more on the NT Wright Convocation

Posted on Jun 2, 2014 in Theology blog | 4 comments

by Jack Irwin

Some of NT Wright’s thoughts during the Q and A:

1. The Bible does witness to a bodily resurrection not just of Jesus but of all believers.

2. Bodily means material, physical. It is NOT a “spiritual” resurrection, which is what memorial services seems to make it look like – that is, exactly when you die you are resurrected in a “soulish” form to heaven.

3. He says that human existence is a material body, not a Platonic soul wafting around on clouds in heaven. Material life happens in one place — in physical creation which for us is earth!

4. He quotes many verses in Bible that show that God will redeem earth from its corruption as well as humans and even in Paul’s language the entire cosmos is groaning for such release.

5. He also is big on the promises and statements in Scripture that the promise of redemption is this: that God will dwell within his creation! This is what Rev 21 annd 22 show as the finality of God’s plan to redeem his creation. You can find these promises even in the Old Test prophets, for example Zechariah 2:10ff. The promise is that God will reign on earth and that all peoples will come to worship the Lord, echoed in Rev 21 and 22.

6. As to the meaning of “Today you will be with me in paradise”. Well, I too wonder now. After all, Jesus did not immediately go to paradise after he died on the cross. He was raised according to the Scripture on the 3rd day! To me this means he was DEAD from Friday 3 pm until Sunday! Dead means dead! So “today” must be an inclusive term not exclusive to that Friday. Anyway, when you are dead, time no longer has significance!

7. Now “with me in paradise”. Well evidently Jesus had faith (not knowledge) that he would be with God the Father after he died, not saying timewise or just after he died, but meaning he entrusted his existence to the Almighty, as when he said to His Father “into your hands – commit my spirit”, meaning not the platonic soul but the breath of God that made him a living being — so see Genesis where God breathed into the dust and Adam became a living being. Romans 8:28 echoes this precisely. So he assured the thief that God would also take the thief into His bosom after he died. Notice, we want to over analyze this and explain the metaphysical in physical terms. Can’t be done! I refer you to Dt. 29:29. “The secret things belong to the Lord.”

8. So maybe we are prejudiced against the JW and 7th Dayers.

9. Basically, Wright is fighting against the Platonic idea that the soul must be saved by its release from this corrupt material existence, which the Western church in his opinion (mine too by the way) has preached for centuries! And also is the sounding gong of Bible Belt Christianity which abides all around in this valley, as you know. Sounds more akin to Budhhism.

Well, what do you think?



  1. Jack, Thanks so much for the Epistle article. It is refreshing to hear that heaven is all around us in a 6th dimension and not a “place” where the soul goes upon death and that the new testament is not a stand-alone but is a continuum of the old testament and that really the two are the testament of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to his people.

  2. Doug, You caught it. HIt the nail on the head, You are a good theologian in the pew. What a wondeeful summary! Share it with Lincroft, if you want. Luv Jack

  3. What do you think about Wright’s thoughts on gay marriage and it’s relevance to the current state of the PCUSA?


  4. garrett – NT Wright holds a conservative view on gay marriage which is different from that of the PCUSA and for me also. But that’s OK. We have had numerous issues which unfortunately cause division within the church. We will continue to have more in the future. It’s not so much who is right or wrong on an issue but more important how we uphold each other in our disagreements with humility and respect (read Paul). Both sides on this current issue of our day hold their understandings in Christ. Both sides are to be respected.

    Personally I’m glad the churches understanding of marriage has changed…I’m in a mixed race marriage which was a problem for many denominations just a few years ago. And NT even admits he is wrong on issues…just doesn’t know which ones. Hey if Calvin had continued to live he would continually be rewriting his Institutes…he was even making changes on his death bed. What I’m saying is the God’s word speaks anew to each generation. It wasn’t that long ago that a generation used God’s word to justify slavery. Keep an open mind; God’s Holy Spirit is at work!

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