“Surprised by Hope” by NT Wright is doing more than playing with my head. It’s exploding my brains.
He articulates some things that I’ve been trying to put words to. I’ve bumbled around with ideas about how embodied and physical Christianity is. I’ve babbled about how our traditional disembodied ideas of heaven don’t seem biblical.
He pulls all this together. I’ll share some quotes later.
Today, I was reading a passage where he repeated one of his main points.
The idea is that Jesus didn’t actually defeat death if the afterlife is this nonphysical place. He accomodated, death, perhaps, but he didn’t defeat it, if we wander around, ghost-like, after death.
Rob Bell, Wright himself, and others emphasize the idea that Revelations describes the final end that we were promised in the Garden of Eden. The whole of human history was just a back-pedal, a delay, in reaching our final destination.
This seems so dead on to me: Adam and Eve would have participated in the city described in Revelations. They would have gotten to it much sooner than the serpent.
And so it struck me, as I was reading the book today:
We have no problem imagining an embodied, physical existence for Adam and Eve. Many people agree that through Jesus we’re heading to the final destiny intended for Adam and Eve. But people struggle with the idea that we’ll be physical beings in this eternity…
This all leads to the question: If Adam and Eve hadn’t fallen, at what point would they have lost their physicality? If Adam and Eve are physical… if the final desination is non-physical… if Adam and Eve were supposed to end up there. They’d have had to suddenly (or gradually, I suppose) become ghost-like and nonphysical.