I am working on a paper that examines Paul’s apocalyptic imagination through conceptual metaphor. ‘Apocalyptic’ is term fraught with difficulties and the array of explanations offered by scholars range from sublime to ridiculous. I hope to have a post from my paper sometime this week, but the quote below from Douglas Campbell (who can go from sublime to ridiculous sometimes in the same paragraph – you know I love you Campbell!) captures both the importance and difficulty of the term for Pauline theology:
Nothing can be the same again. Both Paul and his fellow Christians are living in a new reality that, in a sense, only they can understand. In the light of this new reality they understand that Christ has rescued them from a tortured previous reality within which they were oppressed by evil powers. Christ and his followers are presently at war with that evil dominion, and to a degree the war extends through the middle of each Christian community and each Christian person in the form of an ongoing conflict between flesh and spirit. Nevertheless, Christ has effected the decisive act of deliverance and victory. Christians are saved and dramatically! They have been set free and must now resist the temptation to lapse back into the old, evil, but strangely comfortable reality from which they have been delivered.
Douglas A. Campbell, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 190.