MIRACLES AS METAPHYSICS

A HERMENEUTIC OF MARK



Religion, so far as it receives external expression in human history, exhibits four factors or sides of itself.  These factors are ritual, emotion, belief, rationalization. ... The order of the emergence of these factors was in the inverse order of the depth of their religious importance: first ritual, then emotion, then belief, then rationalization. (Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making, 1926, p 8)

The doctrines of rational religion aim at being that metaphysics which can be derived from the supernormal experience of mankind in its moments of finest insight. (Ibid p 21)

Religion requires a metaphysical backing; for its authority is endangered by the intensity of the emotions which it generates. Such emotions are evidence of some vivid experience; but they are a very poor guarantee for its correct interpretation. (Ibid p 71)

But science can leave its metaphysics implicit and retire behind belief in the pragmatic value of its general descriptions. If religion does that, it admits that its dogmas are merely pleasing ideas for the purpose of stimulating its emotions. Science (at least as a temporary methodological device) can rest upon a naive faith; religion is the longing for justification. When religion ceases to seek for penetration, for clarity, it is sinking back into its lower forms. The ages of faith are the ages of rationalism. (Ibid p 73)

Religious truth must be developed from knowledge acquired when our ordinary senses and intellectual operations are at their highest pitch of discipline. (Ibid p 109)



1 THE MESSIANIC MIRACLES AND THEIR PRECEDENT


Mark and Miracles


Scholarly consensus has reached, and for some time now, maintained two related conclusions concerning the gospel of Mark: (1) that it is the earliest of the three synoptic gospels and (2) that in some form it was used by both Matthew and Luke in the compilation of their gospels. This study is an interpretation (hermeneutic) of Mark based on that which constitutes approximately one third of its content, miracle narratives. The time for a more comprehensive consideration of this single most important feature of the gospel is overdue. The miracle stories have long suffered  neglect if not ridicule, due in part no doubt to the challenge they offer to belief. On the whole, it has been easier to ignore them rather than contend with them.

The approach of both Matthew and Luke to the Markan miracle stories is itself, hermeneutical, or interpretative. Matthew lacks the obvious theological emphasis that Mark places on his descriptions of these events. He attaches more weight to Jesus' role as teacher rather than healer, and his recension of some of the stories of Mark, borders on the perfunctory. For example, he sometimes multiplies the number of persons involved; thus he refers to 'two demoniacs' (Matthew 8.28s) as against Mark's single 'man with an unclean spirit' (Mark 5.1s). Matthew's story of the healing of two blind men (Matthew 20.29-34) likewise doubles the single blind Bartimaeus of Mark's original account (Mark 10.46-52). (Matthew contains another story of the healing of two blind men (9.27-30) which in certain respects also bears comparison to the latter.) Matthew takes for granted the fact that Jesus healed the sick. Perhaps too much so, for he has not appreciated the careful organization of these stories in Mark. Not only is there a theological relation between the stories of healing and the series of disciples in Mark, but these stories perform other vital semantic and didactic functions of which Matthew seems for the most part to be unaware.

Luke's attitude to the Markan stories of healing is different again. His gospel too has at least one story in which the number of persons healed is more than one, that of the ten lepers (17.11-19). (In Mark only in the generalised statements about Jesus' ability to heal (1.34, 6.54-56, (and 6.13, of the ability of 'the twelve')) do we find such references.) However his story of the of The Gerasene Demoniac (8.26-39) and his story of Bartimaeus (18.35-43) are in this respect nearer to the Markan originals than Matthew's versions. However, Luke has significantly more stories of healing than Mark or Matthew. We may read that as evidence for the significance he attaches to such events. On the other hand, it is obvious that his handling of the Markan material disturbs its order. This no less than Matthew's attitude of near nonchalance, detracts from the clear purpose of the form and organization of these events in Mark.

The miracle stories in Mark consist of two series; there are thirteen stories of healing, and five other episodes that are clearly related to the healing series in that they are miraculous. Some or all of these are sometimes referred to as 'nature miracles'. They present us with clearly defined patterns, and offer an ideal approach to the study of the miracle stories as a whole. It is with this series of events that we must first be concerned. These five episodes are as follows:

The Stilling of the Storm (Mark 4.35-4.31)

The Feeding of the Five Thousand (6.30-6.44)

The Walking on the Water (6.45-52)

The Feeding of the Four Thousand (8.1-10)

The Transfiguration (9.1-13)

Just one of many remarkable features of this series of miracles, we shall refer to them as the messianic series/miracles, is that all of them (in the case of Matthew) or some of them (in Luke and in John) are contained in other gospels in precisely the same order. It is not merely their order that is scrupulously maintained. For although minor variations between the different versions occur - for example John refers to the distance of the boat from the land in The Walking On The Water, and Matthew tells of Peter's attempt to emulate Jesus in his version of the same episode - the various editions of these narratives are recognizably the same. In no single account of any one of these events has the basic content been altered. In view of the many discrepancies between the parallel versions of the healing miracle narratives, this is nothing less than astounding. (One possible explanation why the messianic series of miracles has apparently suffered so little editing, could be that it was sooner committed to writing, having been passed on in that form rather than as oral tradition.)

These narratives therefore,  provide us with the opportunity to interrelate the gospels on the basis of their organization. Such an exercise has been carried out using the various versions of the story of Jesus' death. The several versions of the Passion narrative offer a firm basis for exploring the possibility of relationships among all four gospels. But the stories of messianic miracles have received far less attention from the same point of view. As noted, this is largely the result of such miracle stories being all too often the occasion of embarrassment among scholars. However these narratives hold the promise of a systematic and comprehensive statement of the underpinning of Christian faith, and in bypassing them we fail to grasp the full extent of the teaching of the gospel of Mark, the teaching gospel par excellence.

In relation to a comparison of the various forms of this cycle of stories and before we advance any further we need to note  the first miracle story in the gospel of John, Transformation of Water into Wine, John 2.1-11. This bears all the characteristics of a 'messianic miracle'. In virtue of several criteria, this story is remarkably similar to two events from Mark's five: The Feeding of the Five Thousand and The Feeding of the Four Thousand. We shall come to investigate these criteria more systematically later, but it should be obvious to anyone reading these three texts for the first time, that they are thematically of a piece. They all deal with the notion of feeding or nurturing, even though it is true that the element of wine differs from those of bread and fish, and that there is no effective multiplication. But this too conforms to a larger pattern which syntactically both divides relates two groups of three messianic miracles, and furthermore to a pattern discernible in yet another biblical text with which we shall to engage:

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. (John 2.6,7)

The miracle is one of transformation of an existing quantity of water into the same quantity of wine. In spite of this difference, the event looks to be of the same kind as the other two feeding miracles. Let us preempt part of the argument from criteria. One of the more notable features of these feeding miracles is the total lack of any record of amazement on the part of the witnesses. The synoptic gospels (Mark 1.27, Luke 4.36, Matthew 9.8) and John (9.32) all associate amazement on the part of the onlookers with certain of Jesus' acts of healing. But, surprisingly, we do not find such references in either of the feeding miracles, and it is absent from John’s story of the miracle at Cana. Further to this, a tone of conviviality distinguishes the feeding miracles from the other three. The Transfiguration and the two episodes at sea are uniformly all marked by the witnesses' experience of fear. The tenor of the miracle at Cana however, is identical to that of the miracles of loaves. They share an atmosphere of congeniality. This is theologically significant.

Related to these criteria, but somewhat different from it is the dichotomy of privacy/publicity. The Transfiguration and the two miracles at sea are concealed from the public gaze, the disciples alone witness them. Indeed, only three of the twelve disciples witness The Transfiguration. In terms of this criterion also, the first miracle in John's gospel inheres systematically with the two feeding miracles.

We will later investigate the various criteria which establish a logical polarity, informing the structure of not just the messianic events, but the healing series also. For the moment however, we need to reckon with the evident possibility that the story of the miracle at Cana belongs with the other five narratives just listed. I will not rehearse in full the argumentation for this procedure of 'adding' the story of the Cana miracle to the messianic series as it currently exists in the gospel of Mark. Several of these involve exegetical and critical considerations. I have summarized the main points which support the addition of the Cana miracle story to the extant Markan series as follows:
In adding John's story of Jesus' first miracle  to the five messianic events of Mark's record, we have not disturbed their chronological sequence. We have summarized some of the reasons for our analysis of the Markan material as incomplete. With the addition of the miracle at Cana to the series of messianic events we can now consider their formal organisation which becomes remarkably clear. These considerations will sustain decisively our procedure of having completed the Markan series with the addition of the first sign in John.

 

The Structure of the Messianic Miracle Series


The inclusion of the story of  'the first of his signs [which] Jesus did at Cana in Galilee' determines this series to have been formerly incomplete. Its patterns, which existed formerly only implicitly, are now too obvious to ignore. This defines the parameters of the study of the messianic miracles in Mark.  The complete messianic series consists of six members of two types:

1 The Transformation of Water into Wine (John 2.1-11)

2 The Stilling of the Storm (Mark 4.35-4.31)

3 The Feeding of the Five Thousand (6.30-6.44)

4 The Walking on the Water (6.45-52)

5 The Feeding of the Four Thousand (8.1-10)

6 The Transfiguration (9.1-13)

Three of these events, one half, concern assimilation of food or drink. They concern the corporeal nature of our existence, that is, they pertain to the fact that our bodies need and desire the kinds of things mentioned in the stories. We might expect that the other three stories co-inhere in virtue of a similarly shared theme. All too plainly they do:

And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?" (Mark 4.41)

... for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." (6.50)

... for they were exceedingly afraid …" This is my beloved Son … (9.6, 7)

As brief as they are, these quotes readily demonstrate two criteria confirming the coherence of this half of the messianic events. The two miracles at sea and The Transfiguration are all imbued with a mood of fear, awe, dread, which in some way is the antithesis of the prevailing mood of the feeding miracles. Secondly, and more importantly, they all express the notion of Jesus' identity. Therefore, it is now apparent not only that the story of the miracle at Cana belongs to a symmetrical sixfold series, but also that this same series as a whole is polarised. It comprises two sets of three events. One set is signified by the idea of incorporation or assimilation, the other by the idea of identity or specific personhood.

This leads to the question of the precise relation between these two subsets of miracles. We notice that in all three gospels which contain them,  the two episodes at the very centre of the series, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Walking On The Water are contiguous. There is no intervening narrative at this point. Every gospel containing these episodes observes the same chronology of the messianic events: Mark 6.30-52, Matthew 14.13-33, and John 6.1-21. (Luke's is the only one of the four gospels which fails to record both episodes, it contains only the first event, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, 9.10b-17.) This is nothing short of exceptional given the chronological and other disparities which occur in various versions of the healing miracles. The seamless movement from an event of one type, 'feeding', to the other, 'identity', at the very centre of the series is a further guarantee of the consistency and integrity of the series. The phrase 'to the other side' (Mark 6.45, Matthew 14.22, in John 6.22 'on the other side of the sea'), in addition to its literal geographical meaning, highlights the significance of the series' polarity very nicely indeed. Mark uses this phrase in a theological more than geographical sense as noted. Furthermore, John points emphatically to the transition from one to the other polarity in his discourse on Jesus 'the bread of life':

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you; for on him has God the Father set his seal." (John 6.26, 27)

This passage from John follows immediately the story of The Walking On The Water. The contrast it establishes between the two miracles is stark. The tenor of the first event is congenial whereas that of the second and its subsequent discourses is palpably awesome. The effect of placing the two stories together in this manner seems designed to ensure their specific relation of antithesis. There are other ways of achieving the same end, but the carefully maintained serial order of the episodes is conspicuous just here. If the two central stories - the third and the third last - are specifically related, we need to examine the possibility that the first and last function logically in the same way, as well as the second and second last.

The first and last episodes of the series, are The Transformation of Water into Wine and The Transfiguration. The words 'transformation' (gegenhme/non)  and 'transfiguration' (metemorfw/qh) in their English translation at least, clearly attest such a relationship. The two episodes concern  the  notion of a process  of change  from  one  thing  or state into another. In other words, each event is a transmutation. If we look more closely at the introductions to the two texts, another connection becomes apparent:

And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." (John 1.51, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine);

And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." (Mark 9.1, The Transfiguration).

Looking at the text again, we find a numerical pattern based on the number six, a conspicuous component in both accounts:

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification … (John 2.6, Cana).

And after six days Jesus took with him … (Mark 9.2, The Transfiguration).

Further to the above, both narratives contain strong indications of a Christological function, that is both contain references to the 'Son of man'. The miracle at Cana is prefaced by the confession of Nathanael to Jesus:

"Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" (John 1.49)

This is followed by the reference to the 'Son of man' contained in Jesus' reply quoted above. Complementarily, The Transfiguration contains more than one reference to the latter. There has already been some discussion of the identity of Jesus in Mark 8.27-29, Peter's confession of the same. This was followed by the first of Mark's three passion predictions (31-33):

And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things ... (8.31)

Immediately prior to the introduction to The Transfiguration (9.1) we find:

"... For whoever is ashamed o me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (8.38)

The narrative of The Transfiguration itself centres on the identity of Jesus, whom the 'voice from out of the cloud' calls "my beloved Son" (Mark 9.7). If these several references were not already sufficient, in the ensuing pericope (vv 9-13) there are another two references to the Son of man, (vv 9, 12). The plethora of references to 'Son' in both miracle stories, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine, and The Transfiguration secures their function as equally Christological. The difference between the two is in itself likewise, that is Christological: it reverts to the inherent 'sameness in difference'  that transcendence : immanence imputes to the Son by means of its central sign which signifies the logos as relational. These arguments for the complementarity of the first and last miracles of the messianic series as equally Christological , arguments from the content of the narratives, focus on:
They amply attest a one to one antithetical correspondence between the first and last episodes of the messianic series, in keeping with the same pattern of correspondence between the third and third last. We now have the two peripheral events - The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and The Transfiguration - as well as the two central events  - The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and TheWalking On The Water, formally, that is logically, linked. When we come to the second and second last events, The Stilling Of The Storm and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, no conspicuous motifs are given. Textual contiguity at this point is an impossibility since it has been reserved for the central episodes. Nor do these two narratives include references of the kind we have found securing a further chiastic relation between the first and last messianic miracles. Thus where structural contiguity is impossible, such references would be otiose. But the similarity of the central pair (The Feeding of the Five Thousand - The Walking On The Water) to the neighbouring pair (The Feeding Of The Four Thousand - The Stilling Og The Storm) speaks for the one-to-one correspondence of the latter. That is to say, the compilers of the text rely on our observation of the similitude between the two sea miracles and the two miracles of loaves. The pattern linking The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Walking On The Water covers the two similar events. As central, it can and does cover for their relationality.  Hence, the relation of the peripheral and central pairs, is very clearly articulated, and the relation of second to second last, is party to the same pattern - chiasmos. This is a common enough feature of the arrangement of a variety of biblical texts. We can summarise these formal features of the messianic miracle series as follows:
 
Water Become Wine
Transfiguration
Stilling the Storm
Feeding the 4,000
Feeding the 5,000
Walking on the Water


It would seem that the triad in which the chiastic structure formulates the series of messianic miracles, must finally be understood theologically; that is, as an exposition of the doctrine of the threefold nature of 'God'.

The other formal feature of this chiasmos is the alternation of the two types of event. The messianic miracles conform to either kind, 'feeding' or 'identity'. This is inseparable from the ternary (triadic) form of the series. In other words, the formal polarity, that there are two kinds of events, logically necessitates three members of each kind given the total number of episodes, six. These factors of binary and ternary forms are thus mutually inclusive and inextricable from the meaning of the narratives.

Mark's geography has provoked a certain amount of surprise, not to say disbelief. Reading the several references to crossing 'to the other side' in light of this oscillation between the two subspecies of miracles, it begins to make much more sense. Thus in having made the alterity or otherness of subsequent events to one another the actual content of two of the stories themselves, the form of the series as a whole is made inseparable from its content. The meaning of this series of messianic miracles cannot be grasped without reference to its logical structure or shape. This is a topic requiring full-scale discussion and we only touch upon it here as it concerns the hermeneutic. The logical shape of the messianic series is that of the sixfold, which consists equally of dyadic and triadic patterns. These assure its aesthetic integrity.


The Eucharist

Now, provisionally at least, we need to incorporate the record of the Eucharist as a member of the series of messianic 'miracles'. The reasons for doing so will become clearer as we proceed. A first observation concerning this must be to recognise that the Eucharist coheres with one particular subspecies of messianic miracles. There can be no doubt that a relationship of some sort obtains between the three feeding miracles and the Eucharist. John alludes to this in the case of Cana, as the description of Jesus' death clearly resonates with the elements of water and wine:

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear; and at once there came out blood and water. (John 19.34)

In both Mark and Matthew the link between the 'Eucharistic' messianic miracles contained in their gospels - the two stories of loaves and fish - and the account of the institution of the Lord's Supper is  even more certain. Matthew uses four words in his record of the Supper which recur in the miracle stories: 'to bless' and 'to break' (of bread); 'to give thanks' (of the cup of 'this fruit of the vine'); and 'to give' (of both elements) (26.26s). Three of these occur in The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, 'give thanks', 'break' and 'give' (15.36). In The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, he uses 'to bless' (eu)lo/ghsen) instead of 'to give thanks' (eu)xaristh/sav), and 'break', and 'give' (14.19).

 Mark's account of the Supper uses' bless', 'break', 'give thanks’ and 'give' (of both elements) (14.22s). Of these his narrative of The Four Thousand contains only the word 'bless' (8.7); his account of The Five Thousand uses 'bless', 'broke', 'gave' (6.41).

We include the Eucharist in the series, on condition of noting that its status as a miracle stretches the given sense of this term. The Eucharist it stands alone in several senses. It is not a miracle; it is unpaired; it is the last member of the series which it reformulates as asymmetrical. These formal factors all tell for the exceptional status of the Eucharist. With these considerations in mind, we postulate that the Eucharist belongs to the series of six miracles, or rather that they belong to it, and indeed are preparatory to a proper understanding of it.

Another narrative 'series' or sequence of events, this time from  the Old Testament, bears directly upon this argument. Genesis 1.1-2.4a will present the very same formal features we have now observed in the messianic miracles: a sixfold-sevenfold pattern; another permutation of 3:3/3:4; and hence symmetry/asymmetry; also the pattern of the seventh event enjoying an exceptional status. The investigation of the series of days of creation will be crucial in determining the relationship of the Eucharist to the messianic miracles. The point here is that the messianic miracle series as a whole, functions in preparation for the story of the Lord's Supper. Hence, the six events are serial precisely in the sense that they lead towards the final event, the Eucharist. All of which means that this component of the gospel of Mark, the messianic events, the six miracles and the Eucharist taken as a serial whole with an indubitable reference to another serially ordered text, is much more coherently ordered and encompassing than we first thought. This is even more certain once we begin comparison with the messianic series with the creation series The logical legitimation for this procedure is immediately available in its binary contours. Polarity goes hand in hand with analogy. This means that not only are the three binaries of the messianic series comparable to one another on this basis. They are, and we shall develop their comparability in terms of the polarity immanence : transcendence. It makes for the further comparability of these seven eventss recorded in the gospel with those of Genesis 1.1-2.4a, the P creation narrative, which as we shall see, is structured analogously to the messianic series. The first task here however, is to examine the binary form of the messianic events.

Binary Structure in the Messianic Miracles

We can now begin to look more closely at the rationale behind the polarisation of the messianic series of events. We have broadly classified three 'identity' miracles and the same number of 'feeding' miracles with a one-to-one correspondence between the members of each class. We have alluded to some of the criteria that lie at the basis of such a division. These (secondary) criteria deserve still more scrutiny. We will phrase them in more or less dichotomous terms, but that does not mean to say that the entities to which they refer, assuming for the moment that there are such clearly determined things in themselves, stand in this sort of relation to one another. Also, we must be careful to distinguish between various senses of opposition. Polarities are not all of one kind, as we shall later see. Using the primary terminology 'identity' : 'feeding' resumes the terms of the narratives themselves and also avoids any reductive 'dualism'. For the antithetical patterns involved are of greater complexity than one simple kind alone.

