Rethinking Heaven, Hell and New Creation with N.T. Wright

The lecture below represents and distils much of N.T. Wright’s significant contribution to Christian thought and theology over the last four decades. Continue reading “Rethinking Heaven, Hell and New Creation with N.T. Wright”

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The Greatest Event in the OT

The Bible is full of iconic moments, well-known stories and famous sayings. If someone were to ask, “what is the most important event?” there would be a lot of great candidates. If things were narrowed down to only the Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament as Christians call it), many people would say the creation of the world as recounted in Genesis 1 and 2. Nothing would ever happen if nothing existed so creation, to say the least, is a very solid choice for the most important event.

Interestingly, while Genesis 1 and 2 obviously matter, they are hardly referenced or alluded to in the rest of the Hebrew Bible. Even other creation accounts do not seem to specifically draw on Genesis. In fact the primaeval account, that is Genesis 1-11, which includes the famous stories of Cain and Abel, the Flood and the Tower of Babel, barely features in the rest of the Jewish scriptures. So what then is the most important event in the Hebrew Bible, even more important than God creating the world? Continue reading “The Greatest Event in the OT”

Theological Boundaries

When you look at systematic theology it is a pretty well defined discipline. There are usually clear boundaries between different subjects in it. Soteriology is different from pneumatology and ecclesiology is different from eschatology. However, when you get down to actually studying the Bible, you recognize these distinctions are a bit arbitrary. Continue reading “Theological Boundaries”

The Stories that make up the Story

One of my great interests is the biblical metanarrative, that is how the biblical canon tells one overarching story. The reason I am so interested in it is because it is what unites and explains the biblical texts. Ever since I learnt about it a couple of years ago it has absolutely revolutionised the way I read the Bible and understand Christianity. One of the challenges of the metanarrative is determining what stories fundamentally constitute it. In the article Relating all the Stories within the Grand Biblical Story, Jackson Wu does a wonderful job at doing this at the right resolution. His schema is not overly detailed yet it is not overly broad such that we miss significant details. He writes that in summary he is showing “how to present the entire biblical narrative in a way that reflects its inherent structure or plot, which enables us to discern how the Bible prioritizes its various sub-stories.” Continue reading “The Stories that make up the Story”

A Note on Narrative Theology

So the death and resurrection of Jesus define, for Christians, the core identity of God.  God–for us–is the one who handed Jesus over to be crucified, who raised him from the dead, and who has subsequently installed this risen Jesus at His right hand as Lord over all.  Deny this and, simply put, you are talking about another God.  I’ll leave the last word to Robert Jenson as he unapologetically lays out what which distinguishes Judaism and Christianity ever since Jesus came on the scene (hint: it’s not primarily different “attributes” of God, as if the prospect of Jews and Muslims and Christians all signing off on the same list of divine attributes would mean we all worship the same God.  What we fundamentally differ over are the acts of God in history, along with their specific interpretation and meaning for the community of faith):

“To the question “Whom do you mean, ‘God?’” Israel answered, “Whoever got us out of Egypt”.  The gospel of the New Testament is the provision of a new identifying description for this same God, that this new description comes to apply is the event witness to which is the whole point of the New Testament.  The content of the gospel is that God can now be known as “whoever raised Jesus from the dead” ‘ (Robert JensonThe Triune Identity God According to the Gospel [Philadelphia Fortress Press, 1982], pp 7-8) Continue reading “A Note on Narrative Theology”

Son of David, Son of Abraham (Pt. III)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew 1:1 ESV

There is much to unpack in this opening line but first of all we see here an explicit messianic connection between Abraham and David. We have already established in the previous post how there is strong scriptural precedent for including Abraham in messianic discourse. Therefore Matthew and other New Testament writers are not just making it up but they are interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures in the light of the story of Jesus.

Continue reading “Son of David, Son of Abraham (Pt. III)”