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Moltmann on Hope

It seems like every second author I’ve come across lately is full of references to some book or other by Jürgen Moltmann. So, this week I decided to start reading him for myself. Suffice it to say that I think I’m starting to see why many find him to be such a compelling voice. This quote, in the middle of a reflection on the nature of Christian hope, stopped me in my tracks:

But on the other hand, all this must inevitably mean that the man who thus hopes will never be able to reconcile himself with the laws and constraints of this earth, neither with the inevitability of death nor with the evil that constantly bears further evil. The raising of Christ is not merely a consolation to him in a life that is full of distress and doomed to die, but it is also God’s contradiction of suffering and death, of humiliation and offence, and of the wickedness of evil. Hope finds in Christ not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering. If Paul calls death the ‘last enemy’ (1 Cor. 15:26), then the opposite is also true: that the risen Christ, and with him the resurrection hope, must be declared to be the enemy of death and of a world that puts up with death. Faith takes up this contradiction and thus becomes itself a contradiction to the world of death. That is why faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience. It does not calm the unquiet heart, but it itself this unquiet heart in man. Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is, but begin to suffer under it, to contradict it. Peace with God means conflict with the world, for the goad of the promised future stabs inexorably into the flesh of every unfulfilled present.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I discovered Moltmann eleven years ago while studying theology. I’ve been hooked ever since and have purchased several of his books. Evangelical theology has been slow to embrace Moltmann. I think this is because he does not have a well defined doctrine on the inerrancy of scripture. However, neither did C.S. Lewis and he is highly venerated within evangelical circles. As one who would consider myself evangelical, I hope to see Moltmann held in just as high a regard as Lewis someday. I think we are seeing the beginnings of this. I believe that history will be very kind to Moltmann, listing his name among those of Augustine, Luther, Kierkegaard and Barth.

    June 20, 2007
  2. Ryan, so glad to hear of your induction into Moltmann. Come tell us about it at http://www.jurgenmoltmann.com

    June 21, 2007

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