Title page for ETD etd-10132003-170757

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Bentley, Wessel
Email pelagius@mweb.co.za
URN etd-10132003-170757
Document Title The Kingdom of God in Moltmann’s eschatology : a South African perspective
Degree MA (Theology)
Department Dogmatics and Christian Ethics
Advisor Name Title
Prof C J Wethmar Committee Chair
  • sabbath
  • geschichte
  • eschatology
  • death
  • Shekinah
  • Moltmann
  • consummation
  • life
  • Kingdom
Date 2003-10-10
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation focuses on the notion of the Kingdom of God in Jürgen Moltmann’s eschatology. The notion of the Kingdom of God is understood in many different ways, most of which bears very little relevance to secular life. The problem is therefore created of people either denying the existence of such a Kingdom (because of its deemed irrelevance) or emphasising the Kingdom to such an extent that the problems confronting life are ignored. It is the hypothesis that Moltmann puts forward an understanding of the Kingdom of God that is relevant to our daily existence.

The notion of the Kingdom of God serves as an underlying theme in most, if not all of Moltmann’s works. Having suffered tremendously himself, Moltmann seeks to understand the Kingdom of God as not being purely metaphysical, but a way of living that can enhance our experience of the entire cycle of life.

This is a literature study, using Moltmann’s book “The Coming of God: Christian eschatology” as the main source. Each chapter in this dissertation focuses on one section of this theological work, evaluates the progression of theological argument considering Moltmann’s other works and then seeks an existential understanding of the point using the South African context. Moltmann’s argument starts with Personal eschatology and proceeds to Historical eschatology, Cosmic eschatology and lastly, Divine eschatology. One therefore finds a natural growth in his argument, seeking the relationship between the immanence and transcendence of God.

In order to confirm the hypothesis, this dissertation considers the various understandings of the concept of the Kingdom of God in light of the human views on life, death, history and creation.

An exclusively transcendent God is proven to be unable to establish a reign in any of these human experiences, rendering the notion of the Kingdom of God irrelevant. A purely immanent God, on the other hand, also creates an irrelevant Kingdom, being proven to be limited by the confines of human thought and experience.

The search in this dissertation is for an understanding of God and of God’s Kingdom that will neither deny the divinity of God nor will see the context of life as too finite to be included in the Kingdom of God.

It is the argument that Moltmann’s notion of the Kingdom of God provides exactly that. This view is especially relevant to the South African context, as a growing secularised community progressively questions the relevance of the notion of the Kingdom of God. It is especially questioned as the H.I.V./A.I.D.S. pandemic is causing widespread suffering and death in this country.

Moltmann’s eschatology is specifically used as the main doctrine in this argument as he views all theology to be based on the eschatological journey of God and creation. The questions that people ask, namely “Where is life going?” and “What do we have to hope for?” are in essence eschatological questions.

It is my belief that this work will provide a theological understanding of the Kingdom of God that is relevant and accessible to especially the South African context.

Copyright 2003, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bentley, W 2003, The Kingdom of God in Moltmann’s eschatology : a South African perspective , MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10132003-170757 / >

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