N.T Wright – Surprised by Hope

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead”
Acts 17:30 – 31

Werner Neumann

The verse above to me is one of the most profound arguments in all of Scripture. Paul says, “God is going to judge the world because Jesus has risen from the dead”. Not only that, that Jesus himself is going to be the one making the judgement. The Resurrection then is set before us a proof not only of the righteousness of God but a demand on all people leaving them with no excuses because he has placed before them a sign that cannot be missed or dismissed.

In ‘Surprised by Hope’ N.T Wright grounds the future hope of the Christian in the ‘bodily’ resurrection of the messiah which too has an impact on how life should be lived in the here and now, not wishing to go to heaven but praying that heaven will come down here and be forever merged with earth.

In this book also, he has an analogy that I wish to slightly adjust, not that it doesn’t work as is but it could work better. It is also a lot more relateable. The analogy of the importance of the resurrection he gives is below:

Sometimes human beings – individuals or communities – are confronted with something which they must either reject outright or which, if they accept it, will demand the remaking of their Worldview. To make this point, I once imagined a fantasy Oxbridge scenario. A rich old member gives to a college a wonderful, glorious painting which simply won’t fit any of the spaces available in the college, and which is so magnificent that eventually the College decides to pull itself down and rebuild itself around this great unexpected gift, discovering as it does so that all the best things about the college are thereby enhanced within the new structure, and all the problems of which people are aware are thereby dealt with. pg 78

I envision the analogy also working in another scenario of having a piece of unique furniture that doesn’t quite fit into you current home decor but it is such an expensive piece that it cannot be rid of and the owner is determined to incorporate it at any cost. So, the entire house is redesigned to fit in this now important furniture, so much that it now becomes central piece.

But of-course analogy falls apart if you think the table is ugly.

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