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A complete introduction to the Christian view of the future.
What does the Bible say about the future, about death, about human destiny and heaven and hell? This volume presents a clear and comprehensive introduction to the Christian hope for the future that is particularly relevant to today’s world.
Hans Schwarz guides readers through the range of opinions on this fascinating subject, showing how our understanding of eschatology has developed and laying out the factors that must be considered when speaking meaningfully about the Christian hope here in the twenty-first century. He surveys the teachings about the future in both the Old and New Testaments, discusses the views of Christian and secular thinkers throughout history—including the challenges posed by science, philosophy, and New Age beliefs—and explores the major themes of eschatology, including death, immortality, and resurrection.
This insightful volume joins Hans Schwarz’s many other surveys of classical theological loci. Here Schwarz offers a study of eschatology that is thorough and rich, knowledgeable of the contemporary scene without capitulating to it, and sensitive to the subtleties of every issue he presents…. This book is a welcome addition as a text for seminary students, graduate students, and parish pastors.
—Currents in Theology & Mission
Schwarz’s survey of the entire field of eschatology is a valuable resource that will no doubt become a standard work on the topic in seminaries.
—Religious Studies Review
With the decline of the idea of progress and with growing threats to the survival of human civilization and all life on earth, Christians urgently need to retrieve the eschatological hope of the new creation. Hans Schwarz here shows how hope can adequately be grounded only in the Creator and Redeemer of all things and how ultimate hope inspires us to live hopefully now, succumbing neither to resigned pessimism nor to dangerously unrealistic utopianism. Schwarz’s dialogue with scientific and secular views of the future is an especially valuable aspect of his comprehensive treatment of eschatology.
In this bread-and-butter survey of the entire field of eschatology, Hans Schwarz makes a solid case for "proleptic anticipation" as the most convincing perspective. He constructs his case on a foundation of Scripture and the history of thought, and he argues his case before advocates of contending views. Everywhere illuminating!
Hans Schwarz is one of the finest evangelical theological educators in Germany today, as this outstanding volume on eschatology aptly demonstrates. The book’s comprehensiveness, readability, and intelligently shaped conviction are very impressive. Dealing with a wide range of "eschatological" perspectives in both Christian and secular thought, Schwarz eminently expounds the Christian doctrine of the last things.
—Kurt Anders Richardson
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About the Author
Hans Schwarz is Professor and chair of the Institute of Protestant Theology, University of Regensburg, Germany, and visiting professor of theology at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Who Still Cares about the Future?
Biblical Eschatology contra the Obsession with the Present
PART I : THE DISCOVERY OF THE FUTURE
Expecting Life Beyond as a Primal Human Phenomenon
Chapter 1: The Old Testament View of Eschatology
a. Emphasis on the This-Worldly Aspect of Life
a. Responding to a Holy and Gracious God
a. The Significance of the Term "Messiah"
Chapter 2: The Eschatological Proclamation of the New Testament
a. Jesus' Eschatological Message of the Kingdom of God
a. The Interim in the View of the Synoptics
a. Paul's Eschatological Call
PART II: THE MANIFOLD FACES OF ESCHATOLOGY
Chapter 3: Present Discussion of Christian Eschatology
a. The Kingdom of God as an Eschatological Concept
a. Existential and Ethical Approaches
a. Exegetical Considerations
a. Eschatology from the Underside
a. Process Theology
Chapter 4: Confronting Secular Varieties of Hope
a. The Option of Scientific Materialism
a. The Option of Secular Existentialism
a. A Homespun Eschatology
PART III: WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR?
Chapter 5: Approaching the New World
a. The Ambiguity of Death
a. Immortality and Occultism
a. Decisive Character of Christ's Resurrection
Excursus: Reincarnation and Transmigration of the Soul
Chapter 6: Controversial Areas of Eschatological Hopes
a. A Fertile Tradition
a. Origin and Growth of an Idea
a. Origen and the Origins of the Apokatastasis Idea
a. A Narrow Biblical Basis
Chapter 7: The New World to Come
Beyond Resignation and Futurist Activism
a. The Church as Reminder of God's Future
a. Consummation of the World
a. Disclosure of the Kingdom of God
Index of Names
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