eschatological

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated.See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

eschatological NC I, 33 (faith is the eschatological aspect of time, and groups the eschaton, and that which happens beyond the limits of cosmic time), 233
NC II, 337
Beatific vision NC II, 298 (“vision face to face”)

Dooyeweerd says that true Christian faith finds its fulfillment in the religious “vision face to face” (NC II, 298). But this is not a static vision. I like to interpret it in relation to Dooyeweerd’s own idea of perfection and fulfillment. It is then similar to the idea of epektasis in Gregory of Nyssa, where the soul is drawn ever onwards, and will continue without end through eternity. It is also related to the Idea of Sonship.

But our acquiring of the divine nature is not just at the end of time. It also begins to take place now. This is the basis for a very dynamic view of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy that has not been sufficiently appreciated. Dooyeweerd says that our naive experience is restricted and needs to be opened up in anticipations. The ‘anticipatory’ is what is to come, and what we have not already experienced. As such, theory is an anticipation of what we and the cosmos may be. This is also the sense of epektasis. The word comes from Philippians 3:13: “Forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth [from where the word epektasis] unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark.”

In opening up our experience, theory can operate either in a way that is directed towards God or in an apostate direction. When we open up our experience, we anticipate the future, and we have glimpses of either the eternal or (as Baader says and Kuyper echoes), the infernal world. See Silberblick. Thus, Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is not just an abstract discussion of analogies between aspects, but a present changing of ourselves and of the cosmos. We become what we are destined to be, and the temporal world finds its true existence and fulfillment in its redeemed root. It is for this dynamic spiritual reason that I emphasize Dooyeweerd’s mysticism.

What happens beyond the limits of cosmic time is known by faith. Faith groups the eschaton, that which happens beyond the limits of cosmic time.

In this eschatological aspect of time faith groups the “eschaton” and, in general, that which is or happens beyond the limits of cosmic time. In this special sense are to be understood the “days of creation,” the initial words of the book of Genesis, the order in which regeneration precedes conversion, etc.” (NC I, 33).

For Dooyeweerd, the Christian idea of the opening-process is guided by faith in Christ as Redeemer. This does not mean an idealistic optimism, but recognizes a brokenness in spite of its direction towards the Root:

Only in its eschatological expectation of the ultimate full revelation of the Kingdom of God can Christian belief rise above this broken state without losing its relation to the sinful cosmos. For the same reason the Idea of the universality of each of the aspects within its own sphere cannot be conceived in a purely eschatological sense; it should also be related to our sinful cosmos. (NC II, 337).

The Christian opening process therefore has an eschatological element. This passage also confirms that sphere universality has an eschatological sense, although it also needs to be related to temporal reality.

The redemption of the world in some sense has been completed, but it is being worked out in temporal reality. “It may be that this antithesis has been reconciled by the redemption in Jesus Christ, but in temporal reality the unrelenting struggle between the kingdom of God and that of darkness will go on until the end of the world.” (NC II, 33).

True Christian faith finds its fulfillment in the religious ‘vision face to face’ (NC II, 298). Van Peursen comments on the mystical background to Dooyeweerd’s thought, especially in connection with his references to our religious choice ‘in the face of the Origin of meaning,’ the face of God, the hidden Present One (“Dooyeweerd en de wetenschappelijke discussie,” Dooyeweerd Herdacht, 93).

The eschatological emphasis in Dooyeweerd philosophy, knowing God face to face, has largely been ignored. Jamie Smith, in The Fall of Interpretation, (InterVarsity Press, 2000), specifically denies an eschatological reading of Dooyeweerd. Smith refers to Pannenberg’s model of interpretation, the “dim mirror” model that will be replaced by eschatological immediacy. Smith rejects that model. But is it not what Dooyeweerd himself says in his reference to “face to face?” (NC II, 298). Smith tries to interpret Dooyeweerd from a temporal standpoint. He speaks of Dooyeweerd’s view of “empirical transcendentals.” This interpretation of Dooyeweerd is an improvement on the hermeneutics of Derrida in Nietzchean sense. But it is not what Dooyeweerd says. Dooyeweerd specifically rejects any temporalized view of the eschatological:

However, I cannot agree with the tendency of some modern Christian theologians, who identify the eschatological aspect of time with the historical and reject the supra-temporal central sphere of human existence and of divine revelation. (NC I, 33)

Baader also has an eschatological emphasis.He says that we have anticipations both of heaven and of hell, depending on our religious ground principle or motive. There is a demonic realm below that of the ‘earthly’ temporal, just as there is a heavenly realm above the temporal. Within cosmic time, we move towards our final state, and we anticipate where we are headed. This anticipation is either through our heavenly eye, or our infernal eye.He says that the ‘Ereignis’ enters at the end of appearance time (Lichtstrahlen 384). Baader says that one who has been awakened to higher life does not just anticipate eternal life, but also tries to realize it as it is already rooted within nature:

…ein solcher ins höhere gemeinsame Leben Erweckter wird also nicht nur im Geiste dieses höhere, kosmische und darum ewige Leben anticipiren, sondern auch einzelne Proben seiner Reelheit, oder des bereits Eingewurzeltseins desselben in der Natur erhalten. (Philosophische Schriften II, 4).

Revised Oct 30/05; Dec 24/16

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