Sunday, June 05, 2005

Back to the Future.

The mere mention of the word ‘eschatology’ had me running for cover. Perhaps, being confined to the limits of time and space had my mindset reduced to a squared-perimeter one- which is; since eschatology means the studies of the end times, therefore it should be done last.
Not necessarily so, I found out thereafter- thus, only proving right that only God’s laws should stand for eternity. Mine, apparently; was unfounded almost immediately, when I was literally shoved with books on ‘inaugurated eschatology’- which I started off with much clumsiness.

But I thank God for Wikipedia.

Yet, the most difficult thing I had to bring myself to do first, was to actually draw the two extreme parallels of history and eschatology together. The Kingdom of God is not to be seen as visually distant from us, and certainly; God is not to be merely waited upon as “the Actor of the Future”.

G.E Ladd in his classical revised edition of Jesus and the Kingdom (The Presence of the Future) wrote, “The world is not evil per se and therefore a realm from which man must escape to find his true life. When God created the world, he saw that it was good. The goodness of nature has indeed been marred by sin (but) it does not mean that creation has become offensive to its Creator. The world is created for God’s glory (and) it is not a temporary stage upon which man acts out the drama of his mortal existence; neither is it the reality of sin and evil from which man must be rescued. The world was and remains God’s world and therefore destined to play a role in consummation of God’s redemptive purposes. However, the curse which lies upon nature because of man’s sin means that it cannot be the scene of the final realization of God’s Kingdom apart from a radical transformation; and the new age of the Kingdom will therefore be so different as to constitute a new order of things”. Therefore, it is important to make this establishment- that “not only God’s reign is seen as the consummation of his working in history, but that eschatological hope is directly related to the immediate historical future”.

Here, is where our inclination towards separating immediate historical future and the ultimate eschatological hope due to timeline differences; occur. This mistake, should I say; is rather inevitable; actually- simply because our conceptual grasping of time is in such a manner; that we conveniently assume that God must deal with the former first, then the latter; due to its immediate nature. The explanation by Ladd serves as an important reminder for us: “The prophets have a single hope which encompasses both the immediate historical and the ultimate eschatological future. The reason for this strange lack of chronological concern is the theocentric character in Israel’s hope. Their hope was not in the future but in God; and the God who would act in the near future to further His redemptive purpose would also ultimately act to bring His purpose to its consummation. Therefore, the prophets usually have a single, though a complex, hope”.

Rather than seeing a detachment between the present and the future, rather than seeing eschatology as the end; perhaps we should see it from a different perspective, even more so; a more accurate perspective. Whether in history or eschatology, both concerns are in the will of God for His people. “God who will ultimately bring His people into the Kingdom is also the God who is now concerned with them and their present sinfulness”.

I am certainly not apologetic about not making this any less difficult. I have neither the will nor the capacity. But, I am already in awe by this small piece of information, nonetheless; a crucial one. It caught me by surprise how I myself too, have been looking forward to the future for God’s intervention, without realizing that God’s redemptive purposes is of such a comprehensive nature that the past, the present and the future are all well-covered.

Indeed,

How Great Thou Art! How Great Thou Art!


4 Comments:

Blogger The Hedonese said...

Amen, the power of the future kingdom has broken into the present! I like GE Ladd's already-not-yet analogy of the Kingdom having defeated satan on D-Day, but the deadly mopping up tasks of V-Day are still ongoing...

10:02 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

Heb 13:8
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
ESV

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lahaye said...

Wow, you have ruined my left behind! First no great escape, then no other spirit world while God throws away this lousy one - now no need to wait for the future. Aiyooh.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous moris cerrulo said...

Get a life LaHaye

12:19 PM  

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