Eschatology – Or, why I am not worried about December 21, 2012.

Eschatology” is word that is frequently misused, misunderstood, or simply ignored (see the wikipedia link for what I mean).

Every once in while I enjoy entertaining myself by watching a few minutes of the ‘compelling’ program of ‘prominent’ Bible ‘scholar’ Jack Van Impe. His specialty is predicting how current events relate to biblical prophecy, particularly pertaining to the end of the world. Apparently the latest doomsday prediction is December 21, 2012, which is based on the Mayan calendar (I guess the Bible has been deemed ‘unreliable’ for specific dates after so many faulty predictions). Nothing like a little fear to motivate faith, eh!?!

Eschatology, of the Van Impe variety, is concerned with the specific details of history’s end, often relying on overly literal readings of prophetic passages. I think it’s pretty clear to say that this would fall into the category of a misuse and misunderstanding of eschatology.

Likely influenced by this type of guess-work, coupled with the challenge of understanding the apparent complexities of biblical prophecy such as that found in the book of Revelation, eschatology is most often simply ignored as a relevant aspect of our faith.

Over the past few years I have come to realize that this often feared topic is anything but scary or confusing. Rather, in my opinion, eschatology is a concept essential to providing an intelligible and authentic Christian faith.

Rather than limiting eschatology to the end of history, an alternative view sees the ministry of Jesus as the inauguration of God’s kingdom – the beginning of the ongoing-end so to speak (N.T. Wright has much to say on this). In this light, eschatology is still related to the ‘end times,’ except the end times are already here, begun with Jesus. While this will not be completely realized until Jesus’ return, whenever that will be, it does mean Jesus’ life signifies a sort of new era for what it means to follow God.

Living eschatologically, then, means living in the realization that aspects of God’s kingdom can already be realized now, particularly through following the example of Jesus. Stanley Hauerwas comments that Jesus illustrates “the way the world is meant to be – and thus those who follow him become a people of the last times, the people of the new age” (The Peaceable Kingdom). Eschatology, therefore, is a hopeful word, inspiring us to participate in areas of this world where we see this ‘new age’ being realized.

So, what is going to happen on December 21, 2012? I don’t have a clue…


Anonymous said...

Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it's up to you to take heed.
]Astronomical picture
[/url] - some truth about 2012

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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