Sunday, July 16, 2006

Approaching the end of this 7 month review of Küng's Der Anfang aller Dinge!

We are fast approaching my final post on Küng's Der Anfang aller Dinge. There shall follow a couple of posts in summary of the whole thing, but this posts ends the commentary on the text as such.

Review of Hans Küng’s, Der Anfang aller Dinge, Epilogue, Pt. 2 of 2.

In short, Küng answers this question (cf. the end of part 1 of my review of Küng's Epilogue) in the negative. The end-time stories in the bible are not chronological revelations, satisfying our curiosity with mere information concerning the last days, and to read the bible in such a way is to misunderstand it. Rather:

‘The haunting visions of the Apocalypse are an urgent warning to humanity, and individual humans, to recognise the seriousness of the situation ... The bible doesn’t, therefore, speak in the language of scientific facts, but in a metaphorical picture language’ (223).

And this language, with its actual meaning, is to be translated into the horizon of modern people, and not to be taken literally. And what is the actual meaning? These pictures stand for the hopped for and feared, and particularly represent a faith confession about the completion of the work of God in his creation. ‘Therefore, theologians have no motivation to prefer one or the other of the scientific world-models over the other, though truly they have an interest to portray God as Origin and Perfecter of the world, understandable to humans’ (224). For if God exists and one accepts this, not in light of certain ‘proofs’ but in enlightened trust, then God is surely not only God for here and now, but also at the very end.

Ending on a personal note, Küng writes: ‘Personally, I have accepted Blaise Pascal’s bet, and set myself on – not on the grounds of probability calculations or mathematical logic, but on the basis of a reasonable trust – God and the Endless, over against nil and nothing’ (225). Though Küng doesn’t believe in what he dismisses as the later legendary NT resurrection stories, he accepts their original core, that Jesus didn’t die into nothing, but into God. So die we, into God. And even if Küng’s Pascalian ‘bet’ proves to have failed, ‘I didn’t loose anything in my life. No, I lived a better, happier and more meaningful life than if I had lived with no hope’ (225).

The end of all things, then, is the hope to ultimately die into the light: ‘And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever’ (Rev 22:5)

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At 7/17/2006 2:52 AM, Anonymous byron smith said...

For Küng, how does death-as-resurrection ('dying into God') vindicate the creator God? Sorry if you've already answered this in an earlier post on this book - I've been following for a couple of months, but not the whole way.

At 7/17/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for the Q.

Küng kind of demythologises the resurrection, and so it would be hard for him to link it to a public vindication of God. He does, however, link the notion to the hope of the completion of all thing sin God, if I remeber rightly. Does that answer your question?

At 7/20/2006 10:05 PM, Anonymous ntWrong said...

I found the personal note, about Pascal's bet and dying into God, very moving.

I think of my faith as a reasonable hope — not more than that — even though, on balance, I am persuaded of the historicity of the resurrection.

At 7/20/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

I'm with you, Q, especially on the resurrection.


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