Eternity From the Jesus POV

 
 
What heaven (and hell, for that matter)
will NOT be like.

An old worship song, “I’ll Fly Away,” says that one day, when this life is over, “I’ll fly away to a home on God’s celestial shore.” This is misleading, and a non-Jesus, definitely non-Hebraic idea. It’s more Greek than Jewish. It promotes the idea of “heaven” as some place far away and essentially other than earth.

Contrary to this Greek idea, the hope of everyone who is “in Christ” is that, on Christ’s coming again, we who are in Him shall be bodily resurrected to life on a reconstituted, restored earth.

I’ll probably begin this Sunday’s message by giving these bullets from New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg, which are echoed by many other NT scholars.

What eternity with God will be like.

1. God created the physical world, including human bodies, as good. (Greek dualism said that matter is essentially bad/evil.)

2. Humans were intended, by God, to live in bodily form in a physical, material world.

3. Eventually God is going to restore His creation. There will be a new heavens and a new earth, physically and materially. Thus God’s original creative purposes will not be thwarted.

4. The biblical hope is for believers to experience all of the wonders and glories of a fully re-created heavens and earth (Rev. 21–22). (Not a Greek ethereal place where people sit around on clouds playing harps.)

5. A full physical bodily resurrection of all who are in Christ is needed so Jesus-followers will live eternally in the restored, physical heavens and earth.

6. Craig Blomberg says: “We will enjoy one another’s fellowship as well as God’s presence in perfect happiness. We will not sit on our private clouds with wings and harps periodically to dispel our eternal boredom! The new earth is centered in the new Jerusalem, a city of bustling activity.” (Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, Kindle Locations 6819-6822)

Blomberg writes: “Too many pew sitters in contemporary conservative churches think of and represent heaven as an “airy-fairy,” ethereal kind of existence to which they do not really look forward. Even referring to the life to come simply as “heaven” points out a serious misconception.” (Ib.) 

The Christian Roots of Free Societies

 Thanks to J.B. for pointing me to “A ‘Christian’ Europe Without Christianity,” by David Gibson. There are atheists and secularists in Europe that are not, of course, believers in the royal proclamation that Jesus is Lord, but who embrace “Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform.” This embrace is necessary if Europe is to make its stand against radical Islam. Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci “liked to describe herself as a “Christian atheist” — an interesting turn of phrase — because she thought Christianity provided Europe with a cultural and intellectual bulwark against Islam.” Niall Fergusen, a self-described “incurable atheist,” is “a vocal champion for restoring Christendom because, as he puts it, there isn’t sufficient “religious resistance” in the West to radical Islam.” European identity is fading, and some atheists are championing a return to the values of Christianity as their only hope. Gibson writes: “One of Christendom’s most prominent atheist advocates is the Italian philosopher and politician Marcello Pera. In 2004, he delivered a series of lectures with then-Cardinal Ratzinger that set out their shared view of the need to restore Christian identity in Europe in order to battle both Islam and moral degeneration. Later, Benedict wrote a forward to Pera’s book, “Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians : The Religious Roots of Free Societies,” which promotes Benedict’s argument that Western civilization can be saved if people live “as if God exists,” whether they believe that or not.” That sent me scurrying to amazon.com to find Pera’s book. It’s coming out in September. Here’s from amazon’s review: “Not only is anti-Christian secularism wrong, it is also risky. It’s wrong because the very ideas on which liberal societies are based and in terms of which they can be justified—the concept of the dignity of the human person, the moral priority of the individual, the view that man is a “crooked timber” inclined to prevarication, the limited confidence in the power of the state to render him virtuous—are typical Christian or, more precisely, Judeo-Christian ideas. Take them away and the open society will collapse. Anti-Christian secularism is risky because it jeopardizes the identity of the West, leaves it with no self-conscience, and deprives people of their sense of belonging. The Founding Fathers of America, as well as major intellectual European figures such as Locke, Kant, and Tocqueville, knew how much our civilization depends on Christianity. Today, American and European culture is shaking the pillars of that civilization.” Pera, remember, is an atheist. For certain European secularists, who are watching the Islamification-waters rising around them, secularism lacks the moral strength to stand against those waters. So they are advocating a “Christian atheism.” Now that is interesting, isn’t it? I will be following this idea, with its many ramifications

Archaeopteryx Knocked Off Its Perch

 

 
You can now tear all these drawings
out of your textbooks.

Archaeopteryx was not a dinosaur-like bird, but only a birdlike dinosaur. See John Noble Wilford’s “Birdlike Dinosaur Fossil May Shake Up the Avian Family Tree.”

Wilford writes: “Archaeopteryx presumably was not an ancestral bird. The recent discovery of a tenth Archaeopteryx specimen “greatly improved our knowledge” of its similarities to the dinosaur group and its differences from birds, the paleontologists said.”

Ohio University paleontologist Lawrence Witmer says “there has been growing unease about the avian status of Archaeopteryx as, one by one, its ‘avian’ attributes (feathers, wishbone, three-fingered hand) started showing up in non-avian dinosaurs.”… Since “virtually all our notions about early avian evolution have previously been viewed through the lens of Archaeopteryx,” Dr. Witmer said, “the impact of losing Archaeopteryx from the avian clan is likely to rock the paleontological community for years to come.””

See also Scientific American – “”First Bird” Fossil, Archaeopteryx, More Closely Related to Dinosaurs.”