Time in Theological Conceptualization

At the beginning of the second chapter of this study, I dealt with Ratschows Anmerkungen zur theologischen Auffassung des Zeitproblems. Our examination of biblical concepts of time found that he was correct in saying that the Bible was not concerned with a dualism of time and an eternity that is considered unchangeable and endless or timeless. Instead, Ratschow proposed a relational model: God behaves like a loyal, jealous, angry God vis-Ă -vis the world and human time; God's coming days, which are also called the "day of salvation," are linked to the day and night of human and world time; time as moment relates to eternity in much the same way as the "closedness" of insufficient time relates to the openness of having-time-for.

Against the backdrop of our findings on how time in the Bible is understood not as form but rather from the perspective of its content—as filled time, Ratschow's model seems conclusive. Just as abstract time is not an issue in the Bible, there is also no abstract eternity. Rather, the Bible evidences an active relationship between the two, as is most clearly expressed in the New Testament in the tense eschatological relationship between "already" and "not-yet." Because time is not conceivable as an abstract entity, I would now like to address the question of the relationship of God, time, and eternity.

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