On a hope

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Rom. 8:24)

It is about a hope, not just hope. What is the hope it is about? Our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies, the freedom of the glory of the kingdom of God.

It was formulated by Paul the Apostle in response to the destruction of the temple, the expulsion of the Jews from Judaea, and the expectation of the Parousia. It’s not the hope that the crop will be good this year, that my son will return from war, that my wound will heal.

Assuming it isn’t an airbrush cartoon of Jesus coming on a cloud with a lamb in his arms and everyone being on Prozac for ever, it is the hope for a peaceful society. Does anyone hope for this? You saw what happened to the Soviet Union. And, I can’t get on with anyone so what chance does “society” have?

What do I yet hope for?

 

 

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God, man, superman pt.3

All transgressions, which are now bearing full fruit in the superman, are implicit in the “New Testament”, for Christ broke all bonds. In Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28)…

The “New Testament” teaching rests on the parousia, not (as Paul taught) the resurrection. Christ’s teachings are the end, the fulfillment. They don’t point forward to future generations. They cannot replace the familial, tribal and legal structures on which (Jewish) society has depended.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matt. 10:34-36)

This “gospel” only makes sense as something other than a recipe for chaos if we consider the final judgment to be imminent: that there is no future, that all time is redeemed, there is no family or tribe; just you and God, now.

However, there was no parousia. So a new religion, society and laws were invented for the children of those who had burnt their bridges to the old world. And so it went on.

But with the death of the Christian religion, chaos (cultural revolution) is what we have. Repression in the name of the Christian religion is dead; and there’s nothing in the New Testament to restore peace: rather, ammunition!

 

 

 

God, man, superman pt.1

In an appendix to his book “Foucault”, Deleuze writes about “The death of man and superman”. In the age of the infinite (God), man was measured by infinite categories (essences); in the age of the finite (man), man is measured by finite categories (conditions). The latter (finitude) brings with it death (the former, immortality). What comes after the death of man? The superman, for whom

“The forces within man enter into a relation with forces from the outside, those of silicon which supercedes carbon, or genetic components which supercede the organism, or agrammaticalities that supercede the signifier. (…) What is the superman? (…) [A] Man [who] tends to free life, labour and language within himself.

For D. this is a man who frees difference and creates more; limitless difference comes within his orbit, as existing within himself. D. and/or Foucault are right about the multiplicities that we are becoming – in our terms, and no one else’s.

D.’s final lines are: “it is the advent of a new form that is neither God nor man and which, it is hoped, will not prove worse than its two previous forms.”

The curious weakness of the formulation will not prove worse betrays the only judgment that counts: they know that man as superman is not headed for “immortality”, like man under the infinite (God/essence); nor is he headed for “death”, like man under the finite (man/condition); but man as superman is headed for… “unlimited finity”. Annihilation (unlimited death) could be the flip-side.

 

 

On the “Early Church”

There was a power struggle between the followers of Jesus and the religious authorities. Saul’s turn to the Gentiles and Roman citizenship was meant to recruit new forces for the campaign. The “New Testament” was written in this period of struggle to establish a different religious leadership. It is all attacks on the Jewish leadership and reconstruction of Jewish Scriptures – and if all else fails the fate of Ananas and Sapphira. It was a totally pernicious exercise and blatantly contradictory to the very sayings of Jesus it records.

Today’s Church, far from looking to the Early Church – and least of all the “New Testament” – for inspiration, should look to undo these errors.

 

 

Holocaust Memorial Day

I discovered this week that John’s gospel blames the Jews.

Did “the Jews” think Jesus was betraying Judaism? Well, the history of “Christian Europe” has proved them right.

Perhaps that is what it means to say Jesus was crucified for our sins.

The Jews survived the Holocaust but it is hard to wish the same for “Christian Europe”.