Skip to comments.Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop (could Mormon cosmology be right???)
Posted on 02/09/2008 4:52:54 AM PST by Edward Watson
N.T. "Tom" Wright is one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought. As Bishop of Durham, he is the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England and a major player in the strife-riven global Anglican Communion; as a much-read theologian and Biblical scholar he has taught at Cambridge and is a hero to conservative Christians worldwide for his 2003 book The Resurrection of the Son of God, which argued forcefully for a literal interpretation of that event.
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
1. Intermediate stage (e.g., Paradise) immediately after death that isn't "heaven". 2. A corporeal resurrection of our bodies. 3. A plurality of "heavens" after the Resurrection. 4. The physical transformation of the earth and its unity to "heaven". 5. Christ's true followers will rule beneath God's dominion instead of just mindlessly sit on clouds and strum harps for all eternity.
Joe Smith in hell: “I want a re-trial!”
With all the douchebaggery coming out of the #1 in the C of E, why should we be impressed by #4? The salvation of the Church will come from the third world. Worrying too much about the forms and structure of the afterlife is an unhealthy obsession. Let’s just say it’s different, and chances are a mind must be transformed to grasp it.
The Bible doesn’t say much about what Heaven is like, in detail. My thought is that it’s not something we can understand, so there’s no point in explaining it to us. I’m counting on it being wonderful. See ya’ll there!
Nothing revolutionary here, IMO. Christian theology speaks of the final Resurrection and the reuniting of our soul with its own glorified body (such as Christ possessed following His resurrection). The righteous dead will not spend eternity as disembodied shades.
How this is held to be approaching the LDS concept of the afterlife, with its billions of gods and heavenly mothers and spirit children awaiting union with flesh yet to be conceived, is beyond me.
no Mormon Cosmology can’t be right because it neglects the source and goal of our existence, participation in the Inner Life of the Trinity.
I was with him right up to that “bombed civilians in Iraq” part.
The bishop had previously spoken for the literal interpretation of the Resurrection of our Saviour. I am a Bible-literalist. I believe (only reading from your summary) that, OF COURSE, the bishop is much closer to a biblical description than “sitting on soft clouds” and all that mystical stuff that came from paintings on Catholic Church ceilings, etc., etc., . . .
Bishop Wright would probably have quite a reaction to your comments!
Here we go again. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen.
About as well written description of Heaven as I have read.
II Cor . 5:6-8
6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Proverbs 14:8 NAS
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way , But the foolishness of fools is deceit .
Excellent. Paul does, however, talk about receiving a new body by casting off the old man. The critical component here is the idea of a new Heaven and a new Earth. I like the understanding of a return to Eden as the new Earth.
ICorinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not *ALL* sleep, but we shall *ALL* be change,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the *LAST* trump (there are 7 trumps); for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
54"..saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch *THEN* as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through *death* He might destroy him that had the power of *death*, that is, the *DEVIL*;
IPeter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that HE might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh,
but *quickened* by the Spirit:
19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison,
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight *SOULS* were saved by water.
Despite what is written, you could cut to the chase about here as this is the fact that the elite of his colleagues in the Anglican/Episcopal communion accept: Check out what The Most Rev. John Shelby Sprong says!
Christianity has been limping along on tradition alone for centuries. It's about time it begins to return to it's biblical roots.
I always thought the traditional description of Heaven was kinda boring. Everyone has their own idea of paradise—so ultimately paradise would be each person living in that particular context (I think “Star Trek Generations” had this theme).
In the final analysis, however, I am very skeptical of ANY mortal who professes to know the answers about the afterlife. That is for G-d to know and the rest of us to find out when He’d ready to share it with us.
My philosophy: Do the best you can in this life and hope for the best.
Luke 23:39-44 -- "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. "
Well, I have read the Bible pretty thoroughly and I can vouch that every one of those doctrines is literally supported in the text.
