Volume Forty-Four — Article 4 Volume 44 | Home

Justification and Eschatology in Luther's Thought
George Wolfgang Forell

Editorial Note: It is widely known that Luther regarded justification by faith as the article of the standing or falling church. Not so well known is the significance of Luther's eschatology. Originally published in Church History, this essay by Dr. Forell suggests that Luther's understanding of justification by faith developed against the background of his eschatological consciousness.

The juxtaposition of "justification" and "eschatology" in Luther's thought seems at first strikingly inappropriate. Justification is undoubtedly the central concern in Luther's theological effort. It was to Luther "the master and prince, the lord, the ruler and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our conscience before God. Without this article the world is utter death and darkness. No error is so insignificant, so clumsy, so outworn as not to be supremely pleasing to human reason and to seduce us if we are without the knowledge and the contemplation of this article."1 Earlier he had written, "This article is the head and the cornerstone, which alone begets, nourishes, builds, serves and defends the church of God. Without it the church of God cannot exist for even one hour."2 In his commentary on Galatians he could say about this same article, "Whoever falls from the doctrine of justification is ignorant of God and is an idolater.... For once this doctrine is undermined, nothing more remains but sheer error, hypocrisy, wickedness, and idolatry, regardless of how great the sanctity that appears on the outside. The reason is this: God does not want to be known except through Christ; nor, according to John 1:18, can He be known any other way."3 It is this article which in Luther's judgment makes the theologian a judge of this earth and, indeed, of all things. He added, however, that only few people had given this article sufficient attention, had thought it through and thus were able to teach it correctly.4

Luther was quite aware of the fact that it was his emphasis on doctrina and especially the centrality of justification by faith rather than questions of moral corruption which constituted the central issue of the Reformation. He saw the difference between his own efforts and those of Wycliffe and Hus quite clearly. They had attacked the moral decay in the church. Luther knew that, "Doctrine and life must be distinguished. Life is bad among us, as it is among the papists, but we don't fight about life and condemn the papists on that account. Wycliffe and Hus didn't know this and attacked [the papacy] for its life. I don't scold myself into becoming good, but I fight over the Word and whether our adversaries teach it in its purity. That doctrine should be attacked—this has never before happened. This is my calling."5 For Luther, if only the word remained pure, there was always the hope that the life would also be straightened out through the power of this word. But if the word was missing there was also no hope for a changed life.6 He said, "If the teaching (doctrina) remains pure there is hope that life could easily be improved. The rays of the sun remain pure and shine brightly even if they fall on excrement. Thus God maintains something pure among us through which we readily condemn the error committed. The Lord magnifies this word and loves it."7

In view of the centrality of this doctrine of justification by faith for Luther it is not surprising that it has been both a central object of study for all Luther scholars and the subject of considerable controversy in the history of Luther research, involving practically every scholar in this field up to the present time. This very debate has been an indication of the general awareness of the centrality of the doctrine of justification for all of Luther's thought.

Eschatology, on the other hand, has been a most neglected aspect of Luther's theology. In his description of this theology Johannes v. Walter pointed out in 1940 that in spite of the attention given to all the details of Luther's thought there was then no monograph dealing with Luther's eschatology, and even more significantly, the major efforts of interpreting Luther's theology either avoided the topic entirely (Th. Harnack and E. Seeberg) or dealt with it in a most cursory fashion and more for the sake of completeness than because of any awareness of its significance for an understanding of Luther's theology (J. Kostlin). This, as Walter pointed out, was the more astonishing since Calvin's eschatology had received a great deal of attention. He added that the meditatio futurae vitae seemed to him at least a far more central part of Calvin's theology than of Luther's. Indeed, Walter suggested the reason for the relative neglect of Luther's eschatology himself by saying, "In the end isn't this the deepest and final reason for this state of affairs, that, according to Luther's last utterance, 'Heaven and earth have become one in faith,' that, therefore, the blessedness of faith cannot be essentially surpassed even in the next world, but rather only in so far as the human boundaries to complete communion with God will be lifted?"8

Since 1940 the significance of Luther's eschatology has received more attention. The way was prepared by Paul Althaus in his seminal work, Die letzten Dinge, which focused attention on the problem of eschatology in general and took Luther's own contribution most seriously.9 Carl Stange entered the discussion of Luther's eschatology by opposing Althaus, especially in his interpretation of Luther's understanding of the immortality of the soul.10 Walter Koehler insisted in his Dogmengeschichte als Geschichte des chnsthchen Selbstbewusstseins, which appeared in 1951, five years after his death, that Luther's eschatology was the mirror of his faith and that Luther's thought was relevant to one of the most acute modern issues since he had bridged the tension between axiological and teleological eschatology. He said,

