This week I read chapters 5-6 of NT Wright’s book, “Surprised by Hope.” Wright is the author of several different books, many of which focus on St. Paul and the Pauline Epistles. This background informs his writing and he quotes a number of Scripture passages in Chapter 6. I encourage you to look them up and read them for yourself. Scripture reading can be daunting, because one might not know how to find the relevant passages. But the Bible Gateway site is very helpful. It has many different translations and editions of Scripture, in several different languages. They even have an App in the App store. You can enter the passage you are looking for in the search box, and the site will find it for you.
In this week’s reading, Wright continues to stress that the good news of the Resurrection is for all humanity. The Resurrection of Christ sets the stage for the general resurrection of all human beings at the last day. Wright quotes Colossions 1:15-20, which I will also quote here:
“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in[h] him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in[i] him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.”
As this passage teaches, the hope of the Resurrection isn’t just for human beings. The Resurrection is emblematic of God’s redemption of the entire cosmos – of all creation. Through the Resurrection of Christ, God reconciles himself to all things. Through his redemptive work, God will make all things new. The old heaven and earth will become new – but not through destruction, through redemption.
Although Wright doesn’t make this point explicit, I want to affirm that the redemption of the cosmos includes not only our planet, but also our animals, and our forests and plants. I’m not sure exactly how that will come about in the future, but I believe that it will. And certainly, St. Francis of Assisi has taught us that animals are very much a part of God’s kingdom. It makes sense that they will also be redeemed.
So there is much for us to hope for, especially those of us who have lost our country, our city, our family and friends, our forests, our pets and animals. Some day God will reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven. Indeed, as Wright puts it in Chapter 6, ” What creation needs is neither abandonment nor evolution but rather redemption and renewal; and this is both promised and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is what the world world is waiting for.”
This week, I will read Chapters 7-9. Please join me.
Peace be with you,