Continuing musings on eschatology, this is my artistic 😉 reproduction with slight edits of a diagram on the structure of hope from a chapter by James K A Smith ‘Determined Hope: A Phenomenology of Christian Expectation’ in Volf and Katerberg’s The Future of Hope: Christian Tradition amid Modernity and Postmodernity. Eerdmanns, 2004.
This structure could apply to hope for sunny day in Ireland tomorrow (doubtful), to Rory McIlroy’s winning of the US Masters in April (possible – here’s hoping), to Marx’s hope for a utopian society, to Daniel Dennett’s hope for a rational world free of religion, to Christian hope in a new creation.
Hope has a subject (the person who hopes). That person puts their hope in something (the ground of hope) – an act of faith. This hope is put into action, actively hoping for a desired future outcome.
That outcome is good – to hope is to hope that things get better. To expect things to get worse is not hope, it is fear and depression and angst.
There then comes a point when the hope is fulfilled. It reaches its ‘end’ – hence Christian eschatology.
Which raises an interesting question which I hope to come back to – What actually do Christians hope for? If you are a Christian, what are you hoping for regarding the future life beyond death? What is desirable about the new creation to come? What most excites and motivates you in the here and now?