Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Crux of the Crucifixion II

The meaning of Christ's abandonment can be disclosed only through the hermeneutic of the Cross itself. Crucifixion is humiliation, violence, death, horrific solitude untouched by any number of witnesses to this execution by the Roman state with the consent of the religious authorities. Narratologically, the execution is rooted in betrayal, betrayal of someone close and betrayal of religion itself; for it is better that one should die than the whole nation perish (John 11:50). Jesus could see it all coming, but it was not the occasion of his death, but the event that would be released, that moves the story to the Cross, which reads the occasion as the death of the religion that brings death to God: not 'a' religion, but the machinations of religion. We are not to read the Cross as the death of Judaism, but as the event of the death of the anthropomorphism and anthropopathism of God in all religion. The Cross cuts a vast apophatic space that negates the insinuation of the human into God, the space of not human being, not human feeling, in God.

Love is not a reification or a feeling. It is not a possession or an emotion. It is not something one feels but something that one does. It is like this for God when he is free from the human. God is, apophatically, not Love, but God loves. The very phenomenality of God presents to us on a horizon of Love before he can present to us on a horizon of Being. In a compressed synthesis of what concerns this blog lately, I suggest that Jean-Luc Marion's saturated phenomenon of revelation presents in Love, for God loves before he is; Catherine Keller walks us through the space of unknowning entanglements, bringing us to the call of the insistence of God, who through the enfolding and unfolding of the Cusanian cloud, enters John Caputo's plane of existence on the horizon of Being (God's call insists, that God might be). It is all 'spooky action at a distance,' it is real, and enfolds and unfolds everything that is real. We know its wholeness only by its nickname, "God."

The apophatic space cut by the Cross is the space of negation created by Christ's experience of abandonment. It is a vast and sacred space from which the human projections onto God are vacated, thereby releasing the event of God coming into view on the horizons that displace those that had prevented God from being God. It is the space of unknowing because it is the space God enters as he is in himself. He comes in the luminous darkness where we can see only dimly, for darkness had come over the land (Matt. 27:45).

Cut loose from the Big Other wrapped in anthropomorphic and anthropopathic 'borrow'd robes,' the abandoned Christ is left in the loving mercy that moves the Psalm. The Marcan and Matthean final, wordless cry, [re]unites Jesus to the Father, or so Luke would have it (23:46). It would be an injust theology of the Cross, were it to empower abandonment to Leave Jesus orphaned. It has been my contention that God witnesses the suffering of the Cross hypostatically: God's nature, united in the single divine person of Christ, witnesses to the suffering in the human nature in the closeness of solidarity. This solidarity redeems the human creature.

The Resurrection can never mean less than the total affirmation and vindication of the life and death of the Christ. His Sonship was so integral to his mission that the Cross would be absurd were Christ's forsakeness to eradicate the relationship with the Father. The Cross, therefore, does not read the abandonment of the human projections onto God as the abandonment of God as he is in himself, the God revealed in the Cross. After the evacuation of the human from God--the Big Other--there is remainder: the God who is.

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