Kierkegaard's Importance Of Eternity

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Importance of Eternity in Kierkegaard’s thought: The Virtue of Hope In the popular understanding of Christianity “eternity” often refers to life after death; in more philosophically informed versions, it usually means a realm or status of existence outside of time. Although the goal of eternal blessedness for human beings is certainly important to him, Kierkegaard is also concerned about the implications that a person’s decision about his eternal destiny has in the present: “But now eternity, surely this is the greatest task ever assigned to a human being” in this temporal life. Christians by birth and thereby take salvation for granted, few would guess that they have not fulfilled all that Christianity asks of them. As a result, Christian…show more content…
It is just that Christianity assumes the concern for everything to go well for one in eternity to be so great that in order to find peace in this respect one finds joy in—yes, gives thanks for, God's making this life somewhat more, yes, infinitely more strenuous than it is when a person does not get involved with Christianity. But if Kierkegaard is correct in claiming that believers must be willing to take joy in temporal suffering for the sake of eternity, then Christianity has lost its presumed utilitarian value in Christendom, and for many this is too much to…show more content…
But then this is the wondrous thing, that this the greatest of powers, eternity, can make itself so small that it is divisible in this way, this which is eternally one, so that, taking upon itself the form of the future, the possible, with the help of hope it brings up temporality’s child (the human being), teaches him to hope (to hope is itself the instruction, is the relation to the eternal)…. By means of the possible, eternity is continually near enough to be available and yet distant enough to keep the human being in motion forward toward the eternal, to keep him going, going forward. This is how eternity lures and draws a person, in possibility, from the cradle to the grave—provided he chooses to hope.12 Eternity provides orientation and inspires movement toward future happiness by teaching a person to hope and showing him its own possibility. For Kierkegaard, eternity signifies not merely our own possibilities as spiritual creatures, but also (as the personification of eternity in this passage suggests, and as I will argue below) God, a perfect, non-temporal agent outside us who lovingly “lures and draws a person, in possibility, from the cradle to the grave.” In this way, Kierkegaard argues that Christianity offers a unique orientation toward the

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