Today marks the 1 year anniverary of PostmodernEschatology.com. I want to post the first two posts today, because I think the really grounded the ideas that I wanted to start writing about.
So why would someone start a blog about postmodern eschatology? Is this a ploy for a book deal, or a really demented church plant? Why would anyone want to spend this much time thinking about the end of the world?
Those are all questions that I rolled around in my head for a few months while contemplating devoting a substantial piece of time of my life to thinking about Eschatology. After some urging from a few trusted friends and a professor allowing me to use this site for class credit I decided tgo for it.
My hope for this space is to direct and provide a place for conversation regarding how our faith interacts daily with what believe regarding the end of the world. I think that our views on the end will affect how we view the rest of our faith. Jesus preached an eschatological message, that of the envisioned kingdom.
I do think that the greater scope of Christianity (not just 20th Century Evangelicalism) offers a critique against rampant apocalypticism, especially that which has become so popular in the last few decades. I once had a friend ask me a question during a teaching time, "Chad, whats the end of the world going to be like?" This wasn't a probing question looking for a heavy theological message, but a question directed out of the need for hope. As Christians, we have an Eschatalogical hope that is about the fulfillment of the entire created order.
This man named Jesus of Nazareth spoke of hope. His message was directed to those who had lost hope, and to a religious structure that was misdirected and man made. That model can be placed at many other points of time in the history of humanity, and it will also be one of the key places that I will use to direct what will hopefully be a communal look at the end of all things.
So we will end things with the Gloria Patri, a great statement grounded in Christian Eschatology.
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end.
What is Eschatology?
Why the big word Chad? I agree, eschatology is one of the words that gets thrown around that the average person really doesn’t understand. Academically, it has a pretty wide focus of meaning; such as “end times”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “judgment”, rebirth”, etc..etc...
Lets have a formal definition. This one is from the IVP Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms:
eschaton, eschatology (consistent [thoroughgoing], realized, inaugurated). Derived from the Greek term meaning “last,” eschaton refers to the ultimate climax or end of history wherein Christ returns to earth to establish his eternal kingdom of righteousness and justice among all nations. Eschatology, then, is the theological study that seeks to understand the ultimate direction or purpose of history as it moves toward the future, both from an individual perspective (What happens when a person dies?) and from a corporate perspective (Where is history going, and how will it end?).
Ok, that's big and fancy, but good idea of what Eschatology is. I would define it this way:
Eschatology is the people of God thinking about the action of Past,Present and Future time wrapped around Gods final purpose.
As Christians we confess our belief in an end, “We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come” (from the Nicene Creed). Eschatology is us thinking about what we confess, and some complex ideas inside of that. What does life look like after death? What does the Bible teach us about heaven? What does tradition teach us about death and heaven, and how might we recognize the classic teachers of the Church and what they have said about the end?
Overall, the greater history of Christianity defines eschatology in a light that many haven’t (except in a vindictive way) through most of the 20th century. Eschatology is about expectation and hope, not participating in modernity and its story of hopelessness and despair.
We have hope towards all of the eternal promises that have been given to the Church.
We have hope in regard to what God will do to this world.....
We have hope towards a life that is both fully absent of pain, but has full knowledge of the Godhead.
The average person has to think about eschatology, because it informs the way that we undergird almost everything we think about God. It is part of our life with God and how we share our life with others. We need to remember Eschaton and not Apocalypse is our primary view of how God will put finality on this world.
But this isn’t just theological snobbery...