Confessing Christ Bloggers
May 25

Written by: gfackre
5/25/2009 6:38 AM

Life together in the triune Being is love in its purity. What else can communion with Christ everlasting be than eternal love? Indeed, a life together with the ultimate Life Together is one in which "love never ends" (1 Cor. 13:8).

The love of Christ for us in this world is a busy one. In the Gospels he reaches out ever and again to those with manifold needs. So too at the end he will "wipe away every tear from our eyes" and "mourning and crying and pain will be no more," for life everlasting has come when "death will be no more" (Rev. 21:4). He does this as the 'Alpha and Omega" who promises that "to the thirsty I will give water as a spring from the water of life" (21:6).And our response is one of unending praise and thanksgiving to God (7:15), and a loving outreach to others ( a christologically read Isa 11:6-9; 40:31). Can the never-ending love not include loving God with the mind, as well as heart and soul (Matt:22:37), perhaps sitting under one's " vine' and "fig tree" with a good theological book? :) Or in our association with others, as Barth once remarked: his anticipation of a vigrorous give-and-take with Schleiermacher, getting things cleared up?

Such rich images suggest a lively world to come. Serenity and contentment surely, but no bovine serenity or armchair contentment. Isaac Dorner, an earlier theologian who thought much about "the future state" puts it this way:

"The highest activity of the will is to be in perfect worship (Rev. 7:12, 22:3), consisting in adoration, thanks and praise, and also in joyous obedience, making itself in godlike love an organ of God's continuing work. This leads to the relation of blessedness to rest and enjoyment on the one hand, and on the other to action....It follows then from this, that in the rest, which is conceived as the goal, as an eternal Sabbath (Heb. 4:11, Rev. 7:16, 17, 21:4) there will be no inactivity; and also no unrest in activity (DORNER ON THE FUTURE STATE: THE DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS, translated with an introducution by Newman Smyth (new York: Charles Scrpbner;s Sons, 1883), p. 141.

In a similar vein, a contemporary theologian, Miroslav Volf, questions the erasure of time from eternity: "Ultimate fulfillment is not only compatible with temporality but also unthinkable without it, partly because any notions of both reconciliation and contentment in fact, presuppose change. ....with the erasure of temporality in 'he "life" of the world to come', it takes away the possibility of communal peace and personal joy." (Miroslav Volf, "Enter into Joy! Sin, Death and the Life of the World to Come," in IN THE END OF THE WORLD AND THE ENDS OF GOD:SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY ON ESCHATOLOGY, ed. John Polkinghorne and Michael Welker (Harrisburg, PA:Trinity Press International, 2000, p. 27) Even Edmund Fortman, a Roman Catholic theologian who strives to stay close to magisterial teaching, says "But a more recent theology is moving in the direction of a more 'dynamic heaven' that admits growth and progress in perfection throughout eternity. Is such a view compatible with the teaching of Sacred Scripture and of the Church? It seems to many of us that it is." (E. J. Fortman, S.J. , EVERLASTING LIFE AFTER DEATH: Alba house, 1976) pp. 313-140)

To be continued.

Copyright ©2004 William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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Re Confessing Christ . . . Glad you're still there

Gabriel,

Blessings to you. I came across Confessing Christ during the years I wrote the Calendar of Prayer for the UCC. That came to an end, and I found myself drifting away from many of the contacts and stories I'd cherished all those years. This morning, for whatever reason, I wondered if Confessing Christ is still alive. It is! And I am glad for it.

I stroke I experienced five years ago, and somehow lived through, virtually erased a world of connections, both real and hoped for, with God. In time, the holy returned. Along the way I realized I was not the first one to have to reconstruct the Trinity. And so, chapter by chapter I worked my way through Christian history, realizing that the debate between homousious and homouisous is precisely what TBI survivors must also naviage. Are we of the same substance? Or are we of the same essence when the world of perception so dramatically changes. And so a theological question asked so long ago became vital, instructive and essential in regaining the gift of life.

Well, I am grateful for your work.

I too have a blog in which some of these issues, questions, and so on are shared. It is at Larrypray.com,
and the name of the blog is Praytell.

I do not yet understand the world of blogdom, but I thought you might be interested.

Well, blessings to you and thank for the spirit and depth of inquiry in your writings.

Larry Pray

By Rev. Larry Pray on   6/2/2009 12:03 PM

Re: Time in Eternity: the Lively Life to Come

Larry,

How good to hear from you after all these years. You been thru some tough times, but have come through them with faith, hope and love. Bravo.

If you don't get our Theology and Culture Newsletter, let me know your address and I'll send you some recent ones. The current one is on our website, gabrielfackre.com .

I'll check out your blog. I don't know much about thses things either, ut I agreed to do one, once a week on "Hope," actually a trial run on the 6th volume f my systematics series.

Blessings,
Gabe

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