Advent thought 4: Christmas as Eschatology

Christian theology traditionally sees 'eschatology' as a subdivision of systematics dealing with the return of Jesus, judgement, heaven, and hell. It is typically set aside in a box of its own, separate from the theology concerned with the story of Jesus' first coming.

Advent, by bringing the first and second advents into doxological communion, warns us against hermetically sealing off eschatology in such a way. I think that Greg Beale was spot-on in his essay "The Eschatological Conception of New Testament Theology" (1997) when he observed that the whole of NT theology is eschatology.

Advent alerts us to what I yesterday called the two-phase eschatology of the NT (in fact, I think that this is over simplistic as the place of AD 70 also need factoring in along with the fall of Rome, etc.). It makes us recognize that the coming of God-in-Christ is an eschatological event from first to last. It teaches us that we need to see Christmas as an end-time event in the story of God's engagement with creation.


I wonder what light that might shed?

Cool. :-)


I agree. Most Christians simply don't think eschatologically.

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