People get tattoos for various reasons. Some express their identity, values, and memories. These people like the permanent nature of having the face of a loved one, the name of a hometown, or a meaningful saying etched in ink on their bodies.
However, can we go to heaven with tattoos? Stay tuned to learn this and more about tattooing and religious faith.
Can We Go To Heaven With Tattoos?
Yes, we can go to heaven with tattoos. Tattoos don’t prevent us from going to heaven when we die. That’s because the bible teaches us that going to heaven is based on believing in Jesus Christ and not avoiding tattoos.
Yes, some Christians believe tattoos are unholy. But having them is not enough to prevent you from going to heaven. So as long as you believe that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead to heaven, you’ll go to heaven even if you have tattoos.
Does The Bible Forbid Tattooing?
There are almost no direct statements in the bible forbidding Christians from getting tattoos. The only direct statement about tattoos is the one found in Leviticus 19:24
“You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
According to bible scholars, here’s how to interpret the verse:
- The verse refers to mourning rituals common to pagans during Moses’s time. Most bible scholars believe that the verse talks about pagans cutting themselves when mourning for the dead to increase their sorrow and pain. This practice (forcing grief feelings) was common in the ancient world, and God didn’t want the Israelites to adopt or mimic it.
- Some bible scholars believe that people cut themselves to offer blood to their pagan gods. So, the most important part of the instruction is the blood draining from the gashes, not the act of cutting the skin itself. These scholars believe that the implication of blood, a major theme in Leviticus, is what the verse talks about.
- Other scholars believe that the Hebrew word for a tattoo may mean painting or cutting the skin. If that’s so, and the verse forbids modern-day tattooing, it also forbids other ways people modify their bodies, like teeth whitening, ear piercing, and applying makeup.
Generally, scholars agree that the main message of Leviticus 19:28 is that Israelites should not imitate the pagans’ way of mourning the dead – cutting their bodies to increase pain. However, pastors and scholars disagree on the application of this instruction, with some believing it forbids modern-day tattooing and others don’t.
Most importantly, all pastors and scholars (even those believing this verse forbids modern-day tattoos) agree tattoos don’t prevent people from going to heaven when they die.
Why Do Christians Believe Tattoos Are Worldly?
Some Christians believe that Leviticus 19:28 doesn’t forbid them from getting tattoos, provided their motivation doesn’t concern ancient pagan mourning rituals. However, they still believe that it’s wrong for them to get tattoos as they are worldly.
According to Christianity, worldly behavior comes from a value system that’s ungodly and secular. The opposite is holiness, which means being set apart from God. This way of thinking doesn’t categorize tattoos as evil but associates its believers with the godless elements of life.
Note that the bible verse talking about worldliness doesn’t mention tattoos. Instead, some readers apply the teaching of such verses to modern trends not rooted in the church, like getting tattoos.
Here are a couple of bible verses talking about worldliness:
- James 4:4, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
- Romans 12:2, “Do not be comformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Are Tattoos Against Treating The Body As The Temple Of The Holy Spirit?
Besides those conforming to the notion that tattoos are worldly, some Christians believe that their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and thus shouldn’t have tattoos on them. They base this on1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Or do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Based on the verse before this (1 Corinthians 6:18), the context here is sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says,
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
However, some Christians still believe that the principle of these verses applies to getting tattoos. And that if a body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, then it shouldn’t be permanently marked even with biblical truth or value.
Others believe that if that’s true, then piercing ears violates this principle. Then there are those that say wearing lipstick and whitening your teeth is prohibited.
Will We Have Tattoos In Heaven
Bible scholars believe that the bodies believers will get in heaven won’t have body modifications like tattoos, dental work, ear piercings, or plastic surgery. These verses support this:
- 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
- Philippians 3:21, “Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Can we go to heaven with tattoos? Yes, we can go to heaven with tattoos. That’s because going to heaven is based on believing in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, irrespective of whether we have tattoos or not.