Modern Dogmatics (E. Troeltsch, P. Althaus) speaks of axiological eschatology and understands by this the experiencing of final, unconditional values here on earth. Luther experienced this in faith; faith is axiological eschatology. One could also say, conscience; out of its terror came the call. But the final values were not immanent but rather transcendent—values 'in hope.' In this way the bridge was built from axiological to teleological eschatology, which asks about the goal, purpose and end of all being.... Thus alongside of the eschatology already completed in principle he knows the drama of the end of history in the succession of scenes, untroubled by the fact that both trains of thought submit to a unification only partially, especially since biblical eschatology itself is not homogeneous.11

Since that time there have been a number of studies which have attributed to Luther's eschatology a central place in his theological vision. Wingren showed in 1942 that Luther's eschatology is the key to the ultimate hope that upholds the Christian in his vocation.12 In 1954 this writer tried to show that it is Luther's eschatology which constitutes the limiting principle of his social ethics and the source of his efforts to find a temporary and pragmatic solution to the great social problems of his time.13

In 1956 T. F. Torrance surveyed the eschatology of the Reformation in his Kingdom and Church and asserted its crucial significance. He said,

The Reformation stands for the rediscovery of the living God of the Bible, who actively intervenes in the affairs of men, the Lord and the Judge of history, and with that comes a powerful realization of the historical relevance of eschatology. The Reformation thinks of the ends of the world as having already overtaken humanity, so that even now the Church on earth lives in the last times and even now the last things are being wrought out in history. 14

Later, in 1960, David Lofgren called attention to the eschatological dimension in Luther's teaching concerning creation. He said,

The idea of creation and eschatology belong closely together in Luther: 'Thus when one says that heaven and earth are one creation or work which was made by Him who is called the one and only God, and were made out of nothing, that is an art above all art. That everything, therefore, was brought out of nothing into being and shall again be brought out of being into nothing, until everything will be made anew, more glorious and beautiful—this, I say, we know, and Holy Scripture teaches it and thus pictures it for the children in faith with the words: I believe in God the Father, Creator, etc. '15

It is because God is the creator that a new creation is possible, and it is because of this new creation that the Christian life in time is possible. Similarly Karl Gerhard Steck, investigating doctrine and church in Luther, asserted that if the eschatological dimension of Luther's understanding of doctrine is lost, the concept "doctrine" is falsified and becomes incomprehensible.16 Luther's eschatology is seen here as decisive for an understanding of his use of the notion "doctrine," which we have claimed earlier to be so very central for his thought.

Two further monographs dealing with Luther's eschatology have come to my attention. Erich Wittenborn treated Luthers Predigt vom Jungsten Tag in his Inaugural-Dissertation at Bonn in 1964.17 And in 1967 Ulrich Asendorf, who had dealt with Luther's eschatology earlier in his Der Jungste Tag, Weltende und Gegenwart,18 published a comprehensive investigation of Luther's eschatology in which he devoted his attention to our specific topic.19

While all these developments since 1940 would indicate a new appreciation for the significance of Luther's eschatology, they would not of themselves warrant the juxtaposition of justification and eschatology. This juxtaposition is justified, however, because we can claim:

1. Luther's justification by faith is an eschatological experience.

2. Luther's view of eschatology makes it the seal of his doctrine of justification.

3. Justification by faith without eschatology is a form of subjectivistic and individualistic self-hypnosis.

4. Eschatology without justification by faith is mere utopianism.

In the contemporary discussion of eschatology it is fashionable to speak of consistent eschatology (Konsequente Eschatologie), salvation-historical eschatology (heilsgeschichtliche Eschatologie), and realized eschatology (Eschatologie des hic et nunc).20 In this context it would be possible to say that Luther's understanding of justification by faith is developed against the background of what we would call realized eschatology. Justification is, indeed, the liberating act of God because man is and knows himself to be enslaved. It is this slavery to sin which brings the judgment upon him. Luther can be most colorful in his description of his own personal experience of confrontation with the final judgment here and now. He says,

