20 July 2011

The gospel in five propositions

I am currently reading Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. As usual with Volf, there is a great deal of thought-provoking material. But I was particularly struck last night by the way in which he summarizes the Christian gospel:
First, we don’t just happen to be in the world as products of chance or necessity; the God of love created each one of us, together with our world.
Second, we are not in the world just to fend for ourselves while pursuing lives filled with as little pain and as much pleasure as possible; God has created us to live with God and one another in a communion of justice and love.
Third, humanity has not been left by itself to deal with the divisive results of our deadly failures to love God and neighbor – a fissure of antagonism and suffering that taints all human history and scars individual lives; in Christ, God entered human history and through his death on the cross unalterably reconciled human beings to God and one another.
Fourth, notwithstanding all appearances, rapacious time will not swallow us into nothingness; at the end of history God, who took on our finitude in Jesus Christ, will make our fragile flesh imperishable and restore true life to the redeemed, so that forever we may enjoy God, and each other in God.
Fifth, the irreversibility of time will not chisel the wrongs we have suffered into the unchangeable reality of our past, the evildoer will not ultimately triumph over the victim, and suffering will not have the final word; God will expose the truth about wrongs, condemn each evil deed, and redeem both the repentant perpetrators and their victims, thus reconciling them to God and to each other. (pp. 43f) 

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