Eschatology and entropy: An alternative to Robert John Russell's proposal

Zygon 47 (4):970-996 (2012)
Traditional eschatology clashes with the theory of entropy. Trying to bridge the gap, Robert John Russell assumes that theology and science are based on contradictory, yet equally valid, metaphysical assumptions, each one capable of questioning and impacting the other. The author doubts that Russell's proposal will convince empirically oriented scientists and attempts to provide a viable alternative. Historical‐critical analysis suggests that biblical future expectations were redemptive responses to changing human needs. Apocalyptic visions were occasioned by heavy suffering in postexilic times. Interpreted in realistic terms, they have since proved to be untenable. The expectation of a new creation without evil, suffering, and death is not constitutive for the substantive content of the biblical message as such. Biblical future expectations must be reconceptualized in terms of best contemporary insight and in line with a dynamic reading of the biblical witness as God's vision of comprehensive optimal well‐being that operates like a shifting horizon and opens up ever new vistas, challenges, and opportunities
Keywords historical‐critical method  entropy  empiricism  apocalyptic  Robert J. Russell  eschatology  biblical interpretation  biblical future expectations  resurrection for judgment  resurrection of Christ
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01297.x
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