Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Curse is the Cure for Sin

I was listening to Slavoj Zizek discuss Hegel's claim, "The Spirit is strong enough to heal its own wounds". He elaborates this as not the typical view of Hegelian synthesis in the divine life (i.e. God others himself in the Creation which he redeems in fully recognizing himself in the other, and thus atonement viz. process theology and panentheism). Rather, Zizek claims Hegel is saying that all problems can be solved by an appeal to the problem. The space can be a wound and an opening. He applies this to colonialism, in how the only way for a people to overcome the trauma and tragedy of colonization is to move forward. The freedom of a society ruptured allows for the downtrodden and weak to move into a more equitable society.

Now, I can think of a number of biblical parallels to this dialectical oddity play out in God's strange relationship to creation (e.g. Eve born out of Adam's wounded side; Christ's pierced side pouring out water and blood, a synecdoche for the Church etc.) But I thought of this even more fundamentally as the curse God lays upon the Creation in the very beginning.

Now, many modern Christians tend to emphasize a kind of detached way of thinking through Genesis 3. They use an appeal to ontology or law-code in order to distance God from the Fall. Thus, Adam sins and then things just fall a part because of repercussions for his actions. Or Adam falls and ontologically creation falls with him. But this seems to be a way of saying, "mistakes were made". This was something I was prone to, I was uncomfortable with God being the one who said, "Cursed is the ground for your sake".

But isn't that wording strange? For Adam's sake the ground is cursed? This I think is the purposes of hardship on the Earth. The holy apostle Paul said that God consigned the world to disobedience in order to liberate it. God's curse upon the earth and upon the woman was the very means for God's salvation of mankind from the grip of sin. The curse was, strangely, the cure. This is the symbolic logic in the fact that Moses' bronze serpent healed the disobedient, envenomed, Israelites. Thus, in a strange way, God's curse was His blessing for Mankind. It was the way it came into the problem of Adam and Eve's sin.

Honestly, in personal reflection, I am embarrassed at my reticence of the Biblical text. My stupid liberal sensibilities kept me from recognizing the plain truth. I might not have understood the Bible at that very moment, but my hesitancy was my shame. Let this be a lesson to all (myself included) to allow the possibility of God's wisdom despite what seems odd or grotesques. It might be the very truth that sets us free.

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