The twentieth century has been called the "century of eschatology" because this doctrine expanded to include
many elements of theology that had previously been neglected as germane to "the end times." As a result of
movements which began in the nineteenth century, all of contemporary theology has been "eschatologized" to
the point where eschatology has become the instrumental hermeneutic through which all other theological
motifs are interpreted. In particular, there has been a resurgence of philosophical, theological, and scientific
inquiry into the concept of time and its ontological status in determining the nature of reality. This resurgence
has led to significant implications for the definition of God's eternity.
In this dissertation I examine the relationship between time and eternity in twentieth century Reformed
eschatology by analyzing the work of three Reformed theologians who benefit from and inform their
respective generations' understanding of eschatology. In the work of H. R. Mackintosh, Emil Brunner, and
Jurgen Moltmann, one finds a redefmition of time as it relates to God's eternity. Each theologian strategically
deals with the dominant legacies of Idealism and Materialism from the nineteenth century in defending the
centrality of eschatological hope for Christian faith.
Through their work, one understands why a contemporary eschatological interpretation of time departs from
the traditional Boethian view of eternity as sheer timelessness in favor of a more comprehensive view of
eternity as part of God's own being which God shares with creation. Thus, the theology of time has become a
hotly-debated topic within eschatological discussions, focusing on the nature of God's eternity and the human
experience of time.
The debate over time and eternity also has repercussions for christology as all of Jesus' life is re-interpreted as
an eschatological event which reveals God's will for the world. The Christ event is an act of eschatological
revelation, and therefore doctrines which deal with the person and work of Christ are re-examined through the
lens of the time-eternity relation. We see that twentieth century eschatology reshaped the understanding of
time and eternity in that eternity is now understood to be a description of God's being which incorporates time.
Eternity is descriptive of the quality of God's life rather than God's timelessness. For human beings, temporal
life is marked by transience, change, and death, while eternal life characterizes living in the fullness of God's
presence. As a result of faith, eternal life has begun now for human beings in a provisional way . We have
also seen how the resurrection of Jesus was an eschatological event that ushered in the new eschatological eon
for creation. The process of creation's transition from temporality to eternity began at the resurrection and will
be completed at the consummation. Thus, Reformed eschatology now unites all of created reality, including
space and time, to the person and work of Christ as he brings in the eschatological kingdom of God.