Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Match Made in Heaven (and on Earth)

"But in the Bible heaven and earth are made for each other. They are twin interlocking spheres of God's single created reality. You really understand earth only when you are equally familiar with heaven. You really know God and share his life only when you understand that he is the creator and lover of earth just as much as heaven. And the point of Jesus's resurrection, and the transformed body he now possesses, is that he is equally at home in earth and heaven and can pass appropriately between them,...

... Our minds are so conditioned, I'm afraid, by Greek philosophy, whether or not we've ever ready any of it, that we think of heaven as by definition nonmaterial and earth by definition as nonspiritual or nonheavenly. But that won't do. Part of the central achievement of the incarnation, which is then declared in the resurrection and ascension, is that heaven and earth are now joined together with an unbreakable bond and that we too are by rights citizens of both together. We can, if we choose, screen out the heavenly dimension and live as flatlanders, materialists. If we do that, we will be buying in to a system that will go bad, and will wither and die, because earth gets its vital life from heaven.

But if we focus our attention on the heavenly dimension, all sorts of positive and practical results will follow.... Heaven and earth, I repeat, are made for each other, and at certain points they intersect and interlock. Jesus is the ultimate such point. We as Christians are meant to be such points, derived from him. The Spirit, the sacraments, and the scriptures are given so that the double life of Jesus, both heavenly and earthly, can become ours as well, already in the present" (Surprised by Hope, pp. 250-52).

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