Friday, March 31, 2006

Last Judgment

Did the Last Judgment occur in Genesis 1:4 when God divided Light/Life from Darkness/Death? I think this is something to consider. I can't find evidence that the Bible understands history to be linear. I propose that maybe the Genesis creation story is not something that happened not only in the past, but continues to recur again today. Jesus is Light. "Let Him be light, and He was light." When there is light creation happens. The waters that God hovers over are the undifferentiated human masses. Christians are fishers of men, pulling people out of the waters and creating them as human beings in the likeness of God. Intelligent design arguments really do a disservice to Genesis.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Genesis / Creation / Light

I don't know about you, but I think we should understand Genesis 1:3 as saying "God said 'Let Him be light, and He was light.'" I think this is quite obviously how the Gospel of John understood Genesis 1:3. If you look at the Hebrew this is entirely plausible. If we translate it this way it leads to an understanding of the interconnectedness between the early verses of Genesis and the Gospel of John, the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment. I haven't done all the research, but right now I would hypothesize that the Last Judgment can be found in the first verses of Genesis. Creation and the Last Judgment may be the same thing. The separation of Light and Darkness, and the separation of Life and Death.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tom Fox and the Sacrificial Machinery

Tom Fox was killed. In the last week or so two columns have been written. One was filled with the neo-pagan ravings of Cal Thomas (I mean neo-pagan to be dispassionately and objectively descriptive, I’m not name calling). Here is the well-reasoned response from Rev. David B. Miller.

First of all it should be obvious to anyone that Cal Thomas is a cynical propagandist and provocateur. He seems obsessed with the Other (and what they’re doing), and that there are no authentic, non-political actions. You’re literally either with us or against us. But that’s enough of my attempt to paint the psychological portrait of Mr. Thomas.

The world views peaceful and reconciliatory action as suspect or ineffectual, only killing and murder is useful. War and collective killing is for the serious, the destruction of whoever has been designated evil is the only thing that really can bring peace. The mobilization of armies is good, loving your neighbor unto death is naïve. Nietzsche and all the great pagan apologists would agree, only murder and sacrifice will bring about peace. Like the good old pagan Apollonius (and his amazing peace bringing miracles)we must not be afraid to stone and murder the enemies of the gods. The worldly among us are always ready to throw a Pharmakos over the cliff.

From Girardian Lectionary:
Now here's the most interesting thing about that word pharmakon: there was a closely related word pharmakos, and the pharmakos in Greek society was a person who they would ritually run out of town, and sometimes kill, during a time of crisis. In other words, the pharmakos was like the witch, during medieval days in Europe. The pharmakos was the person blamed for the evil that was befalling them. Think for a moment about how that relates to the pharmakon, the drug. Certainly, driving someone out of town and killing them is an evil, poisonous thing to do. But the instinct was that the community had to risk just the right dose of this poisonous thing in order to be cured from an even greater outbreak of death. In short, we would say that they would risk a small dose of violence, ritually killing just one person, in order to find a remedy against the greater evil of many people dying. So the pharmakos could be used when they were attacked by a physical illness, but the pharmakos could also be used as a remedy against impending rioting and unrest, or civil war. In other words, ancient peoples generally experienced violence as in the same category as physical illness, as evils that could kill you. And so they used a dose of violence against any deadly evil that they feared. That's why blood sacrifice is so universal across the beginnings of all human cultures. Killing a person or an animal on an altar was experienced like a drug, like a small dose of evil that was used as a remedy against wider outbreaks of evil.


Cal Thomas doesn’t doubt that they’re can be peace on Earth, it’s just that he seemingly believes the only way to bring about this peace is through the killing/murder of whoever is designated the current enemy. “Evil must be defeated if peace on earth is to exist.” This “defeating evil” always seems to consist of killing and bombing our perceived enemies and the innocent people and children around them.

I know I’m rambling, but what do people think Jesus is talking about in John 10.
Again from Girardian Lectionary, notes from a lecture by Gil Bailie:

Sheep Gate, which is the gate in the wall of Jerusalem through which the sheep were led and then held in a holding area on their way to the altar of sacrifice. It was the entry point for the victims of the sacrificial regime…

The most important reference to sheep in the New Testament is sacrificial. Sheep are the sacrificial animals par excellence...If we are correct in suggesting that the ones who come in by the gate are victims, then the thieves and bandits are those who manipulate the system by redirecting its sacrificiality towards more expendable victims.


Is Jesus saying that he will lead his people through the sacrificial machinery? Is this why the people call him “mad”?

