11 May 2010

Beale (6): Eschatology Is Protology

More from Beale's eye-opening 1997 essay, which is forming the skeleton of his forthcoming 1,00 page biblical theology of the New Testament--

[T]he upshot of [this] entire essay is that, though 'eschatology' is used in a variety of ways, I am defining it, not merely as the end of redemptive or cosmic history or the goal of Israel's hopes or the goal of the individual saint's hopes, but as an 'already and not yet new creation in Christ,' and all other things associated with eschatology are to be understood in inextricable relationship with this notion of 'new creation.' . . .

Eschatology is protology, which means that the goal of all redemptive history is to return to the primal condition of creation from which mankind fell and then go beyond it to a more heightened state, which the first creation did not reach. The goal of returning to the primal state of creation in an escalated new creation is the engine which runs the entire eschatological program.

Up to the present time, this has not been acknowledged adequately as the basis of a New Testament Biblical Theology.

--G. K. Beale, 'The Eschatological Conception of New Testament Theology,' in The Reader Must Understand: Eschatology in Bible and Theology (IVP 1997)

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