1. Public / private

When we enter the world of the first miracle story in the gospel of John, we sense that we are in the presence of various and many characters in an unfolding drama. John has just finished his list of several individual disciples; perhaps he intends an association between the concept of the individual and the kind of psychological reality envisaged in the miracle story, erotic love. Certainly, he implies as much in the cryptic exchange between Jesus and Nathanael (John 1.47-51). This story has drawn an untold number of responses from commentators who appear to have pored over it all too bloodlessly. John's theology of 'incarnation', set out in the prologue, here modulates towards a theology of physical (sexual) love. This is hardly surprising in view of the theological link between Jesus and death and resurrection. If we cannot speak of Christ without speaking of death, we should expect the same to apply to the affinity between Christ and erotic (sexual) love. This miracle story concerns not just the complex link between death, the sexual and the social, but the link between the phenomenon of physical love and Jesus, the Son, a fact which would indicate one possible direction for interpreting the reference to the Son of man in the opening pledge to Nathanael (1.51). (Henceforth if we read carefully enough, we can see the identity of the writer/'the disciple whom Jesus loved' emerging as 'subtext'. There has already been one oblique reference to him prior to the calling narratives, in John. He is the other of the two disciples of John mentioned in John 1.35-39, of whom only one, Andrew, is named.)

Erotic love here, at the very outset of the gospel, is set against the reality of one's Christian vocation. It is a question of sexual love and discipleship. Jesus' revelation to Nathanael  - "... when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" - depicts the individual identity of this figure juxtaposed against the phenomenon of sexual love. It is a remark that echoes the 'guileless' character of Nathanael himself, precisely because it dismantles the whole dichotomy private/public. But Jesus is not making a public statement about the private life of an individual. To describe Nathanael publicly in terms of his private, sexual, life may seem odd, but it squares with the emergent theologies of corporeity and incarnation in the gospels. Sexual intimacy is the conjunction of two persons. Two persons nevertheless form a society. (In this, sex differs radically from death.) Though a 'couple' of persons exists at the lowest margins of plurality, two persons are nevertheless a plurality rather than singular, and in that sense, public or corporate, rather than private. John describes the steward of the feast as not knowing where the wine had come from, 'though the servants who had drawn the water knew' (John 2.9). The word 'servants' here nominates societies as necessarily composed of 'couples'. It has many implications, some of which refer to another secondary criterion, that of determinism as opposed to the gratuitous; others of course play on the identity of Jesus in his adoption of the same role. Weddings after all are public occasions for this very reason that societies are composed of persons related to one another as the erotic couple. This helps to explain why the theme of publicity is somewhat modulated when compared to the same motif in the two miracles of loaves. They involve thousands of persons, rather than two individuals in their denomination as couple.

Even so, the specifically erotic form of corporeity obtains a propos of other forms of the same. Even if its particularity places it at some remove from the of corporeity of public discourse, the publicity of the spoken word, and even from the publicity of the economic, the household or family also, there is really no question here of anything other than a society or corporeity of a specific sort.  Such nuances qualify the portrayal of the miracle in terms of the criterion of publicity, and help us to understand the enigmatic exchange between Jesus and Nathanael. This squares with the public celebration of the wedding itself.

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. (John 2.1, 2).

The numbers present bear no effective comparison to the 'thousands' spoken of in the stories of loaves and fishes. This is intelligible in view of what we have just observed, the qualification that applies to any description of the corporeality of the erotic in relation to public corporeality. The text refers to 'servants', 'the steward of the feast', 'the bridegroom', and 'people' (a)/nqrwpov), that is 'men' (vv 5, 8, 9, 10). If it does not explicitly mention guests, that is because we understand the very nature of the event to have involved them. In this way then, particularly by means of the expression 'servants' which underscores the theme of necessity, of submission to a force, here sexual appetition and its gratification, the extension of the notion of just one isolated couple, bride and bridegroom, is advanced in keeping with the presentation of the theme of multiplicity in the two miracles of loaves. The public rather than private aspect of sexual love and marriage in particular sorts with the related phenomena, more explicitly public, of what is to be signified in the two miracles of loaves.

All three feeding miracles are alike in this respect. All involve groups of persons, or persons in one or another relational capacity. In his story of The Five Thousand (6.44), Mark uses the word 'men' (a0/ndrev) in the generic sense (as John uses it in 2.10). This accords with the sense of the word 'crowd' (6.34ff, 8.1ff). The significance of this aspect of these events has not escaped the attention of Matthew who has the phrases 'about five thousand men, besides women and children' (14.21), and 'four thousand men, besides women and children' (15.38). Matthew should receive recognition for his inclusive terminology.  John  conveys the same by means of the references here in the miracle story, and in the Passion narrative, to Jesus' mother. There is a distinct sense in which the public as opposed to the private, will be associated with the feminine. For, as we shall see, the transcendent messianic miracles all involve exclusively male companies.

The contrast which such public events subtends to the 'identity' miracles could hardly be greater regarding. We have already observed in the gospel of John, the thematic contrast following the story of The Five Thousand (John 6.26, 27). He accordingly bridges the feeding miracle story and the miracle at sea with:

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself (au)to\v mo/nov). (John 6.15)

The parallel text in the gospel of Mark reads:

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. (Mark 6.45-47)

The Walking on the Water stands in relation to The Stilling of the Storm, as does the The Feeding Of The Five Thousand to The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, given the methodological reciprocity of polarity and analogy. We have previously once encountered in the gospel the sense of difference of the sea miracles from their counterpart feeding miracles in terms of the idea of privacy. Mark begins the story of the Stilling thus: 

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. (Mark 4.35, 36a)

The fact is that all three of the 'identity' miracles are private rather than public. To be sure, the disciples witness them. Tradition requires the existence of some witnesses. We could never have known about The Transfiguration if at least some of the disciples had not been present. However, the public does not experience these transcendent episodes. Moreover, the transcendent miracles are frequently associated with the secrecy motif. Thus the conclusion reads:

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead (9.10)

All twelve of the disciples witness the two miracles at sea, The Stilling Of The Storm and The Walking On The Water. At The Transfiguration, only three of the twelve are present, 'Peter, James and John' (9.2). The use of the phrase 'apart by themselves' (kat'  i)di/an mo/nouv  9.2) reinforces the remoteness of the setting, 'upon a high mountain'. All three miracles of this kind occur in inaccessible and isolated places. All in all this makes for a distinct antithesis with the very public nature of the other three events, the feeding or nurturing  events.

Therefore the public/private motif confirms the binary or polar ordering of the messianic events and does so in conformity with the pattern of crossing 'to the other side', a repeated formula which substantiates two of the miracles themselves. However, it is just one of a number of such secondary criteria securing the polarisation of the six episodes.

 
2. Conviviality / awe

We began to notice the apparent difference in tone or mood between the two subspecies of events in the three quotations that served to indicate the common concern of the 'transcendent'  miracles with the identity of Jesus:

Stilling The Storm - 'great fear' (e)fobh/qhsan fo/bon me/gan Mark 4.41),

Walking On The Water - 'were terrified', 'have fear' (e)tara/xqhsan, fobei=sqe  6.50),

The Transfiguration - 'were very afraid' (e)/kfoboi 9.6).

A mood of awe consistently typifies the three transcendent messianic events. This stands in directest opposition to the congenial tenor of the immanent ('feeding') events. The tone there is markedly convivial, as set initially by the story of the wedding feast. In fact it is so much so that John’s version of The Five Thousand later portrays Jesus as virtually teasing Philip. This is congruent with the exchange between Jesus and Nathanael in the previous miracle of the same kind:

Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?" This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. (John 6.5, 6)

Once more, it is clear that the alterity of tone or mood  confirms two antithetical subspecies of events.


3. Nocturnal / diurnal

The formal or logical correspondence of the messianic miracles and the days of creation, which we have yet to examine, fixes the attribution to the messianic series of the concept of a temporal  cycle. The pattern of the chiasmos supports this procedure. A detailed consideration of this criterion, which raises many interesting issues, can not be entered here, it would divert us. However, we can note in passing that the two central  messianic events contain references to the hour of their occurrence. Of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand Mark says 'And when it grew late ...' (Mark 6.35), and of The Walking On The Water  'And about the fourth watch of the night ...' (v 48).  These two particular events occurring distinctly about twelve hours apart are in one to one correspondence and as such they prompt the reconstruction of the time of the other four.  The Stilling occurs later in the morning than the other miracle at sea, and The Four Thousand later in the evening than the other miracle of loaves. The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and The Transfiguration occupy  periods  roughly  equivalent to  midnight and midday respectively. Thus the three transcendent ('identity') events take place during the time of increasing light, while all of the feeding episodes  occur during the time of decreasing light. This criterion examined in detail, will again guarantee the polarization (binary pattern) of the miracle series. We shall pursue it in more detail as belonging to the theology of semiotic forms. It also meshes with the feminine/masculine polarity.


4. Determinism / freedom

Effectively this criterion is as conspicuous as the others are. Its proper discussion like theirs, is an involved process, and it will suffice us to notice but the essentials of the argument. It is first announced in the story of the miracle at Cana:

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." (John 2.3)

Mark's presentation of the same dilemma at the two miracles of loaves is a more elaborate one (Mark 6.35-38 and 8.1-5), and pictures the compassion of Jesus. However, the effect is the same. Jesus' hand is certainly forced in each of the three feeding, that is, immanent, events. These particular narratives uniformly portray situations of pressing need. We will meet the same motif in several of the healing miracles, a fact which makes for viewing all of the Markan miracles as of a piece, and as espousing a bipolar theology of transcendence : immanence.

The contrast with the transcendent events is stark. During the storm at sea we are told, 'he [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on a cushion' (Mark 4.38). It is easy to miss the aspect of gratuitousness here, for at first glance, it seems as if once more Jesus is importuned, and compelled to act. (Indeed there is a graduated theme of necessity, for very good reasons - we shall see that the messianic miracles are accentuated in virtue of the polarity transcendence : immanence again according to the threefold pattern. But for the moment, we must acknowledge the type of event here presented.) But such a reading misses the conclusion of the story, in which Jesus reproaches his disciples for lacking faith. This suggests there never was any real need to importune him, and so strongly qualifies any reading of the intervention of Jesus in terms of obligation or necessity:

He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" (Mark 4.40)

Moreover, the similarity of this miracle to The Walking On The Water tells likewise for its type as transcendent on the basis of the criterion freedom. The appearance to the disciples of Jesus walking on the sea (Mark 6.45-52) very plainly puts this same idea of the gratuitous. So much so that commentators have been at a loss to explain the sentence 'He meant to pass by them' (v 48).

And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. (6.48-51a)

Such non-involvement on the part of Jesus with those around him is in direct opposition to the Jesus of the feeding events. The text does not speak of any intervention on Jesus' part. It records quite simply 'And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased.' (v 51).

Mark has made the notion of the gratuitous - here tantamount to 'transcendence' - unmistakable by the addition of the clause emphasized above. There is no apparent need for the occasion at all. All three events of this kind are unnecessary or contingent in the precise sense that they are not determined. The transcendent messianic miracles consistently espouse the free, the gratuitous, in distinction from the determined. The Walking On The Water, like The Transfiguration, is not elicited by the exigencies of any situation. As gratuitous, such episodes border on being displays of overwhelming power. In respect of conspicuously lacking the motif of causal determination they stand directly opposed to the events of the immanent type. This absence of causality just as strongly pervades The Transfiguration. The miracle occurs of itself and for itself, to which Peter's comment alludes - 'For he did not know what to say' (9.5). The episode ends just as it had begun, ostensibly lacking in purpose and needlessly  - 'And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.' (9.8).

The transcendent miracles therefore systematically see Jesus as virtually separated from humankind if not the disciples, detached and portrayed in terms of bewildering might and glory. They come close to being demonstrations of pure force which does not serve any specific needs or even any apparent end. On this count also then, their antithesis to the feeding events is abundantly clear.

We could extend these criteria - for example, we have not commented on the anthropic category, masculine/feminine - indeed we will revert to them in our examination of the healing miracles to demonstrate the integration of the two series of miracle stories in Mark, the messianic miracles and the healing miracles. For in that series, they play a vital role. The four criteria listed here should be reckoned as secondary. They are nevertheless important indicators of the type of event as either transcendent or immanent, but the primary criteria are those of 'identity' and 'feeding'. These too criteria will be deployed in the stories of Jesus' healings.

It should be apparent by now that the two most basic formal features of the messianic events are the bipolar and the triad (2 x 3). These formal aspects of the narratives require interpretation just as much as their referential content.

It is no exaggeration to argue that this series constitutes something like the framework of the gospel, and that is because unlike the Passion narrative, it is not concentrated at one single point. It has been estimated that the miracle stories comprise 156 verses and the Passion narrative 119 verses of the total of this gospel. Each of the messianic events beginning with the miracle at Cana and ending with the Eucharist, functions as a landmark. Together they comprise the entire trajectory of  Jesus' life and work, and act as pointers, signs, landmarks around which the meaning of the same gravitate. Mark has Jesus emphasise the significance of the two miracles of loaves in an extended discourse just after the third feeding miracle (Mark 8.11-21), preparatory to the Eucharist, to which he refers in the guise of the 'only one loaf with them in the boat'. It is true that we have had to reconstruct  or at least complete the series with the addition of the first miracle story in the gospel of John. But, as we noted, the context for this very story is already available in Mark just as it is. The series of messianic events leads by process of oscillation of the two types, transcendent and immanent,  to the Eucharist itself. By all accounts then these seven episodes are as significant as anything else in the gospel. And in that they offer the hope of a systematic theological statement, they are the more significant.  The next step in our discussion, validates this judgment, and what is more, expands the dimensions of our study to an extent that justifies its description as 'biblical'.


In the Beginning


In the last of the six messianic miracles proper, we encounter the introduction 'And after six days ...' (Mark 9.2). This functions as a prompt, and no one familiar with the very  first biblical narrative can fail to recognise it as such. It brings our notice immediately to the 'precedent' for the various messianic miracle stories. In the course of study, we shall notice just how significant the Genesis story (1.1-2.4a) is  in the exposition of Mark's doctrine. If further evidence for the relevance of the Priestly story (P story) of creation to the messianic miracle series and beyond to the Eucharist were needed, we have it at hand in the opening verse of the fourth gospel: 'In the beginning...' In its broader context,  The Transformation Of Water Into Wine, the first event of the messianic series, like the last, The Transfiguration, contains an explicit reference to the story of the six days of beginning. For John, by means of an elaborate threefold use of the phrase' the next day' (John 1.29, 35, 43) combined with the opening phrase of the story of the miracle at Cana: 'On the third day...' (2.1) thus follows his initial allusion to creation theology. Once again this adds to the ample case that the rightful place of the story of the 'first sign' is before the other five of its kind which Mark contains. John's first miracle story, like the introduction to his gospel, is thus of a piece with the last messianic miracle in Mark, which acts as a summation of the entire series. Both evangelists are in accordance on this fact of the reference of the messianic series as a whole to the Genesis creation narrative. So we can now  press on to examine the P story of the seven days.

We must observe in this context, that the story of 'beginning' is the first metaphysical text of the canon. Its scope is universal or encompassing as is given by the inclusio 'the heavens and the earth'. Not for nothing does it concern itself with time and space and the inception of order in the cosmos. It is no surprise then that the metaphysics or philosophy of the gospel takes its cue from the story of creation.

We shall discuss the analogy of the story of beginning with the messianic miracle series firstly in terms of form. The most obvious analogy between the series of days in Genesis 1.1s and the messianic events is their total number in each case, seven. Also in each case, the status of the final seventh ('Sabbath') event is exceptional. The P narrative deals with it in summary fashion:
And so the heavens and the earth with all their adornment were completed. And on the seventh day God completed the work that he had done. And on the seventh day he rested from all the work that he had done. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy; because on it he rested from all his work which God had created by his action. This is the origins of the heavens and the earth , when they were created. (2.1-2.4a).
Therefore, like the Eucharist, the Sabbath is the single day that remains unpaired. Like the Eucharist, also it remains part of one particular half of the series. In the creation series, Sabbath belongs to the final four days; in the messianic miracle series, it belongs to the series of four 'feeding' events. This figure, four, identifies immanence, and in one of the feeding miracles themselves, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, we see it set beside the figure for completion, seven, which in the miracle story is repeated: seven loaves for four thousand, and seven baskets full of remaining fragments. Just as the Eucharist co-inheres with the three immanent messianic events in virtue of the theme of assimilation ('feeding'), the Sabbath in terms of its serial context belongs to the second triad of days rather than the first. That is, the sequential order of the Sabbath ensures that it belongs to the second or final half of the week.

Both the series of days and messianic miracles then propose a 6-7fold pattern. This 6-7fold form ensures that the two narrative sequences are both symmetrical and asymmetrical. We can discern the symmetry in terms of the pattern 3:3 +1, and the asymmetry as 3:4.


(A) BINARY FORM

This brings to our notice a feature of the creation story, which has long been appreciated, its dyadic (twofold) structure. So intrinsic to the Genesis text is this structure, that the opening immediately announces it: 'In the beginning of creation, when God made heaven and earth …' We can determine this binary heavens: earth pattern used many times in the text, but the major instance of binary form is the pairing of the days, resulting in two triads (2 x3). In other words,  two moieties  constitute the dominant structural shape of the narrative, and these reiterate the binary form of the opening inclusio, 'the heavens and the earth', (transcendence : immanence), even though this means that we shall have to account for the fact that the creation of the earth or 'land' (Day 3) occurs within the heavens moiety:

DAY 1

LIGHT : DARKNESS
DAY 4

SUN : MOON AND STARS
DAY 2

WATERS ABOVE : WATERS BELOW
DAY 5

AERIAL CREATURES : AQUATIC CREATURES
DAY 3

(1) SEA : LAND
(2) PLANTS FIRST KIND : PLANTS SECOND KIND
DAY 6

(MALE : FEMALE?) EARTH CREATURES
(2) MALE : FEMALE HUMANKIND


I am agreeing with the consensus of modern exegetes here that the division of plants is twofold and not threefold. In fact, so strong is the author's sense of the significance of binary form that Day 3 which seems to contain two separate acts of creation, is ostensibly paired with another two acts during Day 6. The subtlety of the text here is striking. On the one hand, P links sexual dimorphism directly with the concept of the human bearing of 'the image of God':

And God created the human race according to his image, according to the image of God he created it, as male and female he created them. (Genesis 1. 27)

Thus on one hand, P reserves recognisable sexual dimorphism for humans alone, since they alone bear the image of God. But on the other hand, the inference of the formal, logical, structure of the text imputes some mode of sexual bifurcation to the other creatures made on the same day:

And God said: Let the earth bring forth living beings, each of its kind: cattle and reptiles and wild animals, each of its kind. And it was so. (1.24)

The logical structure of the text qualifies the relationship of the humans to the earth creatures. Thus, because the earth produces the plants, in the second act of Day 3, the precedent of Day 6, the text infers a similar relation between earth animals and humans, namely production. This accords with the remarkable absence of an explicit reference to 'separation' in the Day 3 rubric. The two pairs of entities concerned are not in the same relation of apparently absolute antithesis as in the previous two days. All of which makes a very good case for the similarity of the sub-human and human, complementary to the human bearing of the 'image and likeness of God'. The phenomenon of sexual dimorphism, the fact that there are male and female humans, is a matter equally concerning the likeness of the human and divine, and the likeness of the human and animal. It presents a major conceptual category for Christian thought, and a complex one.

 

(B) CONTENT EVINCING POLARITY

We observed that various secondary criteria signal a relationship of antithesis or polarity of some kind between the two subspecies of miraculous events. The primary distinction is that the transcendent events are concerned with Jesus' 'identity' whereas the immanent events evince 'feeding'.

We have seen already that the Days of the creation series do not occur in a chiasmos, for the first is not counter to the last, the second to the send last and so on. Nonetheless, their internal one-to-one correspondence obtains in a way that we can describe as parallelism; Days 1-4, Days 2-5,  and Days 3-6, which leaves the Sabbath remaining unpaired. The difference between the chiastic series of the miracles and the parallel series of the Days should not occasion any surprise. The two stories are as different as is suggested by the words 'beginning' and 'end'. When we come to examine the text more closely we see that the three first (‘beginning’) Days co-inhere in virtue of a specific criterion. The same is true of Days 4, 5, 6 (and by implication, Day 7), all of which are categoreally linked by another criterion. Moreover, we shall see that these two criteria are antithetical in a certain sense, mirroring the antithetical criteria of the messianic series, 'identity/feeding'.

