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"Vastly More Ravishing and Exquisite"

People often wonder if their capacity to experience pleasure and joy in heaven will be the same as is presently possible on earth. In other words, are the range and depth of our experience now the measure of what it will be in the new heavens and new earth? Or will there be a transformation in us both physically and spiritually such that the pleasures we currently enjoy pale in comparison with what we will know and see and feel in the age to come? Jonathan Edwards has an interesting comment in response:

“And without doubt, God can contrive matter so that there shall be other sort of proportions, that may be quite of a different kind, and may raise another sort of pleasure in the sense, and in a manner to us inconceivable, that shall be vastly more ravishing and exquisite. . . . Our animal spirits will also be capable of immensely more, fine and exquisite proportion in their motions than now they are, being so gross” (Misc. 182, Yale 13:328).

We can’t be certain what Edwards meant by our “animal spirits” but he most likely had in mind bodily hormones, chemical reactions, and the full range of physiological sensations that characterize our present life. His point is that in the age to come God will have “contrived” our resurrected bodies so that they are capable of new sensations, new and deeper pleasures, far more glorious and satisfying “motions” that “shall be vastly more ravishing and exquisite” than anything we experience now, whether it be physical, spiritual, or emotional. Perhaps I should stop with that and let your imagination run free!

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