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.
- I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it be ratified in heaven.” Amen. John Wesley
Kev on Holiness: John Wesley’s… Phil Fick on Holiness: John Wesley’s… Day 6 – Visit… on Holiness: John Wesley’s… gisele on Holiness: John Wesley’s… S on Holiness: John Wesley’s…
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- “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” Thomas Merton