The First Three Days

Day 1 and Day 2 present the 'beginning' criterion very clearly. The reasons why it does not appear so markedly in the case of Day 3 will occupy us directly. (Among its other effects, the modification of the criterion delivers the narrative from any allegation of dualism, something which has become a virtual shibboleth of the deconstructivist project in contemporary literary studies.) At stake here is the relation of transcendence 'and' immanence.  Enclosing the copula in inverted commas points to its inherent ambiguity,  for example, as in the later expression from the J creation narrative: 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' (Genesis 2.9).

We have just noted that the concept of 'separation' dominates the first three acts, even though there seems to be some qualification attendant upon it in the case of Day 3. It is clearly announced in the first instance: '...and he [God] separated light from darkness.' (v 5); it is recapitulated in the case of Day 2: '... and separated the water under the vault from the water above it ...' (v 7). Now in the case of Day 3, something of a qualification of this process occurs:

God said, "Let the waters under heaven be gathered into one place ..." (v 9).

This is an alternative way of framing the notion of the (somewhat antithetical) difference of the two elements, sea and land. In the second event of that same day, a similar 'conjunctive disjunction' between the two 'kinds' (hn"ymil: = LXX kata genov) of plants is described (vv 11, 12). 'Kind' (alternatively 'species', 'genus') is here the operative word, and of course it is a word that will recur in the vocabulary depicting Day 5 (v 21), and that of Day 6 (vv 24, 25), in which context it is linked with sexual dimorphism.  This occurrence is perfectly intelligible, given the relation between Day 3 and Day 6. The point is that this story employs more than one mode of antithesis, and that it relates these several modes of antithesis in logically intricate ways. We shall return to this topic later. But certainly, even given the qualification it receives in the third Day rubric, the first three Days  are alike modeled on the notion of separation.

The Last Four Days

The great majority of things referred to in the second part of the narrative, Days 4-7 are sexually differentiated. This differentiation results in the repeated injunction: "Be fruitful and increase ..." (vv 22, 28). The significance of this for binary or bipolar form (male 'and' female) is substantial. For it posits against the previous form of antithesis, which was one of disjunction (absolute disjunction in the cases of Day 1 and Day 2), an alternative mode of antithesis which is conjunctive. The significance of the male : female dichotomy is its expression of unity (conjunction) rather than separation (disjunction).

On closer inspection, the story of Day 4, which concerns the sun, moon and stars, also conforms to the very same paradigm. For the moon can be readily associated symbolically with the principle of the (human) feminine, and the sun with the principle of the masculine. (The biblical literature often uses stars metaphorically, as it seems they are in the story of the fourth Day, to signify offspring.) We can therefore say that everything categorised in the second half of the story participates in the masculine : feminine dichotomy. In this way the second half of the narrative in its entirety, is at least as thematically consistent as the first, with which nevertheless it subtends a relation of contrast.

The male : female human category consequently stands as the paradigm for the conjunctive form of antithesis. This is a mode of antithesis different from, but related to the mode of antithesis in the first half of the text, all of which brings to light further subtleties concerning the meaning of the structure of the narrative. The relation of human male : female to life is absolutely clear. The creation of the earth with its living plants occurs during the third day. Of the first triad of Days, remarkably only Day 3 involves living entities. We must therefore carefully consider the relation of Day 3 to that particular half of the story that contains it, the first. This relation stands in juxtaposition to the relation of Day 5 to the second half. Day 5 follows Day 2, which is prior to it in every sense. Day 2 as representative of the first half of the week, is the more significant member of the pair 2-5. On the other hand, Day 3 pre-empts Day 6, or to put it another way, the latter realises the former. Therefore, Day 6, which tokens the second half of the week, is the more significant member of the pair of Days 3-6.

It is important to notice this formal factor, as it resolves the apparent contradiction of including the creation of the earth (Day 3) within the 'heavens' half of the narrative, Days 1-3. We have just established that a complete contrast between the two halves of the story, Days 1, 2 and 3 on the one hand, and Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 on the other, exists in virtue of the fact that the dominant mode of antithesis in the first ('heavens') case is disjunctive, whereas that in the second ('earth') half is conjunctive, and this reformulates or corresponds to the opening inclusio, 'the heavens and the earth'. The two pairs involved here as representative are the Days 2-5 in the case of disjunction ('transcendence') and Days 3-6 in the case of conjunction ('immanence').  Such pairing of the Days results in this contrast. In the first of these, Day 2 is the more significant; it coheres with the word 'heaven' of the opening formula. The creatures of Day 5 reconfigure the essential disparity between 'waters above; and 'waters below', but in this case the prior Day 2 rubric is determinative. In the second case the obverse obtains; thus rather than the first member of the pair, in this case Day 3, it is the second member of the pair Day 6 which acts as definitive. In this way, there is back and forward dialectic between the two halves of the text which complies with the antithesis implicit in the formula 'the heavens and the earth' but also satisfies their complementarity. Meaning here does not rest entirely one one relatum. We will observe later, when we begin to establish the complete context of this narrative, that is, its syntactical association with the messianic miracle series, that the P text expresses a marked preference for transcendence. But even allowing for this preference, the text perfectly fulfills the structural equilibrium implicit in the introduction. If we do not allow for the kind of teleological pull of Day 6 as well as the archaeological push of Day 2, the story will not accord with the harmony and balance intrinsic to the opening rubric as well as to the textual parallelism.

Hence we should not attach a too literal meaning to the word 'earth' in the Day 3 story. Moreover, we must take into account that a second word occurs within this rubric, that is, a word in addition to the term translated 'earth'. It is usually rendered 'dry land' (h#fbf,yaha):

And God said: Let the water beneath the heaven gather into one place, so that dry land may appear. And it was so. And God named the dry land earth, but the gathering of the water he named sea. And God saw, how good it was. (Genesis 1.9, 10)

The second creation narrative, Genesis 2.4b-25, will later establish an etymological connection between the word 'Adam' (mdf)f) and the word 'ground' (hmffdf)f) (2.7). This verifies interpreting the Day 3-6 dyad as we have suggested, that the last (teleological) term - Day 6 -  rather than the 'beginning' (archaeological) term - Day 3 - is definitive in this case; that the final appearance of the male-female couple during the sixth Day is what most matters here. This link is bolstered by means of the word 'dust' (rpf(f) an expression which later links the man the man the woman and the serpent (verse 14):

then Yahweh God formed man out of the dust from the ground ... (Genesis 2.7)

And Yahweh God said to the woman: What is it you have done! The woman answered: The serpent induced me to eat. And Yahweh God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, cursed are you among all cattle and amongst all animals of the field; you shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust your whole life long. (3.13, 14)

In the sweat of your face you shall eat your bread until you return to the ground again, because you were taken out of it. Yes, you are dust and to dust you shall return. (3.19)

There is a compact body of ideas at work here: the fact of sexual dimorphism, the relation of humans to animals, in addition to their relation to God - one of 'image and likeness' - which the author(s) emphasised. We shall see, when locating this narrative in the broader context of the canon, that is, when assessing the relation of the messianic miracles to the Days, that the real significance of the expression 'earth' and its cognates, will be uncovered only when we reckon with the story of 'end' itself, which those miracle narratives themselves and the Eucharist narrative constitute. The word 'earth' and its compass of meaning index the general intonation of the second creation narrative, that of immanence, setting it in a relationship of complementarity to the P narrative. Even so, it does not override the logical and theological significance of the latter, and by no means professes itself as completely satisfying the immanent term of the equation 'heavens and the earth'. The ensuing drama in its entirety is alone equal to such a task. That drama moreover, does not cease with the conclusion of the Tanakh. According to its own terms, without a conclusion satisfactorily equal to its first and defining half, the creation story certainly, and arguably the Tanakh as a whole, remains no more than a mere 'beginning'. It is nothing more than half a story.


The form of this narrative, like the messianic miracle series, in the first instance, is divisible into two clear halves. One of these, the first half, is the 'heavens'  ('transcendent') half and the other is the  'earth'  ('immanent') half. The first half of the narrative actually contains the story of the creation of  'the heavens' and  there is no difficulty in associating the first three Days with that part of the formula. The concept of separation is writ large here in this first section of text. But the same is true of the creation of the 'earth', for this takes place during Day 3. However the Day 3 rubric is already noticeable on account of its modification of the theme of separation, and becauset it contains the first appearance of living entities, things which proliferate in the second half of the story. In this way it admits the apparent contradiction of its own inclusion in the first half of the story. It draws attention to the fact, rather than seeking to fudge the issue.

Now in addition to the modified theme of disjunction, the presence of life-forms under the Day 3 rubric, and the use of another word for 'earth', consider also the sheer textual proximity of the Day 3 story to the second half of the narrative, the 'earth' half of the narrative. This is a narrative whose meaning depends on structure, that is the syntactical arrangement of the units, to an extreme degree. In view of these several facts, we must qualify any judgement that the inclusion of the earth's creation in the 'heaven' half of the story, impedes the interpretation of the binary form of the text, one of its most basic formal tenets, according to its opening inclusio. After all, we said at the outset that the copula is something of a 'nest of ambiguity'.  The real significance of the Day 3 rubric is pre-emptive. It anticipates Day 6. Hence we can speak of the second as the 'earth' half of the story, a procedure which guarantees the furtherance of the story itself, and which comes to rest or final significance, as noted, only with the series of messianic miracles which claims this story of 'beginning' as its complement if not prototype. That is to say, the story of Day 6, which as a single rubrical unit within the P creation narrative logically appropriates the significance of the relatum 'earth'. The second half of the story, consisting of four days, answers to this term, complementarily to the first half, which consists of three days. There is a numerical distinction thus made between the terms of the overarching inclusio, and this reinforces the logic of serial order dividing the text. So, just as the Day 2 rubric uniquely expresses the concept of transcendence ('heavens') within the triad, the Day 6 rubric functions within the second section as uniquely marking immanence ('earth'). But given the inextricable and logical connection obtaining between the six Days and the six messianic miracles, the theology of immanence proper does not end there. End is the operative term in this case, and the messianic series functions to the 'beginning' precisely as its end. We shall see therefore that the final significance of the 'earth' first referred to in Genesis 1.1 rests upon the analogue(s) contained within the messianic series. That lies ahead of us for the moment however.

We can now determine the two criteria logically contrasted with each other in the story of beginning: separation and unity, fission and fusion, disjunction and conjunction. These are modes of antithesis, modes of polarity, which in turn engender the process of analogical thinking. Whereas the messianic ('end') series is a chiastic one in which the juxtaposed terms are identity and assimilation, (integration, unity), the Days ('beginning') series is a parallel one where the juxtaposed terms are antithetical conjunction and antithetical disjunction. We need to appreciate both the similarities and the differences of these two narrative cycles, for they are seminal theological texts and fundamental to biblical metaphysics. We shall bring them more closely into correspondence shortly.


 

The Relation of the Days and Messianic Events

The form and meaning of the messianic miracles are determinative for understanding the gospel, and not merely so as to assess its aesthetic integrity and logical consistency. We have seen that in large measure the latter depend on the same qualities being present in the story of 'beginning'. Since the series of messianic miracles is analogous to that of the Days in the P story of creation, it is incumbent on us to consider that narrative prior to any hermeneutic of the miracle narratives. Up to this point we have considered only the formal correspondences between both series, and as significant as these are, they must be supplemented with arguments which take into account the content of the narratives. What must now follow is to examine the isomorphism of Genesis and the gospel from the point of view of the content of the narratives. Here we will compare the Septuagint Greek of the creation story with the Greek vocabulary of the messianic miracles.


TRANSCENDENT EPISODES




DAY 1



TRANSFIGURATION


And God said: Let ther be light! And there was light. (LXX fwj) And God saw, how good the light (fwj) was. And God separated the light from the darkness (skotouj). And God named the light day, but the darkness he named night. (Genesis 1.3-5)

... and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them… And a cloud overshadowed them ... (Mark 9.3, 7)

... and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." (Mark 9.7)

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.  (to\ fw=j - these words are missing in part of the tradition; (Matthew 17.2))



I have cited the contents of each text, which indicates the analogical relation of the two stories. Thus at the nucleus of each event is the same phenomenon. In short, light / darkness is essential to both occurrences. Mark speaks of this polarity indirectly, referring to the radiance of Jesus' clothing and the overshadowing cloud. Note that he does not use the word 'sun' (h#liov), which Matthew does (Matthew 17.2), possibly due to its confinement to the story of Day 4 rather than Day 1. We should note at least one other important motif both stories have in common. The act of creation involves the naming ('identification') of the elements just made. The analogous procedure in the transcendent miracle is that of the identification of Jesus. We find this only in the three transcendent miracle events.
Thus the process of disjunction in the creation story resembles the motif of identity in the transcendent miracle. In the immanent ('earth') section of the creation narrative, Days 4 - 7, this does not occur. There is no process of naming/identification. The last such act occurs within the first part of Day 3, with the albeit somewhat qualified disjunction of  sea and land (Genesis 1.10).


DAY 2


THE WALKING ON THE WATER



And God said : Let there be a solid vault in the middle of the waters, so as to form a division between water and water. (en mesw tou udatoj kai estw diaxwrizon ana meson udatoj kai udatoj) (And it was so.) And God made the solid vault and created a division between the waters above the vault and under the vault. And God named the vault heaven. And it was evening and it was morning, a second day. (vv 6-8)

And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, (e\n me/sw? th=j qala/sshj) and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea (e0pi th=j qala/sshj.) But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I ..." (6.47,48a, 50b).



Matthew's recension of this miracle is noteworthy in that it appends the story of Peter's attempt to come to Jesus, likewise walking on the water. This part of the tradition (Matthew14.28-33), employs the word 'water' (ta\ u3data) twice (Matthew 14.28, 29). Just as the stories Day 1 and The Transfiguration picture the contrast between light and darkness, here there is an equally certain contrast between the waters above and the waters below. ‘Waters’ functions as an integral motif in both texts, even though Mark mentions only 'sea'. The Jesus of the miracle at sea stands poised between the waters above while he remains upon the waters beneath, the very image of 'the heavens' which separate the two. Effectively the narrative envisages him in terms identical to those deployed in the creation story. Additionally, the event of Jesus' self-identification is parallel to the act of naming during Day 2.


DAY 3

STILLING THE STORM

And God said: Let the water beneath the heaven gather into one place so that dry land may appear, and so it was. And God named the dry land earth (ghn), but the gathering of the water he named sea (qalasaj).  And God saw, how good it was. (vv 9, 10).

... he [Jesus] said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."... And a great storm of wind (a)nemou) arose, and waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling... "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind (tw? a)ne/mw?), and said to the sea (th=? qala/ssh?), "Peace! Be still"... And [they] said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?" (4.35- 41)


The text of the Day 3 story does not refer directly to wind, although it does speak of 'dry land', and the two are logically compatible. However in the depiction of the state antecedent to creation (Genesis 1.2)  we read of 'God's wind' (pneuma qeou) moving over the waters (udatoj). (There, as in the case of the Day 3 story and the Stilling of the Storm narrative it identifies the Spirit.) The occurrence in both cases, that of the creation rubric and that of the miracle narrative, of the sea summoned into its rightful order is sufficient to secure the analogy. Day 3 is exceptional in that it alone in the first half of the creation story refers to living creatures, indeed pre-empting the male : female dichotomy. Likewise, in the story of the Stilling of the Storm the reference to the concept of life in the disciples' plea - "Teacher, do you not care if we...perish?" Mark 4.38 - is tacit confirmation of the analogical relation between the episodes. The motif dealing with the phenomenon of life, like the wind/breath motif, will be vital in identifying the Trinitarian rationale of both narratives. For this reason I have underlined the relevant section of the miracle story. Once again, the naming process of the creation event is parallel to the concluding question put by the disciples, the interrogative formulation of Jesus identity.

I have emphasised the fundamental motifs shared by the texts. We can therefore conclude that not only are the narrative forms isomorphic (analogous), but their content reflects the same relation. We must now emphasise the significance of the structural pattern common to both sevenfold series. This will concern the entirety of each series. In both halves of the creation story, two Days are similar - 2 and 3 have the motif of 'waters' - while one is dissimilar, Day 1. Analogously, in the miracle sequence, the similar miracles are at sea, The Walking On The Water and The Stilling Of The Storm respectively, whereas The Transfiguration stands apart. It is clear that the content no less than the formal shape of these narrative cycles taken in their entirety is in the closest possible relationship of analogy. The series of Days of creation and the series of messianic miracles establish a major instance of correlation between the Old and New Testaments. In this respect, they encapsulate the requisite that biblical theology be biblical, namely, that it engage equally the two testaments of the canon. Consequently the hermeneutic of the theology of creation cannot be posited independently of the interpretation of the messianic miracle series, just as the meaning of the latter must in the first instance defer to the story of 'beginning'.



IMMANENT EPISODES

The relation obtaining between the transcendent events of creation and the transcendent messianic miracles differs to the relation of the four immanent events of the two series. Even though it is one of analogy, the difference is one of emphasis. We have already alluded to this in the discussion of the two pairs of Days, 2-5 and 3-6. We said that in the former instance, the first term was the paramount member of the pair, Day 2, whereas in the latter the paramount term is the latter one, Day 6. We now need to extend this observation to the general morphology which interrelates the stories of beginning and end, the creation and salvation events as one complete whole. Thus in saying that the 'heaven' Day, Day 2 is the  representative or normative member of its pair, we can extend this tenet to the relation between the three heaven Days and the three transcendent miracles. It looks very much that the three transcendent messianic miracles take their cue from the three creation rubrics with which they correspond.

The explication of this fact of difference between the two subsets of analogous Days-messianic miracles reinforces the reciprocity of the two narrative cycles. That is because it indicates that the direction of influence is mutual. It is obvious that the Genesis story has influenced the gospel. The 'provenance' of the three transcendent events, or their textual precedent of this subset of the messianic series is the narrative of the first three Days. On the other hand, the significance of the last four Days anticipates the disclosures of the gospel. Only the four immanent messianic events rescue the content of this part of the creation story from its apparent redundancy. Hence what we noted previously concerning the teleological influence of the truly final Day 6 over its paired complement, Day 3, can also now be extended to include the gospel. If we seek the effectively final meaning of the expression 'earth' in the creation narrative, it was only adumbrated in the stories of the last four immanent Days. It is there that we begin to find the theology of immanence. But the story does not end there.

The influence of the story of the first three days on the accounts of the three transcendent messianic events of the gospel is remarkably conspicuous. The same does not apply to the relation between the stories of Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 and their counterparts in the gospel, the three feeding miracles plus the Eucharist. We should not underestimate the extent to which the theology of creation has shaped the three narratives we have just examined any more than we should ignore the genuine novelty of the feeding events. This in turn helps to focus the centres of concern for the two theologies of 'creation' and 'salvation' respectively and to understand their obvious relation to on another. (This relation can also be  paradigmatic for the problematic relation between the two halves of the canon, one of the most vexing and basic issues of biblical theology.) Thus the focus of the beginning is the beginning; in other words, the first (or 'beginning') half of the creation story's two sections is normative. This squares with the function of the text itself to reflect its subject through its own structural logic. The second part of the narrative follows the first. It is not without novelty, 'or 'beginning', but the formal precedents already established restrict the novelty. It is not until we reach the equivalent events in the gospels that we encounter genuine novelty; though of course novelty in this context is the wrong word. What the equivalent events in the gospel provide is meaning to the apparent redundancy of the final four Days. This redundancy it must be stressed, is ostensible only. But it is only when we arrive at the understanding of the meaning of the four immanent messianic miracles, that we can return to the story of creation and frame the value and significance of its second half.

If then it seems that the three transcendent messianic miracles strongly echo the first three Days of creation , the gospel reverses this situation. In other words, the messianic series itself complements this pattern, and balances it. The transcendent messianic miracles are recounted according to the theology of transcendence announced in the story of creation, a fact which makes much easier the task of interpreting them. That is, the gospels look for their real significance to the Days1, 2, and 3 as far as transcendence is concerned. As far as immanence goes however, the four ''Eucharistic' (feeding) events are definitive. Here then it is a question of Genesis looking to the gospels. So then the story of the final four Days is preliminary, and even provisional. (The same must be said of the J story, which the creation of Adam, the leitmotif of 'earth' and so on, identify as a theology of immanence.)  It looks for its unequivocal import in the direction of the gospel. This will become clearer as we bring the two series into relation, 'beginning' and 'end'. This relation is crucial, because it encapsulates the Christological formulae, 'first and last', 'alpha and omega'.


