Today’s topic is eschatology, and specifically what on earth the word means.
Theology is a funny old thing with a lot of big words that seem designed to make understand God an impossible task for the average human being. So while I am putting off writing anything remotely related to my book, I thought I would start a new category a glossary of words.
Eschatology is that part of theology concerned with death, judgement, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Or, in more common language “end times”. (Here’s how you pronounce eschatology).
The end of the world as we know it.
Scripture talks about aeons (or ages): The present age, the age to come, and so forth. Scripture also talks about aiṓnios which while basically being part of the same word family as aeon gets rendered as eternal quite a lot.
As a result, eschatology can also be a study of the end of things as we know them right now. This is particularly true when dealing with “the end of the age”.
Along with eschatology comes words like apocalypticism. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic, for example.
If we talk about eschatology we may be about to discuss matters such as:
- The end of the world
- The Second Coming of Jesus
- Heaven and Hell
- The Rapture
- The Tribulation
- Death and the afterlife
- The resurrection of the dead
- The Last Judgment
- The New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come
How I plan to use the word “eschatology”.
Not that eschatology is not a fine word that says a great deal but I just do not feel familiar enough with the word to use it convincingly. Besides, the word means so much that I feel it might be better using more precise language.
If I do us use the word, however, at least you will know what it means.