"If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" Christians for many years have been asking this question. As award-winning author N.T. Wright points out however, the answer isn't heaven. In Surprised by Hope, Wright, one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.
Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation---and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection---the church cannot stop at "saving souls," but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.