- This concluding essay is an amplification of an address given in Welsh at the General Assembly Meeting of the Presbyterian Church of Wales in 1972 and originally printed in Welsh in Y Traethodydd, September 1976. It was intended for a more general audience than the other papers and the mode of presentation is inevitably a little different. But I was anxious to include the address in this volume for various reasons.
- At the close of the Drew Lecture ("Lewis (Hywel David) - The Belief in Life After Death") I indicated that the main positive reasons for our expectation of a future life must be religious ones, and the distinctively Christian hope of life after death is bound up essentially with the central theme of the Christian faith about the role of Jesus as the medium of the ultimate sanctified relationship we may all expect to have with God. If there is substance in this claim, which seems to me central to the New Testament and the main course of Christian experience, it would be odd, to say the least, to suppose that the fellowship established by this peculiar outpouring of a 'love so amazing, so divine' could be thought to be anything other than abiding. The view has been advanced by some leading theologians and Churchmen today that eternal life consists wholly of some quality of our present existence or of some place we may have in God's memory of us. The attractiveness of the latter view, to balanced and reflective leaders of religion, seems to me to be one of the most extraordinary indications of the poverty of religious sensitivity and understanding today. An Unmoved Mover may find satisfaction in contemplation of his own perfection. Will this, or the enrichment of his own memories, meet the case of the God whom we meet in Jesus 'in the form of a servant' 'obedient unto death'? We may not all understand 'the price that was paid' in the same way, but it is hard to think of it, in any proper Christian context, as anything other than a price that was paid 'for me' and we need not sentimentalise that to make it significant.
- The reluctance of many of our contemporaries to recognise this comes about, I suspect, from an excessive eagerness to concede the claims of fashionable views today about the essentially corporeal nature of persons. Yet, oddly, the theologians who take this course continue, so it seems at least, to think of God as an essentially spiritual being.
- A further consideration that weighed with me was the necessity for those who do have some form of religious commitment not to keep it in some isolated compartment of their thought. Precious it may be, but, if it is worth adhering to, it must be capable of appropriate presentation in the context of our other thoughts; and as the traditional Christian claims about 'the Person of Jesus' present accentuated difficulty for those, like myself, who stress the finality of the distinctiveness of persons, it seemed proper to present, at least in outline, the way I myself approach these questions and view the distinctively Christian claims which seem indispensable for any peculiarly Christian hope of eternal life.
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