Monday, February 07, 2011

Prudence and hope

What is the relationship between prudence and hope? How do our fallible and stumbling attempts to project, predict and plan for the future that lies immediately ahead of us relate to God's eschatological promises to make all things new? How does Christian hope for the last things shed light (or darkness) upon the penultimate things? In particular, how is our exploration and expectation of the immediate future related to the final consummation of all things? If Christian hope is alien in origin (does not arise from innate possibilities within our present situation, is not from us as creatures) yet intimate in effect (does not abandon or replace the created order or humanity, is for us as creatures) - that is only to say, if Christian hope is properly christological - where does this make a difference as we face the uncertainties and apparent inevitabilities of the coming years?

I suspect that these are going to be significant questions in the constructive theological phase of my thesis. I have a number of thoughts, but have decided simply to throw some questions out there to begin with and see if there are any nibbles or insights.


Anonymous said...

Any thought or discussion of "hope" has to be tied in with "Love".

For there is a progression of love to hope to faith and on the other hand a lack of love causes a regression of faith and hope.

I think that a lot of eschatological leanings, causes future hope only to be thought of in end time scenarios and until then there is a level of worldly hopelessness.

Yet I have been thinking that perhaps we are meant to be part of the process of peace; which does cause the creation of new heavens and earth. What role do we as Christians have in the lion laying down with the lamb?

I think this means we have a mandate to do more than just engage with our communities from the Sunday pulpit; but rather our true pulpit should be the work we do six days a week with our sleeves rolled up engaging within and with the greater community in which we are a part.

Therefore instead of asking a stranger visiting our church if they are saved; the question we should ask of our selves is, "How are we to engage with the greater community we are a part of and through our engagement bring redemption / change to our communities.

This then challenges the status quo of many in that the sermon is the central part of Christian community; or raises the question if there are other more effective methods to preach?

Mike W said...

ooo, I like the alien/intimate distinction and then it's relation to Christology, very helpful.
Could our hope be so alien to us that we don't realise how intimate it really is? So, we don't fall into the trap of thinking our hope will spring out of the immanent conditions, yet Jesus may already have come to those conditions, even as they appear broken to us. Who are we to say Jesus is not there already redeeming? We never were that good at recognising him in the first place. And so if there is a possibility that Jesus is there already redeeming, then why shouldn't we be in on it too? at least we need to admit that Jesus is far more intimate with the creation than we are.

byron smith said...

Craig - Yes, you're right. Hope and love (and faith) are all interconnected. Can you explain why you think there is a progression from love to hope to faith? Is there also (say) a progression from faith to hope to love?

And you're entirely right about eschatological expectations playing a big role, which is why I've written quite a bit about this. If you haven't already seen it, you might be interested in my series on heaven.

My question from your comments is: do you think that the church brings redemption or do we set up signposts that point to God's redemption? That is, are we responsible for brining in the new age or are we to live in creative anticipation of it? Or something else?

Mike - Insightful as always, and quite relevant to the questions I just asked Craig. If Christ has come and the kingdom is now at hand, and if Christ still bears the marks of his suffering and victory, then the creation itself is not void of the marks of this promise. Put in other words, the creation's groaning is already a sign of the Spirit at work, the very same Spirit who brings life to the dead.

Anonymous said...

Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is Paul says.

This scripture is so Christ centred and yet is also full of pastoral and ethical wisdom. I don't think faith of its self can lead to hope or love... For instance...take the oft heard catch cry.."Just have faith" and so we try and work up faith and we find we can't and so start to lose hope... yet its when we are immersed into Christ's love and are immersed in a loving environment...hope builds up..which doesn't disappoint for it leads to faith... I wrote more about it here

I was reading Ephesians 5:32 last night about the mystery of Christ and the Church being one flesh..therefore I think the Church is responsible to be part of the visible redeeming process and in doing that points to we do both, be part of the redeeming process of creating a new earth in the now and anticipate Christ's coming.