N.T. Wright‘s Surprised By Hope is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I had read his Resurrection of the Son of God, which is much more scholarly, but Surprised By Hope fulfills an important role of bringing these ideas to a popular level. The basic idea is that many people, including most Christians, believe that the Christian hope is to be a disembodied spirit in heaven for eternity. Wright does not deny that there is an intermediate state but argues the real Christian hope is the bodily resurrection. The material/physical split found in much Christian belief is the remnant of gnostic influence. The Bible teaches that God’s creation is good and Romans 8 tells us that even creation longs for the resurrection. Wright describes the resurrection as “life after life after death” and he demonstrates that this has important implications for this life. What we do in this world, including how we treat this world, somehow translates into the resurrection. Wright is able to blend a scholarly and pastoral style that leaves the reader better educated on scriptural truth but also inspires one to be a better Christian. This is an important book that all Christians should read. You do not have to agree with everything Wright says but it is difficult to deny that Wright has hit on an important but almost lost truth of the Bible.