Friday, February 8, 2008

N.T. Wright on Heaven

TIME Magazine has a brief but good interview with N.T. Wright on the subject of heaven (HT: Between Two Worlds). The interview is informal, but Wright does a good job correcting some common misconceptions about the biblical understanding of the afterlife. In short, the common belief that we will spend eternity in some disembodied heaven derives more from Greek Platonism than the Bible, which actually anticipates the restoration of this earth. Our hope is not to escape from the physical to the heavenly, but to see the renewal of the physical as it is finally and fully united with the heavenly. Paul describes it like this in Romans 8:19-23:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

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