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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Friday, 14 June 2013

Christian eschatology and Merleau-Ponty


I read an interesting passage in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, twentieth-century French phenomenologist, the other day. He is exploring the notion of time in the light of music.
Just as the painter is struck by a painting that is not there, the body is suspended in what it sings: the melody is incarnated and finds in the body a type of servant. The melody gives us a particular consciousness of time. We think naturally that the past secretes the future ahead of it. But this notion of time is refuted by the melody. At the moment when the melody begins, the last note is there, in its own manner. In a melody, a reciprocal influence between the first and last note takes place, and we have to say that the first note is possible only because of the last, and vice versa. It is in this way that things happen in the construction of living being.
— Merleau-Ponty, Nature: Course Notes From the Collège de France. Compiled with notes by Dominique Séglard. Translated by Robert Vallier. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2003, 174.
It struck me that this resonates very deeply with Christian thinking about eschatology. The end is in the beginning; the beginning is in the end. The beginning is possible because of the end; the end because of the beginning. We often think of creation reaching its intended goal in the eschaton (the beginning in the end) but it is worth exploring the ways in which the telos of creation is there, in its own manner, in the beginning.

Thoughts on a postcard to Robin Parry, Theological Scribbles, cyberville

1 comment:

Alex Smith said...

Thanks, that's helpful Robin. After reading "666 And All That" I've been thinking a lot more about the two-way links between the beginning & end. It's become one of my favourite arguments in favour of UR, as it's so hard to explain how ECT mirrors (let alone improves upon) either the very good in Eden or the eternal, personal, perfectly harmonious, loving relationships in the Trinity!