An Eastern Orthodox friend of mine was sharing some of his thoughts with me on a previous post “Making God an Atheist” in which I discussed Jesus’ cry on the cross to God saying “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” As the conversation was carried yesterday this friend said something which I thought was very deep and insightful; he suggested that Christ as ‘true man’ must realize in himself the entire drama of the human story, and that this episode on the Cross may be precisely a recapitulation of the reality of the fall. This perspective is obviously deeply informed by the rich Eastern mystical tradition in which he is constantly drenched. This idea that Christ must actualize in himself the human story runs in tandem with the doctrine that Christ recapitulated in order to identify with, and therefore redeem, fallen humanity. Therefore, it is precisely at the resurrection that the ‘human story’ receives its eschatological end (telos), since the resurrection itself is the signification of salvation. This vision of Christ as the micro-cosmic man is fascinating, and worth comparing to the more obvious image of Christ as the recapitulation of Israel. For instance, we see in the Scriptures that the early Christians understood Israel’s story to prefigure Christ’s story, and for Christ’s story to re-present Israel’s history. For instance, in Matthew 2:14-15 we read:
Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’
The prophet being quoted is Hosea:
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
Obviously Hosea has in mind the exodus from Egypt, and some modern Theologians are uncomfortable with Matthew’s exegesis applying this passage to Christ. However, this lack of comfort can only come from a lack of understanding of prophesies as always multi-vocal in principle, in company with a view to Christ as the God-man recapitulating the whole human story and putting a bow on the ending so as to present man with an already-but-not-yet eschatological Soteriology. Christ in himself fulfills what Israel’s story prefigures and typifies, and similarly Christ in himself realizes and fulfills the whole ‘human story’ in light of ‘salvation history’ as read by God through the lens of the ‘Christic Myth’ (a term I borrow from my friend). Therefore, perhaps I could add to my previous reflections on Christ’s dark night of the soul by suggesting that this event itself recapitulates the fall – and redemption is thus realized in the resurrection, which acts as the definitive answer to the fall.