Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Reading Tillich 33: The End of History

Time under the non-historical dimension is neither endless nor ending. The question of its beginning cannot be asked (which should deter theology from identifying an assumed beginning of physical time time with the symbol of creation). Nor can the question of its end be asked (which should deter theology from identifying an assumed physical end with the symbol of consummation). The end of history is the aim of history, as the word "end" indicates. The end is the fulfilled aim, however this aim may be envisioned.
Systematic Theology III, 320.
I have to confess that much of the fifth and last part of Tillich's system fails to excite me. It's more second rate philosophy that theology actually, and here, for large portions, the system takes over and becomes and end to itself. However, this is an interesting thought, and one, I feel that theologians in general do not address. In a time when it has become a kind of shibboleth of evangelicalism to believe in creationism, to completely disconnect the beginning of physical time from creation is just off the scale. But the important part is the idea that the end of history is the aim of history. Now this is not a particular point in time. This means that the end of history is not at all on the same timeline as physical time. The aim of History is the "Kingdom of God", which, after all, is not of this world.

1 comment:

Ivar said...

It is surprising to read your evalation of the last part of Tillich's systematic theology after reading your previous posts.

I did my master in theology on his escatology and think that it is an hermeneutical key to his theology as a whole. As he claims, it is not about the end of time but about the relation between the finite and the infinite. The same can be said about creation.