Saturday, February 09, 2008

N. T. Wright on the Wrong View of Heaven

I know, I know. It's been like forever since I posted. This morning, however, a friend sent me a link to a Time Magazine interview with N. T. Wright that was enough to wake me from my blogging slumber. My friend wanted to know what I think of Wright's position. I wholeheartedly agree with his take on the restoration of creation as redemption's ultimate end. I do wish, though, that he had been more clear about faith in Christ as a condition for participating in the renewal about which he so enthusiastically speaks.

Concerning the common conception of heaven as an eternal, ethereal existence, Wright says:

There are several important respects in which it's unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. St. Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, "Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven." It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.
Wright comments that almost invariably, his explanation of what the Bible teaches about the eternal state is met with a sense of excitement and a sense of "Why haven't we been told this before?" Good question.


Milton Stanley said...

Glad to see you're back at it, Keith. Peace.

KP said...

Thanks, Milton. I'm glad you're still among my readers.