Friday, February 24, 2006

Tom Wright: Some Highlights

7 Epiphany
6 Hilary

... of the lectures in London. I'm not sure what's considered tasteful or tactful in terms of actually reproducing lecture notes, so of course I'm not going to do that: rather these are some key points that I have mostly paraphrased.
"It is often considered that apocalyptic is the immanent expectation of the end of the world, the collapse of the space/time universe, and indeed, the Kingdom is thought of the arrival of a new non-spatial order, and the cosmos as we know it is replaced by something else."
That's wrong. However,

"That has been understood for nearly a century as the meaning of Jesus' apocalyptic expectation. And since the early Christians believed that the world was coming to an end, we must re-evaluate everything, because, we are the first generation to realize that the world didn't actually end. The ethics of Jesus and the NT are therefore considered an interim ethic in anticipation of the immediate end of the cosmos. Since that didn't happen, those ethics can be put aside."


But apocalyptic is not just stuff here and there. What it really means: "The whole New Testament demands to be understood in terms of the unveiling of things normally hidden. This is not thought of as the end of the world, but the pulling back of the cosmic curtain. The NT repeatedly returns to eschatological apocalypse, the idea that the wider plan of God is about to revealed in a great event." This is not "about people glimpsing timeless secrets, like platonic forms, but learning the Creator's plans for the creation. Just as the apple shows what the tree had been on about all along, so does the advent of Jesus reveal God's plan. This revelation is eschatological because creates a new state of affairs, even if no one else notices."

Christian ethics, therefore, is about "recognizing that new creation has begun with the resurrection of Jesus, but that it remains to be implemented and that we are learning to live in the power of the resurrection that has just happened, and anticipating the resurrection of the age to come, having tasted of the power of the age to come." Christian ethics is "not a matter of learning a bunch of rules, but discovering what God's new creation is supposed to look like, and then discovering the ways one is called to conform one's life and the world to that, making symbols of the new creation. The church is charged with living as an anticipation of the bringing together of all things" into Christ.

And what's the point, ultimately?
Exodus and new exodus/resurrection is the prototypical event that constitutes the new creation. God is going to do for the whole creation at last what he did for Israel in the Exodus and for Jesus in bringing him from the tomb.
It was also great to hang out with Steven, Richard (who is Reformed but not fundamentalist!) and Peter from Manchester. 'Sup, fellows. Steven has few comments here.

You might see also, "Heaven is important but it's not the end of the world."

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