Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2012

“Eschatology was long called the ‘doctrine of the last things’ or the ‘doctrine of the end.’  By these last things were meant events which will one day break upon man, history and the world at the end of time.  They included the return of Christ in universal glory, the judgment of the world and the consummation of the kingdom, the general resurrection of the dead and the new creation of all things.  These end events were to break into this world from somewhere beyond history, and to put an end to the history in which all things here live and move.  But the relegating of these events to the ‘last day’ robbed them of their directive, uplifting and critical significance for all the days where are spent here, this side of the end, in history.  Thus these teachings about the end led a peculiarly barren existence at the end of Christian dogmatics.  They were like a loosely attached appendix that wandered off into obscure irrelevancies.  They bore no relation to the doctrines of the cross and resurrection, the exaltation and sovereignty of Christ…Christian faith banished from its life the future hope by which it is upheld, and relegated the future to a beyond, or to eternity, whereas the biblical testimonies which it handed on are yet full to the brim with future hope of a messianic kind for the world…

In actual fact, however, eschatology means the doctrine of the Christian hope, which embraces both the object hoped for and also the hope inspired by it.  From first to last, and not merely in the epilogue, Christianity is eschatology, is hope, forward looking and forward moving, and therefore also revolutionizing and transforming the present.  The eschatological is not one element of Christianity, but it is the medium of Christian faith as such, the key in which everything in it is set, the glow that suffuses everything here in the dawn of an expected new day…Hence eschatology cannot really be only a part of Christian doctrine.  Rather, the eschatological outlook is characteristic of all Christian proclamation, of every Christian existence and of the whole Church.  There is therefore only one real problem in Christian theology, which its own object forces upon it and which it in turn forces on mankind and on human thought: the problem of the future…A proper theology would therefore have to be constructed in the light of its future goal.  Eschatology should not be its end, but its beginning.” (Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope, pp. 15-16)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

You Must Be Born Again

“Change is brought about, not by new observations or additional evidence in the first instance, but by transpositions that were taking place inside the minds of the scientists themselves.  In this connection it is not irrelevant to note that of all forms of mental activity the most difficult to induce, even in the minds of the young who may be presumed not to have lost their flexibility, is the art of handling the same bundle of data as before, but placing them in a new system of relations with one another by giving them a different framework.” (Hebert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science, p. 1)

Read Full Post »

On Being on the Way

“This reality is part of the very foundation of being in the world for the Christian: the concept of the status viatoris is one of the basic concepts of every Christian rule of life.  To be a ‘viator’ means ‘one on the way.’  The status viatoris is, then, the ‘condition or state of being on the way’…It would be difficult to conceive of another statement that penetrates as deeply into the innermost core of creaturely existence as does the statement that man finds himself, even until the moment of his death, in the status viatoris, in the state of being on the way…  Both—despair and the certainty of possession—are in conflict with the truth of reality.  The only answer that corresponds to man’s actual existential situation is hope.  The virtue of hope is preeminently the virtue of status viatoris; it is the proper virtue of the ‘not yet.’  In the virtue of hope more than in any other, man understands and affirms that he is a creature, that he has been created by God.” (Josef Pieper, On Hope, pp. 11-12, 20-21)

Read Full Post »

“Every deep disappointment of some hope whose object was to be found in the worldly sphere potentially harbors an opportunity for hope per se to turn, without resignation and for the first time, toward its true object and, in a process of liberation, for existence to expand, for the first time ever, into an atmosphere of wider dimensions.  Precisely in disappointment, and perhaps in it alone, we are offered the challenge of entering into this broader existential realm of hope.” (Josef Pieper, Hope and History, p. 30)

Read Full Post »

Hope for the Martyrs

“It is not worth talking seriously of hope if there is no hope for martyrs, that is, for persons whose expectations in this world, indeed, whose prospects of mere survival in the struggle for realization of justice, have been wholly and utterly annihilated and who therefore find themselves, to all appearances, in an absolutely despairing situation: in jail awaiting execution, in a concentration camp, stripped of all rights, mocked, abandoned, exposed to the scorn of the privileged…It is better that we remain silent about hope if there is none for the martyr.” (Josef Pieper, Hope and History, pp. 35-36)

Read Full Post »

Activist Hope

“This faith can have nothing to do with fleeing the world, with resignation and with escapism.  In this hope the soul does not soar above our vale of tears to some imagined heavenly bliss, nor does it sever itself from the earth…It sees in the resurrection of Christ not the eternity of heaven, but the future of the very earth on which his cross stands…Faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience.  It does not calm the unquiet heart, but is itself this unquiet heart in man.  Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is, but begin to suffer under it, to contradict it.  Peace with God means conflict with the world, for the goad of the promised future stabs inexorably into the flesh of every unfulfilled present.” (Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope, p. 21)

Read Full Post »

The Darkness Around Us

“When I see the blind and wretched state of man, when I survey the whole universe in its dumbness and man left to himself with no light, as though lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him when he dies, incapable of knowing anything, I am moved to terror, like a man transported in his sleep to some terrifying desert island, who wakes up quite lost and with no means of escape.  Then I marvel that so wretched a state does not drive people to despair.  I see other people around me, made like myself.  I ask them if they are any better informed than I, and they say they are not.  Then these lost and wretched creatures look around and find some attractive objects to which they become addicted and attached.  For my part I have never been able to form such attachments, and considering how very likely it is that there exists something besides what I can see, I have tried to find out whether God has left any traces of himself.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, #198)

Read Full Post »