N.T. Wright: Surprised by Hope
Part I: Setting the Scene
In his book, Surprised by Hope, N.T Wright is trying to explain life after death from a Christian perspective. Wright starts the book by clearly stating what he will be discussing. He states that: "This book addresses two questions that have often been dealt with entirely separately but that, I passionately believe, belong tightly together. First, what is the ultimate Christian hope? Second, what hope is there for change, rescue, transformation, new possibilities within the world in the present?” He sets the stage for the book, explaining how Modern Christians do not believe in the resurrection and that they tend to think that heaven and earth are two completely different realms.
Wright explains that most views about life after death are based on popular beliefs rather than the Scriptures. Christians believe that once they die they will either go to heaven or hell. To Wright, life after death is not about going to another dimension called heaven; it is about resurrection and re-creation of this world. Just like Jesus has been resurrected so will his people.
In chapter three Wright begins with a story that events may occur but the real facts may be lost even the smartest and wisest people who physically experienced the event. What Wright is saying is that “the issue is not whether the Bible is true or not. The issue is not whether miracles occur or not. The issue is not whether we believe in something called the supernatural or not. The issue is not whether Jesus is alive today” it is about what really happened with Jesus and his resurrection.
The most interesting point that I found in chapter three is that did not believe in life after death. Nor did they really discussed death or Heaven. The Jewish people of the time of Jesus were surprised when Jesus, the Messiah come, died and was resurrected, and then will be coming back in the future to resurrect everyone else. They believed that the Messiah would come to the world and save Israel and its people of their sins.
In chapter four Wright reminds the reader than in the ancient world, nobody believed that people actually died and then actually became alive again. He explains that the Gospels are four views derived from one another with different points of view on about Jesus and the resurrection. Wright goes on to explain the several common arguments that try to prove that the resurrection did not occur. He gives multiple examples and provides an answer to each to each showing how they have no evidence of being true For example: “Jesus didn’t really die; someone gave him a drug that made him look like dead, and he revived in the tomb. Answer: Roman soldiers knew how to kill people, no disciple would have been fooled by a half-drugged, beat up Jesus into thinking he’d defeated death and inaugurated the kingdom.”
The second half of the chapter is about different worldviews. Wright explains that even has a scientist it is still possible to believe in the resurrection. He argues that scientists are able to believe in other unexplained phenomena such as love and human emotion, so why can they not believe in the metaphysical world or supernatural world. One of my favourite quotes from Wright’s book is “Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word.” He is able to explain the meaning of hope is such a powerful statement that can apply essentially all situations, even in today’s world, where people are trying to understand it. Part Two: God’s Future Plan
In part two of the his book, God’s Future Plan, Wright looks at two views of history that he believes are not what God was tending them to be. The first view is the evolutionary optimism, where the world is getting better and better. People that have this view believe in the idea of...