16 April 2012

Jesus' Resurrection: 'The First Installment'

Roman Catholic priest and New Testament scholar Gerald O'Collins tends toward universalism and has a less than robust view of Scripture, seeing historical revisionism and significant redaction in both Testaments.

But the edifying tone of his scholarship combined with his refusal to try to sound intellectually impressive is a breath of fresh air. I especially like some remarks he makes in a new book of his about the eschatological significance of Christ's resurrection:
For New Testament Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is inextricably linked to a new creation that touches the entire universe. This resurrection is nothing less than a (new) creative activity of God that initiates the end of all things (Rev 21-22). (p. 101)

"Reconciling all things" (Col 1:20), "gathering up all things" (Eph 1:10), or "making all things new" (Rev 1:5) puts the resurrection and redemption in a cosmic context. The resurrection of Christ had not happened without, and certainly not against, creation. It brought a new world in which not only human beings but also all living creatures and the Earth itself would share. (119)

The new creation, which opened with the events of the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday, produced a state of affairs that anticipated the consummation of life in the new Jerusalem conveyed by Revelation 21-22. The risen and transformed Jesus was the first installment of what would come at the end (1 Cor 15:20). . . . We live now in the situation of the already present kingdom that anticipates, in reality and not merely in thought, the final fullness of the kingdom. (120).
--Gerald O'Collins, Believing in the Resurrection: The Meaning and Promise of the Risen Jesus (Paulist, 2012)

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