Eschatolo-what? Must all things end?


Eschatology is a loaded term, and it has more than a few operative definitions. The Greek ἒσχατος (eschatos) is detailed primarily as “the farthest boundary of an area (the last place in the farthest corner),” as being the final item in a series, or holding status or being in a position that is furthest from the top of a hierarchy or an order. The Greek allows for one to take the expression toward a further extreme by using ἒσχατως (eschatōs), meaning to be at “the point of death.”

One might or might not be surprised to find that the use of the extreme form of the word is used just once in the New Testament canon, found at Mark 5:23. This might be of some importance to our understanding of how early Christians understood social and religious views of “the end.” The author of Mark writes:

He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying.

Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be

healed and live.”

I suggest this literal use of the word is important not to expose the limits of literal end-of-the-world proof-texting, but to enhance our understanding of Christian hope. When the literal term is found—the word literally related to

the final death or total and complete end of existence—it is used in the context of resurrection! For Christians, even in the earliest gospel texts, there is no acknowledgment of finality, but the hope of resurrection related to Jesus’

ministry makes such finality absurd despite the obvious fact that everything does have an end.

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