9781438463810, 298 pages, February 2017

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Table of contents

Introduction: Thinking Eschatologically about Sexuality

Sex in Heaven?

Thinking Eschatologically about Sexual Ethics

An Outline of the Argument
PART I. Sex In Heaven

1. General Resurrection of the Body
The Nature of Bodily Resurrection
Contemporary Christian Views of Death and the Hereafter
Surviving Death as a Spirit
Christian Ambivalence about the Body
The Ambiguity of the Body and Resurrection Hope
Theological Support for Hope in the Resurrection of the Body
Deconstructing Denials of Sex in Heaven

2. The New Testament about the General Resurrection of the Body
Jewish Background
Hellenistic Background
The New Testament and Resurrection: An Overview
1 Corinthians 15
Contemporary Interpretations

3. The New Testament about Sex in Heaven
Empty Tomb and Appearance Stories
Teachings of Jesus on Marriage
Teachings of Jesus on Eunuchs and Celibacy

4. Augustine and Other Early Christians on Sex in Heaven
Early Eschatological Speculations
Eschatological Speculations in Later Antiquity
Augustine of Hippo
Coulda? Woulda? Shoulda?

5. Reimagining Sex in Heaven
An Emerging Theology of Desire
Made for Love: Human Desire Created and Stirred
Speculations about Sexual Desire and Delight in Heaven

6. Transforming Sex on Earth
Facing the Whole Truth about Sex
The Call to Reform Some Experiences of Sexual Desire
The Capacity to Reform Sexual Desire

7. Cultivating Sexual Desire
Called to Cultivate Not Only Curtail Sexual Desire
Warrants for the Cultivation of Sexual Desire
Scientific Insights into No/Low Sexual Desire
Redefining Sexual Virtue
8. Pornography and the Education of Sexual Desire
Schooling Sexual Desire
Internet Pornography
From Excarnation to Incarnation


Offers a new theology of desire and delight based on the Christian hope for bodily resurrection.


This work is part of a growing chorus of theological voices raised in support of erotic desire. Although most theologians have concluded that there will be no experience of sexual desire and delight in the world to come, Patricia Beattie Jung critically examines the historical traditions and biblical rationales for this teaching. She defends an alternative claim that there will be a healed and glorified experience of sex in heaven based on a compelling account of the Christian hope for bodily resurrection. The first half of the work focuses on Christian foundations for the notion of sex in heaven, while the second goes on to discuss some of the implications of those convictions for sex on earth. Jung concludes with discussions of how best to nurture sexual delight on earth and how and why internet pornography fails in that regard.

Patricia Beattie Jung is Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Paul School of Theology and coauthor (with Ralph F. Smith) of Heterosexism: An Ethical Challenge, also published by SUNY Press.


"…this rather densely packed tome has some interesting arguments and thoughts … its strength is in the questions it raises and encourages the reader to engage with. " — Quest Bulletin

"This book invites readers to consider more closely the historical, contemporary, and future relationships between sex and death, by recognizing the already intimate connection between the two … It is a welcome addition to libraries, accessible not only to scholars but likely best suited to late undergraduate students, graduate students, and seminarians. " — Marriage, Families & Spirituality

"[Jung's] discussions of sexual ethics are particularly strong in that they are based not only in Christian tradition, but also in extensive biological research, the social sciences, and contemporary theory. Jung manages all this while remaining clear and jargon-free, making the text accessible and readable to students at all levels. " — Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology

"This book makes an important contribution to our thinking about sexual ethics. " — Currents in Theology and Mission

"Jung's volume advances efforts in Christian ethics to affirm sexual pleasure as a human good. The chapters on low sexual drive and pornography meet a need for sustained moral reflection on these topics. The eschatological perspective Jung adopts treats human embodiment seriously without limiting Christian sexual ethics to an ethics of responsible reproduction. The book deserves attention from scholars, students, and pastoral leaders. " — Theological Studies

"…intriguing, and occasionally amusing … Whether you want reminders of biblical texts, Church Fathers, Aquinas, Kant, Internet sources, or a small throng of current thinkers, this is a volume that will spark many a thought. " — Reading Religion

"Expansive in its overview and scope, Jung's book is a 'must-read' for undergraduate and graduate newcomers in the field of Christian sexual ethics. For those more seasoned, it is a powerful reminder that our work as theologians and disciples is ongoing. " — Horizons

"The book provides a valuable, alternative reading of Christian eschatological thinking about resurrected bodies and a sensitive, refreshing, and candid discussion about sexual delight. " — Adrian Thatcher, author of God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction