Reflections on the End of Time

“In the revealed prophecy of the end of history a catastrophic end within history is foretold. Whoever believingly accepts this [apocalyptic] prophecy, that is to say, whoever takes it to be revelation, has no possibility of ignoring the fact that the end of Time [Apoc. 10:5], within history, will be a downfall, a catastrophe. Nonetheless, his attitude to history, his attitude to the future, may not be one of despair—and this for reasons arising out of that very same faith. The hope of him who thus believes, of him who [also] believes in the [extra-temporal] “transposition” as deliverance [as salvation], is by no means a hope directed purely upon the “beyond.” It is, rather, a hope that renders the believer able and willing to act here and now within history, indeed even to see a possibility of meaningful action within history. Admittedly, this attitude [to history], as really lived, can flourish only on the soil of that believing understanding of the end of Time—an end [a cessation] which, though catastrophic, does not [necessarily] mean disaster [a final futility, or missed goal]. This is one of the reasons why today, at a time of temptations to despair [and presumption?], it may appear necessary to bring into view a notion of the End [a twofold Finis, both as “cessation” and as “goal”] in which an utterly realistic freedom from illusion not only does not contradict hope but in which the one serves to confirm and corroborate the other.” (Josef Pieper, The End of Time, pp. 78-79)

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