Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Resurrection and the Parousia

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the resurrection. So here’s a related quote from the best book ever written on the meaning of resurrection – Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans. In this passage, Barth is talking about the relation between resurrection and the Parousia:

“Will there never be an end of all our ceaseless talk about the delay of the Parousia? How can the coming of that which does not enter in ever be delayed? The End of which the New Testament speaks is no temporal event, no legendary ‘destruction’ of the world; it has nothing to do with any historical, or ‘telluric’, or cosmic catastrophe. The end of which the New Testament speaks is really the End; so utterly the End, that in the measuring of nearness or distance our nineteen hundred years are not merely of little, but of no importance; so utterly the End that Abraham already saw the Day – and was glad…. Who shall persuade us to transform our expectation of the End – the ‘Moment’ when the living shall be changed and the dead shall be raised, and both shall stand together before God (1 Cor. 15:51-52) – into the expectation of a coarse and brutal spectacle? Who, when this spectacle is quite rightly delayed, shall be able to lull us comfortably to sleep by adding at the conclusion of Christian Dogmatics a short and perfectly harmless chapter entitled – ‘Eschatology’?”

—Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), p. 500.

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