The following is from my book: Heaven, Where Few Are Many:
IF HEAVEN AIN’T A LOT LIKE DIXIE!
I heard Hank Williams, Jr. sing this song a number of years ago. In it he said, “If Heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I don’t want to go.” Now I definitely would not go that far by any means. Personally, I think that he is foolish for saying that if he really means it. If Heaven is not anything like Dixie, or any other place on earth, I would still want to go. Furthermore, New York City and hell are not the same to anyone who has been to New York City and read what the Bible says about hell—and I have done both!
But, at the same time, if Heaven is not “somewhat” like Dixie in some respects, I would not want to go as much as I do now! What do I mean? I mean that one of the attractions in Heaven for me is my family and friends who will be there. I want to go be with them forever and never be separated from them again. I look forward to renewing and enhancing my relationships with my family and friends who have died. I believe that, for Christians, Heaven really is somewhat like Dixie in the sense that it is a continuation of life on earth in many respects. I say this as a man who grew up and has lived all of his life in the south, but the same principle would apply for others. Those who have lived their lives in Seattle, Washington or Austin, Texas or London, England would expect heaven to be “like” those cities in some ways for them. I believe that I will be there with those that I know and love who lived with me in the “Land of Cotton” where “Old times there are not forgotten!” Some things will change I’m sure, but it will only be for the better!
Naturally, none of us know exactly how it will be in Heaven living in spiritual bodies without the limitations and problems we have in our earthly bodies. No doubt, there will be many adjustments and changes that will be made from life on earth in this “body of death” (Rom. 7:24) with its “sinful nature” (Rom. 8:5, NIV) and “sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3, KJV). But, in Heaven, we will move to a sinless society with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit where changes, of necessity, will be made in our relationships because of our new environment.
But changes have always been the norm in relationships even here on earth. For example, the expressions or aspects of my relationship with my mother changed numerous times in my lifetime. Once I was a baby in her arms. Then I was her little boy who needed his hurts kissed away and to be tucked in at night. Then I was a teenager who was told by her what to do and taught to do right (which, by the way, did not always work). Then I was a grown up, and she let me be out on my own and make my own decisions. Then I was a married man with children and grandchildren of my own that she would visit as often as she could. Then she got old and sick, and I helped take care of her at times. But she was always my mother and still is. There were always changes made in certain aspects of our relationship as necessary, but the relationship itself never changed. I believe that my relationship with my mother will obviously change in some other ways in heaven (enhanced, intensified, heightened, who knows?), but the relationship, itself, will never change. She will always be my mother, and I will always be her son.
The same is true of my wife. She has been my companion and best friend for over forty years. I expect our relationship to be even better in Heaven than it has ever been here on earth, even though here it is good most of the time. But in Heaven there will, no doubt, be new ways and means of expressing and experiencing the closeness of our relationship because there it will only be good thoughts, good deeds, good dispositions, and good decisions. To be honest with you, sometimes here on earth, because of the influence of Satan, sin, selfishness, stubbornness, and downright stupidity, some of our “expressions” would not be suitable for all audiences. But I do expect Heaven to be a place where my relationship with her and the rest of my family will be very clearand very dear. I certainly do not expect those relationships to just disappear. I expect some changes in certain aspects of our relationships, but I do not expect a total elimination of those relationships.
Women like Euodia and Syntyche have their names in the Book of Life just like men do (Phil. 4:1-2). Women here will be women there! I believe that my wife here will be my wife there. My mother here will be my mother there. My daughter here will be my daughter there. It is one thing to believe what Jesus said about how, in the resurrection, we will be “like the angels” in the sense that we do not die anymore and will not marry in Heaven, for these are things He clearly said (Lk. 20:35-36). But to say, or believe, that He said anything about us being “sexless beings,” and indicating that all of our earthly relationships will be dissolved and be as though they had never existed, is something I have never read!
Of course, I don’t know exactly what Heaven will be like as far as all the aspects or expressions of our relationships are concerned, but I do believe that it will be better than ever in every way and “somewhat” as they are now in a number of ways.