Unsettled Christianity

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

Quick thoughts, before I forget, on Galatians 2.20 and παραδίδωμι

ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. – Galatians 2.20

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I need to write this down to clear it up some and to have on recall for later. So…

As you know, my dissertation proposes a unique model of atonement in Galatians based on Jesus’s voluntary death — he voluntarily surrendered himself to die for/in order to bring about/X the new creation/covenant. I usually just drop the suicide bomb.

While I will explain the actual mechanical functions of the atonement — how it works and why — I need to build up several ideas.

1.) That it was voluntary but goes beyond voluntary and into something that looks like a curse/sin. Jesus doesn’t just offer himself up, but sees it as his required service to die because he is divine.

2.) That it was to stop the wrath of God/divine absence. This is not in the PSA sense, but in the “God, where are you? Why have you abandoned me (Israel)? Why are you still warring against me?” sense. Sure, this may look like PSA, but it is not divine child abuse. This is based completely on the free will of Jesus and focused explicitly on an high early Christology (perhaps even reaching directly back to Jesus himself…er, Himself).

In my head, it looks (for now), like this. Jesus, being divine (in some sense I’m not ready to define), willing ritually sacrifices himself exactly because he sees himself as divine. In doing so, he declares his divinity. But, the reasons to sacrifice going beyond the mandatory “I do this because I’m divine.” Rather, the reasons are likewise important. God is absent from the life of Israel. He is no more in the Temple. Israel is run over by other gods, namely, the Romans. Sin abounds. So, Jesus, attempting to bring an end to this cosmic war between God and Israel. Because of this action, there is a new covenant between God…and the cosmos.

παραδίδωμι is connected to wrath, especially when used in connection with the Deity (cf Hosea 5.10). In Galatians 2.20, Jesus is giving himself up. In Galatians 3.13-14… it is better described. Jesus becomes the curse. The curse? Sure. Read Deuteronomy to see what “the curse” is. It is the ongoing wrath of God. Jesus literally becomes the wrath of God, ending it and conflagulating the cosmos once more.

Anyway, I needed to write this down and will continue to flesh this out. My focus is Galatians 3.13-14, because in this small pericope, Jesus is becoming that which God uses as divine judgement. But it is by Jesus’s free will.

Basically, Galatians 3.1-14 is a direct explanation of Galatians 2.20: Jesus becomes the curse, παραδίδωμι, because Jesus is divine, Jesus wants to stop the Divine Absence/War/Wrath/Old Covenant and bring about something new between God and Cosmos. It is as much about God as it is about the Creatures. It is no longer a unilateral covenant from God to a people, but now comes from the earth to the sky. Jesus is forcing a new covenant, from the ground up, and it includes all people.

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

2 Responses to “Quick thoughts, before I forget, on Galatians 2.20 and παραδίδωμι”
  1. Hi Joel; I know it’s risky to interpret one letter by another, but (as I’m sure you know) there are enough verbal parallels with Rom 8:32 to make that at least relevant to the interpretation, and the way in which there it is God who “hands over” his s(S)on, seems at least a text that needs taking into account when describing the s(S)on handing himself over.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: