When we're in heaven will we remember our earthly lives?
Many wonder whether it will be possible for believers to remember life on earth when in heaven. On the negative side, some understand Isaiah 65:17 as saying that our earthly lives will not come to mind: "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind." Yet this focus on the future heavens and earth does not necessarily require forgetting our past life on earth.
Some suggest that only the bad memories or past problems from our earthly life will be forgotten. This is based on Isaiah 65:16 that reads, "because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes." These words more closely align with Revelation 21:4 that teaches that the Lord, "will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
However, this does not completely answer the issue of what the Bible teaches about our memory of earthly life in heaven. For example, in the account of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 both men appear to remember facts about their earthly life. In addition, Revelation 6:9-11 points out that martyrs in heaven remember their suffering on earth. Since this includes much pain, it appears that at least some painful earthly memories will be remembered, though they will be seen from God's perfect perspective at that time.
Revelation 18:20 also provides a future account from heaven that states, "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!" Judgment is mentioned for past sinful treatment toward God's people. If God mentions it, then there must at least be some memory of these events among these believers. This is further emphasized in Revelation 19:1-5 where believers praise God for fulfilling this judgment.
Further, our life in heaven will be made more complete, not less complete. If memory is part of our basic personality, it would be more likely that we would have a better memory of earthly life and see it from God's perfect perspective rather than losing memories of earthly life. Revelation 21:4 is clear there will be no more pain in the end for believers, but perhaps believers in heaven will know all of the reasons why things on earth took place and understand them from God's perfect perspective instead.
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