Jesus Not Coming Anytime Soon

Peter Leithart writes:

…[I]t would seem odd if the Lord gave Adam a commission to rule and subdue the earth, sent His Son to die and rise again as the Last Adam to restore humanity to that task, and then ended the whole process after a couple thousand years, just when we were beginning to make a few meager advances in achieving dominion over creation. Humanity – I say it with reverence – would feel more than a little cheated, like a teenager never given a chance to grow up.

Most editions of the Book of Common Prayer has a table for calculating the dates for feast days, and the table can be used up to about the year 6000 AD. I’m with those guys.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Quotations, The Blogosphere, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jesus Not Coming Anytime Soon

  1. Byron says:

    the table can be used up to about the year 6000 AD.

    That always cracked me up – I was never quite sure whether to label it Anglican pessimism or optimism.

    However, regarding the larger point, I wonder whether this quote from Yoder mightn’t be relevant:

    “The relationship between the obedience of God’s people and the triumph of God’s cause is not a relationship of cause and effect but one of cross and resurrection.”

    – John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 238.

    I am not sure that we will gain a resurrection body by exercising hard enough – or for long enough. Are our ‘few meagre advances in achieving dominion over creation’ matched by advances in gaining control over our wayward desires?

  2. Al says:


    I’m convinced that Leithart does not believe that we will gain a resurrection body by exercising hard enough, or for long enough. However, Leithart’s position, I believe, is closer to the claim that God progressively matures His people. There are distinct phases of maturation, each of which is separated from the next by a sort of death and resurrection.

    We cannot bring about these death and resurrection transitions, but there comes a time when we are ready to undergo them. We become ‘ripe’, as it were, for the next transition, having matured in the stage that we now find ourselves in. Leithart’s argument is that we are not yet ‘ripe’ for the general resurrection and that Christ’s return would seem to be some way off yet.

    A good discussion of this can be found in James Jordan’s essay in The Federal Vision, where he distinguishes between continuance and maturation in a particular state or covenant order and the free gift of the transition to a new one.

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