Thursday, May 12, 2011

Early Thoughts, Initial Questions

(Towards a Humble, Missional Eschatology, Circa 90s)

Eschatology—if there is meaning in a name—deals with the “last things.” The last things of what? A man’s life, meaning death and decay and things beyond death? Perhaps of history meaning the end of all time if such a thing will occur? If indeed eschatology is the mere study of “last things”, how is it relevant or even reliable? Who is to say what the last things will be like? If God is the One saying, then who is to interpret the revelation “correctly”? How can anyone know for certain, in a reliable way the manner in which the “last things” will transpire? As to relevance, how can the last things matter to today?

It may be that eschatology goes deeper than the “last things.” Theology as a whole deals with issues to grand for finite minds. Issues of God, beginnings, revelation, and atonement are all beyond human faculties. In this sense eschatology is similar to the rest of theology. In another sense, eschatology is the rest of theology. To understand God, one must rely on His special revelation seen in the promises of His word. To believe in atonement one must hope for a future result of salvation. These things both rely on the “last things.”

Ultimately, Christianity is a religion resting on faith, “the assurance of the hoped for, the conviction of that not seen.” This is eschatology. It is the beliefs of Christianity, its hopes for creation expressed in words, in finite pictures. It is the hardest aspect of creation and God to grasp, as there is no evidence available to point to for the proof of truth to go with the words. Without it, however, Christianity would be void and empty, for with no hope for tomorrow, what is the purpose of today?

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