Friday, March 29, 2013

heaven not our ultimate destination



Here's N. T. Wright on the Christian hope of resurrection (our future physical/bodily/glorious resurrection that comes about because of Jesus' resurrection)... 

What then do the New Testament writers mean when they speak of an inheritance waiting for us in heaven?  This has been much misunderstood, with awesome results in traditions of thought, prayer, life and art.  The point of such passages, as in 1 Peter 1.4, 2 Corinthians 5.1, Philippians 3.20, and so forth, is not that one must ‘go to heaven’, as in much-popular imagination, in order to enjoy the inheritance there. It is rather that ‘heaven’ is the place where God stores up his plans and purposes for the future.  If I tell a friend that there is beer in the fridge, that doesn't mean he has to get into the fridge in order to enjoy the beer.  When the early Christians speak of a new body in heaven, or an inheritance in heaven, they mean what St John the Divine means in Revelation 21: the new identity which at present is kept safe in heaven will be brought from heaven to earth at the great moment of renewal.  Yes: the great majority of Christian expressions of hope through the middle ages, the reformation, and the counter-reformation periods have been misleading. ‘Heaven’ is not the Christian’s ultimate destination.  For renewed bodies we need a renewed cosmos, including a renewed earth. That is what the New Testament promises.

From "Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins"  Read the full article here.  

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