A graced existence, as we have seen, means the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, adoption through Christ as God's sons and daughters, and participation in the divine life. If that is the life of grace now, what can we say about the coming life of glory that grace initiates? The history of God's gracious self-communication began with the creation of the cosmos and human beings (see Ch. 5). It culminated in Christ's resurrection from the dead and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Ch. 4). It is moving now to its consummation, the parousia or final coming of Christ that will bring, through the glorified Christ, the ultimate self-gift of God to human beings and the transfiguration of the cosmos.
This summary of the fulfilment that Catholics and other Christians hope for makes it clear how everything centres on Christ, 'the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end' (Rev 22: 13). The origin of all things (e.g. John 1: 13) he is also the 'Eschatos', the future
139 See K. Rahner, 'Grace and Freedom', in id. et al . (eds.), Sacramentum Mundi (6 vols., London: Burns & Oates, 1968—70), ii. 424—7.
and final One. In this provisional period between his resurrection from the dead and the end, the risen Christ is overcoming hostile forces and will abolish death, 'the last enemy' (1 Cor. 15: 20—8). The Holy Spirit is at work in and for humanity and the created universe, while everyone and everything waits to be freed for the glory to come (Rom. 8: 18-25).
By the time of Christ, the Pharisees, the Qumran community, and other Jewish groups believed in afterlife, a general resurrection from the dead, and a general judgement on the 'Day of the Lord', with eternal reward or punishment to follow when God brought the history of the world to its end. Faith in these 'last things' shifted for Christians, inasmuch as they held that Jesus' personal resurrection had initiated the general resurrection (1 Cor. 15: 20, 23), and that he himself would be the judgement of God in person ( Matt. 25: 31-46). The day of God's final and decisive intervention in judgement was now reinterpreted as Christ's final and decisive intervention.
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