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Eschatology: Eternal Now or Cosmic Future?

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Abstract:

Paul Tillich's eternal now is the ground from which all things emerge and perish in each and every moment. A Tillichean eschatology involves the gathering of all things finite into the eternity of the present moment, into God. Salvation is present moment. But is the “eternal now” enough? This essay offers biblical and theological critiques of Tillich's present eschatology and posits an eschatology that combines Tillich's “eternal now” with Wolfhart Pannenberg's “end-oriented eschatology.” The result is an eschatology that recognizes the eternal now in which all things (including all time) belong to God yet with an eye toward the God-given possibilities of the next moment, the future. The end of being is not cessation; rather, it is the fulfillment of time, the consummation of all things.

Keywords: Paul Tillich; Wolfhart Pannenberg; consciousness; eschatology; eternity; ontology; soteriology; time

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0591-2385.00364

Affiliations: Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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