Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Eschatology and the One Ring

I've always suspected that eschatology (or here or here) is a little like the One Ring of theology...

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the new light bind them

... or not?

(H/T Daniel at Sibboleth for sparking this thought). NB: important discussion in comments.


Drew said...

see, I always thought it was history.

But history/eschatology - two sides of the same die...

Christopher said...

But history/eschatology - two sides of the same die...

What are on the other four sides of the die? :)

byron smith said...

The theology die:

Can it be an eight-sided die?

Christopher said...

There could be a market for a board-game involving such a die.
Maybe it could be called "Inquisition" kind of like snakes and ladders, but depending on what you roll you either ascend up the church hierarchy or down to the rack.

One of Freedom said...

I have dice with 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20 and 30 sides. So yes Byron it can be an 8-sided die. But I think Drew probably meant coin.

byron smith said...

David, I agree of course. Christology is the real heart,* linking more directly to Trinity, atonement, incarnation, eschatology, ecclesiology, revelation (and all the rest). It was the posted quote by Sibboleth (and the LOTR ref at the end) that inspired my response.

Frank: Yeah, I too have dice of various denominations (can dice be ecumenical?), but thought I'd take Drew's comments a little further.

* Of course, it is neither the origin nor goal (though linked to both, since Christ is alpha and omega): that belongs to theology proper, since 'there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist'.

Ben Myers said...

Your rhyme reminds me of Karl Barth's humorous remark (in CD IV/3, 912) about modern theology's "pan-eschatological dream" -- paradoxically, Barth said, when everything becomes eschatology, the one thing to disappear is the future!

Although I'm fairly Pannenbergian myself when it comes to (pan-)eschatology, I've always thought Barth's remark was wonderfully perceptive -- and a valuable warning against ever turning eschatology into a theological "principle"!

byron smith said...

Yes indeed, for the One Ring is conceptually linked to the Tower of Babel: an oppressive distorting destruction of difference under absolute power. So any reference to anything functioning as the One Ring will carry negative overtones. The language of empire is neither rejected nor affirmed by the gospel. It is subverted and even inverted. The centre is not where all are gathered and bound in service to a higher ideal, but is the source of the river of life, the place at which all are healed and served. As David has pointed out, only in Christ is such a centre to be conceived.

Thanks Ben for that Barth reference.

Drew said...

I think Drew probably meant coin.

I most definitely meant die!