The Annihilation of Hell

The Annihilation of Hell


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For Jürgen Moltmann, Hell is the nemesis of Hope. The ""Annihilation of Hell"" thus refers both to Hell's annihilative power in history and to the overcoming of that power as envisioned by Moltmann's distinctive theology of the cross in which God becomes ""all in all"" through Christ's descent into Godforsakenness. The negation of Hell and the fulfillment of history are inseparable. Attentive to the overall contours and dynamics of Moltmann's thinking--especially his zimzum doctrine of creation, his eschatologically oriented philosophy of time, and his expanded understanding of the nature-grace relationship--this study asks whether the universal salvation that he proposes can honor human freedom, promise vindication for those who suffer, and do justice to biblical revelation. As well as providing an in-depth exposition of Moltmann's ideas, The Annihilation of Hell also explores how a ""covenantal universalism"" might revitalize our web of beliefs in a way that is attuned to the authorizing of Scripture and the spirituality of existence. If divine and human freedom are to be reconciled, as Moltmann believes, the confrontation between Hell and hope will entail rethinking issues that are not only at the center of theology but at the heart of life itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625643575
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Pages: 484
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Ansell is Assistant Professor of Theology, Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto

Table of Contents

Foreword Jürgen Moltmann xiii

Preface and Acknowledgements xv

Abbreviations xvii

Introduction Inferno e Speranza 1

0.1 Hope and Hell 1

0.2 Eschatology 2

0.3 Hell's Annihilation 4

0.4 Synopsis 5

0.5 Contexts and Traditions 7

0.6 Contradictory/Harmony Monism 8

0.7 Dialogue 12

0.8 Some Points of Style 14

0.9 Hell and Hope 15

Chapter 1 To Hell and Back 17

1.1 Until Justice and Mercy Embrace? 17

1.2 The Annihilation of Hell/The Hell of Annihilation 21

1.3 The Hell of Freedom 26

1.4 The Passing of Hell in The Coming of God 34

1.4.1 The Theology of the Cross 35

1.4.2 Freedom 40

1.4.3 Justice 43

1.4.4 God 45

1.4.5 Scripture 45

1.5 Universalism and Its Critics 48

1.6 St Peter's Apocalypse Revisited 50

Chapter 2 The Reversal of Time in the Future of God 54

2.1 The Two Angels of Time 55

2.2 Augustine as a Point of Departure 59

2.3 Reversals: Ontic and Epistemological 65

2.4 Futurum and Adventus 73

2.5 Temporal Diversity and Unity 84

2.6 Time and Eternity; Nature and Grace 96

Chapter 3 The Redemption of Time in the Presence of God 100

3.1 The Redemption of Time: Fulfilment and Negation 100

3.2 Transience 104

3.3 The Past 110

3.4 Death 120

3.5 Redeemed Time 128

3.5.1 Cyclical Time 130

3.5.2 Presence and the Present (Moment) 133

3.5.3 Eucharist, Sabbath, and the Moment 137

3.6 The Final Coincidence of Opposites 140

Chapter 4 The Triumph of Glory 145

4.1 (Re-)Placing Hell 146

4.2 Nature, Grace, and Glory 153

4.3 Possible Objections, Possible Answers 172

4.3.1 Universalism of the Cross 180

4.3.2 God's Nature; God's Will 190

4.3.3 The Nature/Promise of Freedom 194

4.4 A Preliminary Response 206

Chapter 5 Between Creation and Eschaton: The Foundational and Transcendental Directions of Time 210

5.1 Futurity in Bloch, Heidegger, and Beyond 213

5.2 Foundational and Transcendental Time in the Philosophy of Hendrik Hart 228

5.2.1 Modes of Being/Time 231

5.2.2 Founding, Qualifying, Guiding: Past, Present, Future 236

5.2.3 Expression and Reference: Immanence and Transcendence 238

5.2.4 Creation and Eschaton 241

5.2.5 Differentiation and Integration 242

5.3 Comparison with Moltmann 244

5.4 Panentheism? 256

Chapter 6 The Nature of Grace 262

6.1 Creational Grace 263

6.1.1 Heaven and Earth: The Covenantal Dynamics of Existence 268

6.2 The Barth-Brurmer Debate 272

6.3 Creational Grace in Moltmann? 282

6.4 Eschatological Grace 293

6.5 God in History? 301

6.6 The Gift of Transience 311

Chapter 7 Doing Justice (According) to Scripture 315

7.1 A Biblical Foundation? 316

7.2 Doing Justice to the Final Judgment 340

7.3 Justice and Mercy: Face to Face 353

Conclusion Grace and Spes 360

8.1 A Biblical Universalism? 360

8.2 Final Justice, Final Judgment 362

8.3 From Autonomy to Freedom 368

8.4 Spes (within the Economy of Grace) 384

Appendix Birthpangs of the New Creation 391

9.1 Babylon 395

9.2 Birthing 402

9.3 Judgment and Vindication 411

9.4 Fire and Brimstone 414

9.5 Judgment unto Salvation 416

Summary 424

Bibliography 429

Author Index 465

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Far-reaching and profound."

Jurgen Moltmann, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, University of Tubingen

"This is the book for any student of theology eager for an in-depth exposition of the general contours and underlying structure of Moltmann's theology. With philosophical originality and scriptural sensitivity, Ansell lays bare the structure of Moltmann's highly complex thought as a 'coincidence of opposites' in which the historical and eschatological directions of time are in simultaneous opposition even as they are in underlying harmony. Ansell deftly demonstrates how this configuration enables Moltmann coherently to relate the human and divine, nature and grace, time and eternity, creation and God, freedom and universal salvation. A stunning achievement!"

James H. Olthuis, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology, Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto

"Few subjects impinge more directly on the heart of Christian faith in the God and Father of Jesus Christ than those bound up with issues of eschatological destiny. What we believe about the future of the world and our fellow humans in God's hands cannot but be closely entwined with our fundamental convictions about God's character. Recent years have seen a resurgence of serious theological work in this area, and a wide range of theological proposals. Here, Nik Ansell provides a penetrating and authoritative study of Jurgen Moltmann's contribution to the conversation, and suggests how this might be appropriated and built upon to develop an eschatology that is scripturally earthed, intellectually compelling, and theologically responsible."

Trevor Hart, Professor of Divinity, University of St Andrews

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