A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, October 30, 2009

N.T. Wright on What Happens After We Die


Ted M. Gossard said...

Very good words from N.T. Wright.

On the good time we had at Ashland Seminary this week; some pics, too.

Mitch said...

Allan - I think Wright's words are beautiful and Biblically appropriate. I would have no problem sharing this with my congregation.

As as technical point, "time" itself is an aspect of creation, so I'm not even sure how to talk about an "interim" between death and Christ's appearing.

As a matter of pure personal speculation, I imagine that my awakening into the transformed creation will be rather like waking up from anesthesia, which for me is a complete unawareness of the passing of time.

And to use an analogy from the computer world that probably doesn't work pastorally at all, my essence - my soul - is the digital (synaptic) state of my brain at any one point in time. When my hardware fails, I see God maintaining a backup copy of my essential data until he can cleanse it of its malware and restore it to its new hardware at the transformation of the age. I could in fact run as a process on the the heavenly mainframe in the interim, but software has to have hardware of some sort to run.

You might call this the "John Henry" view of the soul and heaven. On the penultimate episode of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, the computer-robot John Henry says that the human brain has great capacity, but nowhere to download its memories when you die. The Bible solves this problem, says Henry, by introducing the concept of heaven - "billions of souls, no bodies." John Henry thinks this means that heaven has a hardware problem, but he doesn't understand the great "system restore" that is coming in the future.

Wright's way of expressing it is probably better.