I’m now about a third of the way through Keith Ward’s book, and I’ve got to say, I am getting into it. I don’t agree with everything in the book, but it certainly is a good read, with some really great bits in it, and it gives a lot to reflect on. Recommended. “A Challenge for Fundamentalists”, and more interesting thoughts for Liberals.
Just as the human body is that by means of which the self changes the world and acts in it, so conscious beings in the transfigured universe will be the means by which Christ changes the world, acts creatively in it, and brings about his purposes. That does not imply that created persons have no purpose of their own. But all those purposes can be woven by Christ into one harmonious whole which also expresses the purposes of the Creator, just as the conductor of an orchestra can direct the players to a specific interpretation of a piece of music, while each of them strives to complete their own part as well as possible…
…the universe, in its redeemed and transfigured state, should be the body of Christ…
…To participate in the divine nature is to share in the being of God, which is to love, to become instruments of that love and experients of that love, bound together in a community beyond ignorance and desire, suffering and sin, where ‘there will be no more death’ (Revelation 21:4). That is the ultimate meaning of salvation.
“Salvation” is a word that if heard almost always makes me cringe, because there are many fundamentalist, evangelical Christians who will say that salvation is being a Christian and believing that Jesus Christ (who we must confess in) died as a sacrifice to appease the father and give us a chance of being slightly less unclean and sinful than we are. Or at least so that the Father would be able to forgive us for that.
The word “salvation” has got a lot of bad press, because it’s usually linked with the fundamentalist approach I just described. But to me, salvation is not about being “saved” by confessing that you believe in someone who thankfully sent their child to take my heavy burdens in his blood. God no. In fact…
Jesus, as the image of God, is the image of what humanity under God should be.
Jesus was and is a divine example of what a truly Christian life is all about. Love. Jesus died not to appease the “wrath” of someone looking disgustedly down from the clouds, but because his vision of peace and love for humanity (God’s true desire for our world) was worth dying for. It’s that important. That beautiful vision of togetherness in humankind, of community, of heaven on earth.
Jesus spoke to all. No one was outcast from “salvation”. Salvation is not about picking the “right” tradition and being rewarded for turning up in Church each Sunday.
Salvation is about turning away from your sins – the literal translation of sins is “human failings”, which sounds a lot less eerie doesn’t it? -, choosing what is right rather than wrong and living in the light of God: of compassion and love. No “original sin”, no passing on of dirtiness from parent to child. Hold a newborn baby in your arms. How could they possibly be banished to a furnace of fiery flames because they weren’t sprinkled with Holy Water? We all make mistakes. We all fail sometimes. “Sin.” But God forgives us and we forgive ourselves. Because of Love.
And I am certain that “salvation” applies not just in the earthly world but in the next. I don’t believe God would banish anyone to “Hell” (an absence of God). I believe that even in death, with no earthly chance to redeem oneself, God would forgive. Why? Because I see God as a divine parent. I see him, her, hugging and sharing tears with the pained. I see God as a brother. One who walked upon the earth and knew of the corruption and doubt that can be seeded. And I see God as a Spirit, as strength, as redeeming Grace.
2 Corinthians 13:13: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.