Fr. Steve Reviews N.T Wright

Fr. Steve Rice, one whom I consider a friend, reviews N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope:

Wright’s main point is that Christian hope is not life after death – rather it is ‘life after life after death.’ Christ’s resurrection is victory over death. His resurrection is the prototype of our resurrection. His spirit did not escape the confines of the material world – the resurrection redeemed it – recreated it, and by doing so – defeated the power of death.

When we die, our souls go to paradise, heaven. We rest, we are at peace, we are with God. But that is not the end. It is not our final destination. We wait for the resurrection when the redeemed body and soul and made new and the heavens and the earth are recreated and joined together.

I can’t summarize 300 pages of Wright’s theology here, but let me add a couple of quick things. Not only does the resurrection give hope in the recreation of our own bodies – with body and soul – but the whole earth is to be redeemed, recreated. It makes sense doesn’t it? If God created the heavens and the earth and it was good – it was perfect – wouldn’t God’s victory involve redeeming that creation and not just destroying it? Wright asks us to read Romans 8 and Revelation 21 in this light.

But furthermore, if in our baptism we die and are raised with Christ and we are already experiencing a foretaste of the resurrection as we are new creations (as St Paul said), then we are charged with changing the world – by being people of resurrection – new creations – we are called and charged to invite all of creation to participate in resurrection. Instead of escapism and evacuation, we are responsible (see the previous post) for the world and all that is in it. This deals with the environment and with social problems and everything in between.

I highly encourage the reading of Surprised by Hope. I highly encourage a seismic shift in theology.


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