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T. F. Torrance on Calvin’s understanding of the church as the new humanity

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T. F. Torrance offers the following excellent summary of Calvin’s eschatology. Note how the two kingdoms tension is implicit throughout – reaching in hope and joy to the new creation; living in the midst of history:

“[The] stress of Calvin upon the risen humanity of Christ has a double significance for eschatology. On the one hand, union with Christ means that we are already in the new creation, and are so joined to the new humanity that our whole life reaches upward and forward in eager hope and joy to the renewal of creation; but on the other hand, union with Christ and participation in His new humanity means that we must live out that humanity from day to day in the midst of history. ‘Thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.’

“The church that engages in that prayer must continually meditate upon Christ and on its new life in Him which waits to be revealed, sot hat here and now the new life may be known and lived out among men. Through the church, in Word and Sacrament, the new humanity in Christ is already operative among men, and it is only through the operation of that new humanity that this wild and inhuman world of ours can be saved from its own savagery and be called into the Kingdom of Christ in peace and love.”

– T. F. Torrance, “Foreward to the English Edition,”in Heinrich Quistorp, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Last Things

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