If the Church is an Icon of the future world, then all the Church does, including its theology, is saying something about our future hope. This means that what God offers us in this world could be described as a fore-taste of what will be reality in its fullness after death. When the Church or theology does not give a reflection of the eschatological Kingdom of God it is no longer (or at least at that moment) church, and the theology is bad.
In an earlier post I mentioned three existential questions or problems that I consider central: Identity, Death and Meaning. By existential I mean something that is a part of existence as such, they are not problems that are “contextual”, in the sense that they are related to a particular culture. But they will obviously take on different characteristics depending on the particular situation one is living in. In my up-coming posts I will explore these three existentials thoroughly and ask how they will function in a theology of decline. Today I will say something general about the three of them.
I initially planned to say that these are not related to the Holy Trinity in any particular way. Then it occurred to me that maybe they are. Identity is certainly something that is closely related to being created, Death is very much something that has to do with Christ, and I think meaning is a good perspective on the Spirit. But since I think it may be possible to argue for the inclusion of other existentials than the three I have chosen, this cannot be considered a part of the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather a kind of entry point to the mystery of the triune God.
I think it is possible to argue that Christinity, as Tillich would say, gives answers to these three questions contained in existence. But the dedicated Tillich reader will notice that these are not the same existentials that Tillich discuss: instead of guilt in his system I talk of identity. The reason for this is that I do not want to equate sin with guilt, as has happened especially in German theology. Sin is the central problem for the question of Identity, just as Meaninglessness is the problem for the question of Meaning and fear is the problem for the question of death. But guilt is not only experienced because of a deformed identity, but rather it is a fundamental feature of the human existence that lack in all these three categories is experienced as guilt.
Also, these three questions do not exist separately from each other (perichoresis!). They all form aspects of the other two problems. I will discuss this feature in my coming posts.