Let’s see: #1 sounds like Purgatory to me and there is the text in Luke: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” “Ameen soi lego, seemeron met emou esee en to paradeiso” The word ‘paradeiso’ in Greek is borrowed from the Persian, the original of which meant ‘enclosure’ or ‘Eden’ if you will. When our Lord meant ‘heaven’, He said ‘ouranous’. So even on the point of death He made a clear distinction. I think we ought to make one too, yes?
I have to ask whether you really want to argue with #2 given I Cor 15:35-49 and I Thess 4:16-17 as particular citations along with Luke 20:27-40 and 22:28-30, and also citing Rev 20:12-15. Given the Scripture testimony, there is no arguing we will be resurrected in physical bodies
As to #3, our Lord Himself said, ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you...’ John 14:2 “en tee oikia tou patros mou monai pollai eisin. ei de mee, eipon an umin oit poreouomai etoimasai topon umin?” That sounds like a multiplicity of ‘heavens’ if you will without violating the unity of God or the universality of Heaven. How is it not possible to have varieties of places in such a case?
#4 is also a commonplace. Rev 21:1 says “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” “Kai eidon ouranon (not paradeiso, yes?) kainon kai geen kaineen. ho gar protos ouranos kai hee protee gee apeelthan, kai hee thalassa ouk estin eti.” So Dr. Wright seems on pretty firm ground on this opinion also.
And again in Revelations: 20:4 we find the prime text supporting #5: ‘Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.’ “Kai eidon thronous, kai ekathisan ep autous, kai krima edothee autois” Further on, the text reads (v 6): ‘Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.’ “makarios kai agois ho echon meros en to anastasei tee protee. Epi touton ho deuteros thanatos ouk echei exousian, all’ esountai iereis tou theou kai tou Christou, kai basileusousin met autou [ta] chilia etee.”
Now, I grant that this takes place before the old heaven and earth are wiped away, but there will be a time when the faithful rule under the direct dominion of God.
The clearest Gospel testimony to #5 is at Matt 20:20-23: ‘Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ Jesus answered [and said] ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink? [that is, can they endure death by martyrdom?] They replied, ‘We can.’ He said to them, ‘Very well’ you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
It looks to me like humans will be granted places of authority at some point in the future, though who will have which is not yet known.
Now, I only see that LDS cosmology does not falsify any of them. It has many other elements, most notably the pre-existence of souls (i.e., souls which were all created at the beginning of time and which are then sent into bodies as the children are conceived). If you see that element in Dr. Wright’s thought, then maybe you have something. Otherwise, you do not have a point here.
BTW, I happen to have read all three of Dr. Wright’s excellent books on the Son of God, beginning with the ‘New Testament and the People of God’, ‘Jesus and the Victory of God’ and the ‘Resurrection of the Son of God’. It is so very orthodox and Catholic that I am frankly surprised he even has a benefice in England, much less a senior bishopric. The man is thorough and he backs up his analysis with hard data. He does not cringe from the miraculous but recognizes that it is what mere humans experience when the Divine breaks in to work His will. I should not wish to think to vouch for anyone, but I will stand to defend a holy and faithful man working in extremely adverse circumstances when his work is not intelligently engaged.
Yep, but then there's the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and our own Presiding Bishopette...
I find great comfort in “But it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
And I’m just so glad and humbled that I will be there.”
“Yep, but then there’s the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and our own Presiding Bishopette”
Right, the AbC and PB are not too far from Spong the apostate.
I’d take the Mormons over the Anglicans. Joseph Smith was a gentlemen who married his women. Didn’t cut off their heads when he was tired of them, unlike the founder of the Anglicans.
I’m with you on this one. There is nothing radical here. Heaven is not a reward for being good. Jesus is coming back. There will be a new earth. We will get new physical bodies.
N.T. Wright is a more established scholar than I am, but he does not express anything significantly different than what I or the Senior Pastor preach regarding heaven.
This article is from Time. regardless of the source they used Time is an anti-Christian publication with an agenda.
The man with the last word on Mormon theology was Napoleon Bonaparte; try doing google searches on “Joseph smith” and “Rosetta stone”...
