In the End, the Beginning: The Life of Hope

In the End, the Beginning: The Life of Hope

In the End, the Beginning: The Life of Hope

In the End, the Beginning: The Life of Hope

Synopsis

Jurgen Moltmann's new book is a powerful testament to personal hope in chaotic, even catastrophic, times and one of his most personal and compelling works to date. Debunking the classic images of Christian apocalyptic scenarios, Moltmann instead shows that Christian expectation of the future has nothing to do with a final struggle between God and Satan but everything to do with new beginnings and a horizon of hope -- in our birth, in our many rebirths, and in our resurrection.

Excerpt

In my end is my beginning’: so T. S. Eliot concluded his poem East Coker, and that conclusion gave me the title for this book. I have chosen it as a way of expressing the power of the Christian hope, for Christian hope is the power of resurrection from life’s failures and defeats. It is the power of life’s rebirth out of the shadows of death. It is the power for the new beginning at the point where guilt has made life impossible. The Christian hope is all these things because it is spirit from the Spirit of the resurrection of the betrayed, maltreated and forsaken Christ. Through his divine raising from the dead, Christ’s hope-less end became his true beginning. If we remember that, we shall not give ourselves up, but shall expect that in every end a new beginning lies hidden. Yet we shall only become capable of new beginnings if we are prepared to let go of the things that torment us, and the things we lack. If we search for the new beginning, it will find us.

Some people think that the Bible has to do with the terrors of the apocalypse, and that the apocalypse is ‘the end of the world’. The end, they believe, will see the divine ‘final solution’ of all the unsolved problems in personal life, in world history, and in the cosmos. Apocalyptic fantasy has always painted God’s great final Judgement on the Last Day with flaming passion: the good people will go to heaven, the wicked will go to hell, and the world will be annihilated in a storm of fire. We are all familiar, too, with images of the final struggle between God and Satan, Christ and the Antichrist, Good and Evil in the valley of Armageddon–images which can be employed so usefully in political friend-enemy thinking.

These images are apocalyptic, but are they also Christian? No, they are not; for Christian expectation of the future has nothing . . .

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