Surprised by Hope and a few other things

March 11, 2010

Over the past month in my limited free time I have been working my way through N.T. Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope. This is the first thing by Wright that I have read, and I was quite impressed. The primary theme of the book is examining the ramifications of the Christian doctrine of resurrection. Wright defends a Biblical understanding of the resurrection and debunks a lot of popular misunderstandings in the process. Given that I am currently a student in the academy, I found these arguments particularly pressing. There is a great deal of concern and consternation amongst post-modern thinkers regarding living “embodied” lives, or recognizing that as human beings our lives are situated within our physical bodies living in a physical reality. In many ways this aspect of post-modernism is a reaction against a dualistic split between a disembodied soul and physical body which is more characteristic of Platonic thought than orthodox Christianity. In this sense, Christians have something real to say to our culture on this issue: material reality and physicality are not evil (as Gnostics would claim), but are at the center of our vision of eternity, which will be both embodied and physical. I would agree with Wright that having a proper view of the Resurrection of Christ is essential for living our day to day lives with balance and purpose. This world is not simply filled with cannon-fodder for Armageddon, for us to use and abuse in anticipation of the Earth’s final destruction. Instead, anything done for God in this world, to quote a popular movie, will echo in eternity…an eternity of embodied life in which heaven and earth are joined.

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