Jacques Derrida, the leading literary deconstructionist, is certainly not the pioneeer of 'the postmodern scepticism of the metanarrative.' All that crap was pioneered 500 years ago by the 'reformers' who insisted on a believer's right to privately intepret Scripture, and thus a radical indeterminacy of texts.
It strengthens my conviction that a divinely-guided Magisterium is needed to cop the meaning of even the most obvious of Biblical messages.
I don’t understand. Napoleon DIED before Mormonism was invented.
Would like to recommend a book for everyone:
Heaven by Randy Alcorn. One of the best books presenting the biblical position and description I have ever read.
Well that sucks.
This statement is NOT consistent with Mormon theology/cosmology. PLEASE reread it carefully. If this were a ‘talk’ instead of a written statement, where there was time for much more exposition and Q&A, I think it would be clear that this is sound Christian doctrine, and in no way threatening. It is refreshing to see an ‘official’ Christian be an actual believer.
Amen, Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.
I just believe, and do not worry about what is and what is not. I leave that up to God.
I just want to accept all that this mortal mind can endure and comprehend. I tell God all the time, I love you, I accept you, forgive me, and help me. When I fail help me see and teach me, just lead me through.
We may be in for many a surprise, but faith in God will lead us and what is unknown may not be all that surprising.
Joe Smith in hell: I want a re-trial!
and you know because...
I heard a different story from Maria Shriver’s. I heard that if you want to get to heaven, you have to raise a little hell....
If there’s a heaven, the only way to find out for sure is after you’ve died. All we have to do is let somebody die, leave them dead for awhile and bring them back to life and put them on a daytime show, like Oprah or Montel Williams, and let ‘em tell us what happened. Then we’ll know.
I don’t recognize your statement it must be your world yardstick at work again!
Uh... just what is a `world yardstick’, anyway?
I don't recognized at what point in Trinty Cosmology did the meaning of words changed is there a scripture telling us the deviation from the original terms of certain words like the meaning of Father and Son?
There is the temporal way the world measure things and there is a spiritual way the Lord measure things.
Man has a tendency to want to measure from our familar ways instead of elevating our thoughts to understand the Lord ways!
Get a real Bible and check out the part about "false prophets".
The bishop had previously spoken for the literal interpretation of the Resurrection of our Saviour. I am a Bible-literalist. I believe (only reading from your summary) that, OF COURSE, the bishop is much closer to a biblical description than sitting on soft clouds and all that mystical stuff that came from paintings on Catholic Church ceilings, etc., etc., . . .
I like the fact that you do seem to ponder with the Lord.
I was reminded when we pray to the Lord we are talking to him, and when we read the scriptures the Lord is talking to us!
I like to borrow a concept from Orson Scott Card title "Revelation is pure, but words are translation"
So when we read the words in a humble matter are able to receive from the Lord the his understanding that he wants us to know.
I am sure you have experience passagesyou have read before and than seem to take on new meaning in your life.
It seems as we grow in the Word the Lord is able to impart more knowledge to us!
Get a real Bible and check out the part about "false prophets".
I see you can read the words in the Bible, but you still haven't received the Spiritual language of the the Lord
Learn how to listen to the Lord in your real Bible than you will hear the Lord where ever the Lord chooes to be, even in the Book of Mormon!
Napoleon brought the Rosetta Stone back to Europe where it was deciphered, giving scholars a handle on hieroglyphics.
Once the doctrinal interpretation is known and obeyed (where some obedience is invoked), the very same verse may yield a dozen spiritual applications.
I believe that one should seek the correct doctrinal interpretation first. Also the Christians should not confuse doctrine with spiritual application, or turn application in to doctrine.
I think that you nail this. When I read this article on a Catholic thread, what stunned me was how close this interpretation of scripture was to the doctrine taught by the LDS Church.
You believe, how do you feel about what the Holy Ghost teaches, does that have to comply with what the world believes in order for it to be so?
I humbly submit to be taught from on high by the power of the Holy Ghost!