Eschatology: the end or goal of time/reality/life…not emphasizing “judgment day” as punishment and revenge of God upon evil, but as the purpose of the Kingdom of God to redeem/renew
Apocalypse: the literature that utilizes certain imagery to tell an eschatological narrative; the “upheaval” or “great evil” being experienced is the imagery employed to provide a narrative of the directing of ends to redemption; it is rehabilitative; renewing; transforming.
More eschatology in the Apocalypse of John:
A “New Heaven and a New Earth”. And why do we need a “New Heaven”? This seems to be a hint of the interdependence of reality and “ultimate things”…it’s not a “transcendent God” but an immanent one, whose presence is not “ethereal” but intergrated; panENtheistic rather than pantheistic; although there is a place for Pantheism in the considerations like Micheal Dowd’s “God is reality” …….to posit a God who is inseparable from the cosmos , and is “separated” only by the need for a narrative of “creator” or “Insitigator”.
So the apocalyptic writers (or the writers who employed this vehicle of narrative), took imagery from history and politics of their time, and shaped that into a tale of God directing it to an end (or better, goal or telos). The Kingdom of God is thus an echatological concept and reality at work that embodies in human history a movement toward that end, to which Christian eschatology aspires and attempts to narrate.
The Climate Crisis supplies an uber-crisis of existence, with far wider consequences than a particular people in a particular place. It was foreshadowed (in an archetypal fashion) by the use of natural phenomenon in the apocalyptic narrative, as if the writers assumed the ultimate value of nature, and that upheaval there was tantamount to upheaval in the heavens; an upheaval of existence itself.expulsion
The fact that we have reached a place in history these past 300 years where we have actually “reached into the heavens” (by building a colossal system of technology and extraction and expulsion that reaches into the workings of the ecosystem by an outpouring of literally record and previously unimaginable amounts of previously “neutral” elements –“neutral” in that they represent a working part of the functioning ecosystem; their “neutrality” begins to change into “degradation” as the balance of those elements in the ecosphere reaches dysfunctional levels). By “reaching into the heavens” , we’ve created a literal/physical apocalypse for the ecosystem. It is unprecedented in human history (having been built and expanded over just the last 300 years since the beginnings of Industrialization).
It is certainly understandable how there is widespread denial and outright hostility to this idea. This is the only world we have ever known, or will know (at least as this particular instance of humanity at this particular time- the latter is perhaps a form my own denial of an impending end). In our hubris as a species, one which has become accustomed to seeing ourselvesd as “in control” and “masters of the universe” by apparent conquest, we hav fashioned for ourselves a notion of the “inevitability of progress”, which has become a part of even the most liberal of ideological dreams.
How do we address this as a Christian people? As a “People of the World” , or “citizens of the cosmos”? This , for me, is a crucial question for theology to be asking as we move forward.