Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is there beer in heaven?

Seriously, I had got a lot of comments about this on another social media site too along with my recent post on how there is no beer(or Polka Mass) in heaven.

My main point is how can someone drink without a mouth?  When we die, our souls and bodies are separated.  At that point we exist just as a soul, a pure spirit like the angels.

After several generations of bad catechesis I keep hearing from Catholics things like "Heaven is whatever you want it to me."  Well excuse me while I grab my barf bag.   If heaven is whatever I want it to be, then I don't what it to go.  I want it to be whatever God wants it to be.  My hope is that my experience of the Beatific Vision would be more than I could ever dream of(or corrupt).

Okay, back on point.  I have heard a few good arguments FOR beer in heaven.

The first from St. Brigid of Ireland apparently describing heaven, although I do not know the source of the quote(thanks berenike):

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

Well, this is a pretty good defense.  Also we have ... and now I cant find it.  My uncle had quoted Isaiah who was describing heaven and said (I paraphrase) that good beer and wine were drank in heaven.  ... I'll update this with the actual verse once I find it.

But am I wrong here, are these descriptions of beer in heaven to be taken as metaphors?  Nazareth Priest?  Credo?  Smart peoples? 

Now after the Last Judgment, and the just are given their glorified bodies, well then yes, we could once again drink beer if we chose to.  Like Christ after the resurrection still ate fish, we too could chose to consume food and drink - although we would not need to.  So that's what I'm banking on, a long perdition, maybe make it to heaven before The End, and then after all that heavy judgment stuff, finding some barley to ferment.

No body, no beer...  although just because you have no body, that doesn't make you a nobody - Fr. Hardon quote on talking about Angels and Demons.

20 comments:

  1. IIRC, Chesterton referred to "the Tavern at the End of the World", which would indicate that GKC ALSO believed in beer-in-heaven.

    Or at least wine.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Umm ... in Heaven the just will have glorified bodies. Cf Catechism of the Catholic Church 990 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2G.HTM). So as for beer? Why not!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Éamonn - 990 is talking about the resurrection of the body - this occurs after the Last Judgment, not at our particular judgment. Since our bodies decompose or in rare cases are miraculously incorrupt, they remain on this earth. I don't think that is meant to read that we are given a new body, but keep our same body. At a funeral, we do see the man's actual body(and he's probably thirsty!), but if he got up and started drinking today, well .... that doesn't happen yet.

    Don't take me wrong, I am on the side of beer! I just don't see how we can drink it until it's all said and done at the Resurrection, but not before...

    Dad29, so the question is that did our good GK mean this proverbially?

    ReplyDelete
  4. If there's beer in heaven (and, like you, I hope there is, but if not, it won't make me any less happy), we can be assured that no one will get sick or hungover - the body will be impervious to illness and injury. So we can drink up and never feel the ill effects! How cool would that be!?

    ReplyDelete
  5. An Irish priest (now deceased, may he rest in peace!) once told us assembled religious that heaven was "like a Brandy Manhatten"...and without a beat I leaned over to my companion and whispered, "It better be better than that, or why bother?"...anyway; your point is well-taken.
    In the New Creation, we will enjoy everything that is good, holy and true...beer and good drink, or their equivalent; until then...well...I just say it better be better than a Brandy Manhatten (I used to LOVE having one!).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Knowing GKC (as I wish I did, better than I do), the "Tavern" was an allegory. I think he used the tavern as a figure of the Church (in the "Orthodoxy" sense) and as a figure of Heaven.

    Remember that a good tavern is filled with camaraderie; good times, relaxed; even the disagreements are amiable and usually resolved quickly--and where arguments cement relationships rather than serve as dividers.

    NONE of that is possible without beer.

    ReplyDelete
  7. LarryD - Yes(if you mean to say the New Heaven after the resurrection). It reminds me of the scene of Lord of the Rings where Gimli and Legolas have a drinking contest. It seems the alcohol had little effect on Legolas, where Gimli sloppily tried to keep up. The elf race appeared to have not taken the fall like the other races. Although elves felt the effect of evil in Middle Earth, they were not bound by the consequences of original sin.

    NP - Yes, I totally agree... except on the Brandy :)

    Dad29 - That is incredibly insightful, thanks! How I wish to find "a good tavern."

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're asking the wrong lady about there being beer in heaven. Personally, I dislike the taste of beer. Admittedly, I am not a Sconnie.

    As to the question about what will be in heaven or even after the resurrection of the body, I can't imagine that we would have any need or want for any of the physical pleasures our existence now desires. Let me put it this way...when we were young, we had our favorite things without which we could not imagine being fulfilled. For some, maybe it was a binky, or those gross mashed peaches. As we got older, we discovered chocolate. Older yet (for some) BEER. For those of us called to marriage, we are privileged to participate in the pleasure of marital embrace. Others (priests, religious) have given up earthly pleasures in more concentrated pursuit of spiritual pleasures.

