Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 25th, 2015 by Joel Watts

More on Creation…Keats, Immortality, Theosis

Creation does not have to end in hell

Icon of monks falling into the mouth of a dragon representing hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve posted several snippets and quotes from theologians on the reality of Creation. I also posted something from the 19th century poet, John Keats. Except for his suggestion that the Christian faith does not contain the allowance for this “schoolmaster” bit (honestly… stop making suggestions about the Christian faith unless you know all about it), I tend to agree with him.

I wanted to add a few thoughts so you can know where I’m going.

The goal of creation is to partake of the divine nature…

In this way he has given us his promises, great beyond all price, so that through them you may escape the corruption with which lust has infected the world, and may come to share in the very being of God. (2 Peter 1.4, REB)

Of course, the Petrine author was not the first to suggest this:

So they argued, and how wrong they were! Blinded by their own malevolence, they failed to understand God’s hidden plan; they never expected that holiness of life would have its recompense, never thought that innocence would have its reward. But God created man imperishable, and made him the image of his own eternal self;  (Wis 2:21–23)

The goal of creation is announced in Eden and finishes in Revelation (speaking from a canonical perspective), because as others have recognized, the Scripture canon is a circle.

In Genesis 2.17, we are introduced to the Tree of the Knowledge/Wisdom of Good and Evil. This is not merely a dichotomy. This is an idiom (much like Alpha and Omega) that expresses the sum total of good and evil and everything inbetween. For me, I usually describe it simply as…the breadth of human experience.

This tree is also lacking in Revelation. Now, we have alone the tree that grants immortality. Why? Because the whole of humanity has now experienced everything it means to be human and in doing so, moves us to the point where we are finally ready for what God has always meant for us to be. We have suffered so that we may know peace. We have hated so that we may know love. We have lost so that we may know gain. We have been sick so that we may now be healed and in doing so, partake in the divine nature. This doesn’t mean we to become God or gods, only that we move into partaking of divine being.

 Alright. There you go. Let me have it.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

5 Responses to “More on Creation…Keats, Immortality, Theosis”
  1. “The goal of creation is announced in Eden and finishes in Revelation (speaking from a canonical perspective), because as others have recognized, the Scripture canon is a circle.”

    “This tree is also lacking in Revelation. Now, we have alone the tree that grants immortality. Why? Because the whole of humanity has now experienced everything it means to be human…”

    Rev 22:2-3
    And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no curse any more: and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be therein: and his servants shall serve him;

    Phrased that way, it seems to make sense. I like your take. Too bad the author of Revelation went into hyperbolic drive and threw in dragons, whores, and a lamb with eyeball multiplicity.

    • Revelation is meant to be read with the idea of a hidden transcript. His “hyperbole” is a code against Gods and Country (Rome).

      And yes, the only tree that remains is the tree of life… the one God didn’t want humans to eat at in Genesis after they had eaten of the other one

      • Revelation: Science fiction, circa 120 AD.

        • Revelation: Underground rebellion, c. 120 CE

          • Wait a minute. I know it is politically correct to say CE instead of AD. But I, as a flaming liberal, but still old as hell, bristle at Common Era. Why do we use that? Whether we believe in Jesus or not, last time I checked…the year Zero is based upon Ad Deus, not Common, as in “whatever”.

            By the way, I am just pulling your leg. Happy Thanksgiving, even if the Native Americans wish it was a “Do-Over” Day!

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