Eschatology & Ethics

In your opinion, what is the relationship between eschatology & ethics? How does one affect the other or how do they both affect each other? Or, is there no relationship at all? What do you think?


  1. First time commenting, but I thought I'd let you know I've posted a brief response to this question on my blog.

  2. I actually have a draft on my blog saved about "Redemptive ethics" that would in part address this question. But I am not ready to fully write it out, so to answer my question here:

    I believe eschatology is the foundation for ethics. Eschatology, in a sense, is about where God is leading the world, and His people more particularly. We in turn live our life in consideration of not how the world is, but what it is becoming by God's work. For instance, we die for the faith because there is a resurrection that will allow us to live again.

    We also live as God wants people to live when He fully redeems His creation. God wants those fit to live in the new world, so our lifestyles must be that which can live in this new world without causing mass havoc (imagine releasing a murder into a place that is otherwise perfect).

    Finally, because God has seen fit to use His people in His purpose, our lifestyles also do that which will to "aid" in redemption, to guide people through our actions to making people also being fit to live in the world God is creating. So, I do kind things in part to others (do unto others...) not merely because I am told to, but to also guide others to do kind things not just to me but for others.

    Also, because God's aims are not short term aims, our ethics can not aim to produce results in the short term but the long term.

    So I would say eschatology, so far as it is about the direction God is taking this world, and ethics are intricately linked. Basically, the eschatology by God through Jesus forms the basis for our ethics.

  3. Ooops, I mean to write "so to answer your question:" Darn inability to delete and repost if I do not post with my blogger identity.

  4. dan,
    I commented at your blog w/a reply.

    your thoughts, to some degree, comport with my own. however, at the present time, i find myself less and less and less eschatologically oriented. i think scholars have made way too much out of it. like mk. 13, for instance, which i wouldn't call eschatological at all, or really even apocalyptic in the strict sense. perhaps i'm wrong.

    but what i do think about it, again, aligns with much of what you say here. thanks for replying. blessings bro.

  5. While I do think Mark 13 is apocalyptic/eschotalogical, I do think that many scholars do over emphasize eschatological aspects, as if it is a special category to its own. I would say much of the Bible has an escatological background, but I think it is a mistake to place it in the foreground all the time.

    Likewise, eschatology is the foundation for a our ethics, but it often sticks into the background, until explicitly need to answer questions as to what is the proper ethic.

  6. I think that eschatology is one of perhaps three Christological parameters that define Pauline ethics - the other two being 'cruciformity' and 'resurrection': Christians have died with Christ, risen with Christ, and remain hidden with Christ until he is revealed at the eschaton. These three aspects of union with Christ define the way Christians should live in the world.

  7. Owen,
    I see where you're coming from but I'm not sure I'm convinced. You do, however, make some good points.

    What I said above in my reply to Owen must be reiterated here. Your breakdown of Pauline ethics is interesting and I like the way you emphasize remaining hidden in Christ. A little more on that might be interesting to hear.

  8. I think we need to up the grade on ethical living in light of the eschaton - there'll probably be more than enough tears of regret shed to fill an ocean at the judgment/evaluation time....

  9. Brian,
    When you say "up the grade" what do you mean? It sounds like you want to use fear to evangelize or something. That's your perogative and all but I see things a bit differently. Perhaps that's not at all what you're saying. In either case, I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. Blessings bro.