Tom Wright was recently interviewed by Martin Bashir for Nightline on ABC News. The topic was the nature of heaven, an interviewed tied into the release of Surprised by Hope. I loved what he had to say in the piece, which is what he's been saying for quite some time, namely that the climax of eschatology is not a destruction and abandonment of creation, not an abandonment of this reality for something somewhere else, but a "new heaven" and a "new earth" co-existing with one another - a marriage that has begun, but will find it's fullness with the advent of the King...
"If you really believe that what happens at death is that you leave behind the world of space, time and matter, you are never going to be bothered with it again, you're never going to have a physical body again and that ultimately God is going to throw this whole world on the rubbish heap somewhere, then what's the fuss to work for justice in the present?" he said. "What's the fuss about AIDS, what's the problem about global debt, you know these are trivial and irrelevant. What matters is whether you're going to heaven tomorrow or next week."
Wright said the notion of new heavens and a new earth motivates him "enormously."
"I work in a very tough area of Britain. There is not much hope sociologically where I live and work, they're all sorts of conditions of poverty and deprivation and so on, I really do believe that the message of the kingdom of God is for places like this. …It's because I believe in God's kingdom of justice and peace already existing because of Jesus, and yet to come in the future, this gives me the energy and the focus to work for the kingdom of God in the present."
[HT to Tod Bolsinger]