A Two-Pronged Hope
A lot of the reading I am doing for my thesis is related to the idea of hope—how it provides an account both of the “unfinished” or “unsatisfactory” state of the natural world and the existence of human beings who expect and long for better from the world. I recently came across this quote from Nicholas Wolterstorff, from a chapter in The Future of Hope, which I feel captures these two themes well:
It’s time that we returned to hope. The Christian hopes for two things: she hopes for consummation, and she hopes for redemption; she hopes for a transformed mode of existence that goes beyond God’s work as creator and sustainer—a new creation, a new age, not in any way brought about by “flesh and blood,” that is, by the dynamics of creation; and she hopes for deliverance within this created order, within history, especially deliverance from injustice. Two distinct hopes, neither to be assimilated to the other: hope for a new creation, and hope for the just reign of God within this present creation.
Consummation: all that is good about the world will be vindicated and attain its highest expression. Redemption: the world and we who inhabit it require deliverance from and forgiveness for the pain we suffer and the pain we inflict. A good reminder, this Advent season, as we wait for the coming of the Christ child—the one in whom “the hopes and fears of all the years” are met, the one we believe has made possible a “transformed mode of existence,” the object of our present and future hope.