Friday, 4 May 2007

Chess and eschatology

At TEAM on Wednesday Charles and I explored an odd line in the Dutch (he was Black). Slightly fewer wild and crazy games - a more mature approach, one might say (yeah, right) - and honours even.

1. d4 f5
2. Nc3 Nf6
3. Bg5 e6
4. e4 dxe5
5. Bxf6 Qxf6
6. Nxe4
intending a swift 0-0-0 and kingside attack, since Black's pieces are stuck on the other wing.

When that ran out of steam I went for a gambit approach with 5. f3. I now wish I had a chess programme on the computer to test it all out, but I had to get rid of the excellent Chessmaster 7000 (several years ago, now) as it was stealing all my time when I should have been working. It's one solution to the self-control problem, I suppose...

Also at TEAM we had John Richardson, the ugley vicar, giving us some more thoughts on Revelation. He argued strongly against premillennialism from a robust amil position and gave us lots of insights into the numbers in Revelation and their OT background. Stimulating stuff, but there's never enough time in life (let alone in the seminars) to discuss all the implications and check all the alternatives and chew over the theology. I still need to properly assess the preterist position that sees most of the imagery 'fulfilled' in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to consider how Revelation (and other bits) support or undermines the postmil thesis that the kingdom will grow and be visibly victorious in the world before the end. JR used 2 Thess 2 as a governing passage, on the one hand to support a cyclical or action-replay reading of Revelation (which is pretty solid) and on the other hand to suggest that there will be a future time of intense persecution shortly before the end. But of course, many have argued that 2 Thess is all about AD70.

One possible way through is to see the typology as extending into the future. Perhaps we can grant a preterist interpretation of significant portions of, e.g., Matthew 24, and maybe even of 2 Thess or Revelation itself, but see the destruction of Jerusalem as a type of final judgement. That's only the most hesitant of suggestions, though, and almost certainly not original in the slightest; so many scholars and pastors and others have thought and written about this that it's quite difficult to know where to begin! (and now I see that the preterist archive website has gone and got all glitzy since I last came across it, but if you can get past that there's a lot of fascinating history there...)