St Mark 12: 18-27
The Sadducees were an aristocratic, conservative group or party who were centred in Jerusalem. Many came from high priestly families. They co-operated with the Roman authorities and were at variance on religious and political matters with the pharisees. Because of their privileged status under the Romans, they would have been afraid that Jesus could become a threat to this position.
The Sadducees denied full authority to the Scripture outside of the first five books of the Old Testament; Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Numbers (Pentateuch). Every doctrine that was not taught explicitly in these books was denied.
To mock Jesus and his teaching on resurrection they propose this ridiculous question. Jesus however quotes from the book of Exodus, one of the very books they claim to love and know and the person they most revere, Moses. Jesus demonstrates to them that in actual fact they do not know their scripture, the power of God and Divine Revelation.
He then explains to them the story of Moses and the burning bush and how when his Father speaks to Moses God says “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is God not of the dead, but of the living”. Although they have been dead for hundreds of years, God speaks of them in the present.
Jesus also explained that in the new life of the resurrection we do not marry as we are like the angels. We do not become angels, as they are incorporeal spirits and we are corporal beings.We become like them in the spiritual sense and move beyond the things of this world. What Jesus is saying is that heaven is not a continuation of this life at any level.
Heaven is not a better version of earth. It is totally other, totally distinct. It is a new age, a new epoch, that does not mimic earth. We should never attempt to see it in human terms as it does not relate to anything that we know as it is beyond our human experience.
“Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its unconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom. This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures.”
St Faustina (1905-1938)