Battling Undone

Five Propositions in Favor of the Future

1. Original violence (as described by Girard) is the de facto origin of human culture but not the prospective will of God, which according to Genesis is the Sabbath blessing of life.

2. Jesus came not to compensate for sin but to undo it by means of a new way of being human, thereby bringing about the Sabbath blessing and fulfilment of God’s purpose.

3. The loss of sacrificial foundations due to 2000 years of the gospel has exacerbated human violence to the point of extreme crisis (the argument of Battling to the End.) This looks like the inverse of God’s purpose and a failure of the gospel. But God’s will for creation cannot be reversed. Its ultimate triumph is guaranteed by God’s faithfulness. (Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 45:18, 55:10-11; Revelation 21:1-5.)

4. The standard solution to this quandary is to displace God’s purposes to a supernatural, supra-terrestrial space–“heaven.” Aside from this not being a typically biblical viewpoint it leads itself to a fatalist, rapturist mindset which tacitly or explicitly colludes with the violence. A “new heaven and a new earth” is not to be conceived as another planet somewhere in magical space but this earth radically transformed. “A new heaven” confirms this: the “supernatural” itself is to be renewed as part of a revolution in human transcendence; i.e. no longer violent. It is this revolution which signals and makes possible the new earth.

5. To have faith in the triumph of God’s project on earth is, therefore, neither optional nor whimsical. It means to stake your life on the belief that in the midst of human crisis something dramatically and wonderfully new is emerging. The very consistency of this belief in committed Christians at once provides humanity with an alternative future, within the living moment.

Tony Bartlett

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