“I love the world as it is, because I love what it will be…”

4 thoughts on ““I love the world as it is, because I love what it will be…””

  1. Hey Gareth, thanks for the review. I think I was at the same conference as I heard the same review, and bought the book, although it’s still on my ‘to read’ pile still… I think I was therefore at the same Bible Overview, and so I’m interested in your thoughts on how the two interact.

    Particularly I feel you may have been slightly unfair to the person speaking. I would have said he had a pretty physical and real vision of the new heavens and earth, and to paint him with the ethereal and Plato-esque brush is to lose sight of his point. I think he was actually arguing that the Bible’s story has a ‘future world’ focus to the extent that it blows away the vague and fairy-like heaven that our culture often portrays. In that sense he was arguing against what I think you lump him in with. Make sense?

    Obviously the question remains, with our eyes on that future renewal/revelation/recreation, how do we view this present form of the world. What do you think ND Wilson means by loving this world now? I’m sure that we’re meant to, in some sense at least, but surely to leave it at that means we’re open to all sorts of definition. To live in it thankful for all the good gifts we enjoy from our Father? Surely! To sacrificially serve our neighbours and the lost, ultimately in seeking their salvation, a la 1 Corinthians 9? Definitely! To be gutted at the sin and fallenness and idolatry against our God and so groan with creation for the redemption of our bodies a la Romans 8? I reckon so. Surely they’re all three ways for starters of loving our world that are shaped by loving our Lord?

    What do you reckon? What am I missing out, or where does ND Wilson push me further? Would love to be challenged!

    1. Hi hamage. Thanks for the interaction, and thanks for the challenge.

      I appreciated a lot of what the speaker had to say in his talks, and I think he really helped us all to see how the whole Bible fits together. I could and should have said more about that in my post.

      And I think the word “ethereal” was wrong, although I do think that the problem is still about disconnection. As you point out, I was actually bothered because he was doing the opposite – concentrating on the future to the point where I felt like life here and now got a rough deal. One example I remember was that he didn’t have very good things to say about social action and loving people practically. And I think you’re right, it’s a reaction to people who don’t care enough about our future hope, who concentrate solely on this world and trying to bring God’s kingdom here.

      Obviously, that’s a huge discussion which about which other people have written plenty. But I think I liked Wilson’s quote because he bridges the disconnect between the present and the future. He sees this world as the one that will be redeemed – he isn’t waiting for a new model. And that leads him to love the world now, because of what it will be.

      I agree we have to be careful when we talk about loving the world – the idea has generally negative uses in the Bible. But I think Wilson is helpful here, because he starts with loving in the sense of really, really enjoying the world. And he enjoys the world as a beautiful and authoritative revelation of his creator. Enjoying the gift leads him to praise the giver. And I think that way of thinking will help us as we work out what it means to love the world God has made (and the people who live here).

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