Review Moltmann Coming of God

Moltmann, Jurgen.  The Coming of God.  Fortress Press.

Alternates between promising and atrocious.   He has some great sections on the nature of death and time, which are about as good as any I have read.  He shows nicely how Revelation 1 contrasts with Greek thought:  Christ is the one who is, and was, and is to come (notice he did not say “will be,” which is what a good Greek would have said).  This shows in a nutshell that the future is the coming of God.

Then proceeds with an analysis of Constantinian and Augustinian models of eschatology.  If the Kingdom has come in the presence of the State (the former) or the Church (the latter), then while a future coming of Christ might still be hoped for, such a hope will be marginalized because the Kingdom is already now.

He then torpedoes his own ship with a strange rant–and there is no other way to describe it–with a plea to save the environment and third-world countries.  I felt like I was at an Al Gore eco-terrorist conference.  I am not a free-market capitalist, and I admit horrible things have been done to the environment, but his analysis is simply off.  He claims that the evil white man made Africa poor.   Granted, the evil white man did horrible things, but a better claim would be that the European exacerbated an already bad situation. Even before the European came, many tribes were selling each other into slavery, practicing magic, and worshiping idols.  The European didn’t cause that.  (I do agree with him on forgiving third-world debt.  I’m not sure it will fix anything, but it is a nice sentiment:  if a civilization doesn’t have a strong work ethic and a future-oriented vision, change will simply not happen.).

He ends with a nice section on the future feast of God, which is a much better model of the afterlife than merely contemplating the Platonic Forms for all eternity.

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