Confessing Christ Bloggers
Jun 6

Written by: gfackre
6/6/2009 7:11 AM

We look forward, as Christians, to an "everlasting" kingdom come, and in it the ultimate city of God (2 Peter 1:31; Luke 11:2, 13:29, 18:25, 22:16; 2 Timothy 4:18; Rev.21:10-26). Again the qualifier about the eschatological commonwealth, for we have to do with a realm like nothing we've seen on ourearth of ordinary flesh and blood (1 Cor. 15:20), a new Jerusalem "coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:10), not of human manufacture. The light imagery contrasts with the shadowy structures we inhabit: "It has the glory of God and a radiance like a rare jewel....And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev. 21: 11,23). And the coming together of waring states is so new to us, for "the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it" (21:24). In every systemic setting, justice will "roll down as like waters, and rightesousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24) Every social flaw shal be mended, the mighty brought down and the lowly exalted (Luke 1:52) Shalom, as the peace of a new world, will come to be. All social suffering will come to an end, the tears from tyranny, war, hunger and poverty wiped away, for "they will not hurt or destroy on all my holy moutain for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9).

The last scene of the final act of God's drama speaks to the age-old issue of theodicy, the problem of evil. The question is: How can we hold together the three Christian nonnegotiables, God as all-good and all -powerful and evil as real? The Holocaust? Millions starved, killed in wars, oppressed by the malice of the fallen powers that be? The answer, surrounded though it be with mystery for those still in not-yet times: nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 8:39) Paul's future tense tells us that the absolute power of God is in the future: the all-good God will prevail in the End, mending every flaw in creation's sin-wracked and painful history.

Pie in the sky bye and bye? Compensation in heaven for earth's travail that prompts us to accept without protest the world's wrongs (Marx's famous charge that religion is "the opiate" of the people)? Nothing could be further from the truth. The world we anticipate eschatologically makes us restless for what will be. It calls into question the things that are and drives us in turn to critique, challenge and overturn those circumstances short of God's intended and promised purposes. Social eschatology is inseparable from social ethics. Hence the importance of a full biblical vision of what is to be, the corporate as well as the personal End, with the moral mandates consonant therewith. (a theme driven home by Jurgen Moltmann)

Copyright ©2004, William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

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