Thanatology and Eschatology

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Gnu at Wildebeest's Wardrobe has a nice post stemming from the sermon preached to our congregation last Sunday. For background, the sermon was on a philosophy of death (thanatology) in the Bible, stemming primarily from Ecclesiastes 12 and Psalm 90. He also looked briefly at the first part of Proverbs 31 on the issue of providing comfort and amelioration of suffering, which I found very helpful in the light of the background of Psalm 90 and Ecclesiastes 12. The overall conclusion of the sermon was that death is normal but not normal, normal in the sense of the normal working of things because of the fall, the reflection of the deserved judgment of God and a sign of the judgment to come, yet unnatural in the sense of not being in the original creation and not being in the ultimate ideal state that will come. The sermon also covered the relevance of these things to the morality of euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions.

Gnu has some followup thoughts about thanatology and eschatology in light of the sermon's conclusions. In particular, he has an ongoing project of unifying amillenial and postmillenial views of eschatology by taking the sanest versions of each and retaining what's central and then realizing that the two resulting views are perfectly consistent and both very clearly biblical. The same core remains once you remove the more radical elements of postmillenialism and some of the unhealthy emphases of some amillenialists. I think he's right, though I will never call myself a postmillenialist simply because most postmillenialists add a bunch of other things to this unified picture in a way that most amillenialists don't. That's why I describe myself as an amillenialist. I wanted to flag this because of his connection between thanatology and eschatology, which I think is worth reading. It's suggestive of a lot and doesn't work those all out, but if you're interested at all in these issues there's much food for thought if you want to try to digest the compressed reasoning in Gnu's post.

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