Storied Work: The Eschatology Turn And The Meaning Of Our Work -- By: Mark R. Saucy

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 60:1 (Mar 2017)
Article: Storied Work: The Eschatology Turn And The Meaning Of Our Work
Author: Mark R. Saucy

Storied Work:
The Eschatology Turn
And The Meaning Of Our Work

Mark Saucy*

* Mark R. Saucy is Professor of Systematic Theology at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90638. He may be contacted at [email protected]

Abstract: This essay engages the conversation about the significance and meaning of work in the present time by framing it within the Bible’s new covenant meta-narrative. Over- or underrealizing the new covenant’s phases, which are centered in the two comings of Christ, has bearing on how one will see the purpose of work in culture-making in the present time. The article will sketch the Bible’s plot line for work beginning with the cultural mandate for Adam, then move to the compromised state of this mandate evident from Noah to the present. Finally, Israel’s prophets will chart the course through the NT documents for a possibility of our work's impact on culture that will ultimately dominate the nations of the world when the Lord's anointed Servant-Prince returns in glory. This narrative calls for us to be sober in our claims for the cultural impact of our work in the present time but also not to see our work now as merely futile background for “spiritual” victories while we wait for heaven.

Key words: image of God, kingdom of God, biblical eschatology, theology of work, culture, canonical narrative, reign of Christ, OT theology

Ever since Sisyphus was condemned to endlessly roll the stone uphill in Greek mythology and Israel’s Qoheleth pronounced man’s labors vanity, “meaningless” describes the very darkest essence and dread of dehumanized work.1 Within the Christian tradition, work’s ontological, relational, and instrumental meaning suffered from residual sacred-secular categories of calling and ministry even after the Reformation’s critique of medieval Catholicism.2 More recent voices on the theology of work, especially among Western evangelicals, gather much in the value of work under its power to make culture by means of Adamic categories and so call for work in service to the “cultural mandate” of Gen 1:26–28. Redemption in Christ, the reconciler of all things (Col 1:15), has freed the believer in the present age to reclaim the Bible’s story for humans to fulfill the divine charge to transform

and redeem human cultures (“fill and subdue the earth”) to the rule of Christ.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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