June 24, 2013

Chris Miller’s article on the final talk in the series on the Nicene Creed did try to capture the essence of what I said and I commend him for getting most of it right (“I believe in the resurrection of the body,” WCR, June 17).

In the article there are two factual errors; the first relates to Daniel 12.2-3 in which I said that it is the only Old Testament text that clearly refers to resurrection; the second relates to the rapture and the return of Christ (the parousia).

My emphasis on 2 Corinthians 2.15 to 5.9 was to show that Paul relativizes the parousia in the sense of the Second Coming of Christ by focusing on the transformation of believers by the Holy Spirit from one degree of glory to another.

The momentary affliction that Paul refers to in 4.17 pales in comparison to the glory that awaits us when we die. The notion of parousia as “presence” is a counterweight to that of “return.”

The last two sentences of the article do not reflect the content of my talk.

I ruled out rapture, full stop. What I did say was that believers could consider the parousia as the capstone of a process where we move from one degree of glory to another, until that moment when we pass from this world to the next.

In other words, I downplayed the notion of parousia as “return.”

Fr. Dave Norman OFM