Article notes: “A bishop described as "one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought" is now challenging the widely held belief that Christians go to heaven when they die.”
Mr. Wright’s rejection of Biblical Truth is as follows (from the article):
“"There are several important respects in which it's unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. [The Apostle] Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, 'Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.' It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation."”
And with it, he quotes John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
I would like to note the fact that John 3:13 comes before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ himself, so to claim it clearly means no man SINCE the resurrection has not ascended up to heaven is reading into the white of the pages. For did not Paul say, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” [2 Corinthians 12:2] Who then is the liar, Christ or Paul? Neither, for we cannot play them against one another, but see that one is yet before the resurrection and one is yet after.
Mr. Wright goes on to say, “"We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed. Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep.”
So this will not be heaven, although both God and Christ are in heaven [Mark 16:19]? And what in the world does he mean by “Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep?” How exactly does Mr. Wright know this? Granted, maybe he has the answers hidden away in one of his chapters of his book, but what about in the Good Book?
Then Mr. Wright mentions, “There is Luke 23, where Jesus says to the good thief on the cross, 'Today you will be with me in paradise.' But in Luke, we know first of all that Christ himself will not be resurrected for three days, so 'paradise' cannot be a resurrection.”
But of course, we again have a time BEFORE the resurrection of Christ. Yet, then do we have at the resurrection of Christ, “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” [Matthew 27:52-53]
Does Mr. Wright not know when Paul (or the man he “knew”) was called up to the third heaven, it was indeed in “paradise” to which he went?
Knowing also that Christ is in Heaven, and Mr. Wright even admits “We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed”, we have “Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” [Jude 1:14-15]
I must ask then, if not from heaven, whence do the saints cometh with Christ?