How long is ‘now’? The Christian eschatological concept of time within international laws of, in, and after war: a critique of law and of our Nordic societies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The epitome of this article is the reflection upon the question of “How long is now?” This question is interpreted within the context of the Iraq war, 2003 and onwards, as the enduring now specified. Drawing on parallels from the European World War II experience and the use of “Auschwitz” as a metaphor for a specifically Christian guilt articulated in relation to the Pauline eschatological hope of Messianic expectation, a common structure recognizable within both theology and international law is proposed. And through the gaze of political theology – as it is put forward by Carl Schmitt – theology is proposed to be instructing law.
The theological imagery of the grand dichotomy of the Iraqi war between the Coalition of the Willing and the Axis of Evil is scrutinized, in order to frame the drama of the Messianic expectation as it unfolds in and after the war event. This drama leaves no one as a spectator, but forces us all to choose side, also in our Nordic societies. It leaves us with the grand question: what is good and what is evil?
In the final part of the article the core question is addressed to the Nordic societies, and a vision of a turn from hope and faith in law to hope and faith through law is envisioned for a new life to come.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • S:t Paul, Nordic societies, messianic time, political theology, narrative theory, law, international law, Iraq, Carl Schmitt, christianity, eschatology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw & Religion in the 21st Century – Nordic Perspectives: New Life in the Ruins – Pluralistic renewal in the Lutheran setting
EditorsLisbet Christoffersen, Svend Andersen, Kjell Å Modéer
PublisherDJØF Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-87-574-2368-6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch