Thursday, April 1, 2010
I have been studying the concept of the consummation and restoration of the universe. This has been a point made in different ways by both N.T. Wright and Randy Alcorn. Wright calls it, Life after life after death. The results of the lifting of the curse on all creation will be a future physicality in God's creation for our resurrection bodies.
This integrates our present life with the life to come in a very healthy way. This values the universe God created and does not create in our minds some huge Shangrila resort somewhere where we and God hold an eternal church service and hymn sing. It enables us to practice resurrection in this life, with love and truth and beauty.
Alcorn says we are all twisted with a false idea he calls Christoplatonism, which mixes with Biblical teaching to create an idea that spiritual is good and physical is bad. Wright says it is as if Christ’s resurrection was only to prove that life exists, rather than to be the first fruits of the complete victory of God over sin/death.
Alcorn develops our future to involve further exploration, creativity and the enjoyment of creation. This is a difficult concept for those steeped in the dualistic teaching. Heaven is a place separate, removed, pure in a spiritual way, with rectangular walls, not mountains and lakes.
For a long time I thought that way because of Paul’s word, “that which is spiritual is permanent” and the idea of a spiritual body. Lately I have seen the glory and synchronicity of the fleshiness of the ages to come. Not dogmatically, but for the sake of the conversation.
This also creates the real need for an intermediate state, blissful and restful but not yet the consummation. It means we are not teeing off and playing tennis in Club Heaven five seconds after our death. It means we all take those future steps together corporately.