I myself 'knew a man' [II Cor. 12:2] who claimed that he had often suffered these punishments, in fact over a brief period of time. Yet they were so great and so much like hell that no tongue could adequately express them, no pen could describe them, and one who had not himself experienced them could not believe them. And so great were they that, if they had been sustained or had lasted for half an hour, even for one tenth of an hour, he would have perished completely and all of his bones would have been reduced to ashes. At such a time God seems terribly angry, and with him the whole creation. At such a time there is no flight, no comfort, within or without, but all things accuse. At such a time as that the Psalmist mourns, 'I am cut off from thy sight' [Cf. Ps. 31:22], or at least he does not dare to say, '0 Lord, . . . do not chasten me in thy wrath' [Ps. 6:1]. In this moment (strange to say) the soul cannot believe that it can ever be redeemed—other than the fact that the punishment is not yet completely felt. . . . All that remains is the stark-naked desire for help and a terrible groaning, but it does not know where to turn for help. In this instance the person is stretched out with Christ so that all his bones may be counted, and every corner of the soul is filled with the greatest bitterness, dread, trembling, and sorrow in such a manner that all these last forever.21

This sense of the presence of hell in time is expressed also in Luther's commentary on the prophet Jonah where he describes the anxiety of fate and death most colorfully and asserts: "Those who stand in anxieties appear to enter into hell. For that reason, when someone finds himself in the most extreme misery, this experience is also called the deepest hell. It appears as if they were oppressed by the whole world." And here Luther speaks the language of realized eschatology when he continues in his description of hell: "Non est certus locus, nihil in scrip turis est."22 Hell is anxiety: "I consider the pains of death and of hell to be the same thing. Hell is the terror of death, that is, the sensation of death, in which the damned have a dread of death and nevertheless cannot escape. For the death which is scorned is not felt, but is like sleep."23

It is the task of theology to concentrate on the clarification of this issue and not to become sidetracked into other concerns:

For we are treating here not of the philosophical knowledge of man, which so described man that he is a living being gifted with reason, etc. For that belongs to natural science and not to theology. Thus a lawyer speaks of man as owner and lord of his goods; the doctor speaks of the healthy and sick man; but the theologian treats of man as sinner. This is the nature of man in theology, and with this theology deals, in order that man become conscious of this nature of his which is corrupted by sins. When this happens, then despair follows, which thrusts him into hell.24

This, according to Luther, is not intellectual speculation or a mere playing with ideas. It is a true feeling, a real experience, a very serious struggle of the heart.25

It was out of this concrete and torturing experience of hell that Luther was freed by the Gospel. It is against this background of rejection and condemnation as an eschatological experience that we learn to understand how for Luther justification is the anticipation of the presence of God and of eternal life in time.

This brings us to our second observation: Luther's view of eschatology makes it the seal of his doctrine of justification.

It is because God is coming towards us, because the "dear Last Day" is approaching, that we can live here and now as sinners and righteous at the same time. Certainly, "A man is truly justified by faith in the sight of God, even if he finds only disgrace before man and in his own self."26 Luther rejects clearly what he considers the Erasmian error that "Faith alone begins the forgiveness of sins, but works obtain salvation or merit and the kingdom of heaven or eternal life. He [Erasmus] says that faith in this life removes sins and gives remission of sins; afterward he ascribes salvation to works. This is most excellent and plausible and this argument pleases reason. For reason rushes in blindly and thinks thus: Eternal salvation is something else than Christian righteousness."27 For Luther, Christian righteousness is, indeed, salvation, and thus we have salvation now because we are the recipients of this alien righteousness. But Luther also knows that it is because history moves towards a goal which is controlled by God that we are enabled to live in this tension he so colorfully describes as simul justus et peccator:
    At this point we say that original sin, although forgiveness has been imputed and thus sin is removed so that it is not imputed, nevertheless, is not substantially or essentially destroyed except in the conflagration of fire by which the whole world and our bodies will be completely purified on the last day. When we have been reduced to dust, then at last sins will be entirely extinguished. In the meantime, while we live, original sin also lives. . .Therefore sin is only remitted by imputation, but when we die, it is destroyed essentially.28
"For original sin is a root and inborn evil, which only comes to an end when this body has been entirely mortified, purged by fire and reformed. Meanwhile, however, it is not imputed to the godly."29 Luther's use of the Christian hope for a coming kingdom of God, his "teleological" eschatology and the comfort and assurance it provides is clearly expressed in his discussion of hope in connection with the fifth verse of the fifth chapter of Galatians. He claims that hope can be used in two ways: for the thing hoped for, the object of our hope, and for the feeling of hope, the subjective attitude of hopefulness. And he elaborates this view as follows:
    For as long as we live, sin still clings to our flesh; there remains a law in our flesh and members at war with the law of our mind and making us captive to the law of sin (Rom. 7:23). While these passions of the flesh are raging and we, by the Spirit, are struggling against them, the righteousness we hope for remains elsewhere. We have indeed begun to be justified by faith, by which we have also received the first fruits of the Spirit; and the mortification of our flesh has begun. But we are not yet perfectly righteous. Our being justified perfectly still remains to be seen, and this is what we hope for. Thus our righteousness does not yet exist in fact, but it still exists in hope.30
It is an eschatological reality.

