Surprised by Hope (Analysis/Refection)

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Refection Essay Surprised by Hope
The book Surprised by Hope was written by N.T. Wright. The author N.T. Wright is a prominent New Testament scholar and a Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. Wright shares many conservative Christian views and is the author to several Christian books dealing with Jesus, death, and the resurrection. In this book, Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright address two main questions: what is the ultimate Christian hope, and what hope is there for the change, transformation, and new possibilities within the world today. The purpose to writing this book to is help his readers gain a better understanding of death, the resurrection and life beyond. As some great philosophers say: it is what you think about death, and the life beyond it; this is the key to thinking seriously about everything else. Some important topics in Wright’s book are the death and resurrection, the importance of Christ’s ascension and return, the relationship between creation and redemption, and the present Kingdom of God and how we are supposed to live in his kingdom. (Wright) One of N.T. Wright’s main focuses in his book was the image of heaven. Wright starts by exposing the false idea that our Christian hope for the afterlife should be a disembodied, eternal bliss spent amongst the clouds and angles of heaven. This idea has become very popular in the Christian world and has been planted in our head since a young age so it is important that we understand the true heaven. According to the Bible, heaven is not a future destiny but another hidden dimension of our ordinary life (God’s dimension). Basically, heaven and earth are not two different locations within the same continuum of space or matter. God’s kingdom in the preaching of Jesus refers not to postmortem destiny, not to our escape from this world into another one, but to God’s sovereign rule coming in the earth as it is in heaven. Orthodox Christianity no longer holds to the belief in the physical resurrection, preferring the concept of the eternal existence of the soul. Nevertheless, many Christians have still oscillated between seeing death as a vile enemy and a welcome friend. N.T. Wright does a great job of staying direct to what the Bible is trying to tell us about heaven. He uses the analogy of heaven being the control room for earth, the CEO’s office: the place where instructions are given. (Wright) Another main emphasis was death and resurrection. Wright says that when you die you simply just die; your body will decompose and your soul with be lifted to heaven. However, death is important because it allows you to go to God and join Him in His kingdom. The point of resurrection is to prove bodily life is not; God will be there to raise it to a new life. What you are doing in the present by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, and loving your neighbor as yourself will valued into the future God has for you in new life and new earth. These are not just tasks we do to pass the time until the day we die, but rather they are part of building for God’s kingdom. The death and resurrection is the beginning of our new life; without death we would not be able to reach our new heaven. The resurrection is the beginning of that new life, and the fresh grass growing through the concrete of corruption and decay of the old world. I am not as afraid of death as many people may be. I try to live each day to its fullest and when it is my time to join God in heaven I will accept it with honor, for death is not the end, it is simply a new beginning. I have found these answers to my questions of death through reading the Bible and accepting what it has taught me. God has a plan for everyone and I hope to be ready and have accomplished the calling he has had for me when my time comes. N.T. Wright articulates that Ascension is important because it is a sign of the Second...
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