• apocalyptic;
  • biblical future expectations;
  • biblical interpretation;
  • empiricism;
  • entropy;
  • eschatology;
  • historical-critical method;
  • resurrection for judgment;
  • resurrection of Christ;
  • Robert J. Russell

Abstract Traditional eschatology clashes with the theory of entropy. Trying to bridge the gap, Robert John Russell assumes that theology and science are based on contradictory, yet equally valid, metaphysical assumptions, each one capable of questioning and impacting the other. The author doubts that Russell's proposal will convince empirically oriented scientists and attempts to provide a viable alternative. Historical-critical analysis suggests that biblical future expectations were redemptive responses to changing human needs. Apocalyptic visions were occasioned by heavy suffering in postexilic times. Interpreted in realistic terms, they have since proved to be untenable. The expectation (rather than the vision) of a new creation without evil, suffering, and death is not constitutive for the substantive content of the biblical message as such. Biblical future expectations must be reconceptualized in terms of best contemporary insight and in line with a dynamic reading of the biblical witness as God's vision of comprehensive optimal well-being that operates like a shifting horizon and opens up ever new vistas, challenges, and opportunities.