Murmurs and Antagonisms

Orthodoxy via Heresy

Category: Heresy

Flesh Sack

Just walking skins, sacks of flesh wandering the streets ignoring each other day in and out. This is who we unavoidably are. Spouting sentimental phrases – “You are a Soul, you have a Body” – mean little. In fact, I’d contend mean nothing whatsoever. Embodied flesh sacks that we are, we can only know what we feel/sense/experience/think but what then is a soul?

[Soul: a metaphor for our identity.]

I don’t think I want a soul to be anything more than a metaphor. At least I possess my own created body. And I can make my body better. I can’t make my soul better. Mainly since I have no clue in hell what a soul is or how I have one?

So, metaphor it is.

If “soul” just means my identity then I can add to my identity, subtract from it, an understand it better. Mostly since what makes me me – identity – can be found in body or thought form.

I can’t experience my soul. I can experience my thoughts. My identity can be experienced.

So, do I have a soul?

No.

Not in the way most folks think of souls, at least. I am walking flesh, a sack of skin and bones clattering along my merry way. I am not an embodied soul, as if I existed previously and my soul put on a dress. I am a body. I am flesh. I choose how I am being made and I shape my identity.

Flesh sack walking.

Part Two: Naming

Part 2 of an ongoing series on the death of God within a biblical framework.

…that language is murder, that is, the act of naming things, of substituting a name for the sensation, gives things to us, but in a form that deprives those things of their being. Human speech is thus the annihilation of things qua things, and their articulation through language is truly their death-rattle: Adam is the first serial killer. (p.62, Very Little…Almost Nothing)

In the story of Jesus’ Incarnation we find a moment when he is named. Of course, he’s already been named Jesus, thus cementing him as a human being and further distancing him from the Godhood which is self-ascribed later on. But, more startlingly, in Matthew 3:13-17 we find God giving name to who Jesus is. This is the first moment in which I find Isaiah’s statement, God speaking via Isaiah, to begin to be fulfilled – “But the Lord was pleased/To crush Him, …”. God is naming Jesus as his son, as the child from his loins. But, as Critchley argues, if this is God’s son then naming him as such is a deprivation of that being. In stating that Jesus is his son God the Father is removing from Jesus the title of being God and his son. Ultimately, this is found in the forsaken moments of Jesus upon the cross. Here, though, in the baptism, we find Jesus beginning his death as God. Baptism into his own death.

God: The Bastard

The following post is a jumping off point from a post I’ve previously linked to (so if you haven’t read it you should since my meditation on this passage finds it origin in his thoughts, I’m derivative I know) at Matt McCracken’s blog in which he points out the curious phrase in the book of Job where it states that Job’s friends and family “…came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring [Emphasis McCraken’s].”

The passage does what too many evangelicals are afraid to do with the book of Job: foist responsibility of all the evil done (and it was evil) upon God. Too often when Job is being dealt with we say God allowed this evil to happen. But really? As if that absolves God of any responsibility for what occurred. The text, it seems, makes things less simple. More bluntly: the text itself clearly states that God had an active role in bringing evil upon Job.

(Note: this is not some singular cherry picking because the context is within a larger framework of a book, a story which clearly affirms the statement in this passage.)

What is this passage even about? Simple answer: God does evil things. End of story. Of course every Calvinist agrees with this statement (or should if they have any desire for intellectual consistency) but most people don’t like the idea. For good reason, even. But let’s take a moment and consider that earlier in Job the main character gives to God the attribute of being the one “gives and takes away” and then in Lamentations we see the poet decrying God’s apparent injustices. This type of mourning and anger permeates the Psalms and can even be found in the cry of Jesus upon the cross. What are we to do with this? In all honesty I’m not sure. I want to say God is not evil but God obviously then goes on to commit the greatest atrocity by planning and enacting via human agency the murder of his own son. So, maybe the odd beauty, the disturbing nature of the cross is that it forever separates us from God all the while bringing us near?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!