To those terrified by the wrath of God this knowledge is of the greatest importance. Luther, using his eschatological imagery, says:
    For, as we know from our own experience, in such a conflict of conscience the sense of sin, of the wrath of God, of death, of hell, and of every terror holds powerful sway. Then one must say to him who is distressed: 'Brother, you want to have a conscious righteousness; that is, you want to be conscious of righteousness in the same way you are conscious of sin. This will not happen. But your righteousness must transcend your consciousness of sin and you must hope that you are righteous in the sight of God. That is, your righteousness is not visible, and it is not conscious; but it is hoped for as something to be revealed in due time. Therefore you must not judge on the basis of your consciousness of sin, which terrifies and troubles you, but on the basis of the promise and teaching of faith, by which Christ is promised to you as your perfect and eternal righteousness.' Thus in the midst of fears and of consciousness of sin, my hope—that is, my feeling of hope—is aroused and strengthened by faith, so that it hopes that I am righteous; and hope—that is, the thing hoped for—hopes that what it does not yet see will be made perfect and will be revealed in due time.31
And Luther concludes:
    My righteousness is not yet perfect or conscious. Yet I do not despair on that account; but faith shows me Christ, in whom I trust. When I have taken hold of Him by faith, I struggle against the fiery darts of the devil (Eph. 6:16); and through hope I am encouraged over against my consciousness of sin, since I conclude that perfect righteousness has been prepared for me in heaven. Thus both things are true: that I am righteous here with an incipient righteousness; and that in this hope I am strengthened against sin and look for the consummation of perfect righteousness in heaven.32
In the terror which the experience of one's own unrighteousness—remaining after justification by faith—produces, Luther finds hope in the coming consummation of perfect righteousness in heaven. But this is not the result of any human effort; it is not a human process at all. God initiates justification and the same God completes it. The Christian must believe in the beginning that God has declared him just. Furthermore, God imputes Christ's righteousness to him.33 Finally, the same God shall complete what he has begun, and the Christian will eventually become what God has declared him to be even now.34 Perfect righteousness is not a dream. It is a reality coming towards us. It will be revealed in due time. It is for this reason that Christians must pray incessantly for the coming of this day. Luther explains the petition, "Thy kingdom come," by saying:
    Help, dear Lord, that the blessed day of your glorious future may come soon, that we be rescued from the wicked world, the devil's kingdom, and be freed from the horrible vexation which we outwardly and inwardly must suffer both from evil people and our own conscience.. . . Therefore they who believe in Christ should become certain and assured of the eternal glory and together with all creatures groan and cry out that our Lord God might hasten to bring about the blessed day when such hope will be fulfilled.35
The coming day of the Lord is the completion of the work of God begun in our justification. Here eschatology is not so much "realized" as "teleological"; it is an event of the future. Axiological and teleological eschatology were for Luther not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. Thus he could sing:
    Thy kingdom come now here below,
    And after, up there, evermo'.
    The Holy Ghost his temple hold
    In us with graces manifold.
    The devil's wrath and greatness strong,
    Crush, that he do thy church no wrong.36

The kingdom of God is coming in this time and afterwards in eternity; but it is the very same kingdom:

It is one and the same kingdom, the kingdom of faith and the kingdom of the future glory. But nevertheless it happens in this manner and is distinguished: that which is here in the realm of faith offered to us in the Word and which we receive and grasp through faith, the same will be presented to us there in the revelation. Thus St. Peter says, I Peter 1, that such a gospel will be proclaimed to us, 'which things the angels desire to look into.' Therefore it is the same kingdom without there being a difference in knowledge. Now we hear it in the Word; there we shall have the vision itself. Now we believe and hope for it with all Christians on earth; there we will possess it with all the holy angels and chosen of God in heaven.37