THE ANALOGOUS RELATION OF DAYS AND MESSIANIC EVENTS


DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
DAY 5
DAY 6
DAY 7 - SABBATH
TRANSFIGURATION
WALKING ON THE SEA
STILLING THE STORM
WATER BECOMES WINE
FEEDING 5,000
FEEDING 4,000
EUCHARIST


It is thus apparent that the two textual cycles complement one another. We need to note the equilibrium subtended by the relation of these two narrative series. The 'creation' story emphasises the theology of transcendence, effectively contained in the three first episodes; the messianic series on the other hand, the story of 'salvation' remains necessarily focused on the four immanent miracle stories. Thus whereas the transcendent messianic events defer to the transcendent Days, as we have just observed, the opposite now applies. This means that as far as the theology of immanence is concerned, the events depicted in the gospel enjoy representative status. This is clearer in no other case more than in that of the Sabbath-Eucharist correspondence.


Sabbath : Eucharist

There are obvious points of congruence between the theology of immanence adumbrated in Days 4-7, which point to the Eucharistic events. Of these the most significant are:

(We have already seen that necessity is one of several criteria which shape the immanent occasions.) The last two points just listed involve blurring the textual boundary between the two creation narratives, for it is only in the second creation story that we encounter the theme of assimilation of food in its fullest. There are hints of this theme in the first narrative. The author(s) conclude the creation taxonomy with God's injunction to the human couple whom God has just formed during the sixth Day:

And God blessed them, (saying): Be fruitful and increase and fill the earth and make it subject to you! Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the heavens and over every living being that moves on the earth! (Genesis 1.28)

And God said: And so I hand over to you every seed-bearing plant over the whole face of the earth, and every tree, with fruit-bearing seed in its fruit; they are to serve you for food. (v 29)

While to every animal on earth, and every bird in the heavens and to every animal that creeps on the earth, (to everything) that has the breath of life in it, (I give) every sort of grass and plant for food. (v 30 emphasis added)

It is not necessary to press these verses as parallel to the various stories of feeding miracles. For one thing, the consumption of fish in both The Feeding Of The Five thousand and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand are inconsistent with the image here of non-carnivorous humanity, which will nevertheless be modified immediately after the story of the Flood, Genesis 9.1s. Even so, this is a substantial body of text, and no less important because it comes at the close of Day 6, that is within the end of the 'end' or second half of the story of 'beginning'. For the author(s) of the first creation story, as for those of the second, there is a clear and certain sense in which humankind is the crowning achievement of the beginning. Concerning the second narrative, we can even point to the woman rather than the man as the pinnacle of the creative fiat. Therefore, her connection with food and with initiating the man in the disobedience of eating of 'the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' can hardly be reckoned as misogynistic. It functions as corollary to her assessment as the crowning work of the creation of living beings, and is logically intelligible as such. The link here between the fecundity of the biosphere on which the entire creative advance itself depends, and the male : female category is nowhere more finely articulated.

The typological connection between the feminine principle and feeding/nurturing, or what is the same thing for our purposes, the connection between the feminine and immanence, does not begin with the gospels. We did not touch upon the male-female dichotomy a propos the messianic miracles in any detail above, yet it is clear that this applies to that series as another secondary criterion with the feminine aligned accordingly alongside the immanent events. (This observation will help to explicate the cryptic remark of Jesus in the first nurturing miracle to his mother, to whom he refers as 'woman' (gu/nai), and perhaps even more importantly the significance of John's portrait of Mary's having initially intervened when the supply of wine had been exhausted (John 2.3-5). For John certainly, the feminine typology of this first feeding miracle is meaningful. By these remarks I do not mean even to imply a correlation between Jesus and his mother Mary which in some sense corresponds to the relation of the first couple, male and female in the second story of creation. I do not believe that any such theology of recapitulation forms part of the intention of the fourth gospel; moreover I regard such a notion as theologically dubious and psychologically troubling.)

The P creation narrative says very little about the Sabbath. In view of the fact that it is the point to which the whole narrative is projected must seem passing strange. A beginning at least suggests as its corollary, an end. We are in the process of discovering also, that forms of opposition abound in the text. The account given by P of the Sabbath in 2.1-4a, an 'end' of sorts, looks too much like a beginning, the beginning of mundane, as distinct from 'primordial', history. The conclusion of the story of 'beginning' as we shall see, will be reached only with the 'Eucharistic' events disclosed in the gospel. These alone adequately complement the story of 'beginning' with its necessary 'end'.

Scholars have observed for some time that the first three chapters of Genesis actually contain two stories of creation, the second taking up where the first left off, Genesis 2.4b. This hypothesis results in large part from analysis of the vocabularies favoured by the various authors of these texts. Here of course, one of the most salient terms is the word(s) for the deity, represented by our translations 'God', 'Lord' and so on. Different words occur and they provide a clue to the authorship and history of the text. Therefore, it would seem that another author has written the second story of creation. It is reckoned also that this second story (2.4b-3.24) is more ancient than the first. Nonetheless, the second story builds on the antecedent text, at least that is the way the text has come down to us. We can therefore say that the second story recognises the first; it does not seek to supplant it so much as to supplement it. Its area of concern differs markedly. This is apparent from the interest it shows in mundane time rather than the primordial acts of beginning. 

The province of mundane time for this second story, taking up where the former left off, provides more in the way of a conclusion to the story of beginning. There is something of a shift in Genesis 2.4a towards the genealogies of J which are intimately bound with the P creation narrative. P uses the word 'generations' (twodl:t,) in 2.4a, in the summation of his account. It may be argued that the P theology understands the primordial, that is archaeological, event as 'generational' or 'procreative'; why else would it have included 'the heavens and the earth' under the same notion in 2.4a. Nevertheless there is a distinct shift in theological perspective between the two realms; and we have referred to this in terms of transcendence : immanence. The second narrative opts for a perspective in favour of immanence, a preference which it sets against the obvious predilection of the first story for transcendence. Its preference can be seen in its detailed drama of the human couple eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is within the context of this second aspect of creation, its immanent polarity, that the concept of the generation looms large. This second stance which privileges an immanentist theological viewpoint indicates the way ahead to the feeding miracles and to the Eucharist. Hence the J story fleshes out P's fairly summary treatment of the assimilation motif, which was confined to Genesis 1.28-30.

The two stories share a common fund of themes: the roles of the humans, notably their likeness to God, the presence of the animals, eating, work. Even so, the second narrative does not manifest P's scrupulous concern for logical ordering, and is in many ways more poetic, and metaphorical rather than analogical. No logical opportunity is conceded to analogy because the second narrative does not effectively concern itself with the summation of categoreal entities, the ultimate generalities suggested by the all inclusive phrase 'the heavens and the earth'. Thus it complements P's theology of transcendence and so aligns itself sympathetically with the predominant outlook of the synoptic gospels, including of course Mark. It provides an immanentist perspective on the theology of creation in its deliberation over the most immanent of the categories divulged in the P narrative, the anthropic, male and female.

The location of the story of the beginnings of history (the Garden of Eden) subsequently to the description of the primordial week situates the events it describes within time. The first story ends with the mention of the Sabbath, the time of the hic et nunc, the eternal present:

 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy; because on it he rested from all his work which God had created by his action. (Genesis 2.3)

The Sabbath furnishes the temporal context for subsequent events. There is no further mention of 'And it was evening and it was morning, an nth day' (sometimes rendered 'evening ... and morning ... the nth day'). We therefore accept the second narrative on its own terms when we understand it to refer to the same temporal frame at which the P narrative arrived, namely the Sabbath or seventh day. The work of creation once achieved is not susceptible of repetition, since this would contravene the basic notion of 'beginning', the bringing into being of that which did not previously exist, and its creative and novel advance. The blessing and injunction to 'Be fruitful and increase and fill the earth' to the humans (v 28) of the previous, the sixth day, and indeed the same injunction given before that, on the fifth day to the animals (v 22), these still apply. The Sabbath therefore signifies the ongoing process of creation in which the humans are now essential participants (vv 28-31). Analogously, the Eucharist subsequently marks the temporal setting in which the community of Jesus' followers finds itself:

"Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." (Mark 14.25).

Thus, the conclusion of the P creation story sets the scene for the drama about to unfold in the second act. That is the drama of the man and the woman eating from the fruit of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil', Genesis 3.1s. This single act more than any other defines the Sabbath in terms equivalent to those we find predicated of the six days which precede it. The Sabbath functions as the summation of the series of Days, and we can say the same of the Eucharist in relation to the series of miracles. The exceptional status of these events stems from this fact. The connection of the second creation story to the first seems to be intended by the prior text which says very little about the Sabbath. Hence the story of the man and woman eating from the fruit of the forbidden tree in the second creation narrative marks the content of the seventh Day:

And Yahweh God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground, pleasant to look at and good to eat, and the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2.9)

And Yahweh God took the man and put him in the garden Eden, to till and watch over it. And Yahweh God commanded the man: of all the trees of the garden you may eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat; because on the day that you eat of it you must die. (2.15-17)

And the serpent said to the woman: You will certainly not die! God knows well, that as soon as you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing what is good and evil. (3.4, 5)


The Eucharist has been compared to a variety of episodes in the Old Testament, most often to the Passover meal. Mark too frames it in such terms (Mark 14.12-6). Both historical and religious approaches to the record of the Institution of the Lord's Supper stress the Passover as its precedent. This precedent stresses the role of religious practice. The Eucharist functions in differing ways. It is a ritual activity of a body of people, whose identity and corporate unity it signifies; but it is also a story about something intimately connected with other such stories in the gospel for the purpose of teaching. Our truck is with the latter aspect of the Eucharist.  In our assessment of the gospel as a logically constructed literary whole, we will accentuate the instructive or pedagogic purpose attaching to the messianic miracles, in particular the feeding (Eucharistic) events (Mark 8.11-21). These stories, however enigmatically, are seminal to Markan doctrine. Their primary motivation is didactic, as is our own here. The doctrinal (pedagogic) purpose of the gospel does not conflict with its cultic (religious) aims. Nevertheless, its approach does vary from theirs. This is apparent in the parallel we are drawing. In determining the events depicted in Genesis 3.1s as the formal O.T. parallel to the Eucharist, we are emphasising the doctrinal aspect of the narratives. The doctrines embedded in the stories of the three feeding miracles take their cue from the Eucharist. For this reason, we must make the literary relation of the Eucharist to the Sabbath event depicted in the creation narratives our prime concern.

There is yet another very important point of contact between the seventh Day and the seventh messianic event: the imperative dimension of eating and all that it signifies. We have already encountered this notion as one of the secondary criteria  of the immanent (feeding) miracles; we can also determine it in the Eucharist. In the case of Genesis, it is phrased in the negative, as cited above. Human mortality is consequent upon the infraction of this injunction, along with a raft of other ills (Genesis 3.15-17). (The text does not specify whether sub-human mortality arises from the disobedience of the human couple, although presumably it does. Arguably the role of the serpent, and its complicity in the disobedience of the humans, is similarly criminal- even though no imperative was addressed to it - and similarly merits the same punishment. This would at least square with the general connectedness of the animal (including by this term the human world) world and immanence generally, as with the generically animal world and the feminine principle.)

The sabbath event entails the prohibition:

And Yahweh God commanded the man: Of all the trees of the garden you may eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat; because on the day that you eat of it you must die. (Genesis 2.16, 17)

The woman answered the serpent: Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said: you shall not eat of it, you shall not even touch it, otherwise you shall die. (3.2, 3)

The gospel frames its account of the Eucharist in the same mood, the imperative, only this time of course, it is in the affirmative:

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take (la/bete); this is my body." And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. (Mark 14. 22,23)

Mark's account actually lacks the verb 'eat' in the imperative form, and in part of the tradition, also the verb 'take'. In Matthew’s gospel there are three imperatives, "Take, eat (la/bete, fa/gete) ... drink (pi/ete)...”(Matthew 26.26, 27). Similarly is the recension of Luke, who has "Take this and divide it ..." (la/bete ... diameri/satete) of the cup of 'the fruit of the vine', and "Do this ..." (tou=to poi=ete) (Luke 22.17-19).

In terms of this motif, consumption, the primary criterion of immanence, the two episodes, the final ones of their respective series again correspond. The Sabbath stands to the Eucharist in the same morphological relation as do the six Days of creation to the messianic miracles; the relation of analogy.

In conclusion, we may say that the relation of the Days and messianic miracles series is reciprocal, and this includes the relation of the Sabbath and the Eucharist. It is guaranteed by the presence in both of the same logical structures, and a common content or vocabulary. These secure the analogy of the stories of 'beginning' and 'end'. The creation or Days series is pervaded by the theology of transcendence, and the first three days are normative not just for the ensuing triad of days, but for the messianic transcendent miracles. The theology of immanence on the other hand, culminates in the messianic Eucharistic episodes. These four events are normative for not only the messianic series as a whole; they are also definitive for the latter half of the Genesis text, Days 4, 5, 6 and 7.


The pattern of Days in relation to the messianic miracles

Cana                               Day 4

Storm                                                           Day 3

5,000                               Day 5

Walking                                                       Day 2

4,000                               Day 6

Transfiguration                                           Day 1

        
Eucharist-Sabbath





Interpreting the Sevenfold Series -  The Days


Our assessment of the metaphysics implicit in the gospel of Mark has concentrated on the messianic miracles. But we cannot understand such narratives without satisfactory recognition of their relation to the story of creation, Genesis 1.1-2.4a. Several points have emerged.  First among these is the very clear fact that whatever else is true of the meaning of the gospel, it consists in relation to the story of beginning. Thus, Mark like John, does not conceptualise his theology in a vacuum. He firstly articulates the closest possible reference to the theology of creation. This is profoundly important. It flies in the face of the popular misconception that the New Testament as a whole contains no substantial theology of creation. Such a view is now wholly untenable. The gospel is radically concerned with the 'beginning'. The analogy between the series of messianic events and the creation series brings into the closest possible rapport creation and salvation. Their analogous relation graphically encapsulates in its entirety, the problematic question of the relation of the Old Testament to the New Testament. It is not overstating the significance of the relation between the theology of creation and the messianic series to claim that it provides opportunities to the future of a truly biblical theology hitherto unimagined.

What we have effectively exposed is the question of the meaning of the messianic miracles. We will have to return to that issue, for no interpretation of the messianic events can proceed without due and thorough reference to the creation narrative. We cannot understand even the first of these episodes, the story of The Transformation of Water into Wine without first a thoroughgoing recourse to the interpretation of the theology of creation. That must now occupy our attention.

We have already begun the analysis of the P creation story. We noted the importance of structural logic in this text, where the form of the propositions plays a role at least as significant as their actual content. We can see the outlines of binary form recurring on an increasingly minute scale, almost like a fractal. If we were to begin at the broadest contours of our subject, we would have to recognise the existence of the categoreal paradigm transcendence : immanence in the contrastive relationship established by the two textual centres, that of Genesis and that of the gospel. In so far as it is concerned with 'beginning' the former is a theology of transcendence whereas its complement, explicitly referred to in the opening inclusio 'the heavens and the earth', is supplied by the gospel in general, and the messianic series in particular. There is no doubt that the creation story is in need of an ending. Nor is there any doubt that these two narrative cycles are radically different to one another. This then is the first instance of the paradigmatic polarity.

If we look closely at the creation cycle or the messianic series, or in fact, both in tandem, as we have done, we notice that the same paradigm recurs. The criteria which shape the story of beginning according to the form transcendence : immanence, are disjunction : conjunction; the criteria which establish the analogous polarity of the messianic events are identity : feeding. We can elide these criteria and shall do so to refer to the texts comprehensively as they do to one another. For this purpose we shall speak of identity : unity. The first three Days manifested the concept of identity, for God names the things created during those Days, a fiat which is not repeated in the second half of the archaeological week. This reflects the disjunctive. The naming process is a 'decision' of sorts. So too the application of conjunction or unity to the immanent messianic events is perfectly appropriate, for every one of these episodes consists of the assimilation of food or drink. The texts agree on this as the primary metaphor for unity. It was alluded to in both creation narratives, and in the second it was paramount for it governed the story of the first human couple in the garden of Eden. Thus within the series taken in themselves, now the Days, now the messianic miracles, the analogical paradigm transcendence : immanence recurs, for the Days subdivide into subsets just as the miracle series does.

Turning again to the creation story we see for a third time, the instantiation of the paradigm. In the first half two entities are separated from each other. These are light and darkness, above and below and a somewhat more complex instance in the case of Day 3, where there is in fact a double act of creation; the first polarises the sea and land, the second the two different types of plants. In the second half of the creation story the less apparent example of the paradigm is Day 4. This is the only rubric in that section which does not explicitly involve male and female as the primary exemplification of unity. Even so, the same is implicit. In the messianic miracle series there is a less certain instance of the paradigm at this still more atomic level; but if we examine both Christological episodes we see that the first involves water and wine , and that the last invokes the light/darkness motif of the creation story, and furthermore the general pattern of 'morning and evening' which pervades the creation cycle. Thus the categoreal paradigm transcendence : immanence is reiterated on a scale that compels our attention.

 

'IN THE BEGINNING ...'

The text itself reflects its own binary form in the opening formula 'the heavens and the earth'. At the immediate level, we assigned this same phrase to the story's two halves: the first three Days are the 'transcendent' ('heaven') theology, and the final four Days the 'immanent' ('earth') theology of creation. It is true that both the heavens and the earth are created during the first half of the week, during Day 2 and Day 3 respectively. But several qualifying factors suggested that this observation should not prevent us from an appreciation of one meaning of the couplet as the reference to the structure of the narrative as a whole. Not the least of such factors is, as we have noted, the significance of the Day 3 rubric. It announces the creation of living things in terms that pre-empt not just the appearance of male and female (humans and animals), but indeed everything including sun, moon and stars - in the story's second half. The entities categorised in the second half of the narrative participate in this pervasive form of unity. So in a very certain sense, the 'earth' of Day 3, is fully realised only in the second half of the series as a whole, and in the creation of the male and female humans during Day 6. As the culmination of the creation, the human pair fulfills one of the meanings of earth' in the opening couplet, 'heaven and earth'. It remains to understand the immanentist teleological  inflection of this rubric, Day 6, and that of its formal companions, the entire corpus of Days 4, 5, 6, and 7, in light of the messianic miracles which they preempt. Thus the full force of the theology of immanence within the creation narrative, as elsewhere, is proleptic. It will be the task of the messianic miracles to accomplish the semantic force behind the expression 'earth' fully and finally.

The opening inclusio 'the heavens and the earth' defines this story as an account which seeks to be  encompassing, to  identify created things comprehensively, and to deal with the relationships  of these same things to one another. To this end the recurrence of the inclusio, the 'categoreal paradigm', and the structure of the narrative by means of numbers strive. Thus the fundamental meaning of the opening expression 'heaven and earth', is the universe as totality. The phrase refers to all that is/was made, everything which participates in 'beginning' as in createdness. When John 1.1ff adopts the initial lines of Genesis 1.1, 'In the beginning …', the clause 'all things were made through him' (pa/nta di' a)utou= e)ge//neto, kai\ xwrij au)tou e)ge/neto ou)de\ e3n o3 ge'gonen (v 3)) ensues logically in the same context. The primary reference of the formula 'the heavens and the earth' encompasses the cosmos in its entirety. But the elements of this same totality are in some sort of ordered relation to one another. Now the use of polarity usually entails analogy. We have already seen the analogous relation between the Days and the messianic events. But within the creation taxonomy itself, just as we see in the constant recurrence of the categoreal paradigm, the things enumerated also establish analogous relationships with one another. Here then precisely, the analogous relationality of 'all things' begins to come into play. There is an intensive analogous relationship of the categories which the creation story taxonomises, and a further extensive analogous relationship which embraces the connectedness of these same with the entities which are the logical subjects of the messianic series.

We have already begun the interpretation of the creation story.  The phenomenon of (human) sexual dimorphism, a form of unity, is one such thing enumerated. It remains a pervasive characteristic of living things, a structure of the utmost generality  even though vegetative forms of life, as P very subtly notes, do not as a rule participate in this entity in altogether the same ways as do animals and humans.  We encounter here something of a numerical contradiction. In other words, the significance of male and female, is, once again, their ambiguous relation indicated by the copula 'and'. Just as 'male and female' refers to two entities, so also it refers to one. It refers to the one species or kind - humans (Nymi). We shall find paradox a defining moment for each form of unity. A focal contradiction is involved in the relation between transcendence (disjunction) and immanence (conjunction).

The expression 'form of unity' highlights the fact that we are obliged to conceptualise the human, or more generally 'animal' entity from both points of view. The conjunction of male and female enumerates one entity; their disjunction however, is the enumeration of two distinct entities. Here then, the ambiguity of the narrative well serves reality. P accounts for the paradox as it assumes this form in this particular form of unity, by including the creation of the 'earth' in the 'heavens' half of the narrative. That is a stroke of real genius given the structural nature of the entity with its attendant paradox. Given the logical structure of the creation story, the second perspective is the more paradigmatic of this particular ultimate generality, sexually dimorphic humankind. For this reason, we have already insisted that Day 6 realises, or at least begins to realise, the full significance of the term 'earth'. For the mode of antithesis of the 'heaven' events was one of disjunction, and the mode of antithesis of the 'earth' events, one of conjunction. P very subtly speaks of the male : female form of unity in terms of transcendence, the 'heavens' paradigm  under the rubric of Day 3; but clearly he conceptualises it according to the  'earth' paradigm of the polarity transcendence : immanence. That is, the text identifies this particular form of unity as in some sense a transcendent entity, but nevertheless as being weighted in favour of immanence. So we have here a qualified sense of transcendence. Not all things, or forms of unity, taxonomised as transcendent, are equally so. There will emerge a variety of forms of unity according to the principle of transcendence, and as we shall later see, a similar order of things immanent by means of which certain entities are more or less immanent in kind.

One of the ultimate generalities, those features of the creation which are universal, its irreducibly pervasive entities, its ultimate categories, one of these primordial features of reality, is of course the male : female form of unity. It is a fact that not every living thing participates in sexual dimorphism. Certain living forms remain sexually undifferentiated. Part of the reason for the Day 3 text devolves upon the fact that vegetative life appears to its authors to differ from animal life in this respect. Most living animal forms of life however, do share this very structural category. It is a basic configuration of the vast majority of living things. We have thus already effectively begun to understand the Day 3 - Day 6 pair. We cannot say simply that the first rubric explicates the masculine, and the second the feminine, and we have to account as yet for the qualification of the concept of transcendence and its situation within a hierarchy of forms of unity. Nonetheless, the hermeneutic is indicating a possibility along these lines.

Here we must recur again to the obvious significance of the structure of the text. It comprises three parallel pairs - Days 1-4, Days 2-5, and Days 3-6. These pairs enumerate the systematic aspects of the universe as sixfold, and this sixfold pattern effectively consists of three pairs. We have already clearly adduced the latter pair as a reference to the form of unity male : female. This means that the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism is one of only three instances of the categoreal, the level of maximum generality or utmost pervasiveness. There are other entities, at least two, which also manifest the same structure, that of the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence, and which are thus analogous forms of unity. In other words, male : female exemplifies the overarching paradigm of the opening couplet, ‘heavens and the earth’ in relation to other categoreal entities comparable to it. The terms or relata in this particular case are disposed in favour of conjunction rather than disjunction. That is to say, this particular form of unity expresses the immanent aspect of creation to an extent greater than its analogues.

We have already noted at least two disparate modes of antithesis, the one transcendent (disjunctive) the other immanent (conjunctive). But no simple dualistic division functions here. If the central term of the categoreal paradigm is somehow equivalent to the copula, with all its attendant ambiguity, and if the inclusion of the creation of the 'earth' fell at first glance paradoxically within the contours of transcendence, resulting in the qualification of the male : female form of unity, this is why. Male and female do not express the clearest case of disjunction, which is what the Day 2 rubric envisages. Whatever the the meaning of that, the 'heavens' rubric, the 'earth' rubric, that is male : female, is somewhat in opposition to it, as immanence is to transcendence even though this entity, the anthropic form of unity, is to be considered as categoreally of a piece with it, as somehow analogously related to it. For the overarching preference of this text is for transcendence, such that the basis of analogous relationality obtaining between the things in question must rest upon the same, transcendence. One of the classic adequations for analogy, 'sameness in difference' will assist us in grasping this.

What then of the remaining two forms of unity? For the structure and content of the narrative signify three comparable or analogous forms of unity. What are the other two, and how do we establish what they are?  What of their sameness as and difference to each other, if one of them, the entity classified under the 'heavens' rubric is 'antithetical' to the male : female entity?

We are here again confronted with the binary structure of the text. For if the male : female form of unity is systematically represented generally by the last half of the narrative, and by the story of Day 6 in particular, then the first half of the narrative generally, and the story of Day 2 in particular should present something which is both comparable to it as binary in structure, yet contrasted with it as transcendence to immanence. We recall at this point, that the Day 2 story about 'heaven' is representative of this ' heavens' half of the text. In other words, the something analogous to  male : female is as 'first' is to 'last', 'beginning' is to 'end'.

And God said: Let there be a solid vault ((ayqirf = LXX sterewma)  in the middle of the waters, so as to form a division between water and water. (And it was so.) (Genesis1.6)

And God made the solid vault and created a division between the waters above the vault and under the vault. (v7)

And God named the vault heaven (myimf#f = LXX ouranon).  And it was evening and it was morning, a second day. (v8)

As we noted in relation to the final relatum of the categoreal paradigm 'earth', two words functioned: 'dry land' and 'earth'; now in connection with the initial relatum 'heaven(s)' the same occurs, for the text speaks of 'vault' and 'heaven'. In both cases the actual words used in the paradigm are preceded in the text by their alternatives, and the words translated 'heaven' and 'earth' respectively in the narrative, which correspond to the same terms in Genesis 1.1, are the result of the divine fiat. This justifies our assumption that no small amount of significance attaches to these words.

In the first instance, 'heaven' is referent to the sky above us. The actual text however depicts two opposed poles, 'waters above' ((ayqirflf l(am" r#e)A: myi,m,fhf = LXX tou udatoj epanw tou steromatoj) and 'waters below' ((ayqirflf txat,ami r#e)a: myim,aha = LXX tou udatoj o hn upokatw tou sterewmatoj). Removing the common denominator 'waters', this image is effectively one of contrastive above and below. The description of the second day is very close to an abstraction, which sits well with the general tenor of the text. It is the pattern of spatial dimensionality. Not only does the shape of the Day 2 narrative as a whole look very much like an image of spatial dimensionality but in its literal sense, the highly salient term, 'heaven' refers to the sky, or as we shall say, 'space'.

The continuity between the two rubrics Day 2 and Day 3 also supports the identification of the 'beginning' form (of unity) as space. We have already noticed textual proximity of the two and the analogous similitude of the two miracles at sea. These two rubrics in the creation story are comparable, but contrasted; that is analogous. The common and vital motif of the two narratives is the element of water. The Day 3 story presents an image of an immense gathering of the 'water beneath the heaven gather[ed] into one place' (v 9). Their common element, water, is only part of the picture. Moreover, this is a polysemous symbol; and will also do justice as we see in the first miracle story, for the masculine principle, as befits the image of the Spirit creator, concerning which we shall say more later.

There is also the fact of obvious contrast between a body of water such as the sea and the vertical dimensionality of above-below. So if the Day 2 story looks very much like an image of one dimension, the vertical, the Day 3 story looks very much like an image of another, the horizontal. In this way, the entire three rubrics for the 'heavens' half of the text begin to form an image of threefold spatial dimensionality. That is, the Day 1 and Day 3 rubrics, in addition to their literal and specific function of nominating the entities comparable to space ('sameness in difference'), can also be read in compliance with the paradigmatic rubric, that of Day 2. The Day 2 rubric is paradigmatic precisely because it details the creation of 'heaven' within the 'heaven' moiety of the series. Thus even though the text dealing with the first Day does not include either word 'heaven' or 'vault', just as it avoids using the term 'water', the sense of absolute division (ld,"b:yoawa = LXX diexwrisen) used only in connection with the first and second Days secures their semantic link. This functions in tandem the connection we make consciously or not between light (Day 1) and space (Day 2).

The creation of light and its consequent separation from the darkness immediately calls to mind the same realm, that of the sky, or heaven or space. The similarity between Day 1 and Day 2 is therefore purposefully articulated as other than the similarity between Day 3 and Day 2. This is important, because as juxtaposed as the eschatological (teleological) Day 3 and the primordial (archaeological) Day 2 are, they nevertheless establish a mutual reciprocity, reflecting the very terms 'beginning' and 'end', or 'first' and 'last'. These are peripheral or terminal members of the threefold series. The internal member of this same series, represented by the copula, or better still by the ratio sign ':', to which the Day 1 rubric corresponds, has a preceding and succeeding member. It is literally mediatory or intervenient. But for all that, it bears some pertinent comparability to the primordial, archaeological, preceding member of the series here Day 2, which we now recognise as signifying the spatial manifold, since it also contains every bit as strongly as the Day 2 text, the idea of separation between polarities, this time light and darkness. (In this respect, it is actually closer to the normative ('heavens') Day 2 story than that of Day 3 which has no literal mention of 'separation'.)  We may therefore legitimately see this polarity also as confirming the basic proposition suggested by the normative Day 2 text, the idea of space.

Thus, whereas the form of unity male : female can be identified virtually as the recurrent if not dominant concept of the second half of the narrative, the corresponding entity in the first is space, as is suggested explicitly in the Day 2 rubric, and implicitly in the complete picture we have of the first half of the narrative, the 'heavens' half. For in varying ways, Day 1 and Day 3 also provide an image of the spatial, or rather they supplement and confirm the Day 2 rubric about 'the heavens' as the normative rubric for the 'heavens' half of the text. This is not their sole logical and referential function, but we cannot miss the overall integrity of the first half of the text in virtue of the concept of transcendence, which now becomes immediately recognisable in the phenomenon of space itself. We need to interpret the rubrics as they concern themselves, as discrete propositions, and also as ordered into two contrastive entities, given by the categoreal paradigm, and the overarching binary structure of the story. Such an interpretation should hardly come as a surprise in view of the fact that the narrative in its entirety engages the concept of space : time by means of insistently applying the day - 'evening and morning' - as the unit of measurement. Where this resounds as a litany extolling the creative advance, it supports the articulate and restrained vocabulary of the text in its gravitas. Thus to urge than one of the three definitive effects of the 'beginning' is the inception of the (threefold) spatial manifold, an entity which in another form consists in relation to time, is well attested by the framing of each and every episode in terms of a temporal, that is, spatiotempora, unit - the Day.

What begins to emerge from the consideration of the first half of the creation story both taken as a whole, and concentrating on the structural index 'heavens', concerns a space of three dimensions, pictured successively in terms of the first three Days, and simultaneously literally envisioned by the central rubric of the 'heavens' division of the narrative, Day 2. Should we not therefore read this first section of the story, the 'heavens' half, and the specific Day 2 text in light of the dominant notion of space ('heavens')? The explication of the various modes of polarity, that is 'antithesis', suggests that we should.

       

 

Modes of Antithesis in the Creation Story


Logicians, particularly Buddhist logicians, as well as students of Gnosticism often speak as if there were such a thing as dualism, or duality. There is no dualism, only dualisms; no duality, only dualities. We have already affirmed the radical significance of form, that is structure in the P narrative. The text itself is split into juxtaposed theologies of transcendence and immanence in its serial halves, first (‘beginning’) and last. The latter is given to us incompletely, and the general inflection of this first creation story is in virtue of transcendence; the opening speaks of 'beginning' rather than end. That the second ('end') half of the week faithfully follows in parallel fashion the first, also tells for the predilection of the author(s) for transcendence. This means that the narrative will defer to the gospel and the Apocalypse, both of which contain texts of congruent shape germane to the meaning of immanence, a meaning already portended by the figure' earth', and by the humans created on the all but last, the sixth Day. There is more attention given in the second creation story to the immanentist perspective complementary to transcendence, but this is secondary. The emphatic rationale of 'beginning' is transcendence.

Even so, all the acts in both halves are binary. This is not to say that they are identical. Certainly for instance, light/darkness (Day 1) is different from night : day (Day 4). However, both surely are binary, and the two forms of polarity are indeed related. The mode of antithesis in the first case, Day 1,  is disjunctive (transcendent), whereas that of the second is conjunctive (immanent). We noted that the general or primary model for transcendence is space ('heavens'), whereas the paradigm for the latter is the male : female form of unity, exemplifying immanence within a text whose primary concern is the transcendent. We have still to assess the content of the Day 1-Day 4 narratives in order to reach a hermeneutic, but we need first to pursue the abstract form of the propositions. For in each case, Day 1-Day 4; Day 2-Day 5, Day 3-Day 6, we see the same configuration. Polar entities exemplary of transcendence which are juxtaposed with other polar entities exemplary of immanence. This means in effect that there is no simple dualism of mutually exclusive terms. There is in fact a third form of polarity, that which concerns the very relation itself of the archaeological and eschatological. Here the focus rests upon the copula, which we have represented as the ratio sign in the categoreal paradigm, transcendence ':' immanence.

There is really only one way to deal with the abstractions which form a component of the creation story at least as important as its content. That is to express the form of the propositions geometrically. The Day 2 story with its abstract notion of polarity and concomitant spatial dimensionality can be easily represented geometrically:






The relationship between the terms here is that of separation, the condition of their identification. The primary term is the first ('beginning') one, the above rather than the below. Hence this figure illustrates the mode of polarity we refer to as transcendent. We use that term specifically with its association to the word 'God' in mind, just as we will encounter the word 'heavens' as a periphrasis for God. This is not to blur the distinction between creator and creation; we are not equating space itself with God. But space itself must on this account be considered that entity in the created world which bears resemblance to the transcendent God. In the words of the Day 6 narrative, we can say that God makes space 'according to his image' (vv 26, 27)

This representation must be complemented by a another, one similar enough yet different enough also in order to illustrate the possibilities for analogy inherent in polarity. One that is which stands as 'end' to 'beginning', as 'earth' to 'heaven',  immanence to transcendence, the anthropic form of unity male : female to the spatiotemporal:



 
In this case, that of immanence, there is no primary term, for conjunction proscribes the process of identification of an term above and beyond that which is otherwise its opposite. The immanent mode of antithesis is determined by unity. The horizontal represents  the conjunction of opposites. It is as such distinguishable from the previous mode of antithesis. These two axes subtend a relation of maximum contrast to one another, as is suggested by the various terms 'beginning' and 'end', 'first' and 'last' and so on. However as already noted this contrast must not negate their essential similarity. In a threefold series only two members will occupy the peripheries; thus the first axis, the vertical of transcendence denotes absolute beginning, the fact that there was/is/will be no prior such entity. Space therefore is the prime instantiation of novelty. The opposite obtains in the case of the immanent conjunction, male and female. Here the absence of priority is out of the question as we see from the text which also depicts the animals in terms of sexual dimorphism. However the point of resemblance between this mode of antithesis, the antithesis of male and female, concerns the fact that nothing similar can follow it; it is in every respect last, teleological, eschatological.

The geometrical iconography representative of the form of the text must also reflect that relationship.  Therefore, their representation does not consist of two non-contiguous lines, but of intersecting lines. This relation between the two modes of antithesis the transcendent ('vertical') mode and the immanent ('horizontal') mode entails their representation as co-incident. The two axes intersect at right-angles, designating their essential relatedness and contrast, their similarity and difference. Here then, the vertical signifies the relation of disjunction between its two terms, and the horizontal the relation of conjunction between terms. The two sets of terms (opposites) are recognisably different but also related. This last point is worthy of emphasis: the two modes of antithesis while they are contrastive - disjunctive and conjunctive respectively - must be in relation with one another:





The two-dimensional matrix configures both the transcendent mode of antithesis, the 'vertical', and the immanent mode of antithesis, 'the horizontal'. Space exemplifies the former, whereas male : female exemplifies the latter. We have referred to these as forms of unity. They each, in varying ways, epitomise the meaning of the opening formula 'the heavens and the earth'. In other words, they are radical or ultimately general aspects of the universe and related analogously as both being polarities or antithetical modes.  This pattern is yet incomplete, for we are in the process of determining a third category. By means of varying degrees of emphasis, it represents the logical internal consistency of two of the three forms of unity. It illustrates the essential relationship between the two halves of the story, and it illustrates also those two pairs of rubrics, Days 2-5 and Days 3-6 in particular in relation to itself.

The iconography which emerges from the Genesis text, the pattern proper to the 'beginning' and 'end' forms of unity, and the relationship they subtend, is that of a plane. But we are dealing with a total of three forms of unity. The above iconography identifies only those forms of unity covered by the rubrics mentioned. It remains two-dimensional. In a sense, this matrix fails to refer to the most important entity of all. The creation story also itself appears to do just this. For where we might expect to find a textual link between the two halves of the narrative, one which would epitomise the troublesome ambiguity represented by the copula, the 'and' of the initial inclusio 'the heavens and the earth', there is silence. The proper place for any such text would be at verse 13, the pause between the first and second halves of the narrative.  This betokens their relation, and simultaneously the relation of each of the various forms of unity, light/darkness to day : night and so on.  The silence is more articulate than anything else in the narrative, since the narrative itself points to it unerringly though interrogatively. Thus the relation(s) denoted by the copula  is/are susceptible of more than one meaning. We come then by logical procedure to the third form of unity, the one subsumed under the rubrics of Days 1-4.

The point of illustrating the structure of the story in this way is that it demonstrates that a third mode of antithesis is operative. The theology of creation concerns three comparable forms of unity, put successively in the three pairs of Days. The third form of unity is signified by the light/darkness and day/night stories, Days 1-4. We have dealt only with the patterns established by the stories of Days 2-5 and 3-6. These establish the fundamental antithesis denoted by the two relata in the paradigm 'the heavens and the earth'. The third polarity concerns the ambiguous copula of this paradigm. We see it reflected in the narrative content itself and equally in the narrative structure that the iconography above represents. The two antithetical modes of antithesis do not obtain in isolation. Accordingly, we signified their relationship by the matrix (right-angle) pattern, which designates the plane of two dimensions. This puts terms themselves into a relation. In so doing, it generates a third mode of antithesis, which is explicit and which persists at the very heart of the text. What the structure of the story of creation ultimately designates is a polarity of polarities.  For the two modes of antithesis corresponding to the relata 'transcendence : immanence' or 'the heavens and the earth', engender a further mode of antithesis as their relation. The relation is that of a polarity whose terms in turn are polarities.

The third mode of antithesis therefore answers the question of the of the relation between any of the entities denoted by corresponding Days. For example, in the 1-4 pair, what is the precise nature of the relationship between the light/darkness and day : night? We assume that there is some meaning to the relation between the antithesis of the antitheses light/darkness and day/night and to the other two congruent instances of the same, those of Days 2-5 and 3-6.  This is the most prominent idea of the text. It is tantamount to the silent but present question of the relation of the terms themselves reflected in the two distinct halves of the story and so is all the more noticeable as requiring explication.

The third and final, or central mode of antithesis, like the third form of unity whose structure it postulates, is built upon the previous two. The text does not itemise it as a third thing in addition to the two already articulated; it employs no new third term - tertium non datur.  To do so would comprise the absolute sense of contrast obtaining between 'first' or 'beginning' and 'end' or last'. Rather it elaborates upon the relationality of the peripheral terms. So here the narrative is utterly faithful to the logic implicit in the initial categoreal paradigm. We shall see that the paradox of 'beginning' and 'end' ('heavens and the earth') defines the central and Christological pre-occupation of the narrative.

The third polarity (form of antithesis) consists of a paradoxical relation between those that are already given. It is paradoxical because it incorporates both transcendent and immanent forms of relation, both the disjunctive and conjunctive at once. This is precisely the situation referred to in the various Christological formulae 'beginning and end', 'first and last', 'alpha and omega', and of course by the opening formula 'heavens and the earth'. What is the meaning of the copula in these formulae if not paradoxical? A beginning is defined in opposition to an end, and so on with all the other terms formulating expressions analogous to the same paradigm. The final pattern of the structure of this narrative can now be proposed:





The prevailing use of ordinal numbers in Genesis 1.1-2.4a is both relevant and conspicuous. The story of 'beginning' is serial and profoundly imbued with structural patterns. This has suggested the procedure of analysing the patterns of opposition within the narrative and of configuring these firstly in terms of Euclidean two-dimensional geometry and then in terms of solid (three-dimensional) geometry. That is what the above iconography proposes. Two considerations follow immediately from the iconographical representation of the story. In anticipation of the Christology of creation theology, we may comment on this in passing.

Firstly, there is its connotation if not denotation of the cruciform. One usually conceives the cross as a two dimensional matrix. Abstract representations of the crucifixion do not as a rule, suggest the three dimensional matrix which we associate more readily with the spatial manifold. The cruciform is nevertheless three-dimensional. For it consists of a singular corpus and an already existing plane cross of vertical and horizontal. It is appropriate therefore, to reconsider this spatial (three-dimensional) aspect of the cruciform not the least because the emphasis then comes to rest on the corpus itself, as incorporating the axes already juxtaposed, vertical and horizontal - 'the heavens and the earth'. Their relationship can only be resolved by means of paradox. The crucified body is that paradox. We have here moved resolutely from the realm of abstraction to that of the real world - the world first envisaged in the second creation narrative, the world of toil, suffering and death. Hence we have reiterated the analogous relation between the creation series and the messianic miracles - beginning and end, creation and salvation. This is a theme which sits outside of present concerns, and we shall return to it later.

Secondly, this procedure of concentrating on the form of the story of creation by iconographical means suggests nothing so clearly as the three-dimensional spatial manifold. This returns us to our hermeneutic of the story and further to the interpretation of the messianic miracles. At the heart of the logical form of Genesis 1.1-2.4a is this configuration which reifies the principle proposition of the theology of 'beginning': namely that the unequivocally transcendent product of the same is identical with the initiation of the space of space : time.

We have seen the narrative draw a comparison between space : time and the male : female forms of unity. These it portrays in similar terms in both halves of the narrative, a portrayal which in turn serves to emphasise the singularity of Day 1. In the first half, there are the two sets of locations, waters above/waters below Day 2, and waters below (sea) : land etc., Day 3. The corresponding patterns of Day 5 and Day 6 involve the life forms pertaining to these realms. Thus the second half of the narrative reproduces this same pattern. The things created during Days 5 and 6 are living and sexually differentiated (male and female). The sun : moon and stars of Day 4 however, appear to stand outside this category. We noted nevertheless, in the interests of paradox, that the latter, do possess a seeming vitality and a virtual or metaphorical sexual dimorphism.

The description of these categories, space : time and male : female, in terms which are noticeably similar and comparable must not obscure their antithetical relationship. The Day 2 rubric is normative for the 'beginning' ('heavens'), just as the Day 6 story is represenative of the 'end' ('earth'). The clearest of any mode of antithesis, is that subtended in these figures. Binary terms alone are set in opposition to each other, as indicated by the opening formula 'heavens and earth'.  Space : time has to do with beginning, and although it is akin to the male : female form of unity, the latter always concerns 'end'. They consist in a relationship of genuine opposition despite the similarity of the terms in which the creation narrative presents them, waters and so on in the first half, sexually differentiated creatures in the second half. The relationship of these forms of unity, and corresponding modes of antithesis to one another, is given by the plane rather than the line. This puts the inextricable rapport which obtains between these particular forms of unity, space and male : female, without obscuring their intrinsic opposition. In other words, it follows the tendency of the narrative to identify the peculiar relation between these primordial and eschatological events. We  considered the similarity to each other of such terms by noticing that in a threefold serial order they are both peripheral. In a threefold series, only one member is bounded by other terms on both sides, the central member, signified by the copula ('... and ...') of the formula. The initial term is bounded by another term ('... and ...') only on one side, just as is the final term. However these peripheries are oppositional. It is important to follow the structural logic of these propositions here and now, because it concerns what will follow.

We can now distinguish between the iconography of plane and line. We can now assign the line to the third polarity  (the polarity of polarities), which expresses a paradox. This initiates another dimension altogether. The Christological form of unity - which we have yet to expound - and the mode of antithesis proper to it is expressed iconographically as linear rather than planar. This is in keeping with its singularity, its uniqueness as measured against the relationship of the other two categories. When the Christological (central) aspect of the creation story is considered, the relationship between the primordial and eschatological ('beginning and end') because of their relationship to it, is modified. There is a shift from two to three dimensions.

The relationship of the Christological form of unity to both space : time and male : female is equivalent. To conceptualise this, we need to conceive the plane A : A-B as rotating about the axis of rotation, the line A : B which signifies the Christological 'dimension' form of unity, the ' third' mode of antithesis, as consisting of both the primordial and the eschatological forms. It is easier to imagine this model in spherical  (planetary) terms, such as those of the earth's, in which the plane configured by the equator, is given by the A : A-B plane of the iconography, and the line A : B represents the axis of rotation. Such a conceptual image points up the singularity of the Christological and of its proper mode of antithesis.


The primary logical proposition of the story of creation is the identification of the 'beginning' with space : time. In other words, the spatial manifold of three dimensions is the thing brought into existence, or created, and the thing which exemplifies Transcendence. Space : time is the one entity in the intelligible universe which, as marking absolute beginning, manifests the principle of novelty, and stands as witness to the identity of The Transcendent ('The Father'). It is the prime embodiment of everything conveyed by the term 'creation'.

The identification of this form of unity with the notion of beginning is conveyed more than once; that is, the text speaks of it emphatically. The text both in its entirety, and in one of its three parts expounds this proposition. If the same text in terms of its three parts, pairs of Days 1-4, 2-5, and 3-6, presents us with two other categories, that is because these stand in certain relations to space : time. But the text taken in its entirety, that is including the story of the Seventh Day, again positively asserts the idea of the spatiotemporal. Everything in the story is framed in terms of a temporal unit, the day. Additionally, the precise relation of the two clearly demarcated halves of the story, its 'the heavens and the earth' halves, expresses the ratio 3:4. This reflects the ratio of spatial to spatiotemporal dimensions. The story of the Sabbath denotes specifically, the one temporal dimension that cannot be understood as existing in itself. In the same way, time always occurs in relation to space. Only with that story does mundane time, as we know it, begin. To appreciate fully the primacy of the notion of space : time to the meaning of the text, is to begin to understand it.

The same space : time continuum is made in the image and likeness of God. If the question of the 'identity' of God confronts us with a triadic form, then the fact that space is a three-dimensional manifold tells for its provenance. To use the language of Genesis, space is made in the image and likeness of God. A mathematical and logical explanation for the reason why space consists of precisely three dimensions has never been advanced, nor could any such explanation be posited without, by definition, becoming metaphysics. The explication of the three-dimensional spatial manifold given in the story of 'beginning' is avowedly metaphysical. It construes the form of the spatial manifold in terms of its provenance in 'God', that is Transcendence.

We can now summarise some of the main points of our evolving hermeneutic of the Genesis creation story:
  • beginning, actual 'creation', is identified with the inception of the space : time manifold, and primarily with its spatial aspect, the perspective of transcendence;
  • although the tripartite form of space must represent the triadic order in God, thus identifying the Son and the Holy Spirit as well as Transcendence, space is more precisely identified with the Transcendent ('the Father');
  • it consists in relation to two other forms of unity;
  • one of these, namely the form of unity male : female, is related to it in direct antithesis as is last to first, end to beginning, omega to alpha;
  • these formulae all evince the same ('Trinitarian') structure, all conform to the paradigm transcendence : immanence as is given by the initial formula of the story, 'the heavens and the earth';
  • the three forms of unity (of which we have so far determined only two - space : time and male : female) are analogous to each other;
  • every one of the three forms of unity evinces Transcendence, the Son, and immanence (the Holy Spirit);
  • Transcendence is exemplified in the initial term of each form of unity, the Holy Spirit (and immanence) is exemplified in the final relatum, and the logos ('Christ'), by the relation itself as given by the ratio sign':';
  • the central aspect of the narrative form (structure) and thus the focus of the narrative is the Christological and the same can be said of the forms of unity themselves;
  • this can be expounded only in terms which constitute a paradox of sorts; and given the role of polarity, the most significant logical procedure in this exposition will involve the use of analogy.
We have just roundly contradicted a cherished commonplace of received theology which assigns the primary role in creation to the identity of Transcendence ('the Father'). This is epitomised in the creeds which speak of '... the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth ...' Such interpretation has occurred in spite of the fact that
  •   the preferred word for deity  by the author(s) of the creation story is a plural (myhilo)E);
  •   the 'Spirit of God' - sometimes translated as 'the wind of God' -   (myhilo)E xawor) is mentioned in the description of the state 'antecedent' to beginning in verse 2;
  •   the opening of the gospel of John which affiliates the logos in the closest possible way with Transcendence;
  •   the gospel of Mark complies with the Johannine view of the relation of the Christ to Transcendence, for the messianic series affiliates the same with the creation.

The emerging hermeneutic therefore
includes in the work of creation the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is no way in which the structure of the P narrative can dodge the obvious import of a Trinitarian theology. We shall contend that the role of the Son in creation, in keeping with his status in the Johannine prologue, is both pervasive and inclusive. Furthermore, there does not seem to be any better way of dealing with the formal features of the text which results in an emphasis on the Christological category, for this alone brings into relation the primordial and eschatological. We shall say more about this in the discussion of light and time in the story. The degree to which this is so, that is, the degree to which the creation story is a Christology, defines the Son and the Transcendent in terms of parity.

The point is that the encompassing form of the propositions  involved in this narrative, their logic, is intrinsically triadic. The story of beginning in its pre-eminent concern with serial order and the coherent  integration of the individual rubrics or stories of 'Days', manifests a meaning that only a 'Trinitarian' interpretation can guarantee. It is true that space itself is notably three-dimensional and attention to this fact is nowhere spared in the story. That space is innately threefold speaks for its own characteristic quality as a)rxh= (beginning), rather than e)/sxatoj (end), as well as for the provenance of space,  God or Transcendence. Here again, the triadic pattern recurs as initial and final relata and the actual relation.  However,  the narrative addresses more than just 'the heavens', more that is, than just three-dimensional space. Space is radically contrasted not merely with time, its complement which completes it, rendering the continuum a  four-dimensional manifold. The completed archaeological form of unity, space : time, is contrasted with the eschatological form of unity, male : female. The narrative displays significant awareness of the polar opposition between these forms of unity as between 'heavens and the earth'. Thus the same pattern subtended by the archaeological and eschatological, 'first and last', relata in each form of unity, the forms of unity themselves maintain  in their inclusive relatedness.

At every point of the narrative we are confronted with twofold and threefold forms: the twofold recapitulating the categoreal paradigm, the triad the threefold nature of 'God'. The story of beginning is the story of a morphological order - that of the integrity of the forms of unity - and it expresses the order in the cosmos as reflecting the order in God. Hence it evinces an equal concern for those identities, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as for the forms of unity proper to them. In any case, both these identities are present in the triadic structure of the purely spatial, and the spatio-temporal. To recognise the irreducibly and  radically twofold and threefold patterns in the text is not to controvert the peculiar link between the spatial and Transcendence and beginning, but to do justice to their intrinsic relatedness. In other words, the story of beginning is about more than just beginning. It is about the triune nature of God.

Still wanting is the interpretation of the Day 1 and Day 4 rubrics. We have determined the identities of Transcendence and the Holy Spirit in the binary Days 2-5 and Days 3-6 and their corresponding forms of unity, space : time and male : female respectively. Now this pair of pairs, this polarity of polarities having pointed to the third form of unity as to the identity of the Son, means that we are left asking what is the actual central topos of this story. For this third entity, a third form of unity, is surely the most central notion of the text. Even if the overall shape of the narrative can be seen as representing the threefold dimensionality of space, which it portrays as an instance of transcendence in the universe and a major concern for any interpretation, the sheer consistency of the role of light in the story maintains something of an equal status for its corresponding reality and whom it identifies - the Son. Not only do the story of light and darkness and the subsequent story of night and day initiate the two halves of the narrative; but every event is concluded with a refrain that seems to extol them as they are in themselves: 'And it was evening and and it was morning, a ... day.' Every time the narrative utilises  such language, it repeats the compresent concepts, light and time.  This places the logos on equal footing with Transcendence, and accords equivalent value, where transcendence is concerned, to the two entities corresponding to Transcendence and the Son, the first of which we have seen to be space.  It is therefore not possible to put that space is the unique instantiation of transcendence in the universe. It is unequivocally transcendent, and it is uniquely related to 'beginning' qua 'beginning'. However the role given to the form of unity disclosed under the Days1-4 rubrics is on par with that of the spatiotemporal as far as transcendence is concerned; and likewise, the identity thereby revealed, the Son, is on par with the Transcendent as John recaputulates. We know that identity as none other than the logos,  as John refers to the Son, and we observe how nearly he adopts the language of the creation story. Not only does he recur to the metaphor of light in the opening of his gospel, but he later proposes a systematic pattern of days leading up to the story of the miracle at Cana. What then of the form of unity proper to the Son?


 

Light and Time - Christ and Creation

Having urged the recognition of the presence of all three identities in God in the creation, we again remind ourselves that the larger compass of these  considerations  takes account of the existence of three narrative cycles of which two are formally analogous, and to these, the third, from the morphological standpoint, is in close proximity to the same two. The biblical literature contains three textual centres which in varying ways are cast in terms of one and the same morphological schema, the sevenfold series:
  • Genesis 1.1-2.4a,
  • the series of messianic miracles including the Eucharist, common to all four gospels, but at its most complete and probably best maintained in Mark, and
  • The Apocalypse more or less as a whole.
In the latter the sevenfold pattern proliferates, although there is much other material besides. It is certain that these narratives connect with one another. They establish something like a corpus or literary whole. In an obvious way, taken as such,  they reformulate the categoreal paradigm with the creation story and the Apocalypse standing in relation to one another of beginning and end respectively. If we adopt an approach that understates the relata or terms, 'beginning and end', in order to underscore the relational process, that leaves  as the central concern the messianic series. The point of recalling here this broader pattern of our investigation is to add to what we have just stated concerning the Trinitarian aspect of the creation series. We have stressed the operation of both the Son and the Holy Spirit in the work of beginning. The morphology of the story and its content both urged this. Now we can re-affirm in a non-contradictory way, that the creation series remains weighted in favour of the identity of The Transcendent. This is not merely because of the primordiality of space, the category which identifies 'the Father'. In each of the texts involved in the broader patterns of our survey, we encounter a particular Trinitarian orientation. In each of these three discourses one identity in particular is prominent: The Transcendent in Genesis, the Son in the gospels, and in the Apocalypse the Holy Spirit. This observation is offered not in the way of a disclaimer to what we have just noted; namely the equal presence and work in the beginning of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Rather, having acknowledged the indubitably Trinitarian form of the text, we are now able to accommodate its clear particularity. Each of these textual centres has a given perspective, the appreciation of which is part of its meaning. There is no reason why such appreciation should obscure the presentation of God as threefold, nor the relatedness of any particular one of these texts to others, given their morphological rapport.

Again, in this introduction to the central concern of Christian metaphysics - the Son and that form of unity proper to the Son - we have stumbled upon itts innately to paradoxical status. To tie together in one expression, beginning and end, is nothing if not paradoxical. The third, the Christological
form of unity, emerged in the formal contours of the text, and referentially in the metaphors concerning light. The link between the spatiotemporal and the Christological form of unity, is analogous to the relationship of Transcendence and the Son. The first clearest indications as to the paradoxical and Christological form of unity are the prologue of the gospel of John, and of course the messianic miracles. Two of the latter in particular will concern us, the first and last, The Transformation of Water into Wine and The Transfiguration.  As theologoumena, these identify the Son; now immanent, now transcendent;  that is, now in relation to the Holy Spirit and now in relation to Transcendence. For its part, the Johannine prologue speaks of the logos as of light. 

The commonest interpretation of this description refers to the notion of 'reason'. The Greek itself means 'word' and points to the phenomenon of mind or consciousness generally although these terms tend to proscribe the affective aspect. Light, whether we are reading Genesis or John or Mark, more often than not, expresses the Christological. As a metaphor for the phenomenon we know variously by the expressions 'mind', 'consciousness', 'reason', 'feeling', and the like, it is apt in virtue of the clear association between the processes of thought/feeling which we experience not only in the waking state, but during other states of consciousness, including that of sleep. Light generally connotes day, and by extension the consciousness that accompanies our waking life. Even so the inclusion of 'evening' in the rubrics of the creation narrative, and its clear depiction in the outlines of the story of Day 4 suggest otherwise, as of course also will the diurnal/nocturnal dichotomy, manifest in the taxonomy of the messianic events:

And God said: Let there be lights in the vault of the heavens, to separate the day and the night; let them serve there as signs to determine the seasons, days and years. And let them  serve as lights in the vault of the heavens, so that it may be light on the earth. And it was so. (Genesis 1.14-15)

And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night, and the stars too. (v16)

And God put them in the vault of the heavens to give light over the earth, to rule over the day and the night and to separate light and darkness. And God saw how good it was. And it was evening and it was morning, a fourth day. (vv 17-19)

Light is not the only metaphor for the Son, for it identifies the transcendent Son specifically, that is, 'Son of God' rather than 'Son of man', logos asarkos rather than logos ensarkos. In both Christological miracle stories  the creation series is invoked: Mark introduces The Transfiguration with 'After six days ...' (Mark 9.2), while the introduction to the first miracle narrative in John contains an elaborate enumerative system. This includes three references to 'the next day' (John 1.29, 35, 43) and finally the phrase 'On the third day ...' (2.1) which introduces the miracle at Cana. This is not merely a fortuitously co-incidental echo of the six Day pattern of the creation. The first reference to 'the next day'  begins the story of the baptism of Jesus:

"I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel. And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." (John 1.31-34)

The words highlighted resonate strongly with sections of the first half of the creation narrative, including Genesis 1.1, 2. The prologue of John has already established a link between the logos and the first Day, just as the Markan and Matthean introductions to The Transfiguration connect that event with the same rubric, as with the entire series of Days. (Luke's inroduction to the miracle narrative reads 'about eight days' (w(sei\ h(me/rai o)ktw\  Luke 9.28)). The light motif dominates the first nine or so verses of the gospel; it will be resumed definitively in the second last and last miracle stories in John: The Man Born Blind and The Raising of Lazarus. The title 'Son of God', the foremost transcendent Christological title, comports perfectly with the first half of the creation narrative. Thus when we finally reach the introduction to the miracle at Cana, we note the antithetical title 'Son of man' (John 1.51). This story, which functions as the introduction to the immanent messianic miracles is introduced in terms complementary but counter to the previous three instances of 'the next day' (th=? e)pau/rion), namely 'on the third day' (th=? h9me/ra th=? tri/th?)).  A systematic echo of the first creation story is at work in the text from the prologue (John 1.1s) up to and including   the first miracle story (2.1s) part of which is the Johannine pattern of days. If the evangelist seems to intend two things by these references to time: firstly that we count the total of six days and so recur to the P creation story, and secondly that we read the reference to 'on the third day' as an invocation of the third day of its second section, Day 6, and hence a reference to the male and female humans, and equally the possibility of an allusion to the three feeding miracles corresponding to that section of the creation story. There is also the possibility that he wishes to allude to the resurrection. What is certain is that this section of the gospel of John squares with
relation between creation and salvation provided by Mark's unambiguous introduction to The Transfiguration. The evangelist achieves this not only by means of the Christological import of the light-time motif but also by the conclusion of the prologue (John 1.14-18), usually reckoned as the nearest of any Johannine text to the synoptic accounts of The Transfiguration

The next two pericopae introduced by the formula 'the next day' (th=? e)pau/rion) concern discipleship. The first of these (vv 35-42) mentions John 'standing with two of his disciples', one unnamed and the other Andrew. In this passage there are several titles ascribed to Jesus: 'Lamb of God' (v 36); '"Rabbi" (which means Teacher)' (v 38); and '"Messiah" (which means Christ)' (v 41). All of these bear clearly transcendent inflections. In the gospel of John at least, Andrew is responsible for the meeting between his brother Peter and Jesus. This second 'next day' text is linked to the first by means of the figure of John the baptizer, regarding whose significance and the theology of transcendence, we will at a later stage propose as part of the meaning of the role of masculine polarity of the form of unity male : female, that is, the symbolic masculine. It will concern the same figure,  John the baptizer, as emblematic of asceticism, as of the symbolic masculine,  and 'Son of man', the corollary of the eschatological form of unity, male and female. This will help us unravel not only part of the meaning of the role of the John-Elijah figure in the last messianic miracle, The Transfiguration, a Christology of transcendence, but also the enigmatic introduction to the first Christological miracle (1.51), a theology of immanence. It is important to note now the presence of this concept of the 'symbolic masculine' in this and the ensuing text (vv 43-51) which details the calling of Philip and Nathanael.
The last 'next day' passage repeats the title used first by John, that used by his  two disciples, and adds another:

Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel!"  (John 1.48,49)

Here the gospel is modulating towards themes proper to the theology of immanence, not the least of which is of course physical love, the topos of the first miracle story. It is more than likely that the reference to the fig-tree alludes to the second creation story, in which the trees of the garden of Eden play such an important part. Certainly the verb 'to see' which also forms an integral part of that myth would suggest so. Moreover the initial image was of a situation in which seeing and the sense of shame are played out. Here however, Eden, is transformed into a scene where shame has no apparent meaning much less a role, the reason for Jesus' remark concerning Nathanael:

i1de a)lhqw=v I)srahlhti/v e)n w(? do/lov ou)k e1stin - "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" (v 47)

We will be able to enlist such a reading of the exchange between the two men, Jesus and Nathanael, in our efforts to decrypt the 'Son of man' saying immediately prior to the miracle narrative. Moreover the entire series of three 'next day' pericopae, echoing the theology of transcendence of Genesis, but with particular reference finally to the anthropic category male : female, by means of the phrase 'on the third day', will be vital to the same enterprise.



