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Resurrection as Utopia

This seemed like a nice follow-up to the Sobrino passage:

 But the fact that it is precisely here [in the resurrection] that the point of unity of all promises is to be found is of importance not only within the biblical conception, but unconditionally of importance for anthropology, for our total understanding of man. For what we are concerned with here is the promise of a way out of that dilemma which runs through all human nature, namely, the dilemma which is posed by the contradiction of death, with a promise which shows such a way out to be not only possible but finally also to be real. And the contradiction lies in this, that life promises the individual more than it can keep, that hope for one’s children and one’s children’s children is not an adequate substitute for personal fulfillment, particularly in view of the fact that one’s children and children’s children will themselves in their turn have to live in this hope. Admittedly, the ‘resurrection of the dead,’ or, to put it more soberly, the gathering up of man’s total existence, body and soul, in its temporal and transitory form into eternal love, remains an ‘idea surpassing reason,’ which can no more be constructed out of a general view of humanity than it can be out of the images of the Old Testament. But with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, this ‘idea’ becomes real, it is made present…as a reality which from now on can become the real, utopian goal of man’s life and of the world’s history. ‘Ascension’ and the promised ‘coming again’ are precisely the necessary transporting of the fact of this breakthrough – which cannot be given a lasting place within history, which must remain u-topian – to its only possible place, to the eschaton or the omega point.

Without the resurrection, two forms of perfection are pursued which narrow Christianity’s universal hope:

The individual can of his own efforts ‘perfect’ himself only by withdrawing into a spiritual realm, by resigning himself to a certain distancing of himself from the concrete and material form of his life. And history can ‘perfect’ itself of it own efforts only by (at best) striving toward a final generation which will live in a humanized world, and by sacrificing the whole concrete, material course of history of the generations which lead up to this final stage, by sacrificing them and putting them behind itself.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Elucidations, 293-295

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