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THEOLOGY > Future > Considerations > Eschatological Humility     


When engaged in eschatological discussion a most appropriate characteristic is humility, that is, a modesty that seeks to throw off arrogance and an overconfidence in one’s theological interpretation. With numerous competing interpretations on nearly every aspect of Eschatology, the student would be advised not to defend too vigorously any position except the following: Jesus will return; there will be a resurrection and judgment; and in eternity the believers will be separated from the unbelievers. Beyond these essential truths opinion is too varied to establish any sort of consensus.

Every theological treatise is an interpretation; and to affirm this is to affirm that each presentation is subjective and, therefore, in need of revision. Each is to be questioned simply because it is the production of man, of sinful man. No interpreter has full understanding, and the understanding that is attained is tainted by the ever present sinful reasoning and reflection that plague the human condition; therefore, no theological interpretation can be elevated to normative status. Every theology needs reformation.

As stated in the above paragraph that which is of man can never be normative or absolute; it is not possible for the horizontal plane to established that which is fixed. For there to be full and abiding assurance that one has come to know Truth the horizontal must be rejected in favor of the vertical. What belongs to earth is of the earth, while what belongs to heaven is of heaven. An infallible word can only be given by God—Truth is from Him.

Thus, there is the necessity of Revelation, the Revelation which is the doing of God. God, His plan, and His future are all hidden in mystery and silence, and cannot be known unless God speaks and informs. Man only knows that which God reveals. So man should be humble in all areas and clothe himself with modesty. He can only investigate and seek to understand that which has been revealed (see: Revelation and Starting Point). Man does not know the details of tomorrow, much less the details of the end of history.

To affirm Revelation is to affirm the sufficiency of Scripture as the only inerrant guide into all things, especially the future. Apart from the Bible there is no Eschatology. If the Scriptures do not speak, then man must be silent. But where Scripture has spoken man can study and attempt to explain the meaning of the text, remembering that it is only the text that is infallible. Man’s attempt to explain the text is infected by his own sinfulness, as is all that man produces (see: Bible). Only in Scripture is there a sure word.

The above is merely another means by which the limitations of reason are set forth. Reason must always submit to Revelation—because man’s word can never replace God’s Word. The musing and reflections of man are just that: they are of man. It is of no consequence what man speculates concerning the future, for the future is only known by Him who is Sovereign over the future (see: God is Sovereign). Therefore, in regards to the future man’s responsibility is to explicate the Revelation, and where there is nothing to explicate regarding the text, man must exercise modesty—he must be silent.  

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