Theologians offer different views about the future of humanity. In particular, Jurgen Moltmann offers an eschatology that relates hope and faith with God’s future. In “Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology” (1967) and Hope and History (n.
d. ), the author explains how we should live in hope as we anticipate God’s future. He considers that despite the sufferings we bear in the present world, our hope and faith will be our guide in living life according to the will of God.In “Theology of Hope” the author emphasizes relationship between hope and faith.
He implies that the foundation of hope is faith in the resurrection. Because we believe in the resurrection of Christ, we bear hope in God’s future—the life that God promised. Our hope and faith gives us “not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering. ” (21) The first consolation is the reward we receive from suffering while we live on earth, while the other consolation is the reward that we shall receive beyond life on earth.
By his mention of the suffering that we bear at present, Moltmann implies our predisposition to suffering. He presents the “dialectical view” that along with hope and anticipation, people experience suffering and despair. (Nazarene Theological Seminary n. d.
) As we live in the world, we encounter sufferings which could lead to despair. Basically, our belief in the resurrection of Christ is founded on His death. As Eckardt (1985) explains, Moltmann perceives that Christ’s death in the Cross is a way to teach us of how we should bear the sufferings we encounter.It implies that as a prerequisite to the promise of God, we have to identify with Christ’s suffering, which means bearing our own crosses.
On the question of how we should regard sufferings, Moltmann claims that “hope is in itself is the happiness of the present. ” This means that our anticipation of God’s future should serve as our source of hope and happiness. While we suffer, we do not confine ourselves to loneliness, and do not concentrate on our woes. Rather, we see hope amid the sufferings, and display a happy disposition.
Our hope in God’s future should serve as our comfort as we strive to live each day. Because of our hope in God’s promise, we are not easily crushed by the negative things that happen around us. The wars, violence, poverty, hunger that we experience should not make us lose our senses. Rather, the consolation is to feel that as we encounter them, we relate more with God’s sufferings on the cross.
In application, Moltmann’s view implies that the poor and the oppressed should not feel sad about their condition.Rather, they should accept it, and find hope in it. Like the prophets in the Old Testament who suffered and accepted their fate in preparation for the coming of the Lord, the poor and the oppressed must suffer too in order to “engage in the activity of bringing the eschatological moment, the completion of God and His creation” (Eckardt 1985 p. 23).
This means that in order to be part of the future that God prepares for us, we need to be one with Christ in His sufferings.In Hope and History, Moltmann elaborates that while we hope for God’s future, we “cannot passively wait…and withdraw from the world. ” Rather [we] must seek this future, strive for it, and already here be in correspondence to it in the active renewal of life and of the conditions of life. ” This means that we cannot just sit down and pray, but do our share and within the means that we are given, participate in preparing for God’s future.
Therefore, in addition to accepting our realities, Moltmann promotes doing works for others.This does not exempt anyone, regardless of the situation. As Moltmann views, we cannot just sit down and wait for God to come. We should do something for ourselves and the world.
For the poor, the challenge is not to imprison themselves to their own miseries, but to find courage and hope, and even to serve others in the best way they can. For the rich or those who have enough, the challenge is to share in the sufferings of the poor by helping them, alleviating their sufferings, and supporting their needs. The challenge that Moltmann poses is in fact very easy.Simply put, our hope in God’s future should serve as inspiration to willingly sacrifice and help others.
However, since not all people have hope in the promise of God, there is also reluctance to sacrifice and help others. Many view sufferings not as a way of life but a result of the greed of that lurks in society. Convincingly, it is more practicable to believe that by taking away greed, we can bring more hope to the poor and the oppressed. Therefore, by denouncing poverty and suffering, it could be easier to make others imagine the future that God beholds.
While the hope in God’s future seems to be a positive insight, the means to achieve it according to Moltmann seems somewhat impractical. Instead of persuading people to suffer in the way Christ shows us in the cross, it could be more effective to teach about hope by making people realize its essence while they are still living. For instance, by helping the poor improve their economic life, authorities can immediately make a parallel picture of life that awaits us in God’s future.