As I got to the end of Moltmann’s Theology of Hope, I found myself uplifted by all manner of insights. All of which enlivened my thinking as they bubbled up with that always amusing experience of simultaneously saying, “I never thought of that!”, and “That meshes exactly with what I have always known!”
- The cross and the resurrection might not be different modi for Jesus, but rather a dialectic that will only resolve in the synthesis that is the eschaton. Or perhaps it is the self-Kingdoming of Jesus– the Crucified has arisen without any interference by God, because the Crucified is God. Or, to borrow some Matrix terminology, ‘The One is the One because he is the One”.
- So the eschaton is about an ‘imminent arrival’. Yet it is also a current presence. Therefore, the parousia of Christ is not separated from the reality of Christ today. The present is a part of the future, and vice versa.
- The Bible, then, has no magical quality. Rather it looks to the future fulfillment of God’s promise– it looks beyond itself as it announces the future of the truth. “It communicates this truth in such a way that we can have it only by confidently waiting for it and wholeheartedly seeking it.” (ToH, 320)
- So this eschatological horizon is a mission for the future of the world (Moltmann was using current buzzwords like ‘mission’ and ‘a church for the world’ long before many hotshot church leaders emerged from their mothers’ wombs). The horizon of expectation is where we apply our “believing obedience, our discipleship, and our love” (ToH, 334).
All of which reminds me that doing theology and doing church is a profoundly creative work. Though too many of us are preoccupied with the past and overly fixated on the present, Moltmann shows us the startling truth that God has been– all along, and since time out of mind– looking past us to the future that God is bringing to be. Which is not to say that God is unconcerned about us and our contributions toward that preferred future– no, indeed, for God is asking us to join in that work of making the world the way it ought to be. And that world is right there on the horizon. We just need to keep moving toward it.
Posted in: Moltmann