Many people seem to think that eschatology and science have little or nothing in common, and that each speaks to a different realm of human reality. According to John Polkinghorne and Michael Welker, in the introduction to The End of the World and the Ends of God, the following three clichés about science and theology have contributed to this:
Theology deals with realities unseen, science deals with visible reality;
Theology deals with feelings, science deals with facts;
Theology deals--at best--with personal certainty, science deals with objective truths
This book is a convincing argument that the traditional view of the relationship between science and theology (and eschatology) is wrong. In fact, it argues that eschatology is one of the most suitable intersections between science and theology because 'it will help clarify and cultivate the difference between truth claims in both fields.' It also 'enables us to formulate eschatological truth claims in the face of the finitude of the world.' In addition, a dialogue between science and theology about eschatology 'challenges us to work on the clear differentiation between the sustenance of the world and the new creation: to differentiate between infinity and eternity, between the mere totality of times and the eschatological fullness, and between different types of hope related to one or the other.'
This compilation features essays by heavyweights in theology, science and eschatology, including John Polkinghorne, Michael Welker, William R. Stoeger, Hans Weder, Walter Brueggemann, Jürgen Moltmann, and others . Part one looks at eschatology in the natural sciences, focusing on the inevitable (according to science) natural catastrophes and the hope that Christianity offers against them. In part two, the focus is on eschatology in the cultural sciences and ethics, with a particular emphasis on the shaping of eschatological thought. The third part looks at eschatology in the biblical traditions, and themes of the end-time. Part four examines eschatology in theology and spirituality, focusing on hope and eternal life.
This is not light reading, by any standard. It is truly thought provoking and insightful. Grasping its message of hope will take some effort, but the result will be amazing, causing you to continue to give an answer for the hope you have.