Posts tagged “Matthew Levering

Sermo Dei: Easter Sunday 2014

Posted on May 12th, 2014

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!   What hope does the world offer you? Philosopher Richard Rorty offers us hope in humanity’s progress: “Because of human beings’ gradual success in making their lives, and their world, less wretched,” humans now no longer need to find meaning by looking “beyond nature to the supernatural, and beyond life to an afterlife”; they need only look “beyond the human past to the human future” (Philosophy and Social Hope, 162). That’s the hope philosophy offers: make the world “less wretched.” What do you hope for? What is your hope in? C.S. Lewis recounts a conversation with a young lady. “Aren’t you worried about death?” “Oh no,” she replies. “By the time I’m old enough for…

Sermo Dei: Palmarum 2014

Posted on April 13th, 2014

“Friend, why have you come?” So Jesus said to His betrayer. So He says to you. “Friend, why have you come?” Judas seeks to betray Him. Others seek to control Him. Soon they will beat Him, batter Him, abuse Him. Yet Jesus calls His betrayer “friend.” “Friend, why have you come?”   What is this? Does Jesus not understand? Is it irony, tongue in messianic cheek?   No. He understands what is happening. Nevertheless, He calls His betrayer “friend.”     Betrayal hurts. There is a prophecy of Judas in the Psalms: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps. 41.9) “My own familiar friend.” Betrayal hurts. Still, Jesus calls Judas…

The role of works in the last judgment

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Jesus clearly speaks about a salvation based upon works (e.g., Mt. 25). How can we reconcile this with the clear statements of Scripture that attribute salvation to the grace of God? Matthew Levering helpfully observes, Works of love have this role in the last judgment because they show that we share in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who makes us adopted children of God. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian (p. 94). Baylor University Press. As Luther would put it, “Works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.”

Pious inebriation

Posted on January 29th, 2014

Wine makes glad the heart of man. Fallen man, is very good and abusing this good gift. The Eucharist is the beginning of the restoration, pointing ahead to the Day when all creation will be drunk-yet-sober, filled with the joy of the resurrection. In the Eucharist, prefigured by the paschal lamb and prefiguring the heavenly banquet celebrating the marriage of the Lamb (see Rev 21), we are therefore “inebriated with the sweetness of the divine goodness, according to Cant. 5:1: ‘Eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.’” Matthew Levering, Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian (p. 77). Baylor University Press.

The Temple, source of life

Posted on December 21st, 2012

From Matthew Levering’s book Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian: Israel’s Temple [is like] as a new Eden. [Jon] Levenson observes that “death is as alien to the Temple, indeed, as repugnant to the Temple, as it is to Eden.” This is so because of the opposition between holiness and death. God’s activity in and through the Temple is life-giving, not death-dealing. If this is so of the Jerusalem Temple, how much more its antitype, the Temple which is the body of our Lord JESUS Christ?

Suffering still in the intermediate state?

Posted on November 28th, 2012

Matthew Levering, in his Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian, surveys the various approaches to the intermediate state before and after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He affirms, as do I, that the death of Jesus affected a change for those who died in the faith before the passion of Jesus. Is it legitimate to imagine the joy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—that is, the inauguration of the “consolation of Israel” and the “redemption of Jerusalem”—when Christ Jesus came to them in the intermediate state? If one holds with Wright and Metropolitan Hilarion that there is an intermediate state, as I do, then it should indeed be a place of joy for those who love God.…

Did Luther teach “soul sleep”?

Posted on September 14th, 2012

Matthew Levering, in his Jesus and the Demise of Death, writes: Wright considers that the metaphor of sleep describes the death of the body, “while the real person—however we want to describe him or her—continues.” In this regard, Wright’s position is the largely same as that of John Calvin, who disagreed with Martin Luther’s view that those who die in Christ are “asleep” until the day of resurrection. For Calvin, “the souls of the righteous, after their warfare is ended, obtain blessed rest where in joy they wait for the fruition of promised glory.” There’s no footnote or other reference regarding this view that Luther allegedly held. I’m no Luther scholar. Anybody know what Levering might be talking about here? It seems foreign to the…

Is eternal life banal?

Posted on September 5th, 2012

Matthew Levering in Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian takes issue with N.T. Wright; Levering finds Platonism embedded in the New Testament, seeing that as a good thing. I cannot agree with this statement: If we emphasize the renewed material creation and a new set of cosmic adventures, we risk turning eternal life into something quite banal. My own view is that in the new heavens and the new earth which is promised in Revelation, there is a “renewed material creation,” albeit without sin. It will not be banal, but unendingly beautiful. It’s possible I’m misunderstanding Levering, and further reading will bring greater clarity.