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Title: Redefining time : an analysis of the time-eternity relationship in the theology of Hugh Ross Mackintosh, Emil Brunner & Jürgen Moltmann
Author: Jones, William G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 8677
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The twentieth century has been called the "century of eschatology" because this doctrine expanded to include many elements of theology that had previously been neglected as germane to "the end times." As a result of movements which began in the nineteenth century, all of contemporary theology has been "eschatologized" to the point where eschatology has become the instrumental hermeneutic through which all other theological motifs are interpreted. In particular, there has been a resurgence of philosophical, theological, and scientific inquiry into the concept of time and its ontological status in determining the nature of reality. This resurgence has led to significant implications for the definition of God's eternity. In this dissertation I examine the relationship between time and eternity in twentieth century Reformed eschatology by analyzing the work of three Reformed theologians who benefit from and inform their respective generations' understanding of eschatology. In the work of H. R. Mackintosh, Emil Brunner, and Jurgen Moltmann, one finds a redefmition of time as it relates to God's eternity. Each theologian strategically deals with the dominant legacies of Idealism and Materialism from the nineteenth century in defending the centrality of eschatological hope for Christian faith. Through their work, one understands why a contemporary eschatological interpretation of time departs from the traditional Boethian view of eternity as sheer timelessness in favor of a more comprehensive view of eternity as part of God's own being which God shares with creation. Thus, the theology of time has become a hotly-debated topic within eschatological discussions, focusing on the nature of God's eternity and the human experience of time. The debate over time and eternity also has repercussions for christology as all of Jesus' life is re-interpreted as an eschatological event which reveals God's will for the world. The Christ event is an act of eschatological revelation, and therefore doctrines which deal with the person and work of Christ are re-examined through the lens of the time-eternity relation. We see that twentieth century eschatology reshaped the understanding of time and eternity in that eternity is now understood to be a description of God's being which incorporates time. Eternity is descriptive of the quality of God's life rather than God's timelessness. For human beings, temporal life is marked by transience, change, and death, while eternal life characterizes living in the fullness of God's presence. As a result of faith, eternal life has begun now for human beings in a provisional way . We have also seen how the resurrection of Jesus was an eschatological event that ushered in the new eschatological eon for creation. The process of creation's transition from temporality to eternity began at the resurrection and will be completed at the consummation. Thus, Reformed eschatology now unites all of created reality, including space and time, to the person and work of Christ as he brings in the eschatological kingdom of God.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available