I am currently reading Suprised by Hope by NT Wright. So far the book is outstanding. I just finished part 1 and when I’m done posting this, I will start part 2. I hope to review it a bit when I have finished. Wright takes a lot of heat for some of his ideas, but I have found in his views on ‘heaven’ and ‘resurrection’ a refreshing advance. I believe he is dead-on in his understanding of the new heaven and earth which is closely tied to his understanding of the Resurrection. I am also thrilled that he debunks, in one fell swoop, the notion that ‘left behind’ is biblical, referring to it with a terse, ‘myth.’ This helpful, short clip is a mere sampling of Wright who seems to be the soup-du-jour in Biblical studies these days. I have not read enough of him to claim that I agree with everything he says, but in this clip he is very close to where I am. (The only thing I dislike is the rather condescending manner of the interviewer.)
17 “Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more. (Isaiah 65)
Then there’s also this:
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21)
11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3)
From these readings, it seems to me that we have something more to look forward to than the mere escapism of some eschatologies. He’s not suggesting he has all the answers to all the questions, but at minimum his suggestion is that we should give serious thought to rethinking what the interviewer continually refers to as ‘traditional Christian belief.’ Since the tradition is decidedly wrong, and frankly offers very little in the way of hope, that is a good thing altogether.
I am going to read more on this from Wright and see where it all ends up, but so far I am encouraged that someone has the nerve to actually think about what verses such as these might actually mean in their context.
Soli Deo Gloria!
See Also: ABC NEWS
IF the youtube video isn’t working, go to youtube, search NT Wright. I don’t know why it isn’t showing up here, but it is showing up at youtube. Sorry for the inconvenience.