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Untangling the Cords of Sheol: Dementia and the Eschatology of the Physical Universe

S & CB 31 (2)
October 2019


Dementia raises important theological questions regarding human identity and hope. In this piece I propose that we understand dementia as an instance of cosmic entropic processes impinging on human neural systems. Theologically, such entropic decay can be seen as death encroaching on life – the cords of Sheol entangling the sufferer’s brain, with devastating consequences. Psalm 88 presents us with a lens through which to reflect on the nature of death encroaching on life, and so the problem that Christian hope needs to address. Resources for dealing with both cosmic entropy and its all-too-human effects can be found in David Wilkinson’s Christian Eschatology and the Physical Universe. He gives an account of space, time and matter that addresses the cosmic futility of entropy, and which can, in turn, ground a meaningful resurrection hope for people with dementia.

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