Nik Ansell. Paternoster Press, 2013.
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For Jürgen Moltmann, Hell is the nemesis of Hope. The “Annihilation of Hell” thus refers both to Hell’s annihilative power in history and to the overcoming of that power as envisioned by Moltmann’s distinctive theology of the cross in which God becomes “all in all” through Christ’s descent into Godforsakenness. The negation of Hell and the fulfillment of history are inseparable. Attentive to the overall contours and dynamics of Moltmann’s thinking — especially his zimzum doctrine of creation, his eschatologically oriented philosophy of time, and his expanded understanding of the nature-grace relationship — this study asks whether the universal salvation that he proposes can honor human freedom, promise vindication for those who suffer, and do justice to biblical revelation. As well as providing an in-depth exposition of Moltmann’s ideas, The Annihilation of Hell also explores how a “covenantal universalism” might revitalize our web of beliefs in a way that is attuned to the authorizing of Scripture and the spirituality of existence. If divine and human freedom are to be reconciled, as Moltmann believes, the confrontation between Hell and Hope will entail rethinking issues that are not only at the center of theology but at the heart of life itself.