On the basis of this summary of the relationship of Luther's doctrine of justification to his eschatology, what can we learn for the contemporary theological situation? As we indicated earlier, Luther teaches us that justification by faith without this eschatological dimension is subjectivistic and individualistic self-hypnosis. Against all those theological efforts in our time which attempt to reduce justification to an essentially subjective psychological experience, Luther insists on an objective event at the end of history:

"Meanwhile, as long as we are alive, we are supported and nourished at the bosom of divine mercy and forbearance, until the body of sin (Rom. 6:6) is abolished and we are raised up as new beings on that Day. Then there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell (II Peter 3:13).38 For Luther the solution to the problem of sin remaining after justification is not the "death of God" but rather the "death of man." Against those theologians who see the hope for the world in the realization of the death of God and the resulting new freedom for man, as for example, the Americans T. J. J. Altizer and William Hamilton,39 Luther would see the hope for the world in the death and resurrection of man—a real death as well as a real resurrection ushering in a new age, a new heaven and a new earth. This is not merely a psychological transaction within the mind of the believer or unbeliever, but it is an act of God involving not only the individual but also his community and his world. Luther reminds us of the reality of the future as the guarantee of our present experience. Justification is not some oriental satori, some intuitive flash of insight into the unitary character of reality, no psychological tour de force. The guarantee of the reality and absoluteness of justification by faith is the hope that he who came shall come again. This future which is coming towards us is not merely a personal and subjective hope, but a hope for the entire people of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the living and not of the dead. Through the people of God this eschatological hope becomes a hope for all men, indeed, for all of creation. Luther quotes Jesus as saying to the Sadducees who question the resurrection (Matt. 22:23ff.):

You fools, you know nothing of God's Word nor anything of His grace and power; you bring only your dreams here, which should prove something. But if you would consider the Holy Scriptures and look at God's omnipotence, then you would see whether God could not raise the dead. He who in creation indeed made everything out of nothing, should He then not also be able to make the dead alive? And from out of what are all men still created everyday? Isn't it true, out of nothing? Since then He can do that which you daily see before your eyes, grasp and feel, should He then not also restore the dead to life? Is that such an unbelievable thing, to raise the dead, when He addresses something that is nothing, and it comes into being? And when He speaks, then it takes place, and when He commands, then it stands before Him.... I see indeed that you have not studied Scripture, from which you should have learned that God's might and power is so great that He can make everything out of nothing. But meanwhile it happens everyday, yet no one pays attention to it; when a young girl is a virgin and a year later a mother, this is common in villages and cities. Therefore nobody calls it a miracle; and if a man would now40 rise from the dead, I believe the whole world would come running. But that children are born who a year earlier were nothing at all, this we don't ask about, for we do not recognize God's power or understand Holy Scripture.41

Finally, eschatology without justification by faith is mere utopianism. For Luther it is not history which is redemptive but the Christ who came in history. It is because of Christ's justifying deed that we may have hope. This is as valid against the Schwarmer in Luther's time as against those who today see the historical process itself as the agent of redemption. A certain and prevalent type of evolutionary thinking attributes a moral conscience to the evolutionary process itself. It is almost tragic how rapidly these optimistic theologians of evolution are crushed by the events that were to redeem mankind....

The total inadequacy of an eschatology without justification by faith . . . is . . . shown by the pathetic new legalism of the so-called situation ethics as presented in England and America under the pretentious title of "The New Morality" by men like J. A. T. Robinson and Joseph Fletcher.42 Here . . . it is naively assumed that the life of love, the life of discipleship, is a simple human possibility, without the need for justification by faith. The result is, as always, a utopia which enslaves and terrifies men by the very laws devised to free them and make them happy. Here again Luther's warning remains valid: "For other kingdoms, no matter how happy or well constituted they are, still have innumerable offenses—to such an extent that one cannot find a single civil society in which there are not collected innumerable and glaring sins. They are all shot through with tyranny, stupidity, malfeasance of duty, with all kinds of desires for glory, lust, revenge, avarice. Therefore the person who rules must necessarily dispense injustice to many people."43 What was true in Luther's time in Munster can be demonstrated clearly in our time in America and Asia, in Africa and Europe. Luther complained against the Schwarmer of his time: "Their teaching is nothing other than worldly goods, temporal, fleshly and earthly promise, which the mob gladly hears—namely that they . . . imagine a kingdom in on earth in which all the godless are slain and they alone are to have good days. Who wouldn't want that? That is indeed, however, an open, palpable lie, for Christ has prepared for His own not a worldly kingdom, but rather a heavenly kingdom and says, 'In the world you will have anxiety and distress' [John 16:33]; likewise, 'My kingdom is not of this world' [John 19:36]; 44 We can learn from Luther that history is not redemptive and neither is technology or natural science. The problem of man is man and this problem is not solved by avoiding the issue. Luther escaped utopianism because he saw the focus of man's problem in man, not in his environment. It is his lasting contribution to have juxtaposed justification and eschatology in such a manner as to avoid both despair and illusion.


