Christ Our Hope
An Introduction to Eschatology
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Part One. The Dynamic of Hope
1. The Christian Virtue of Hope and the Epistemological Underpinnings of Christian Eschatology
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Christianity, like Judaism, is the religion of God’s promise. God, in creating the world and saving humanity, did not leave everything neatly and accurately arranged from the outset. His creating action marks the beginning of time. And time opens space for further progress: space for God, who continues to act, to create, to save, ...
Part Two. The Object of Christian Hope
The Apostles’ Creed openly proclaims that Jesus Christ “will return to judge the living and the dead.”1 And the Nicea-Constantinople Creed says more or less the same thing: “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”2...
2. Parousia: The Future Coming of the Lord Jesus in Glory
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The future coming of Jesus Christ in glory is generally called the Parousia (a Greek term derived from the verb pareimi, “to be present”).2 The term Parousia is to be found in many books of the New Testament that refer explicitly to the future coming of Christ at the end of time.3 ...
3. The Resurrection of the Dead
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Belief in the resurrection of the dead by the power of God is deeply rooted in the Old Testament and is central to Christian faith3 Tertullian went so far as to say that “the hope of Christians is the resurrection of the dead.”4 And this is so for the simple reason that the final resurrection of humanity is the ultimate fruit of the resurrection of Christ ...
4. The New Heavens and the New Earth
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In direct continuity with the doctrine of final resurrection, the return of the risen Lord Jesus Christ in glory (what is called the Parousia) will involve not only the universal resurrection and judgment of humans, but also the destruction, purification, and renewal of the material cosmos, what Scripture calls the new creation (Mt 19:28; Rom 8:18–25; Gal 6:15). ...
5. Final Judgment
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Christian faith openly proclaims that when Jesus comes in glory at the end of time, not only will the dead rise up by the power of God in the likeness of the risen Christ, not only will the cosmos be renewed, but the whole of humanity will be judged by the Lord of heaven and earth. ...
6. Heaven: Eternal Life in the Glory of Christ
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The outcome of final judgment is unequivocal: eternal life or eternal perdition. The promise made by God through his Son is equally clear: those who follow and believe in him receive the promise of eternal communion with the Trinity; those who do not believe will forfeit the divine promise. ...
7. Hell: The Perpetual Retribution of the Sinner
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The possibility of perpetual condemnation of the unrepentant sinner is a nonnegotiable element of the doctrinal patrimony of Christian faith. This does not mean of course that Christians “believe” as such in hell. Much less are they obliged to believe that some specific individuals have actually been condemned, ...
Part Three. The Stimulus of Hope in the World
8. The Living Presence of the Parousia
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As we saw earlier on, the moment when the Parousia takes place will depend, to some degree, on humans’ correspondence (or lack of it) to God’s gifts and inspiration.3 In Matthew 23:39 we read: “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” ...
Part Four. Honing and Purifying Christian Hope
9. Death, the End of the Human Pilgrimage
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Death will come eventually, and it will come for everybody. Seneca confirms this common conviction and declares that there is nothing more certain than death.5 Yet death, as it presents itself to humans, constitutes a profound enigma. ...
10. Purgatory: The Purification of the Elect
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“Purgatory” designates that state of definitive purification, after death, for those who have died in friendship with God but are stained by the remains of sin. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their salvation; ...
11. The Implications of an “Intermediate Eschatology”
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For an extended period of time, it is fair to say, Catholic eschatology paid more attention to the “last things” of the individual: death, personal judgment, heaven or hell, beatific vision, personal purification, and so on.2 It is not of course that other critical elements were excluded. ...
Part Five. The Power and Light of Hope
12. The Central Role of Christian Eschatology in Theology
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The Greek word eschaton originally meant “end,” maybe even “dregs,” in the most abject sense of the term, equivalent perhaps in Greek to peras. Under the saving power of Christ and the impulse of hope, Christianity radically transformed the term’s meaning into “goal” (closer to the Greek telos), that is, ultimate purpose, target, summit, or plenitude. ...
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Index of Names
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Production Notes, Back Cover
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Page Count: 358
Publication Year: 2012