This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Emphasis on This World, The Next, or the Next After That?

i think i've made this point before, but it's on my mind again:

It seems in the OT, there is very, very little to be said about an afterlife. Judaism was a very here-and-now, this-world sort of religion. Judaism was not apocalyptic until at least the time of the major prophets. But even then, their "apocalypse" was still this-worldly in nature insomuch as they accepted the advent of an earthly Messiah.

Christianity does place considerably more emphasis on the afterlife than did Judaism, however, the emphasis is on yet-future state. The emphasis is on what will happen "at the end" so-to-speak. Resurrection and judgment and new heavens and new earth--these are the components of the afterlife emphasis in the New Testament.

It seems to me that contemporary Christianity (especially "evangelicalism") emphasizes neither of the above, but instead emphasizes the state of things immediately following a person's death. We should most worry about whether we're "going to heaven when we die." We should do what we do, say what we say, practice the things we practice, spiritually invest the way we do all for the sake of where we'll be immediately following our deaths. The next world after that receives some attention, and life in the here-and-now is strongly de-emphasized and even nearly degraded.

This seems to be a point where our current view of which-bits-of-the-timeline-are-important does not coincide with a biblical view of such.

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