Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not over yet...: Moltmann

'With the raising of Jesus all has not yet been done.'

- Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 163.

And this has further implications:
'Faith, whenever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience. It does not calm the unquiet heart, but is 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.’

- Theology of Hope, 7.

Of course, Barth the anti-Fascist was never aiming at quietism with his earlier quote. Which is truer to the biblical witness and to an otherwise hope-less world, Barth or Moltmann? Jesus resurrection as the end, or as the announcement of the end?
Twelve points for guessing the country in which the picture was taken.


Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is John from Kyneton Victoria. I much prefer the Luminous Wisdom Teaching found at these related sites-

Real God Is The Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light


The Secret Identity of the Holy Spirit of God


Essays on politics & culture at:

www.dabase.net/restsacr.htm (The Restoration of the Sacred)


The Taboo Against the Superior Man via



byron smith said...

Thanks John for offering those sites. Can you explain why you prefer that teaching? How do you see it relates to what Moltmann or Barth say?

David W. Congdon said...


I don't think Barth and Moltmann are mutually exclusive on this point, but I think Barth's emphasis is the more important one. We need to affirm that the past event of Christ's death and resurrection is the definitive and constitutive event for all creation. That event does not merely make possible some future event which completes and finishes what Christ began. Rather, the past event is the actualization of God's victory over sin and death which makes future events possible as the revelation of what was completed once-for-all in Jesus Christ.

The present depends wholly upon the past and looks forward to the future. The present is thus both anamnestic and proleptic -- it remembers and anticipates. The future does not add something to the past event; it merely is the full, cosmic unveiling of what God accomplished in Jesus Christ.

That's how I would situate things. This is all taken from George Hunsinger. He deserves the credit.

byron smith said...

The future does not add something to the past event; it merely is the full, cosmic unveiling of what God accomplished in Jesus Christ.
DWC - sounds like you've opted for Barth over Moltmann.

Barth’s position was emphatic:
‘Nothing which will be has not already taken place on Easter Day – included and anticipated in the person of the one man Jesus … Strictly speaking there are no ‘last things,’ i.e. no abstract and autonomous last things apart from and alongside Him, the last One.’ (CD III/2, 489)

All that remains is the unveiling of what already is, presently hidden in Christ: ‘What is the future bringing? Not once more a turning-point in history, but the revelation of that which is. It is the future, but the future of that which the Church remembers, of that which has already taken place once and for all. The Alpha and the Omega are the same thing.’ (Dogmatics in Outline, 134)

Moltmann disagreed. The Alpha and the Omega are indeed the same person, but the ipse identity of that eschatos brings both continuity and discontinuity between the Christ event and the consummation of all things. There is indeed another turning point in history, or better, a turning point with history, in which history dies and eschatology is raised.

To grasp the difference and its significance, we need to turn to Moltmann’s conceptualising of promise, for which he, like Barth, takes Emmanuel to be paradigmatic. In the illocution of promising, the promiser binds himself to the future, and in so doing, gives himself to the promise’s recipient. In this way, personal presence is the implication of every promissory illocution, and hence the promise of presence is the paradigmatic promise. So not only was each taste of presence a promise, but each repetition of the promise is itself a kind of presence.

This pattern achieved new depth and significance in Jesus Christ, overspilling expectations based on prior pledges. But (and herein lies the controversy), even Jesus’ risen presence also pointed forward, beyond today’s experience. For he was hidden, the appearances ended. The world remained unredeemed from death and decay, even if Jesus had been. There must be more to come.

So Jesus is both a moment of fulfilment, and a 'mere' stage on the way; his resurrection from the dead was not yet the resurrection of the dead, even if in its startling newness the novelty of its goodness overspilled the brim of prior expectation. It was the first fruits (1 Cor 15:20) and he is the firstborn (Rev 1:5), but the harvest, the great family, is not here. ‘The Christ event cannot then itself be understood as fulfilling all promises, so that after this event there remains only the sequel of its being unveiled for all to see.’ (Theology of Hope, 214) Christ himself is not yet who he shall be (1 Cor 15:20-28; Crucified God, 186-88). Therefore, the believer’s present experience of an unredeemed groaning world is not to be downplayed as mere appearance awaiting the exposure of its hidden redemption.

Anonymous said...


Anthony Douglas said...

Nah, England

byron smith said...

Sorry Michael, the twelve points go to Anthony.