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The Last Things of All Creatures

By Paul J. Griffiths

Hardback, 408 pages $69.95
Published: 1st November 2014
ISBN: 9781481302296
Format: 9in x 6in

Paperback, 408 pages $49.95
Published: 1st February 2018
ISBN: 9781481302302
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Theology, Biblical Theology

Death is not the end—either for humans or for all creatures. But while Christianity has obsessed over the future of humanity, it has neglected the ends for nonhuman animals, inanimate creatures, and angels. In Decreation, Paul J. Griffiths explores how orthodox Christian theology might be developed to include the last things of all creatures.

Griffiths employs traditional and historical Christian theology of the last things to create both a grammar and a lexicon for a new eschatology. Griffiths imagines heaven as an endless, repetitively static, communal, and enfleshed adoration of the triune God in which angels, nonhuman animals, and inanimate objects each find a place. Hell becomes a final and irreversible separation from God—annihilation—sin’s true aim and the last success of the sinner. This grammar, Griffiths suggests, gives Christians new ways to think about the redemption of all things, to imagine relationships with nonhuman creatures, and to live in a world devastated by a double fall.

Preface and Acknowledgements


Part I: The Grammar of the Last Things

§1 Lexicon

§2 Last Things Defined

§3 Annihilation: The First Last Thing

§4 Simple Stasis: The Second Last Thing

§5 Repetitive Stasis: The Third Last Thing

§6 Epektasy: Denying Last Things

§7 Iconicity: Representing Last Things


Part II: Doctrine About Last Things

§8 Theology and Last Things

§9 Doctrine and Last Things

§10 The Doctrinal Schema

§11 The Narrative Arc

§12 Patterns of Thought


Part III: Timespace

§13 The Lord’s Eternity

§14 The Chronic Temporality of Creatures

§15 Time Damaged: Metronome

§16 Time Healed: Liturgy, Systole, Fold


Part IV: Angels

§17 Thinking About Angels

§18 What Angels Are

§19 Angelic Fall

§20 Angelic Last Things


Part V: Humans

§21 Human Flesh

§22 The Discarnate Intermediate State

§23 Human Last Things (1): Annihilation

§24 Human Last Things (2): Heaven

§25 Hell Reconstrued

§26 The Church’s Last Thing


Part VI: Plants, Animals, Inanimate Creatures

§27 Plants and Animals

§28 The Last Things of Plants and Animals

§29 Inanimate Creatures

§30 The Last Things of Inanimate Creatures


Part VII: The Last Things in the Devastation

§31 Opus Domini

§32 Trembling

§33 Delight

§34 Lament

§35 Quietus


Part VIII: Bibliography

§36 Bibliographic Essays

§37 Bibliographic List

"Informed amateur theologians as well as trained ones, readers who enjoy a rigorously thoughtful writer, and Christians seeking to hone a greater intellectual connection to their faith will find this a rewarding and stimulating book."

—Russell E. Saltzman, Aleteia

"Decreation sets forth a theology of creation, redemption, and the refusal of redemption that is without equal in terms of erudition, elegance, and brilliant engagement with historically significant Christian teaching and doctrine.”

—Charles Taliaferro, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, St. Olaf College 

"A major work on the traditional theme of the last things."

—Neil Ormerod, Theological Studies

“At once deeply traditional and strikingly novel, Griffiths' exploration of ‘last things’ is rigorous in its argumentation and unafraid to overturn some of the favored positions of modern theologians in its quest for an eschatology that is adequate to scripture and tradition and yet takes account of contemporary theological and philosophical questions and insights.”

—Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt, Professor of Theology, Loyola University Maryland

“A stimulating theological study.”

—D. K. McKim, Memphis Theological Seminary, Choice

“This is the finest work of speculative theology to appear on any topic in a long while. Beautifully straitened by Catholic doctrine, relentlessly rigorous in argument, Decreation brings an abundance of light to both familiar topics in eschatology and some hardly touched in Christianity’s long history of reflection on the last things. At a time when such work has practically vanished, Paul Griffiths confronts us anew with the ancient challenge of speculative theology: to see the truths upon which Christians must finally stake their lives.”

—Bruce D. Marshall, Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine, Southern Methodist University

“No one reading this book can fail to admire the creativity, energy and originality of its author, and perhaps to some extent its audacity.”

—Celia Deane-Drummond, International Journal of Systematic Theology

"This is a remarkable book. In the clarity and care of its argumentation it is a model of theological method. While treating questions that have sometimes been relegated to the fringe of Christian theological enquiry, it sheds new light on topics across the range of theological concerns: the nature of time, tears, and political quietism, to name but a few."

—David Clough, Anglican Theological Review

"The book’s expansiveness shows how valuable and needed it is for theologians to reflect on the last things, and Griffiths’s volume will surely be a benchmark for a long time to come on this topic."

—David Cloutier, The Journal of Religion

"A consummate work of impressively detailed theological scholarship..."

—Paul T. Vogel, The Midwest Book Review

Paul J. Griffiths is Warren Chair of Catholic Theology at Duke Divinity School.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 408 pages
 9in x 6in

 Paperback , 408 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL067000, REL067060, REL085000
 Baylor University Press

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