Reprinted with permission from Church History 38 (June 1969):



1 Weimar Ausgabe, 39, I, 205, Promotionsdisputation von Paladius und Tilemann, June 1,1537.
2 WA, 30, II, 650, Vorwort zu In prophetam Amos Johannis Brentii expositio, 1530.
3 Luther's Works American Edition, 26, 39Sf., Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, 1,602.
4 WA, 25, 375, Isaiah, Scholia, 1532/34.
5 AE, 54.110, Veit Dietrich, Fall, 1533; WAT, 1, 294.
6 AE, 54,110, Veit Dietrich, Fall, 1533; WAT, 1, 294.
7 WA, 13, 688, Proph. Mm, 1524.
8 Johannes von Walter, Die Theologie Luthers (Gutersloh, 1940), p.230.
9 Paul Althaus, Die letzten Dinge, 5th ed. (Gutersloh, 1949). It is, however, remarkable that the same Althaus gave so little consideration to the central significance of Luther's eschatology in his Die Theologie Martin Luthers of 1962. In sixteen pages (pp.339-354) he deals with this issue as the final locus in Luther's theological system.
10 Carl Stange, "Zur Auslegung des Aussagen Luthers uber die Unsterblichkeit der Seele," in Studien zur Theologie Luthers (Gutersloh, 1928), p.2871.
11 Walter Koehier, Dogmengeschichte, Das Zeitalter der Reformation (Zurich, 1951), p.486.
12 Gustaf Wingren, Luthers lara om kallelsen (Lund, 1942); cf. Luther on Vocation, trans. Carl R. Rasmussen (Philadelphia, 1957(, pp. 248ff. "Summarized in three points, the condition before the resurrection consists of these concepts: We live on earth under the law, even while we believe the gospel. We are always confronted by an unconquered devil, even while we believe in God's victory through Christ. . - . The final eschatological consummation can be summarized in the following three points: The earthly realm and the sway of the law are past, for Christ's heavenly kingdom, which formerly existed only in the form of the gospel, has now come in power. The devil is conquered and Christ's mastery is revealed. The old man has died completely through the cross, and the entire man has been raised as a spiritual body without sin. These three points correspond exactly with the three points characterizing the condition before the resurrection and supply their resolution. These three, like the first three, constitute a unity, a single truth. For the law ceases where the old man ends; and this abolition of the old man is the same as the victory over the devil. In the divine hour when this occurs, hiddenness is ended and the toil of vocation is terminated. But that day cannot be hastened either by man's effort or his piety."
13 George W. Forell, Faith Active in Love (New York, 1954), pp.156ff. See also p.188: "All life, of individuals as well as collectivities is lived in the shadow of eternity. The social order is merely an interim order valid until the impending end of this world. All the ultimate problems of man's individual and social existence can be solved only when the coming kingdom of God ends all human history. Until that time all human efforts are merely attempts to eliminate proximate evils. The ultimate evils that confront man can be overcome only through the parousia of Christ, the coming kingdom of God."
14 T. F. Torrance, Kingdom and Church, A Study in the Theology of the Reformation (London, 1956), p.3. He surveyed the theology of the Reformation under three headings—The Eschatology of Faith: Martin Luther; The Eschatology of Love: Martin Butzer; The Eschatology of Hope: John Calvin.
15 David Lofgren, Die Theologie der Schopfung bei Luther (Gottingen, 1969), p.301; see also: "As we have seen, the new creation of man through faith produces not only the right 'image' of God, but also the right perception of things and of the neighbor and thereof gives the believer a greater candour in his life's task, in relation to his calling in the world. And hence the eschaton becomes decisive for the life which man lives here and now and includes not only the discovery that God's goodness is preferred here in this life, but also the recognition that the innermost meaning of life lies hidden in death. Man thus obtains his power for obedience finally not from out of himself or any created thing at all, but rather from faith in the resurrection of the dead, which indeed means the end of dying."
