Monday, December 08, 2008

Promise from Moltmann's Theology of Hope

I really enjoy this read. Moltmann is wonderfully engaging. If you haven't read any Moltmann - don't deprive yourself any longer. In Theology of Hope he builds a strong case for eschatology as the center of a Christian theology. Now, those of you who hear eschatology and start getting ruptured over the rapture - eschatology actually means last things and escapist notions like a rapture really don't cut it. His emphasis is that the 'not yet' opens up a future that is pregnant with possibility. Eschatology is about a particular view of history that is shaped by an understanding of God as revealed through promise. To get a handle on this Moltmann draws our several key ideas about promise from the First Testament:

  1. "A promise is a declaration which announces the coming of a reality that does not yet exist." (103)

  2. "The promise binds man to the future and gives him a sense of history." (103)

  3. "The history which is initiated and determined by promise does not consist in cyclic recurrence, but has a definite trend towards the promised and outstanding fulfilment." (103)

  4. "If the word is a word of promise, then that means that this word has not yet found a reality congruous with it, but that on the contrary it stands in contradition to the reality open to experience now and heretofore." (103)

  5. "The word of promise therefore always creates an interval of tension between the uttering and the redeeming of the promise." (104) I really like this point, it is exemplified in the tension of the Kingdom as both 'now' and 'not yet', but more on that in another post.

  6. "If they are God's promises, then God must also be regarded as the subject of their fulfilment." (104) God is not abstracted from the promises as a sort of deistic clockmaker god, yet at the same time this is not a fatalistic claim that God is the only actor in history. Earlier in the text Moltmann states clearly that our lives in this world are not adiaphorais, meaning having no good or bad effect on our world. Think tension and participation.

  7. "The peculiar character of the Old Testament promises can be seen in the fact that the promises were not liquidated by the history of Israel - neither by disappointment nor by fulfilment - but that on the contrary Israel's experience of history gave them a constantly new and wider interpretation." (104) That is "[t]he 'not yet' of expectation surpasses every fulfilment that is already taking place now." (106)

1 comment:

byron smith said...

It truly is an exciting book.