Monday, May 5, 2008

N.T. Wright: "Life after 'Life-after-death'"

In an appearance on Nightline Bishop N.T. Wright explains his view that "Heaven is a temporary holding place" to be followed by the "new heaven and new earth." I think what he teaches is what the Bible teaches, but I am willing to be instructed by those many who know more than I do.

My impression is that Bishop Wright is very reliable when it comes to New Testament scholarship, but not at all so when trying to explain the political implications. He seems to think that his conclusions about the end times necessarily result in a greater concern about the physical well-being of people now. He seems to be saying that if he believed that when he died he would go to Heaven and stay there, then he would have less concern about the Earth and the people on it during his life now. I don't understand how that follows.

Our concern about our fellow man should be neither increased nor lessened by the fact that Creation will be re-made and perfected at the end of time. It will, after all, be a new earth. The reason we care about our fellow creatures — both for their spiritual and physical well-being — is because God wants us to. We love because we were first loved. "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." We endeavor to do good because it pleases Him and we are His people. Whether we end up in Heaven eternally, or dwelling in a New Creation, the motivation is exactly the same.


  1. Jim,

    N.T. Wright's point is in regards to dispensational theology. Christianity, in America, has bought into the idea of the Left Behind scenario where Christians will be raptured and will watch the earth and all its remaining inhabitants be destroyed.

    This point of view reflects the influence of Platonic thought that believes that material things are evil and spiritual things are good. As a result, many Christians believe that what happens to the earth doesn't matter. After all, it is headed for destruction.

    This ignores the teaching of scripture that God came to REDEEM creation, not to destroy it.

    Hope this clarifies Mr. Wright's point for you. Be blessed.

  2. Russell,

    Thanks for the comment.

    You make clear what Wright is responding to, but not why his eschatology [with which I agree] would make any difference.


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