16 Karl Gerhard Steck, Lehre und Kirche bei Luther (Munchen, 1963), pp. 197ff. "Creative power is attributed to doctrine; it creates Christians. In this its eschatological divine power reveals itself. As soon as the eschatological aspect is lost, only an apparently boundless over-estimation of doctrine is left, for which the title 'socratic-idealistic' would be too mild."
17 Erich Wittenborn, Luthers Predigt vom Jungs ten Tag (Bonn, 1964).
18 Ulrich Asendorf, Der Jungste Tag, Weltende und Gegenwart (Hamburg, 1964).
19 Ulrich Asendorf, Eschatologie bei Luther (Gottingen, 1967), pp. 36-48.
20 Cf. Walter Kreck, Die Zukunft des Gekommenen, 2nd ed. (Munchen, 1966), pp. 14-76. See also: Helmut Wenz, Die Ankunft unseres Herra am Ende der Welt (Stuttgart, 1965), pp. 11-27.
21 AE, 31, 129, Explanations of the Ninety-five Theses; WA, I, 557, 558, Resolutiones, 518.
22 WA, 13, 232; Praelectiones in prophetam minores, 1524/26.
23 WA, 5, 463; Operationes in Psalmos, 1519-21.
24 WA, 40, II, 327; ennaratio psalmi LI, 1532.
25 WA, 40, II, 326; ennaratio psalmi LI, 1532.
26 AE, 34, 151, The Disputation Concerning Justification, 1536; WA, 39, I, 82.
27 AE, 34, 163, The Disputation Concerning Justification, 1536; WA, 39, I, 94.
28 AE, 34, 164f., The Disputation Concerning Justification, 1536; WA, 39, I, 95.
29 AE, 34, 165, The Disputation Concerning Justification, 1536; WA, 39, I, 96.
30 AE, 27, 21, Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, 11,23-24.
31 AE, 27, 21, Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, II, 24-25.
32 AE, 27, 22, Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, II, 25.
33 AE, 26, 232, Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, I, 368: "Then they will find that this is the situation, that Christian righteousness consists in two things: first, in faith, which attributes glory to God; secondly, in God's imputation. For because faith is weak, as I have said, therefore God's imputation has to be added. This is, God does not want to impute the remnant of sin and does not want to impute it or damn us for it. But He wants to cover it and to forgive it, as though it were nothing, not for our sakes or for the sake of our worthiness or works but for the sake of Christ Himself, in whom we believe. Thus a Christian man is righteous and a sinner at the same time, holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God."
34 AE, 26, 235, Lectures on Galatians, 1535; WA, 40, I, 372. "Meanwhile, as long as we are alive, we are supported and nourished at the bosom of divine mercy and forbearance, until the body of sin (Rom. 6:6) is abolished and we are raised up as new beings on that Day. Then there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell."
35 WA, 41, 317-318, Sermons of 1535; ef. WA, 37, 617, Sermons of 1534, and WA, 34, II, 474-475, Sermons of 1531.
36 AE, 53, 297, "Our Father in the Heaven who Art"; WA, 35, 464, Das Vater Unser Kurtz Ausgeleget, 1539.
37 WA, 45, 230; Sermon of Nov. 1, 1537; Psalm VIII.
38 AE, 26, 235, Lectures on Gala tians, 1535 (the passage from II Peter 3:13 is incorrectly identified as Rev. 21:1 in the AE), my italics; WA, 40,1, 372.
39 Cf. Thomas J. J. Altizer and William Hamilton, Radical Theology and the Death of God (New York, 1966).
40 I am indebted for the correction of the WA reading of ist (is) to itzt (now) to Professor Ernst Kabler of Greifswald.
41 WA, 47,433; Sermon on Matthew 22:28, 1537/40.
42 John A. T. Robinson, Honest to God (Philadelphia, 1963); and Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics, The New Morality (Philadelphia, 1966).
43 AE, 12, 236f., Psalm 45, 1532; WA, 40, II, 524.
44 WA, 30,11, 213, Preface to Menius, 1530.