Summarizing Theses

1. The concept of time is not a specific concern in the Bible. In the Old Testament, as in the New Testament, one does not deal with notions of the essence of time and/or eternity per se.

2. A dualism of time and eternity cannot be discovered in the Bible. Time and eternity do not encounter each other as an antithesis, but rather relate to each other in various ways.

3. There is general agreement in biblical research that the Bible deals more with the content than with the form of time. Time is not an empty category; instead, time is filled time. It is granted by God, and it is oriented toward a goal. Correspondingly, eternity is also not encountered as an endlessly extended form of time, but rather as something qualitatively different from time.

4. Contrasting cyclical and linear time proves to be inadequate. Generally speaking, the inadequacy and provisional nature of spatial expressions for time must be given careful consideration155 because, on the one hand, the static character of spatial conceptions hides the dynamic character of time and, on the other hand, the spatialization of time leads almost inevitably to generalizations that can hardly be substantiated.156

5. The ambiguity of biblical language and the conception of time cause considerable problems for theological discourse. Theological work must live with the aporia of not being able to clearly define, in the light of the biblical sources, what would need to be defined for a successful dialogue. On the other hand, this multiplicity of meanings ensures an openness that facilitates the discussion of various models.

6. The scope of the biblical, and particularly the New Testament, concept of time is most clearly expressed in eschatology. The tension between "already" and "not-yet," which occurs in various degrees in the New Testament writings, is constitutive for a New Testament understanding of time.

7. In order to do justice to the multilayered dynamic nature of the biblical concept of time, one should strive for the most plural time concept possible. This concept should have room for chronos and kairos, for eons whose meanings vacillate, for near and remote (time), and for extended and concentrated time; and it should be expressed narratively in a variety of images: in straight lines and wavy lines, in circles and spirals, in points and crosses, in islands and seas.

8. Against the horizon of the New Testament, the development found in chapter 1 toward a stronger contemporization of the future in hymns appears to be a shifting of the "not-yet" toward the "already."157 This is a change from what is more nearly a Lucan focus in theology and tradition to one that is more strongly Johannine. In the remainder of this study I will keep in mind the dynamic nature of the relationship between "already" and "not-yet," between new and old ages.

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