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Approaching the EndA Theological Exploration of Death and Dying$
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David Albert Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287154.001.0001

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Final Reflections

Final Reflections

(p.187) 7 Final Reflections
Approaching the End

David Albert Jones

Oxford University Press

An examination of the thought of Ambrose, Augustine, Thomas, and Rahner shows them to constitute a single extended argument on the theology of death. This can be set out in relation to the realities of grief, fear, and hope in the face of death; in relation to the practices of suicide and euthanasia; and in relation to the more complex issue of withdrawal of treatment. Christian hope affirms both the need and the difficulty of acknowledging one's own approaching death. Rahner is at his most profound in describing how the need to surrender oneself to God in death, the need to die like a martyr, is anticipated throughout life. If, by the grace of God, death can be freely endured — and this is no easy task — then the final surrender in death will be the end of death and the preamble to our true end: eternal happiness in which death will be no more.

Keywords:   Ambrose, Augustine, death, euthanasia, fear of death, Rahner, suicide, theology of death, Thomas Aquinas

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