Our specific truck is with the gospel of Mark, nevertheless the completion of the messianic series entailed reckoning the first sign in John's gospel as the first of the entire series, and now we are able to further justify the inclusion of that miracle story by noting John's referencing this same narrative to that of 'beginning'. This is perfectly comparable to what we find in the broader context Mark provides for the episodes. Both gospels clearly conceive these  messianic events in relation to the Days of creation. Mark's and John's texts agree not only in establishing the parameters of the messianic miracle series, but also in addressing the identity of 'The Son'. It is well worth noting that the introductions to both Christological messianic miracle narratives recur to the creation story, if not stories. (This observation will be of no inconsiderable value in attempting a history of the tradition of the miracle stories.)

We found that the  three-dimensional  and 'cruciform' pattern of the latter culminates in something of  an aporia, for we are left wondering just how to understand the paradox so central to the textual structure. The two entities which espouse the terms of the category, 'beginning and end', the primordial or archaeological space of space : time and the teleological or eschatological male : female, emerge clearly from the narrative. Just what the copula represents, apart from paradox, is less immediately apparent.

The response from the opening of the gospel of John as our first recourse, answers that the Christological form of unity concerns mind or consciousness qua embodied. Not just the story of the miracle at Cana, but each of the three Eucharistic miracles, and the narrative of the Passion to which they point, seem to confirm this very unmistakably. The feeding miracles and the Eucharist are radically corporeal in their references. Remember that such events define the same Christological form of unity from the perspective of immanence. Every one of them involves quantities of food and/or drink. They pertain to the body. The mention of the body (sw~ma), in the narratives of the Passion and the Eucharist, (Mark 14.22, John 19.38) to which the three miracles of feeding point, indexes the immanent theology of the Son. Hence, the feeding miracles are 'somatic' they are about the body; they reaffirm the reality of bodily existence. A fact of genuine importance in the beginning of the fourth gospel, where incarnation is so prominent a concept.

Now, whereas the feeding miracles address the phenomenon of embodiment, the transcendent miracles of the same series present us with the notion of identity. Their relation of complementarity, or contrast, but also more than is denoted by that term, to the feeding episodes, begins to amplify the portrayal of the psychophysical. We are still in the realm of immanence; the chiastic form assures the one to one correspondence of transcendent to immanent miracles, even while the former pertain so evidently to the first three Days. (It is only in the latter case, that of the Days, that we can speak of true transcendence, and then only of the first three Days as denoting  the transcendent unequivocally.) Therefore, the messianic series in its entirety seems to point to our own psychophysical being. This is the single conclusion to which the narratives in their structure and content tend.

However, it by no means indicates that the gospel conceives of two independent entities, one a mind and the other a body. The parallel format of the creation taxonomy taken in isolation might have led to such a conclusion. But the constant sequential alternation of types of events, feeding and identity, and their Trinitarian structure which places an event of each kind, immanent and transcendent, in direct chiastic correspondence with each other,  precludes any such notion. The forms share a common structure: bipolarity. Their structure is analogous. They consist of two related terms identifiable as either transcendent (mind) or immanent (body), where the second of these terms, incorporates the former. That is, it represents the unitive or conjunctive aspect of the entity - mind and body. Thus taken as a whole, each 'form of unity' replicates the pattern of disjunction : conjunction, and their paradoxical relationality. This means effectively three different occasions of the same thing; in this case, (1) the transcendent logos or mind; (2) the immanent mind : body unity, that is, the embodied being, the living psychophysical entity; (3) and of course the relation of paradox obtaining between them. (This is why rendering the copula of the categoreal paradigm, like that of the various Christological titles, is so fraught - precisely because it is polyvalent; and was the reason for our substituting it with the sign for ratio ':'.) Central to John's concern will be the question of the relation of the logos to 'all things' (pa/nta), all psychophysical entitivity. This concern is at the core of the last miracle in the fourth gospel, The Raising of Lazarus, where it assumes a less abstract tone, as is given by the personal name of the man involved, and the portrayal of the intimate relationship of the two me, Lazarus and Jesus.

There is no better way to support our identification of the Christological with the 'psychophysical' than by claiming every one of the healing miracle stories in Mark, as well as those in John, as primary evidence. Each of these posits the identification of the Christ with the entity mind : body. We are proposing, on the basis of the theology of creation which the messianic events endorse, that the identity of Jesus 'the Son' is somehow uniquely manifest in the form of unity mind : body, in other words, that the Christological category is the psychophysical. Mark has thirteen different accounts of Jesus healing the sick, amounting to a significant quantity of text.  We adduce every one of these as first order evidence for this postulate of the 'archaeological' link between the Son and the psychophysical. Each of the thirteen narratives about healing has as its premise, the lived body of our own being, or as we may say, aware of its dipolar nature, the mind : body.  Surely these texts are related in some way as touching upon Christological doctrine, the doctrine of mind : body. Embodied consciousness, mind : body, the psychophysical, this phenomenon occurs in relation to the Son as do the other two forms of unity in relation to the Holy Spirit and Transcendence; and that is to say that this particular form of unity is uniquely representative of the Son, whom it exemplifies specifically as nothing else can exemplify. (From here, the integration of the healing miracles and messianic events is one very direct step, and we will explain in more detail later the  relation  between the twelve or so healing miracles and the six messianic miracles.) So the claim that the prime exemplar of the identity of the Son is the psychophysical receives insistent vindication in Mark in the many stories of Jesus healing the sick.

We have now interpreted the rudiments of the messianic miracle series and the healing series both, to understand the third form of unity celebrated by Genesis 1.1-2.4a. We find the central relevance of mind : body to the doctrine of creation clearly given in the creation story itself. The Day 1-4 pair in particular, expresses this category. However, the motif of light resounding in the morning/evening formula of each rubric, extends the reference of the Christological form of unity. That is, the story as a whole, determined by the repetition of the day-night pattern, reiterates the psychophysical category. Just as the story as a whole identified Transcendence and the spatiotemporal. Hence we may say that in terms of transcendence, the Christological category is equivalent to the primordial category, and the transcendence of the Son is on par with the transcendence of Transcendence itself. For the category of mind : body pervades the story to an extant equal to its presentation of the notion of space : time, as a result of the inextricable affinity between light and time. Logically, the creation story cannot speak of space : time without commensurately invoking the psychophysical form of unity. As inseparably as it relates the identities of Transcendence and The Son, the theology of creation, which is the theology of transcendence, relates these categories; space : time and mind : body. (This is something which contemporary scientific cosmology, to its own detriment has failed to do.) The repercussions of this extension of the category of the psychophysical, the pervasiveness and centrality of this the Christological category to the full range of entities involved, will soon occupy us.

In due course we shall resume modeling  the interpretation of the P creation story according to the icon of the three dimensional spatial/cruciform/planetary  manifold in respect of the messianic miracle series. We shall often have recourse to this figure in our discussion of the Markan mandala. Mark intends the fullest integration of the two series, and the creation narrative seeks and finds its consummation in the gospel. The 'beginning' and 'end' forms of unity, space : time and male : female respectively, we juxtaposed by means of the iconography of the plane. Their similarity as peripheral or terminal in the  morphological schema, defines polarity, and is guaranteed by both narratives. Thus in the first half of the Genesis text, Days 2 and 3 are similar, though highly juxtaposed in terms of disjunction(Day 2) and modified disjunction (Day 3) resembling conjunction, or as we might say, 'disjunctive synthesis'. In the second half of the story Days 5 and 6 are also similar, though  once again, the difference of the human as the apex of creation from the sub-human realm, maintains their contrast correspondingly to their precedents. In the gospel we observe the similarity of the two transcendent miracles at sea, and the similarity of the two miracles of loaves and fish. These are the messianic equivalents of the Genesis rubrics just mentioned. The morphology is the same in each case; three transcendent Days, three subsequent Days manifesting characteristics of immanence, but taxonomically defined as transcendent in virtue of the integrity of the creation cycle; three immanent, that is, feeding miracles, and three related miracle-events which are defined taxonomically as immanent in virtue of their chiastic belonging as counterparts to the former, but which nevertheless manifest characteristics of transcendence. In each of the four groups, two members are comparable or similar, whereas the third outstanding  or dissimilar event identifies the Christological category.

The contrastive aspect of the similar events, which reify the identities of The Transcendent and The Holy Spirit, is not denied in illustrating their relationship in terms of two lines at right angles in a plane surface. This arrangement illustratively affords the maximum amount of contrast given the bipolarity of the structures involved. That all the structures involved are bipolar itself  argues for the use of linear iconography. This plane subtended by primordial and final terms, requires an axis. For there is not  simply a horizontal and a vertical which are non-tangent. The lines representative of the contrastive relationship of similar terms, are set at right angles. That is, they intersect. Such an intersection gives their relation, the relation of relations already extant.  Stemming from this same point of intersection is another axis which represents  the polarity of polarities, the pair of pairs, the relation of already extant relations: the resolution of beginning and end. This axis is categoreally differentiated from the other two in having features common with both, and so posits itself as paradoxical. They, the archaeological and eschatological axes, configure the plane A : A-B. The A-B axis on the other hand, is the axis of rotation. We can express the relation between the polarities A and A-B convergent in the rotational axis A-B as that of 'transfiguration' and 'transformation'. The relation of beginning to end cannot be otherwise understood. The meaning of space : time and male : female devolves upon the meaning of mind : body. The final relevance of the story of beginning is to propose that both the primordial and final forms of unity should concern us insofar as they illuminate the Christological event, mind : body. The latter alone remains the abiding, single, dominant focus of the narrative because the relation of the two halves of the narratives can be resolved only in terms of this central and co-ordinating paradox.

The co-ordination of the archaeological category and the psychophysical, the categoreal analogy of transcendence, posits the logical validity of interpreting the structure of mind in the way indicated, by adopting the cruciform, and spatial/planetary manifold.  Mind is thus the real point of reference of space. There is a true sense in which we can speak of the anatomy of consciousness as consisting of mental 'dimensions'.  Such language is not metaphorical but analogical; it is not poetry but metaphysics. Spatial tri-dimensionality is in no way arbitrary. Biblical metaphysics describes the limitation of space to three dimensions as signal of its  very 'beginning'. The threefold aspect of the spatial continuum tells for its origination in God.  The cruciform, that is spatial manifold, is the analogical means of visualizing the concept of identity as it obtains in God. We see the three axes diverging with maximum variance from one another, and at the same time, representative of the polarity in God, transcendence : immanence, the result of their intersection at a single point. Employing the tri-dimensional (spatial) matrix as a mandala is not simply the result of evident appositeness. The anatomy of the text itself would seem to advocate it as the nearest and clearest illustration of major logical postulates, those which concern the three modes of antithesis and their relationality. It constitutes a deliberate methodical step indicated by the text.  The three axes, signifying those identities, are set apart at maximum differentiation from one another. That the same three axes converge is plain to see. Thus far we can visualize the Markan mandala as evincing the transcendent aspect - threeness - of God. The possibility of the same model to configure the immanent aspect - oneness - of God remains just that for now, a possibility.

In referring to the planetary -  or more specifically 'earthly' - pattern of the same matrix with its axis of rotation and plane, we have already alluded to such a possibility. The great majority of mandala in the eastern traditions at least, have been two-dimensional. The Markan mandala has decided advantages over this, first in its reckoning of the three modes of opposition, and secondly in its aspect of self-awareness as paradigmatic. In this latter respect, it follows the ascription by the fourth gospel of the self-referntial quality(reflexiveness) to the logos, that is to the Son. Put otherwise, that the model for space is the three-dimensional anatomy of mind, and not we should note the other way around, accords with the postulate that mind itself contains or includes each of the three conceptual forms, and each of the three forms of unity, including itself mind, and the mind : body unity.

We have  not yet finished exploring the implications for Markan metaphysics of the relationship between light and time in Genesis, but before we pursue the matter further a note on Transcendence is in order.




The Meaning of Transcendence


The Christological category reifies the central rationality, relationality, adequation, of the categoreal paradigm. We have rendered this repeatedly as the sign for ratio - : - since this expresses better than the copula, its semantic paradox. We could aver the same thing by the expression 'juncture', meaning however ambivalently, now disjunction between itself and an alterity, (transcendence), and now conjunction with its alternate polarity (immanence). We should note that there is no absolute identity between the alterity in the first case, and the alternate polarity in the second, even though there is some sort of continuity. The idea of the logos, that the entity obtains equally now as ‘thing in itself', (transcendent) Mind, and now in conjunction with something other than itself,  (immanent) soma or body, postulates their relation.

We proposed the meaning of transcendence graphically in the above matrix. There, two axes, vertical and horizontal, express the two modes of opposition, the primordial and eschatological, modes of disjunction and conjunction respectively. The first of these concerns us here. Transcendence connotes identity. This is explicit in the first half of the creation narrative. Just so, we find identity the primary criterion for defining one of the two kinds of messianic miracle as transcendent, even though these three miracles exist within a series which in its overall taxonomic definition relative to the Days series, must remain definable as immanent at the broadest or first level of analysis. Compound entities such as forms of unity, are necessarily not simples. As such, they delimit the possibility of identity. Each of the three transcendent terms occurs in conjunction with its immanent counterpart: the spatiotemporal (space and time), corporeal (mind and body) and anthropic (male and female) forms of unity all espouse the conjunctive mode of antithesis. This constitutes them as forms of unity. It is signified in the above iconography by the horizontal axis which also represents that specific form of unity, which  of the categories articulated in the creation narrative is most paradigmatic of unity (immanence) itself, male : female.

Thus the meaning of transcendence ensures nonetheless that each of these three transcendent entities also obtains in some form, independently of its existence conjunctively with its antithetical term. Transcendence means being void of relation; it is synonymous with 'separation', 'identification', the being itself of an entity. In the iconic representation of the creation story the vertical A axis signifies this meaning. The description of the 'waters above' separated from the 'waters below' admits to consideration the first term. The subsequent text has to deal with the remainder, the thing which is 'other' to the Transcendent, the thing other than heaven or space. Transcendent entities exist gratuitously as the in-itself and for-itself of being. It is wrong to conceive this merely as independence from that with which they exist in conjunction. The theology of 'beginning' does not expound the concept of transcendence in this manner. Transcendent mind  both is, and is what it is. Being and identity are here of a piece. The transcendence of an entity such as mind is not determined in relation to soma (mind : body), with which it nevertheless consists immanently. And the same is true of space which transcends time. Transcendent space - 'heavens' - exists as thing in itself. In the rubrics of Day 1 and Day 2, which deal most certainly with the concept of transcendence, the excision or separation of light from darkness and above from below is absolute. This alone promises the identification of the thing in question: mind (Day 1), space (Day2).  It must be so, otherwise the relationship of contrast between transcendence and immanence would not be one of antithesis, and  this in turn would prevent the possibility of paradox, of a third thing which is equally transcendent and immanent - the Christological.

In other words, every initial term in the forms of unity denotes an entity which must exist in se: space, mind and the masculine. That the masculine is problematic or polemical at the very least I do not deny here, but no intelligible theology of the Son of man can ever be reached without recognition of the transcendence of some kind as proper to the masculine. We shall have more to say concerning this directly, notably in relation to the phallos as 'semeion'. Certainly the  transcendent status of the masculine presents logical as well as ideological problems for the same, albeit converse, reason as the immanent status of time.  In the former case we are discussing from the perspective of transcendence something which is structurally immanent, whereas in the latter we are looking at something innately transcendent, space, from the point of view of immanence. The male : female form of unity is weighted in virtue of immanence, the feminine; and the feminine signifies this very form of unity, male and female. Space on the other hand is formally at variance with this and if biased antithetically. Space is paradigmatic of unequivocal transcendence, in spite of its conjunctive form or aspect, space : time, a form of unity proper. Space tends to existence in se; it is that particular entity in the cosmos which is in itself and for itself, evincing beginning and identity. We will return to the issue of what precisely is meant by transcendent space, space without time. For the moment however, we are observing the notion of transcendence in terms of the Genesis narrative itself.  There it is presented precisely as disjunction or non-relationality.

Immanence is the conjunction of polarities such that no immanent entity exists in itself. There is no such thing as time in itself; there is only time in conjunction with space-time. Nor is there any body without mind. Logos of one or another denomination, necessarily imbues all soma, all bodiliness, all matter, that is pa/nta:

all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1.3)

That is to say that 'body' is always and everywhere mind : body. Embodiment of any kind entails mentality. We use the word 'body' here deliberately, rather than 'matter', a term whose currency in scientific discourse seems increasingly dubious. It is an expression central to Christian metaphysics.

 Initially at least, we must predicate the same transcendent capacity of the anthropic category, even given the caveat the texts enter regarding the male : female form of unity: namely its being weighted in favour of immanence. There is no feminine in itself, but only in conjunction with the masculine. Or what is the same postulate, identity cannot be predicated of the feminine. In the abstract, the disparity between transcendence and immanence can best be expressed as identity : unity. To a certain degree, unity proscribes identity, just as identity itself entails non-determination and finally self-determination. The latter consideration involves a qualification concerning the meaning of the masculine in itself, or 'symbolic masculine'. For the tendency to conceptualise the masculine in juxtaposition to the feminine must in some sense be circumscribed. The masculine of masculine and feminine. male and female, is not what is meant by the 'symbolic masculine', the transcendence by the masculine of the anthropic form of unity.

