The Fact of the Matter, by Greg Boyd
Excerpt: When Jesus was resurrected, he was not in some far away place. In fact, Jesus kept pointing out to his disciples that he was flesh and blood. He ate with his disciples and let them touch his hands and feet. In the same way, our resurrection happens here on Earth, and God cares about the matter in the Universe.
Getting the right view of the spiritual and earthly is important because God wants us to start acting like the new age has arrived. God wants us to live in the fullness of heaven, but he doesn’t want us to wait for the final resurrection to start living it. Our future heaven is the earth perfected, with God dwelling with us. We need to realize that we can live out small pieces of this perfected earth by following after Jesus’ teachings and life. He represented the perfect humanity, and when we follow in his footsteps, we usher in the future age of heaven on earth.
Choose the Author of Life, by John G. Gibbs, PhD
Luke also draws contrasts between the status quo of his times, with its killing (3:15), and “the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.” “To this we are witnesses,” insists Peter in his second sermon to the earliest Church.
Life, healing, “perfect health” (3:16), the “glory” of the “servant” (3:13) all disclose the tragedy of preferring “a murderer” to “the Author of life” (3:15). But the point of this sermon is that the life, the healing, the health of the healed keep coming on in the light of Easter–even to those who have preferred death dealing to life authoring. We cannot know for sure whether there will be a universal salvation. But we look forward, as does the Apostle Peter, to “the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets” (3:21).
This goal of nobody left behind, no creature discarded on the scrap-heap of cosmic history, sounds very much like the great “Shalom” that was so much hoped for that the word itself became the word of daily greeting. We bless one another by partaking daily in God’s kind of wholeness and health, the Shalom that was given to the whole Creation at the start.
The blessing tradition, as James E. Will claims, is “grounded in belief in God as the Creator,” and this creation-blessing tradition “runs through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. …The Bible’s first book begins with the story of the establishment of blessing in creation (Gen. 1:26-27), and its concluding book ends with the reestablishment of a blessed world (Rev. 22:1-5)” (Will, A Christology of Peace, p. 24; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989).
Eating mindfully reveals our membership in creation, by Dennis Ormseth
Excerpt: Norman Wirzba connects Jesus “heavenly presence” to our concern for care of creation. We can understand heaven, he maintains, as not primarily a location but rather a set of relationships: “what makes a place really a place” he writes, “is not its location but the quality of relationships that happen there.” Accordingly, it is
not primarily the location that makes heaven what it is but the character of the member-ships that are happening in it. It is the place we most want to be because the relation-ships that transpire there are life-giving, joyous, and peaceful. What makes the relationships heavenly is that God is present and known in them (John 17:3). As such, heaven is the ultimate and complete realization of Home, the place of perfect nurture and celebration (Food & Faith: A Theology of Eating, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 213-14).