Monday, November 17, 2014

A Short Reflection on Eschatology

"A promise is a declaration which announces the coming of a reality that does not yet exist... If it is a case of a divine promise, then that indicates that the expected future does not have to develop within the framework of the possibilities inherent in the present, but arises from that which is possible to the God of promise. This can also be something which by the standard of present experience appears impossible." J├╝rgen Moltmann (Theology of Hope, 103).
An eschatology which is projected from the present into the future, as a goal to be developed from the potential which exists in the present to fulfill it, is forced to work from possibility and reject the impossible. It is forced to harvest potential and reject that which has none. It begs for glory and rejects the cross. But an eschatology which is constructed "in light of its future goal" (Moltmann, 18), which does not correspond to but contradicts the present, which does not project itself into the future from the present but speaks judgement back upon the present from the future, gives hope not just to that which in the present has potential to be developed but has "hope for the whole of reality" (34). It depends not on the possibility of human action, but on God's action born from impossibility. It is the eschatology which can only be promised to the world through the event of God's raising the crucified Jesus to life from death. It "...sees in [Jesus] the future of the very humanity for which he died..." the humanity which does not escape but suffers death. "That is why it finds the cross the hope of the earth" (21). Therefore, as Paul concluded, "...your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58), even when that labor finds its object in the hopeless and broken present. For it is not the impossibility of our present but the possibility of God's future which sets the terms for our hope.