Waiting for God: An examination and critique of prolepsis in the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg
LE3 .A278 2016
Master of Arts
Acadia Divinity College
German Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg played a vital role in the development of protestant theology during the latter part of the 20th century, but he has also moved rather assiduously against its grain. There are three pervasive themes which Pannenberg concerns himself with in his work: Eschatology, Trinity, and truth. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that the underlying implications of these three particular principles lead Pannenberg to the fundamental concept of a proleptic reality. Prolepsis is the anticipation of God’s future kingdom, rooted firmly in the historical reality of the resurrection as an interjected event which unveils the final eschaton. In chapter one, I begin by establishing the educational influences which led to the development of Pannenberg’s doctrine of universal history. Chapter two examines the anthropologically based methodology that forms Pannenberg’s distinctly trinitarian Christology. In chapter three, I discuss the future ontology which arises from this reasoning and culminates in the understanding of prolepsis as the way in which to reconcile God’s eternity with human finitude. In the final chapter I invoke some of Pannenberg’s critics, and argue that at its core, Pannenberg’s systematic program stands in notable contrast to the majority of his theological peers by addressing the need for universal human reason in theology. I suggest that while there is still much to be resolved, Pannenberg’s future ontology provides a suitable platform for addressing the paradox of Christ’s humanity and Godliness, as well as providing an ethically enriched theology of hope that supports eschatology as its key principle.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.