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May 15, 2009

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Travis Greene

This sounds right on to me, though what the symbolism translates to in reality, who knows? I get what the absence of the sea meant to the ancients, but will the renewed heavens/earth really have no oceans? No whales? Dolphins? How will Peter go fishing?

Of course, this is mostly speculation and the specifics (Will lions eat vegetables? What about mosquitoes?) don't really matter. The important point is to grasp that the world will be renewed, restored, and redeemed, and it will be a world, not an unphysical realm of spirits. Now we see through a glass, darkly; then we will see face to face. But what we see will be the fulfillment of the world, not its negation.

Michael W. Kruse

"... we see will be the fulfillment of the world, not its negation."

Bingo. Specifics aren't the key issue.

As someone who neither likes fishing or seafood, the oceans disappearing is okay by me. :-)

Rick McGinniss

"There will be no more sin, for there will be no more sinners (21:7-8); the new creation involves exclusion as well as inclusion – exclusion of the unrepentantly and persistently wicked."

My wife asked me a really good question about this the other day: if there is no more sin in the new creation, does that imply the loss of free will? i.e. if we are resurrected to be fully human in the image of God (w/the ability to make real choices) could we still not decide to sin at some point?

Michael W. Kruse

Interesting question. I'd be curious to hear what others think.

I think we have free will and when it comes to the consummation of the New Creation we will have chosen (or rejected) communion with God and his Kingdom. As resurrected beings we will be in perfect relationship with God, others, and creation, and perfectly enabled to choose to live according the world of the new creation.

Earlier in the book, Wright deals with the issue of the origin of evil. His basic point is that we don't know its origin and God has chosen not to reveal that to us. We are merely called to trust God when he says he will eliminate evil. I think that also includes that we will be able to freely choose the good in a world without evil.

William Apel

Our Wednesday lunch church group has been reading Henri Nouwen's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son.'

We have repeatedly commented on how Nouwen is interpreting - the meaning he ascribes - to what Rembrandt had painted.

Nouwen's words and thoughts are beautiful. But he lived more than 300 years after Rembrandt. Did Rembrandt really mean all those things the Nouwen said about the painting? Who knows?

Now C. Wright is ascribing all manner of ideas to God, heaven, and the afterlife. To me it's just another example of man trying to control/limit the mind of God.

Shalom,
Bill

Michael W. Kruse

"To me it's just another example of man trying to control/limit the mind of God."

I'm unclear what you're reacting to, Bill. Can you be more specific?

William Apel

I’m reacting to all of the:

“There will be no…” statements. And maybe some of the “There will be” ones as well.

I guess I just agree with Niebuhr (Kruse Kronicle – May 17, 2009)


“It is unwise for Christians to claim any knowledge of either the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell; or to be too certain about any of the details of the Kingdom of God in which history is consummated.”

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks.

I don't think Wright is talking about "the furniture of heaven," ... or the house or the neighborhood for that matter. :-) He simply relates the very imprecise sense of a heavenly city.

For the most part, he seems to me to be addressing broad themes about the new creation. He is sticking pretty close to scriptural descriptions, though metaphors are clearly a major part of these descriptions.

I also think God intends for us to know more about the future other just the fact that get eternal life. He gives us a glimpse of some of the contours of the new creation and we are called to give witness to those contours in the present. That is why I find Wright's summary helpful.

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