Monday, December 24, 2012

Snatched into Paradise: Paul's Heavenly Journey

This may sound boring for some but the best times I have had over these holidays are reading a number of monographs. James Buchanan Wallace's book on Paul's Heavenly Journey (2 Cor 12:1-10) is one of the best books I have read on any topic of the New Testament. Wallace, unlike many scholars did not downplay Paul's estatic experiences but rather he highlighted how these experiences are crucial in Paul's theology. Wallace examined a number of church fathers including Origen and Symeon the theologian and concluded that for Paul and his early interpreters, "such experiences draw human beings out of themselves through a taste of the goodness and glory of God...Being seized by God and brought up into the divine life draws human beings out of their realms of immediate concerns and selfish desires. When human beings recognize that another dimension of reality exists and that this dimension is sweeter and greater than self, only then can they be motivated to abandon selfish passions and desires." (p. 337).

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