John Webster on Hope

"God's Faithfulness is Triune"

John Webster on Hope

The late John Webster, a man who was dedicated to theological theology, is probably my favorite author. In perhaps one of my top 3 favorite essays of all time, “Hope,” John has an absolute gem-of-a-paragraph (though there are many in this essay). He writes:

“Hope is that creaturely disposition which corresponds to the fact that all occasions of human history, including its future, are caught up within the economy of the triune God’s mercy. Because God is to the depths of his eternal being triune, and because he acts in the world as the one he is in himself, then the entire scope of human history and action is embraced by God’s purpose. God is not simply originator (setting the creation in motion), nor simply end (tying up the loose ends of history at its terminus). Rather, as Father, Son and Spirit, God is infinite––no time or space is apart from or beyond his presence and action––and so steadfast––his purpose has been, is and will be at all times constantly and reliably at work. And it is as this one that God is the ground of hope, for hope trusts that, because the Father’s purpose has been accomplished in the Son and is now at work in the world in the Spirit’s power, then human history is God’s economy. Within the space which the triune God creates, hope is neither a fantasy nor a gesture of defiance, but a fitting, truthful attitude and shape for action. In sum: hope rests upon God’s faithfulness, and God’s faithfulness is triune.”



John Webster, “Hope,” in Confessing God: Essays in Christian Dogmatics II (London: T&T Clark, 2005), 199.