Confessing Christ Bloggers
May 16

Written by: gfackre
5/16/2009 3:12 PM

Apologies for those who may have been following the thread on hope/eschatology in this blog. Events intervened that caused the hiatus. I want to begin again. However, I'll postpone the commentary on Don Bloesch's biblical citations a bit, and reflect instead on the dimensions of the creedal theme of "the life everlasting," drawing, as noted earlier, on sections of a chapter (under Eerdmans copyright)written for EXPLORING AND PROCLAIMING THE APOSTLES CREED, a collection of essays by various theologians and preachers edited by Roger E Van Harn (Eerdmans, 2004). Hopefully, I can draw attention to that volume by the material used here.

Everlasting life in Christian conception is rich and multi-dimensional--personal, social and cosmic. We take up each in turn.

The third paragraph of the creed gives pride of place to the goal of God for persons, reflecting their status as made in the divine image. It speaks about our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ, and for Christian believers the forgiveness of their sins, the resurrection of their bodies [with all bodies], their communion as saints in this world and the world to come.

In like manner, the Reformation catechisms point to the everlasting future of persons. Luther's SMALL CATECHISM: "The Holy Ghost...will raise me up and all the dead , and will grant everlasting life to me and all who believe in Christ." The Heidelberg Catechism: "I shall possess, after this life, perfect blessedness, which no eye shall see nor ear hear, nor the heart of man conceived, and thereby praise God forever. Comparably so the Roman Catholic tradition speaks of the "beatific vision."

While we begin with the destiny of persons granted everlasting life, it's important to keep in mind that we cannot separate the final future of the blessed from the corporate and cosmic setting in which the full drama of the creed places it, faithful as it is to the biblical story behind it. Thus, in everlasting life, as N.T Wrignt has argued passionately, against much current misunderstanding , is "life after life after death," and not simply "life after death," or what we shall deal with as "the interim state." (See his SURPRISED BY HOPE)

To be continued

Copyright © Wm. B Eerdmans Pub Co. (portions thereof)

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