Finishing creation

I.

Crucifixion Lorenzo Monaco

II. What if James Alison is right? What if …

‘… Jesus knew from the beginning what he was doing, completely possessed as he was by his quickened imagination of the ever-living God. It was this which enabled him to stage a solemn mime in the midst of this death-based culture, so that he might be killed as a way of leading people out of that culture based on death, allowing us to come to be what God always wanted us to be, that is, utterly and absolutely alive with Him. What Jesus’ entirely living imagination means, then, is that he was working so as to bring to existence what God had always wanted, but which had become trapped in the violent and fatal parody which we have seen, and which we tend to live out. So what Jesus was bringing into being was the fulfillment of creation, and this he knew very well as he was doing it …

This means something rather important: the understanding of God as Creator changes from someone who once did something to someone who is doing something through Jesus, who was in on what the Father was doing through him from the beginning. Creation is not finished until Jesus dies (shouting tetelestai – it is accomplished), thus opening the whole of creation, which consequently begins fully, in a completely new way, in the garden on the first day of the week. This means, and here is the central point: we understand creation starting from and through Jesus. God’s graciousness which brings what is not into existence from nothing is exactly the same thing as Jesus’ death-less self-giving out of love which enables him to break the human culture of death, and is a self-giving which is entirely fixed on bringing into being a radiantly living and exuberant culture. It is not as though creation were a different act, something which happened alongside the salvation worked by Jesus, but rather that the salvation which Jesus was working was, at the same time, the fulfillment of creation. This was the power and the authority in Jesus’ works and words and signs. Through him the Creator was bringing his work to completion. The act of creation was revealed for what it really is: the bringing to existence and the making possible of a human living together which does not know death; and Jesus was in on this from the beginning. Such is our world that God could only be properly perceived as Creator by means of the overcoming of death’.

– James Alison, Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996), 54–55.

Could it be true? Could this be the promise made to a dying thief? And to a grieving mother who now had new responsibilities?

III. Christop Booth, in his Good Friday drawings, tells the story that we remember on this day like this:

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One thought on “Finishing creation

  1. I like this. When Allison says “God’s graciousness which brings what is not into existence from nothing is exactly the same thing…’ I want to add, “is exactly the same power that brings resurrection out of death.” A power impossible to describe yet tangibly present through the eyes of faith. And when we reach for words for this, love is the answer. Thanks for this and the access to the wonderful images!

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