ESCHATOLOGY, ECOLOGY, ECONOMICS IN MEMORY OF ENZO TIEZZI
Free (open access)
Volume 6 (2011), Issue 4
254 - 257
HERMAN E. DALY
SAMPLE TEXT The subject of my essay in honor of our kind friend and colleague, EnzoTiezzi, requires a bit of explanation – not the parts about ecology and economics, which were areas of our common interest and work. But to consider them in the context of eschatology may seem odd. First, Enzo and I never discussed eschatology or theology at all, so I should make it clear that I am not attributing any particular beliefs to him. But he was an honest and thoughtful man, and I regret that I never took the initiative to ask his views on such ultimate questions. The death of a good friend, born in the same year as one’s self, focuses the mind on the doctrine of ‘last things’. So these are my refl ections stimulated by remembrance of Enzo – thoughts I wish I could discuss with him, and argue about, over a bottle of Chianti from his own vineyard in his beloved Sienna. Maybe other friends of Enzo actually had such a conversation with him and will share it. Eschatology is not the most popular field of theology. It deals with last things, the end of time and creation – not something of which we have any experience, so it is more an expression of hope than knowledge. Many Christian theologians believe that our hope, both individual and collective, ultimately lies in the New Creation (Rom 8), which will be God’s act at the end of the present creation (Jurgen Moltmann, Richard Bauckham, N.T. Wright, John Polkinghorne). One thing that science and Christianity agree on is that the present creation will ultimately die. The model for thinking about forever (whether personally or cosmically) is death and resurrection – New Creation, not perpetuity for the present creation, which would be both a scientific and a Christian heresy. Perhaps the cosmology of a ‘big crunch’ followed by another big bang is to some extent an analogous secular eschatology. But New Creation in Christian theology will be a miracle, as was the first act of creation, or as the first fruit of the New Creation witnessed in the Resurrection. This doctrine is not emphasized from mainline pulpits today, perhaps from legitimate fear of identification with apocalyptic sects, left-behind rapture theology, end-of-the-world fanaticism, and the frightening prospect of final judgment. Nevertheless, we liturgically recite the mystery of the faith, ‘Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again’. Some fundamentalists put great emphasis on ‘coming again’, but the mainline Protestants have little to say about it.