GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

July 15, 2018

Reflections on the Passion

Filed under: GA — Q @ 9:34 am

In one of Kurt Vonnegut’s science fiction novels, some aliens hear the story of Christ, and their take on his story is that the people who crucified Jesus picked the wrong person to crucify, since Jesus’s dad, unbeknownst to them, is the most powerful being in the universe, and so, his cruficiers were going to be in big trouble. The moral of the Passion story, for the aliens, was to be very careful about whom you crucify, because you don’t want to get into trouble with his or her relatives. Girard pointed out that the scapegoat victim is usually someone without any powerful connections, in order to avoid this kind of retaliation.

The aliens proposed a revision of the Passion story, in which Jesus was just an ordinary person who was elected, by divine fiat, to be God’s Son, either before or after the crucifixion. For the aliens, this would yield a more satisfactory moral: don’t crucify anyone, because anyone could be chosen as God’s Son. The aliens’ revision is to some extent a legitimate interpretation, since the Bible clearly suggests that we are all God’s children, even if we are not the “only begotten Son.” I believe Vonnegut’s ideas here play into scholarly reconstructions of the earliest (1st century) Christian theology, by which Jesus was elected or raised to Sonship by God, not descended from heaven via the Incarnation. More to follow.

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