Will there be nations in heaven? Different languages?

Firstly, sorry for not posting since April. That commitment to blog regularly didn’t last very long, did it? But anyway, here I am again and after getting back into reading other WordPress blogs recently, I’m hoping to now get back into my own blog too.

I like languages. I do French and Spanish at school and after having been on two exchange trips this summer (one in France, one in Spain), I have a renewed interested in linguistics. I have started randomly translating song lyrics into French and Spanish in my head, reading up on Esperanto and Greenlandic, editing foreign-language Wikipedias and I’ve now actually started to invent my own language, called Negrapinut (which means “language of the black country” in case you’re interested). Sounds nerdy, right? But hey.

Like many others, I do also have a certain sense of pride in being British. Much has been said about how the royal wedding last year combined with the Jubilee and Olympics/Paralympics this year have renewed a sense of patriotism in Britain that perhaps we were lacking before. And you only have to look at Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and the DR Congo to see that proper nations where people have a shared identity are stronger than man-made unions or countries made up of loads of different tribes.  (Ok, the Soviet Union was pretty strong while it lasted, but it inevitably collapsed eventually, just as Yugoslavia inevitably split up into its original nations.)

However, I have in the past actually wondered whether nationhood (if that’s a word) and different languages are things that we should actually thank God for, given that they were meant to be a curse put on us because of the Tower of Babel. My conclusion is to thank God for all the good things that have resulted from them, the shared identity that they give people and the pleasure that different cultures and languages give me and many others, while acknowledging their origin and that, though we might have them in heaven, we might not do because we won’t need them.

Will there be different languages, and different nations and cultures, in heaven? I don’t know. I suppose it’s possible. The diversity of the different cultures and languages in the world bring a lot of pleasure to people. Patriotism often brings people together with a shared identity, and allegiance to one’s nation can be a force for good if people are inspired to serve their country. And as there will be no sin in heaven, the idolatry and the bad things that can result from nationalism wouldn’t happen.

However, I’m slightly leaning towards the no side. The fact that these things were meant to be a curse as a result of us building the Tower of Babel kind of makes me think that there would be no languages or cultures in a perfect world. And if everyone in heaven will be part of a perfect family of God’s children, what extra kind of shared identity will we need? Once we are with God and are fully experiencing his love together, will we really need the pleasure of the different cultures and languages we have now? And once we have fully matured as Christians and become wise, will we really need to find wisdom in other cultures?

What do you think? Any comments would be welcome.