Douglas Farrow is making a career out of the ascension. Not a bad thing to make a career of. In his freshly published sequel to Ascension and Ecclesia: On the Significance of the Doctrine of the Ascension for Ecclesiology and Christian Cosmology, entitled simply Ascension Theology, Farrow defends the bodily ascension of the Risen Jesus of Nazareth as an essential doctrine of orthodoxy, against both ancient (Origen) and modern (Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel) doubters.
Along the way, Farrow insists that, if the ascension is bodily, and if Jesus ascends with all His creaturehood intact, then the ascension must be to a place: “It in the resurrection Jesus is already transfigured and transformed . . . in the ascension he is also translated or relocated. That is, he is taken up and placed by God he properly belongs, just as God once took Adam and put him in Eden.” But where is said place? The answer must be “stubbornly independent of any merely natural cosmology or anthropology,” but must just as stubbornly resist the Origenist temptation to mentalize and psychologize.
Where then? Farrow suggests that eschatology answers: “the entry of which we are speaking does not entail admission to an already existing place but the creation of a new one. . . . it entails the creation of a new time and place and mode of life, and that not ex nihilo . . . but ex vetere.” It is “not somewhere in this world” nor “an ‘outside’ to which one escapes.” Rather, “it exists by virtue of the transformation of reconstitution of this world in the Spirit.” This “time and place which Jesus occupies are those in which, and by way of which, God’s sovereign act of recreation is extended through him to all times and places.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm
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