_Catholicism_ (VII): Doctrines of Evasion & the Role of Time

I am picking up de Lubac’s Catholicism again, attempting to summarize and comment on it. In this section of the book (the first couple of sections of Chapter V, “Christianity and History”), he  shows how the essence of the Faith is inescapably intertwined not just with the corporate solidarity of humanity (see previous posts) but also with history and time.

Every time, de Lubac writes, a religion emerges which rises above the level of nationality and transcends the senses, what we find is that it is an “individualist doctrine of escape.” (137) This is true for Antique Greek systems (de Lubac provides relevent quotations to this effect from Plotinus and his disciple Porphory), for Hinduism, and for Buddism.

Only Christianity (but also with its relatives Judaism and Islam?), argues de Lubac, posits “a certain ontological density and fecundity” of temporal / historical development. In other words, just as time has a definite origin, so also it has a definite end, and all historical events — supremely the Incarnation — are preparation for the end of time. What is this end? It is nothing other than caelum novum, terra nova, a new heaven and a new earth to contain our new human bodies in which change (and its necessary condition, time) will be no more.

For the other posts in this series see:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI.

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