Sunday, May 14, 2017

The new Jerusalem

I happen to hate big cities, so the last thing I wan ti the afterlife is another one. This means that the New Jerusalem doesn't work for me, and I'll never pueblos an article on Rev 21. I prefer to look forward to the new Maine coming down out of heaven from God…Those, however, who love life in the big city may find inspiration in Rev 21. D. Allison, Night Comes (Eerdmans, 2016), 83.

I share Allison's aversion to big cities, but his statement is strange even so. Admittedly, he's a liberal scholar–albeit independent–but it's odd that a sophisticated exegete would say that.

i) Presumably, he doesn't think John envisioned a modern metropolis like Tokyo, New York, Delhi, Cairo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, &c., with skyscrapers, traffic congestion, mechanical noise, wall to wall glass, asphalt, and concrete. With millions of denizens crammed into sidewalks, apartments, and office buildings. 

ii) Likewise, some smaller towns have handsome period architecture. 

iii) Moreover, John describes the New Jerusalem as a park-like "city" with a treelined river.  

iii) I myself don't think there's a city in outer space, waiting to touch down–like the mother ship in science fiction stories about alien invaders. The New Jerusalem is a literary amalgam of the Eden motif and the Jerusalem motif, not an actual, preexistent metropolis that's hovering in orbit. 

iv) Mind you, it's realistic to suppose that life in the world to come will have rural and urban elements. The saints have memories of life on earth. Life in different centuries. Technological knowhow. So they might combine the best. 

No comments:

Post a Comment