Wright’s basic thesis is that hope is neither evolutionary optimism (the world will, in the state it is currently in, get better of its own accord), or dualistic escapism (the world is evil, and all we can do is wait to leave); but the hope of a true new creation. He notes three themes
1. The goodness of creation
2. The nature of evil
3. The plan of redemption
He also describes six Biblical metaphors for New Creation
1. Seedtime and harvest – linking firstfruits and harvest with Passover and Pentecost
2. The victorious battle
3. Citizens of heaven and colonising the earth
4. God will be all and in all
5. New birth
6. The marriage of heaven and earth
Page 113 – On the waters covering the sea in Isaiah 11
Wright asks “How can the waters cover the sea? The water is the sea.”
The earth, he says, is for the containment and embracing of the glory and the knowledge of the glory of God.
“We might even suggest, as part of a Christian aesthetic, that the world is beautfiul, not just because it hauntingly reminds us of its creator, but because it is pointing forwards: it is designed to be filled, flooded, drenched in God; as a chalice is beautiful not least because of what we know it is designed to contain, or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know the music of which it is capable.
Page 119 – On optimism and pessimism
As I reflect on God’s future plans for the world, I am reminded d of the great teacher an pastor Bishop Lesslie Newbigin. Someone once asked him whether, as he looked to the future, he was optimist or pessimistic. His reply was simple and characteristic. ‘I am,’ he said, ‘neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!’
Page 122 – On the meaning of the Ascension
First, heaven relates to earth tengentially, so that the one who is in heaven can be present simultanously anywhere and everywhere on earth: the ascension therefore means that Jesus is avialbel, accessible, without people having to traval to a particular spot on the earth to find him. Second, heaven is as it were the control room for earth; it is the CEO’s office, the place from which instructions are given. ‘All authority is given to me,’ said Jesus at the end of Matehew’s gospel, ‘in heaven and on earth.”
To embrace the ascension is to heave a sigh of relief, to give up the struggle to be God (and with it the inevitable despair at our constant failure), and to enoyur our status as creatures: image-bearing creatures, but creatures none the less.
At the same time, older Enlightenment Liberalism, with its dislike of all ‘judgement’, has itself been under attack. We have become a very moralistic, very judgmental generation. We have judged apartheid and found it wanting. We judge child-abusers and find them guilty. We judge genocide and find it outrageous. We have rediscovered what the Psalmist knew: that for God to ‘judge’ the world meant that he would , in the end, put it all to rights, straighten it out, producing not just a sigh of relief all round but shouting for from the trees, and the fields, the seas and the floods.