Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Resurrection and the new (renewed) creation - Gerald O'Collins

Father Gerald O'Collins SJ, born in Melbourne Australia, taught theology for 33 years at the Gregorian University in Rome. He has published hundreds of articles and 56 books, including major works on Christology and the Resurrection. He is at present an adjunct professor at the Australian Catholic University, based in Melbourne. His latest book, published early this year, is Believing in the Resurrection: The Meaning and Promise of the Risen Jesus . Here are some quotes: 

Christians claim that the crucified Jesus had been raised from the dead and remains powerfully present in our world – a claim that deserves serious attention from any thoughtful person. If we accept this claim as true, it should radically change the way we live our lives as well as the hopes that we entertain for ourselves and for our world. We are not destined at death to lose consciousness forever and return our bodies to the pool of cosmic matter. The resurrection promises us a glorious personal future beyond this life, a future that, in “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1), will bring a radical transformation not only for our bodily existence but also for our material world. (Preface v)


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. (p. 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. (p.120).


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