Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Second Advisor

Fernando L. Canale

Third Advisor

Peter van Bemmelen

Abstract

Twentieth-century re-interpreted eschatology introduces a paradigm for Christian ethics that engenders significant divergence among Christian ethicists in the way its application influences moral theory. These divergences indicate the need to clarify the issues revolving around its methodological application in order to bring credible structure for applying the eschatological paradigm in Christian ethics.

A set of analytical distinctions and procedural suggestions in this study provide an extensive framework for comparatively observing where ethicists begin, move, and end in terms of using eschatology as paradigm in their moral theory: (1) role and function of paradigms, (2) levels of paradigm operation (macro, meso, micro), (3) levels in ethical structure (philosophical/theological bases, principles, area rules), (4) three principles of verification (role of Scripture, community, and the nature of social involvement), and (5) three conceptually interwoven and complementary components of the paradigm (already/not yet, reign of God, horizon of future). A correspondence is proposed between the levels of paradigm operation and the ingredients in ethical structure. A complex interplay is indicated between the paradigm's components and the principles of verification which highlight the methodological nuances the paradigm elicits.

Mott and Ogletree were selected because they represent the latter phase of twentieth-century re-interpreted eschatology and its application toward moral theory.

Their projects elucidate the complex nature and subtle interplay between the various ingredients involved inusing eschatology as paradigm and the ever-present presuppositions of those seeking to apply it--illustrating what happens if you take the eschatological paradigm and apply it this way or that way. Their diversity suggests that the question of the use of eschatology in Christian moral theory remains open. Their respective orientation to Scripture shows considerable contrasts with respect to consistency, specificity, and relevancy of eschatological paradigm application. Their projects suggest that the question of the role of Scripture alone gives promise of bringing stability to the use of the eschatological paradigm in Christian ethics. The paradigm functions best when expressing biblical ethics rather than moral philosophy.

Perspectives for using eschatology as paradigm are proposed along with its relation to other paradigms in Christian moral theory and directions for further study.

Subject Area

Christian ethics, Eschatology --History of doctrines --20th century, Ogletree, Thomas W., Mott, Stephen Charles

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