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Moltmann on the State of the World

I came across these powerful lines, which conclude Moltmann’s Theology of Hope, this morning and thought they would be worth sharing in light of my previous post on the inappropriateness of perpetual happiness in a world plagued by sin and evil. I think that this is a much better (and much more realistic) way of understanding the state of the world and what we ought to do and expect in it:

This means, however, that the hope of resurrection must bring about a new understanding of the world. This world is not the heaven of self-realization, as it was said to be in Idealism. This world is not the hell of self-estrangement, as it is said to be in romanticist and existentialist writing. The world is not yet finished, but is understood as engaged in history. It is therefore the world of possibilities, the world in which we can serve the future, promised truth and righteousness and peace. This is an age of diaspora, or sowing in hope, of self-surrender and sacrifice, for it is an age which stands within the horizon of a new future. Thus self-expenditure in this world, day-to-day love in hope, becomes possible and becomes human within that horizon of expectation which transcends the world. The glory of self-realization and the misery of self-estrangement alike arise from hopelessness in a world of lost horizons. To disclose to it the horizon of the future of the crucified Christ is the task of the Christian Church.

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  1. Moltmann has a very interesting description of who we presently are and/or what we all see in this world. Does he give any ideas as to how the church will effectively disclose a “horizon of the future of the crucified Christ”?

    To clarify my use of “effectively” here – in the disclosure, beyond any ambiguous generalizations about the future horizon, will specific descriptions be ONLY some form of divine revelation people are asked to trust in?

    I’m all about hope for a better future as well. I try to make better decisions that bring about better consequences (from my perspective) that I can see. I guess what I’m ultimately asking, Ryan, is how specific should our hopes be?


    June 26, 2007
  2. I think Moltmann would say that the church discloses “the horizon of the future of the crucified Christ” to the extent that Christ’s followers live, now, according to what they hope and believe will one day be a reality. This will, of course, be informed by what is believed to be divine revelation, but ultimately I think he would say the horizon of Christ is disclosed by doing what he said (working for peace, justice, wholeness, harmony, reconciliation, etc). I think that he would affirm that demonstration is an important form of disclosure.

    Re: the question of how specific our hope ought to be

    I don’t really know. Mine is certainly quite general. I simply hope for a future world in which the good of this one is affirmed and the evil is destroyed. I think that most of the passages in the Bible that attempt to describe the object of our hope are of necessity partial and metaphorical in nature, but I’m not sure if those are the specifics you’re getting at.

    Here’s a stab at it – what I hope for is a day when the gap between the normative and the descriptive is no more; when the is/ought distinction is unnecessary because everything is as it should be. Maybe that’s too simplistic, but I you can take it for what it’s worth…

    June 26, 2007

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