    Yet we remained stunted in any stage of development if we prefer a lesser pleasure to a greater one. Beer is a lesser pleasure than many things. For instance, a man who prefers beer to the marital embrace of his wife is stunted in immaturity. A soul who prefers earthly physical pleasures to the incomprehensible joy of everlasting fulfillment in the Beatific Vision is simply not fit for heaven.

    St. Brigid is using a metaphor. There is no beer in heaven, and purgatory would be "detox".

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was about to say 'who cares?'....then I realized that if you really LIKE beer, I guess I could understand why you'd like to see it in Heaven.

    Then I thought much along the lines of credocatholic: We wouldn't NEED it. It's HEAVEN. We won't be thirsty, we won't want for (or 'crave') anything.

    As for your quoted descriptions of beer in heaven, I think it's simply implying that those persons LIKE beer. I don't, but if I were describing my idea of Heaven, I'd likely include some things in that description that I really LIKE.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Badger,

    Uh. I think one of us is a little confused about what or when Heaven is. You seem to draw a distinction between the period of time when our souls are disembodied yet "with God" and that period which follows the resurrection.

    I've always understood that period following the resurrection to be Heaven. The fleeting moment between death and the resurrection is. . . well I don't know if it has a term, except to say that for me, most of it will probably be Purgatory.

    As for beer in Heaven? Yes indeed. As long as there's water, barley, hops, yeast, and ME in Heaven rest assured there will be beer there too. I'll be brewing it!

    As for there not being a need for beer. There is no need for it now. GK Chesterton makes a good case that if you're drinking because you NEED to you'd best quit.

    It's hard for me to imagine what Heaven will be like, but I think it will be rather more complex than eternal pleasure. Much like playing football is FUN even though one has to exert oneself and feel pain. It's just not anguish.

    What's the point of the resurrection if our bodies do not function?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anon, we exist in Heaven(God willing) immediately after we are judged which happens immediately after we die. Everyone, and from Adam and Eve to Hitler and Stalin are waiting right now in the afterlife for the final judgment. St. Francis of Assisi isn't in purgatory right now. I'd recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church for some more information on the distinction. Thomas Aquinas talks at length about the resurrection of the body, but again I'd recommend the CCC(start with article 988) to clear this up for you. Those in God's favor have glorified bodies after the resurrection. They do not need to eat or drink but may freely chose to do so. But after death we are completely alive in Christ without our bodies. We are not unconscious or asleep. In fact in some respects we are more alive than we are now.

    I should do a Theology on Tap myself answering Is There Beer in Heaven...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've read the CCC. I don't see anything that supports your claim.

    You stated:

    "My main point is how can someone drink without a mouth? When we die, our souls and bodies are separated. At that point we exist just as a soul, a pure spirit like the angels."

    Well after the souls in Heaven are reunited with their resurrected bodies are they no longer in Heaven? I find nothing in the CCC to suggest that. Once in Heaven, always in Heaven; even after being reunited with your body.

    Therefore you can expect to have a mouth with which to drink beer in heaven.

    We do know that there will NOT be alcohol abuse, hangovers, or bad beerbreath in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anon, are you aware of the difference between Particular Judgment(CCC #12.I) and the Last Judgment(CCC #12.V)? If upon death our bodies are immediately resurrected, why do we still see bodies in coffins at funerals? What is our state prior to our bodies reuniting with our souls? Death is defined as the separation of body and soul.

    If you want to discuss further, when do you think your body is resurrected and reunited with your soul?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes I'm aware of the difference between the two Judgments.

    Pay attention to the question I asked in my previous post. . . To phrase it yet another way. . . ONCE their bodies and souls are REunited on the Last Day what THEN? Are you telling me they will no longer be in heaven?

    The CCC states that our bodies and souls are reunited on the Last Day - just before the Final Judgment.

    I would argue that after the general resurrection, yes, there could be beer . . . in heaven. So for some time there would be no beer and no bodies ('cept Mary, Jesus, & Elijah) in heaven. Then after the Final Judgment we may very well be cracking open beers in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, sounds like we agree. After the Last Judgment we can drink beer again.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If you are concerned about beer in heaven you probably are not going there.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your right anon, it is foolish to hope in the resurrection of the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Okay, I'll settle the issue. Yes, there is beer in heaven. I hear they have both PBR and Dixie Beer (New Orleans brewery) and choirs of angels cranking out Hank Williams tunes. I hope so anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  19. If you get there and discover there is no beer, you may surmise that you have been judged already and found to be wanting. Our God is not a Puritan. John the Mad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am no God as Puritan believer. How does one "drink" without a "mouth"? That is my metaphysical question. On a "New Earth" I would assume beer would be amongst the first of fruits to be brought forth.

      Delete

Please contact matt@badgercatholic.com if you have issues commenting.