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Telos or Eschaton?

Any attempt by our consciousness to grasp the telos as a fixed or complete object fails, for the goal of meaning is forever escaping us, immer wieder. The telos is always beyond us (God Who May Be, 85)

Christianity is interminably after its own telos. Otherwise said, we seek to richard-kearney1know what is true and good. We desire to know how to live and pursue God in all we do. Yet even if the Christian rightly insists God’s truth is absolute, it is questionable how adequate the Christian can represent God. Truth is not so neatly packaged after all. One’s theology is always contingent upon one’s socio-historical location. This has been the emphasis of liberation theology for so long now. Richard Kearney’s point in differentiating telos from eschaton is that telos presupposes we’ve got it right; that we’re on the right path headed for the right destination. Eschaton, on the other hand, disturbs our ideologies and suprises us like a thief in the night. The best we can do is wait passively and patiently for God to break into our world and reveal himself on his own terms. To do so is to renounce our own mastery and control on the issue.

What characterizes the exhatological notion of persona, by contrast, is that it vouchsafes the irreducible finality of the other as eschaton. I stress, as eschaton not as telos (i.e., a fulfillable, predictable, foreseeable goal) (12)