Now you may think that this is a pointless question. Some hypothetical conversation that we couldn’t possibly know the answer to… But the New Creation is clearly a place where there is praising, worship and relationship with God and one another. If Jesus’ resurrection body is anything to go by then we will surely be able to speak to one another – either with common language or common understanding.
But here’s the point, and why it’s a very relevant question. What if you’re deaf?
My instinct would be to say the deafness is a disability, there’s a sense in which being deaf is to be incomplete – ie. you can’t hear! Then of course this ability will be restored in the New Creation, in our perfect bodies. Now this happened to come up recently, preaching recently at a local church of which around 10% of the members are deaf. I was given Isaiah 35 as the text, which talks about the deaf being healed… awkward!
After having the debate about when we should expect this healing that is promised to happen, another discussion came about. You see, some in the Christian deaf community, don’t believe that they are ‘physically incomplete’ or ‘disabled’, they believe that this is how God has created them to be. Which I think we would want to concur with, to a point. The issue is that some go on to say… therefore I will be deaf in heaven too… so presumably will speak BSL in heaven?
I’d always have thought it an irrelevant question, but it’s actually massively practical and pastoral if you work with deaf people. You can appreciate the point that some in the Christian deaf community are making, but I think scripture is clear that we will be made complete and healed in the New Creation. We will receive perfected, resurrection bodies, deafness is surely only one symptom of a fallen, broken body. One that nonetheless will be healed and restored.
There’s lots of interesting questions surrounding the New Creation. I think the idea of knowing one another, and communicating with one another, seems very plausible and could probably find implicit warrant for in the Bible. I’m struggling to think of specific verses to justify this view. Thoughts?