Also what is the common understanding of Mark 8:34? Jesus says take up your cross. In light of John 10 is he asking us to follow him into the sacrificial machinery. Is this what Tom Fox did? One thing I think we can safely assume is that Jesus is not telling us to take up the literal sword/gun and go and defeat us some “evil”. Is Jesus saying, “pick up the instrument of your own execution?”

To a man caught up with the powers of the world “…the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.


Rene Girard says, “The Johannine Logos discloses the truth of violence by having itself expelled.” Human society is founded upon violence and the collective expulsion of a person or group of persons.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Creation

Something to think about. The Genesis creation story, the first verses of the Gospel of John and the Passion of Jesus Christ are telling the same story in a different way. The Passion of Jesus Christ is a creation story in the same/very similar way that the Genesis account is a creation story. Rene Girard, in Things Hiddens Since the Foundation of the World says "John's prologue undoubtedly refers to the passion." I believe the Day Atonement rituals and the story of the Suffering Servant are creation narratives, in the same/similar way as the Genesis account.

Robin Collins Paper on the Atonement

Here's an earlier somewhat rough-draft essay from Robin Collins on the Atonement. I linked to Part II in an earlier post.

"I...argue that the Satisfaction and Penal theories of the Atonement are so unsatisfactory that we would be better off simply to accept the doctrine of the Atonement as a mystery than to accept one of them...After critiquing the traditional Western theories, therefore, I shall develop, in a philosophically careful and clear way, a much more adequate theory."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rene Girard on Satan

I've been rereading Rene Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. His discussions re Satan are very good. Here's some excerpts from various books on the subject of Satan. Via the absolutely fantastic Girardian Lectionary.

Excerpts from René Girard's essay "Satan," from The Girard Reader.

An Excerpt from René Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning.

An Excerpt from René Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning - Chapter 8
Powers and Principalities


Here's a section on the Suffering Servant and the cycle of mimetic victimage.

Paul Nuechterlein does a great service with his Girardian Lectionary site, I can't say enough good things about it. Here's the page you want to start at if you want to do some research on specific verses.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tom Fox

I haven't been following the situation in Iraq as much as I used to, but as you may know Tom Fox, who was taken hostage about three months ago, was found dead in Baghdad. He was a Christian and Quaker who went to Iraq with the Christian Peacemaker teams. The below is via Electronic Iraq.

Here is Tom Fox's blog, Waiting in the Light.

"We Mourn the Loss of Tom Fox"

Blog Excerpts Part 1

Blog Excerpts Part 2

A quote from Mr. Fox:

When I allow myself to become angry I disconnect from God and connect with the evil force that empowers fighting. When I allow myself to become fearful I disconnect from God and connect with the evil force that encourages flight. I take Gandhi and Jesus at their word - if I am not one with God then I am one with Satan. I don't think Gandhi would use that word but Jesus certainly did, on numerous occasions. The French theologian Rene Girard has a very powerful vision of Satan that speaks to me: 'Satan sustains himself as a parasite on what God creates by imitating God in a manner that is jealous, grotesque, perverse and as contrary as possible to the loving and obedient imitation of Jesus.'
Christian Peacemaker Teams

Friday, March 10, 2006

Models of Atonement

I found this article, Models of Atonement, by Ted Peters. Trying to get a grasp on a Girardian influenced theory of atonement, using Margaret Barker's research into the symbolism of the First Temple Day of Atonement. If I can ever find time to actually put something together I think it will be quite interesting. A lot of research to be done, a lot of different strands of symbols and ideas to put together coherently. Trying to provide high-quality content here at the Chronicles of Indestructible Life.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rene Girard and Hamlet

This is some good reading on Rene Girard and Hamlet. Just found Liethart.com this morning, seems to have a lot interesting articles.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Girard and Atonement

I've been reading some of the essays from "VIOLENCE RENOUNCED: RENE GIRARD, BIBLICAL STUDIES, AND PEACEMAKING", which was edited by Willard Swartley. I may have read this essay before, can't remember, but anyway it looks pretty interesting. Robin Collins, "Girard and Atonement: An Incarnational Theory of Mimetic Participation". (Word File)

I've been busy at work and Simon, our very handsome baby boy, has been sick. So hopefully I'll be soon finding the time to provide high quality blog content on a more regular basis.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Margaret Barker's The Great Angel

Was checking the Margaret Barker section of the Thinly Veiled website the other day and noticed that someone has put up the the first five chapters of Margaret Barker's book The Great Angel.