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Politics and the ‘Eschatological Proviso’

If we were only to take account of God’s proviso, without also considering the specific content of belief in God, above all Christian belief in God, oriented on Jesus of Nazareth, the eschatological proviso could have a very reactionary function, to man’s detriment. For God’s proviso lies over all our human history and over everything that man brings to fruition in it. All political options are made relative by it. But that also means that if this real aspect of the revelation of God is taken in isolation, without considering what has come about for us in Jesus, this eschatological proviso can relativize any secular activity in such a way that both a conservative policy and a socialist policy demanding more justice for all can be neutralized in the same way. In that case Christian faith would not only desacralize politics and rob it of the threat that it might become absolute – which is the special justification and significance of the eschatological proviso or the freedom of God’s divinity – but of itself it would not be able to give any inspiration, still less any orientation (pointing in one particular direction) in the choice of a social and economic policy to further growing humanity and a realizable state of human well-being…a merely formal use of the eschatological proviso would simply throttle the humanitarian impulse which is present in liberation movements.

Edward Schillebeeckx, Christ: The Experience of Jesus as Lord, 777-778

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