Thursday, June 23, 2011

Surprised by Hope 3

In the second section of Wright's book on resurrection, he seeks to articulate a Biblical vision for the future.  To do this he describes three options for how people view the future: two I will very briefly sum up below. I will deal with in a separate post post.

Evolutionary Optimism:  this is the Myth of Progress (based on liberal modernism and Darwinian thought.) It believes that humanity is moving, progressing through education, technology, and science “up and to the right”.  This philosophy of thought believes that all the worlds ills can be fixed through progress and humanity will one day arrive at utopia.  Wright points out that this line of thought underestimates the nature and power of evil.  It fails to deal with how to understand or prevent evil, past and present.

Souls In Transit:  This line of thought relies heavily on Plato, that sees the material world as something to be transcended (evil and decay with it) for a more perfect eternal existence that has no material substance.  In other words humanity was created for a spiritual existence and must endure the physical world  to get to the spiritual world.  This line of thought informed the Gnostic sect in early Christianity (as well as certain elements of the Romantic movement in the late 18th & 19th centuries.)   Such a view devalues the material and any kind of physical creation.

As I read this chapter, I could see strains of each line of thought in the culture around me and in my very own thought process.  Think about political discussion (or the lack thereof).  Think about approaches to the environment (both good and bad).  I think about my own love of technology and my tendency to be an early adopter, do I see that as a means to fix the world’s problems?  I also see out culture and world’s difficulty in dealing with the problem of evil.  As a pastor, I get questions all the time about the existence of evil.

I am curious to get to the third option for viewing the future to see how it agrees and differs with the two options above.  Which of the above best describes how you see the future?

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