Bible Question:

Imagine that only one married spouse entered heaven and then forever knew that their partner went to hell to burn forever. What kind of heaven is that for the one who was saved? Therefore, is it possible that God would send one spouse to heaven and the other to hell?

Bible Answer:

The question we are concerned with is, “Would God send one spouse to heaven and the other to hell?” This answer is given in three parts: 1) marriage in heaven, 2) what we will remember in heaven and 3) requirements for entering heaven.

Would God Send One Spouse To Heaven and the Other to Hell?

Marriage In Heaven

Our starting point is that Jesus told the Sadducees that men and women are not married in heaven. They are not given in marriage and they cannot marry. Here is Jesus’ statement,

But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30 (NASB)

Jesus made a strong statement because He adds that we will be like the angels who are not given in marriage. That is, no one is married in heaven. Thus, those who are married in this life will not be married in heaven. Therefore, a married couple cannot trust that they will both go to heaven because one of them is saved. Our salvation is not dependent on another person.  Please read the study “Are men and women married in heaven?” for more information about marriage in heaven.

Requirements For Entering Heaven

So is it possible that one spouse could be sent to heaven and the other to hell or the lake of fire? The answer is yes! Notice that God warns us in John 3:16 that those who believe in Christ will obtain eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

This verse also teaches us that those who do not believe in Christ will perish. That is, they will go to hell. Therefore,  a husband or a wife could believe in Christ and go to heaven, and their spouse refuse to believe in Christ and as a result go to hell. Likewise, a married couple where both believe in Christ will go to heaven but not because they are married. Please read the study “Do I have to believe that Jesus is God to be saved?” for more information about marriage in heaven.

What We Will Remember In Heaven

Therefore, if a husband and wife are separated after death, will the spouse in heaven experience pain and suffering because the other person is in hell? The answer is no! Why? Scripture teaches we will not remember the negative experiences of the past. Isaiah 65:16-17 describes what Christians will experience in heaven which is described as the new heavens and new earth.

Because he who is blessed in the earth
Will be blessed by the God of truth;
And he who swears in the earth
Will swear by the God of truth;
Because the former troubles are forgotten,
And because they are hidden from My sight!
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
Isaiah 65:16-17 (NASB)

Notice that it says, “the former troubles are forgotten.” That is, Christians will not remember the former unhappy events. Revelation 21:4 adds that Christians will not be unhappy in heaven.

Ad He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (NASB)

Heaven is going to be a time of joy and happiness. But that will not be true for the non-Christian (Revelation 20:11-15).

Conclusion:

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, we discover that the rich man (Luke 16:19-31)  suffers in agony in the flames of hell fire, but Lazarus is in heaven. He is not suffering. Therefore, if a husband and wife are separated in eternity, the one in heaven will never experience sadness because the other one is in hell. Why should the Christian suffer because the non-Christian did not believe?

This should encourage every Christian spouse to share the good news about Jesus Christ with their non-Christian spouse. 1 Peter 3:1-2 encourages wives to not nag their husbands about believing in Christ but to be a witness by her respectful, godly and modest behavior. The husband should love his wife and share Christ as he has opportunity. We should pray for our non-Christian spouses to believe in Christ. If they then believe in Christ, then the discussion of this brief study is a moot point.

Suggested Links:

Are men and women married in heaven?
Will people have gender in heaven?
Will we know each other in heaven?
Do I have to believe that Jesus is God to be saved?