Utopia and Gospel

In this study, a number of topics come together that critically focus on the so-called precautionary culture, very concisely the ideal of a harm-free society. Firstly, we will show that precautionary culture at heart is utopian in character, that is the material hope for harmony of demonstrably true ends for all humans, at all times and places in the past, present and future. Secondly, the documented failures of utopian projects in human history entail that precaution, if it is the newest expression of utopian endeavouring, is likely to fail as well. Through exemplar and reasoning we will examine this potential for failure. Thirdly, we will investigate the source of Utopia in human history, that is the life, words and works of Jesus. Consequently, the failure of Utopia, and its potential implications for precaution, implies, it is argued, a non-utopian reading of the New Testament. That reading takes Incarnation and resurrection as genuine aspects of the reality of God’s work in our world: the hope embodied in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Overall, the actuality and failure of the utopian projects requires Jesus to be genuinely in touch with us here and now, not just linguistically or nostalgically. The position then attained gives leeway to an understanding of human life that is transcendent and hopeful in this world, generating perspectives on human action that will foster genuine stewardship of creation that is fully reliant on God.

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