Hope Against Hope

Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart, in Hope Against Hope (London: Darton Longman and Todd, 1999), 126, say:

“Since the churches struggle with Gnosticism in the second and third centuries, bodily resurrection (though often conceived as the resurrection of the body to be reunited with an immortal soul) has been orthodox belief, a doctrinal bulwark against Manichean or Platonist depreciations of matter, a reminder that the material world, including human bodies, is God’s good creation, with eternal, not merely transient, value. The persistent influence of Platonism in the Christian tradition had frequently meant that in practise Christians have believed in the immortality of the soul rather than bodily resurrection. Other influences in the modern period have made this still the case in much popular belief, despite the fact that modern scientific understanding of human nature makes holistic resurrection more easily meaningful for us than disembodied survival.”

(they go on to say (p. 130), “What was largely lost was the hope for a transcendent future of this world. That this is indeed the biblical and Christian hope has been frequently reaffirmed in recent theology, but has still to capture the imagination of most contemporary Christians.”

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