Thursday, May 15, 2003

Reacting to every Tom, John and Mark

This week seems to involve a lot of letting other people write my blog. Reacting once again to a discussion on Tom's and Mark's blogs, about a line from John's Gospel last Sunday. Mark pointed it out: "This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again." Tom tried, in good Dominican fashion, to illuminate it: "I think there's an extended transitive relationship at work here. The Father loves the Son. Jesus is the Son Incarnate; His earthly life is the Son's eternal life projected onto humanity. The Father's love for the Son in His Divinity is an exact analog of the Father's love for the Son in His humanity. In this passage, Jesus explains that the Father loves the Son in His humanity because in His Humanity the Son lays down His life in order to take it up again." Now, there's definitely a bit of glossing going on in Tom's explication, since nowhere does the phrase "in my humanity" appear in Jesus statement, and, generally speaking, it is considered that Jesus' own Divinity was concealed from Him during most of his earthly life.

But I'm going to bail on the gloss at this point. John's proto- and crypto-gnosticism make him very hard for me to come to terms with. There's a lot going on in John that is just barely this side of things that became heresies, and as much as I love slicing words to an onion-skin-thinness, I am not smart enough in many cases to see the difference between John's non-heresy and the Gnostics' actual heresy.

Statements like "This is why the Father loves me" fall into this category for me. It sounds so much like the "secret knowledge" the Gnostics were always chasing after. I'm sure there's value in there for people who have eyes to see, but I am as blind to John as a sightless man is to Monet.


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