Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin has made something of a name of himself in answering questions about the faith that lie decidedly on the bizarre size (Current favorite: “If Baby Yoda is physically 50 years old but has the characteristics of a toddler, is he still required to abstain from meat and fast on Fridays in Lent?” Answer: It depends. Assuming he’s a member of the Latin rite, he has to start abstaining from meat once he’s 14 years old and is expected to do so for the rest of his life, but once he turns 59 he no longer has to fast. But if he is developmentally an infant, then he doesn’t yet have the sufficient use of reason to override his instincts as an obligate carnivore. In that case, he doesn’t.)
As the previous question indicates, Jimmy Akin takes all comers with great seriousness. He once gave a thorough hearing to Flat Earth theories for one hour and nineteen minutes without snorking one single time. (The airline captain/Air Force veteran he interviewed on the matter, however did not exactly appreciate the Flat Earth accusation that every single member of every single flight crew is in on a giant conspiracy to cover the Real Truth of a disk-shaped Earth.) A fair man, is Jimmy Akin.
So even though he doesn’t give much indication that he’s a great sports fan, he is a far more charitable person than I, so I paid close attention to what Mr, Akin had to say when asked if we will enjoy sports in heaven. (Answer: If you need sports to be happy in heaven, then you will have them.)
This led me to wonder how baseball in heaven might go. I don’t mean a field in Iowa. I mean the actual afterlife with actual harps and chocolate forever.
One of the reasons sports is such a Thing here on Earth is that it provides us a sense of belonging, companionship, enjoyable distraction, and appreciation of human ability at its highest level. Properly conducted, sports provide appropriate and temporary relief of the burdens in this world of sin, as long as kettlecorn is involved. Improperly applied, sports are just as corrupt as any Medici papacy. We’ll find what we bring to it.
I don’t believe we will require stress-relieving distractions in heaven, and only people we prefer to spend time with will act as our dining companions (a reason for introverts to strive for the ultimate up escalator if I ever heard one.) We will enjoy complete, harmonious peace and never feel the need to establish a tribal identity. So if we love everybody and everybody loves us, who do we root for? Is this still fun?
Jimmy Akin addresses this and suggests that we all might politely root for a tie, or simply enjoy the game and appreciate the skill-maximized victor, while the also skill-maximized vanquished doesn’t punch one single Pirate. This sounds more soothing, but hardly more entertaining.
Now if you’re of a certain religious persuasion, you might believe in the Last Resurrection, which means that when what was threatened in 2000 and again in 2012 and again, again in 2020 actually comes to pass and our reality of leggings and Air Supply in the grocery blessedly ends, we will be reunited with our bodies in their best possible form. And not only that, Akin points out: We’ll have superpowers.
We’ll be able to bilocate.
We will not (as far as I understand it) suffer injury.
We can vanish and reappear at will and, in fact, enjoy immortality.
The possibilities these upgrades present more than compensate for losing the stirring sight of the entire bullpen pouring onto the field to jump up and down on some Cubs.
But this second characteristic seems most intriguing. No DL/IL; concussion protocols and netting debates are put to rest. You take a sizzling liner to the face and keep on pitching.
Now I want to hear what you think: Baseball in heaven? If so, what does it look like? Highly speculative answers only.