Let us summarise these considerations as follows:
  • 'Space void of time' exists; it is identical with  'the future'.  The temporal reference of that phrase gives lie to the fact that there is no temporal passage in the future. Things do not transpire in the future with the same causality that literally determines the present.  In this regard, the future stands in direct contrast to the past. Thus, we can say that the relationship subtended by the present and future is categoreally other than the relation subtended by the past and present. The latter is characterised by continuity, reaching to the present or at least to the boundary of the present with the past; the former however is discontinuous with the present, and if we are to conceive of a vector of present to future, it will be marked by the discrete as opposed to the continuous. That does not mean that the future is not ingredient in the present. It is, and that is the whole meaning of creation or 'beginning'. We see this mirrored in the pattern of contrast between transcendent and immanent messianic events, as the antithesis of a determined or caused occasion with a gratuitous one. The future exists, discretely vis-à-vis the present, and void of temporality. The future exists only as that thing with which time is otherwise always conjunct, namely Space. The creation narrative thus gives an increasingly succinct meaning to the word 'heaven(s)'. This timeless space of the future becomes virtually tantamount to God, in just the same way that 'heaven' can function as a periphrasis for 'God'.
  • That there is also a 'mind' which is transcendent of the form of unity mind : body, is repeatedly attested in the gospel, not least in the gospel of John. The Johannine theology of logos affirms this notion very plainly. It also seeks to address the question of the relation of the logos to the individual psychophysical being (John 1.9-13, and later in the story of Lazarus, chapter 11.) The meaning of the transcendent occurrence of Mind is synonymous with its persistence in se. Genesis and John agree on this tenet of biblical doctrine without remainder. Mind differs fundamentally from both space : time (with which it is nevertheless comparable in terms of transcendence), and male : female (with which it is equal in its realisation of the full extent of immanence). Mind is God. It is not created like space, nor does it end as does the eschatological event, male : female. John never loses sight of the identity between the Son and logos, that is transcendent mind:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. (kai\ qeo\j h]n o( logo/j (John 1.1))
  • The sense in which the masculine obtains 'in itself', as well as being controversial, must remain a qualified one, just as we noted the qualification of the act of disjunction during the third Day, where nevertheless, the notion of conjunction ('gather together') intrudes, as if to recall the immanent bias of the category, male : female.  For whereas Mind and Space are alike, equally transcendent entities, the male : female category occurs in contradistinction to the transcendent 'arche' or beginning of space, in obedience with its nature as immanent. The defining term of this form of unity is the immanent one, the feminine. This was part of the meaning of saying that the primordial is weighted in favour of transcendence, and the eschatological in favour of immanence. Even so, as a transcendent entity by definition, the 'masculine' must exist in se. The idea of a transcendent masculine devolves upon the meaning of the term 'Son of man' - as for example in John 1.51 - thus it points to the eschatological aspect of a world in which incarnation follows in time. The epoch which the resurrection inaugurates conforms to this polarity, the masculine, that of 'the Son of man'.

In short then, the forms of unity each consist of two relata; one a transcendent polarity, the other immanent. The transcendent relata are space, mind and the symbolic masculine. These entities always retain their identity. They are externally related to their  complements, space : time, mind : body and male : female respectively. As for the latter, the immanent relata, that is, the forms of unity proper, these are internally related to their transcendent poles. Internal relation of this kind, means that the entity in question, the  form of unity, or as we may say, the immanent relatum,  must be what it is in virtue of what something else, namely its transcendent component, is. It must depend on the alternative relatum for identity.

A further point concerns the significance of the full contrast between archaeological and eschatological. In relation to male : female we have also to qualify the application of the concept of creation proper. The circumlocutions or paraphrases for the two categories which converge upon the psychophysical insist that we modify the application of the idea of creation to the eschatological. Space is the one and only thing which evinces 'beginning' without qualification. The logical structure of the narrative of creation places the male : female category in direct juxtaposition with this, entailing  a reasonable case for interpreting it ontologically sympathetically to the image of the state antecedent to creation presented in the story. The mention of the Spirit of God in the introduction suits this, since the anthropic form of unity, male : female manifests just that identity in God. Humankind represents the particular exemplification of the Holy Spirit in creation. This is not to suggest that the male : female entity exists without beginning identically to its state after the same or even comparable to it. The transcendent polarity of this form of unity - the (symbolic) masculine - involves something at least similar to creation, that is 'beginning', as is vouched for in the similitude of the Day 2 and Day 3 rubrics. The same also pertains to the rationale of the incarnation. Nevertheless, it is essential to maintain the propriety to the one category - space - of beginning, that is creation. This procedure allows for the fact of three identities in God, the fact of their optimal differentiation expressed iconographically (geometrically), as above. We can speak of the 'generation' - a notion which both creation narratives endorse (twodl:wot,) - of the eschatological category by the Holy Spirit as belonging to the context of creation. We shall revert to this distinction later, in considering the exclusive nature of the psychophysical as transfinite, in the discussion of the non-denumerability of mind.

One further note can be entered here concerning the problematic, because paradoxical, symbolic masculine. Discussion of gender has become so polemic and fraught with the demands of political correctness, that it is important to forestall any misunderstanding. The paradoxical status of the 'conceptual form' of the symbolic masculine arises because it is the immanent form or relatum of a entity which is defined at the first level as transcendent. Even if the form of unity male : female is weighted in favour of immanence, its occurrence in the creation taxonomy guarantees its definition as as categoreally transcendent - along with the other entities grouped there. Immanence proper remains the brief of the messianic miracle series. Transcendence is the polar antithesis of immanence. However, the arrangement or co-ordination of the three forms of unity, space-time, mind-body and male-female, locates the anthropic (human) category at one end of the continuum. This is significant. The reason for referring to the form of unity male : female as eschatological points to the same phenomenon. As a form of unity, this entity is one of a series of three entities all of which are transcendent; even so, it reformulates the opposing polarity immanence, within the overall relatedness of these three categories. Just as space is weighted in favour of transcendence - it is the pre-eminently 'first' or transcendent thing in the universe- the final or eschatological category is weighted in favour of immanence, as being the 'last', which it clearly is from the historical-evolutionary perspective. This qualifies the transcendent term - the masculine - in this particular form of unity. The reason for referring to this paradox by means of the adjective 'symbolic', points to the sense in which it concerns humanity rather than just men, that is males. The conjunctive form of unity, male and female is the symbolic feminine; by contrast the disjunctive relatum  is the symbolic masculine. Any human, regardless of his/her gender, that is regardless of the event of his/her own sexual determination, can belong to either. This act of belonging to either is important and deserving of acknowledgement. Transcendence is everywhere associated, as space is, with freedom; yet the event of one's own sexual determination is a given. The fact that one is born already masculine or feminine, would seem to undermine the very basis of transcendence as gratuitous, expressed in terms of this category. So it does, because as noted, the anthropic is the least transcendent of the three transcendent categories; which is why we described it  as a paradox. Transcendence in the guise of freedom, occurs in this problematic category not as for example, in the modern instance of gender re-assignment, so-called. As a willful attempt to overcome the determinate event of one's given gender, the latter must remain a pathetic failure, precisely because medical science is not capable of endowing any individual opting for such with the appropriate fecundity, the specific capacity involved in the (economic) reproductive process. The transcendence relative to the symbolic masculine is the possibility of self-determination in spite of one's sexual determination. It is then the realization of surpassing the givenness of sexual determination and everything the latter involves. As we proceed we shall observe that this is linked to the economic - and finally procreative - fact of human existence. It pertains in the first instance to the reproductive or generational aspect of creation.

The existence of freedom (transcendence) in relation to this category is real nonetheless. Where persons exist in relation to others (of either gender, though principally of the opposite gender), and so more or less independently of the familial norm, they embody the symbolic masculine. Thus  ascetics, whether male or female, express in a certain sense the 'symbolic' masculine as do the members of societies grounded in the phenomenon of fraternity or collective identity. This is the reason for the epithet 'symbolic'. This elective or voluntary experience of independence of the innate appetition to satisfaction of constraints which are both erotic and economic, though the latter is clearly the more important factor here, is the necessary evidence of the reality of freedom which signals the transcendent. Nor is the significance of the concept of gender identity wasted here. Though again, the full force of ambiguity functions. That is, gender as just noted, is no occasion for volition.

Identity is in keeping with the compact of ideas definitive for transcendence, freedom, self-determination and so on. The concept of the 'symbolic masculine' since it is juxtaposed to the feminine, which is the equivalent of masculine and feminine, entails a certain indifference towards gender. It is less like a so-called 'third sex' than it is an archetypal asexuality, recalling the expression )#ed,e used in the story of the third Day to refer to plants in general, prior to their division into what are effectively if not the masculine and feminine of Day 6, then at least something like the 'archetypes' of these. It is effectively indifferent towards both polarities, masculine and feminine, of an order that we might readily associate with the psychology of the child, and later theologically with the idea of the 'angel' or spiritual being. In the Johannine prologue, where the evangelist is concerned to emphasise the gratuitous aspect of transcendence congruently with the imagery combining space and free will in the creation narrative itself, we find an echo of this theme - the transcendence of the anthropic polarity of masculine : feminine, as of the occasion of one's inevitable gender:

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God (te/kna qeou=); who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1. 12, 13)

And for another, the enumerative aspect of collective identity presents genuine difficulties for philosophical psychology. We are accustomed to recognising identity - as indeed in the creation during Days 1 and 2 - in terms of singularity. Plurality introduces a discord.

The role of identity in occasions of transcendence ensures that the symbolic masculine be a collective phenomenon. The transcendence of the (symbolic) feminine by the (symbolic) masculine must necessarily be conventual, collective, generic - if not monosexual, consisting of one and only and the same sex, whether masculine or feminine. There thus arises the persistent dilemma in the association of the Son of man figure with the individual person Jesus (monogenou=j para\ patro\v - 'the only Son from the Father' (John 1.14)). The point is that the social phenomenon of collective experience both of identity, and of independence or freedom from the economic constraints imposed by the urge to reproduce one's species, repeatedly illustrated in the second half of the creation narrative, is the business of the symbolic masculine. Thus it covers instituted and collective forms of celibacy/homosociality as ostensibly disparate as those of the monastery and the army. Several of the eschatological Son of man sayings in the gospels play upon this very ambiguity, for example, the reference prior to Mark's story of The Transfiguration, 8.34-38, where there is very plainly a mix of martial imagery with that of another kind that militates against the compact between the family as social institution and the economic order. This strain of thought reaches a peak in The Apocalypse, teeming as it is with both angels and themes which gravitate around war. The latter is viewed as contrary to an order of society delineated figuratively as aligned with the feminine principle - which is the conjunctive masculine and feminine - broadly identifiable as economic.

The feminine as symbolic of an economic/ecological principle covers those situations when persons of either gender co-exist such that the experience of  identity, even a form of collective identity, is precluded or circumscribed. The exemplary form of difference here is that of gender, though it might also be that of 'race', age, religion and so on, The Apocalypse repeatedly mentions four: '... tribe and tongue and people and nation.' (Apocalypse 5.9 passim). But difference, alterity, whatever is other than that which can be assimilated into some sort of whole or unity, the principle mark of immanence, is highly constrained if not rendered a virtual impossibility. By definition such an ordering of human society depends less on elective choice. The element of will, of free option is circumvented by the concessions now made to our innate and animal constitution. Hence the inevitability of sexual differentiation into one of two genders which are destined to be finally thoroughly assimilated or incorporated into one of the two, that is the 'feminine', this must always run counter to transcendence qua identity. Much of the alleged misogyny The Apocalypse should be viewed through these lenses.




THE THREE FORMS OF UNITY

We have interpreted the P narrative as the disclosure of three comparable and pervasive entities, 'forms of unity', namely space : time, mind : body, and male : female. We have urged that these exist as the unique instances of God: the Transcendent, the Son and the Holy Spirit respectively. We discerned the especial preference of the Genesis narrative for space : time as accruing from its emphatic awareness of the concept of ‘beginning’, the reason for describing this very category as primordial. The narrative denotes space 
  • (a) in the sixfold-threefold shape of the story of the archaeological hexameron, and therefore in keeping with the other two comparable forms of unity;
  • (b) specifically in one of the three pairs of Days, 2-5 and
  • (c)  in the overarching 3:4 pattern of the story as a whole, that is including the Sabbath, so delineating the spatiotemporal manifold.

However, we noticed about the same overarching pattern, that light occurs concomitantly with the incidence of the Day, 'morning and evening, or time unit. In other words, it is not possible for the author(s) to depict the pervasive nature of space : time, without also conferring upon 'light' a role of equivalent value. How are we to understand this? How are we to grant the accent on the spatiotemporal and safeguard its primordiality but at the same time, interpret the apparently proportionate status of the psychophysical? We say apparently, because in one sense the role of light is even greater than that of time.

The same peculiarly fundamental quality of light - and that which it signifies - was evident in its beginning both halves of the narrative. The first Day and the fourth Day have certain prominence due to them as beginning the two sections of the narrative, a narrative about 'beginning'. Consequently, placing the Day 2 rubric at the centre of the first half, encouraged our observation not only of its similarity with Day 3 by means of the water and spatial motif, but its comparability to Day 1 by means of the specific theme of 'division'. This ensured the subsequent observation of (a) above - the understanding of all three rubrics sympathetically to the importance of the concept of 'heavens' or space. Then there was the structure of the text. If we found it shaped into two antithetical halves, we concluded the existence of a third form of antithesis, a polarity of polarities. The logic of the narrative pointed conclusively to that third mode of antithesis which refers to the Christological component of the narrative. Indeed, this is the most salient feature of the text, this third form of antithesis. The story deliberately adverted us to its paradoxical character by means of the ostensible and tacit interstice which stands adroitly verse 13 and verse 14, and which serves only to emphasise it.

The Christological form of unity, mind : body, subtends a relation of equivalence towards the primordial category which remains weighted in favour of transcendence or 'beginning', and also a relation of equivalence towards the eschatological category or 'end', male : female which is weighted in favour of immanence. This makes it both central and paradoxical in the morphological schema of these fundamental generalities. Mind : body is the central pre-occupation of the narrative, even though light and time function in tandem in the text, as in the universe. This means that the Christological category, even while it enjoys transcendence equally to the transcendence of the primordial category, space : time, must nevertheless be distinguished from the primordial event. The latter claim acknowledges that certain factors prevent us from maintaining that mind has a beginning akin to that of space even though their exemplification of transcendence is proportionate. This is a significant distinction, no mere theological nicety. It dissociates the provenance of mind from the animal and human procreative process and brings it into even sharper relief when juxtaposed against somaticity. It is clear that bodies have both a beginning and an end. We shall contend that mind as logos has neither.

Thus the role of light in the narrative designates the Christological category; it denotes Mind, the transcendent entity which persists in itself and which consists transformed in the form of unity, mind : body. However, the text claims more than that alone for the function of Mind.  Mind contains all the other phenomena. How else are we to comprehend the fact that their description is repeatedly cast in its term - light/Day/'morning and evening'?  By this, we mean to appreciate the peculiar 'epistemological/Christological' intonation of the story; to understand how true is the avowal that it remains the central pre-occupation of the theology of transcendence. 'Epistemological' is used here in the sense of a theory of mind, a metaphysics which takes as its central topic consciousness. The creation narrative indubitably is about actual entities, or things that exist. There is no arguing with the proposition that it is 'ontological'. "Let there be …", the ontological refrain resounds throughout the text. But there is more to it than just that; for each of the things brought into being are named, and evaluated. Accordingly, the motif that designates Mind among these actual entities, light, recurs to an extraordinary degree. Of this, there can be really only one correct interpretation: the significance of these things for Mind itself. In other words, the forms of unity are valuable precisely in virtue of Mind. Mind itself is one of those very things. In this sense the series of Days includes or contains itself. It envisions Mind curving back upon itself as reflexive. Therefore, the story reckons the self, the self that is always attendant upon consciousness. As far as it contains itself, or includes itself, the nature of Mind resides in just this reflexive quality. Whatever it does, for example, whether it knows, or whether it desires and so on, it does as a self of some kind. This answers in part the significance of the pivotal status of light in the story. It is consonant with John's hymn to the logos. 'Word' is a word. It is a term which refers to things in the world, but it refers also to itself at the same time. Thus a statement about language is made in the very language itself. That statement accords with the conclusion that the value of the recurrent metaphor for Mind, light, points to the relatedness of the other categories, as well as to itself, for itself, or what is the same, the function of this metaphor intends the inclusion of the other categories, as well as of itself, in itself. 

The incidence of the motif of light in the creation narrative indicates that the categories which it discloses are finally to be understood in relation to one of their own number, Mind. The real slant of the story is not ontological, but epistemological. What concern us in the final analysis will be not questions pertaining to the existence of any of the categories, space : time or male : female or mind : body, but the fact that their categoreal status disposes human consciousness. The peculiar significance of all the categories is their relevance for the mind : body event. 

Mark's introduction to The Transfiguration brought this into very clear focus. The very same purpose attaches to the fact that the Christological category introduces both sections of the creation story. This arrangement as well as the other factors in the story adding to the dominant note sounded by the psychophysical, complies with its structure. Such important aspects of the narrative signal the centrality of just that particular form of unity, mind : body. The creation narrative deliberately accentuates the significance of this form of unity. The various entities it lists are thus epistemologically significant. Their relevance is to the centrality to existence of mind : body itself. Mind is both pre-eminent, or as we may say, central, among the six categories of transcendence, and incorporative. Mind accounts for the other categoreal entities, including or containing them in the same way that it includes itself. This reflexiveness, or self-referentiality belongs to the very meaning of the word 'consciousness' and its synonyms: 'self', 'soul', 'spirit' and the like, just as it pertains to the meaning of 'identity'.

We cannot emphasise too much this proposition of the epistemic value of the three transcendent conceptual forms: space, mind and the symbolic masculine, and the three forms of unity: space : time, mind : body, male : female. In the final analysis, what Genesis and the gospel confront us with are constituents or elements of consciousness, those entities by dint of which communication through logos proceeds.  Communication between members of our own species depends on the basis of our common inheritance (understanding) of these several things classified by the P narrative. They are radically constitutive of mentation. They must be permanent and pervasive as morphological or organizational features of human sentience. For this reason they are labeled categories. Mental and emotional contact between persons could not be possible if we did not share this common mental rudimentary fund.

Where the creation story shows a marked concern for the relation between the Son and the Transcendent, and so too for the relation between Mind  and space, its stance favours transcendence. In other words, the attention implicit in the narrative towards both entities marks it as biased in favour of transcendence rather than immanence. The transcendent categories, Space, Mind and the symbolic masculine, espouse this polarity in varying modes. We are about to see that the synoptic gospels, as distinct from the P creation narrative, manifest a particular interest in the relation between the identities of the Son and the Holy Spirit, which  accords with the affinity between mind : body and male : female.
 

The Analogical Relation of the Categories

The theology of creation is the theology of transcendence. It taxonomises three fundamental categoreal entities in the given world; to wit, space : time, mind : body, and male : female. These are ultimately general, fundamental or pervasive structures in the morphology of the cosmos. They occur in analogous relation to one another, even though, as representative of three identities in God who remain distinct, they personify the paradigm transcendence : immanence each with a different emphasis. It is this difference of emphasis vis-à-vis the latter which allows us to grasp their relations as non-commutative and governed by analogy. Analogy is implicit in the Christological category,  and the reason why we have repeatedly designated it by the sign designating analogous relations ':'. The bipolar structure of the three forms of unity, for each manifests the same binary (polar) anatomy which re-iterates the paradigm, generates their relationship of analogy one to another.  We may say, adopting the language of Genesis, that each is made 'in the image and likeness of God'. Space : time, the primordial event, is made in the image of 'the Father' (the Transcendent); the mind : body is the unique instance of God the Son, logos, Christ; the anthropic form of unity, male : female is made in the image and likeness of the Holy Spirit.

The order of the external coherence of the categories is neither that of the Days nor that of the messianic miracles. Neither the serial progression of the former, ordered as two parallel subsets, nor the chronological sequence of the latter arranged as chiasmos, neither of these inaalogicaldicates the  relations to one another of the transcendent categories. As for the series of Days, its enumerative schema requires that the narrative should commence with the creation of light, so unambiguously pressing the Christological category as the epistemological category , that which sweeps the entire series into beginning and end. For the just end of course, we must look to the messianic series, where the event corresponding to Day 1, The Transfiguration, is the last episode. The series of messianic miracles also begins with an event signaling the identity of the Son, the miracle at Cana. The sequences in both cases accomplish other purposes, but to posit the three forms of unity in their actual logical relation to one another, it is necessary to ignore the actual sequences themselves and attend to the way the triadic patterns in either series recapitulate the categoreal paradigm.

The spatiotemporal, the psychophysical and the anthropic, all three forms of unity  maintain that morphology first indicated by the inclusio 'the heavens and the earth'. This secures their analogous relation. Each consists of two terms in relation. In each case the first term is the transcendent, the last term the immanent member. These terms reify transcendence and immanence in so far as these are common to the identities in God, but transcendence bears a special relationship to The Transcendent as does immanence to the Holy Spirit. Transcendence and immanence then have specific and generic meanings. The specific meaning of transcendence is 'the Father', the generic meaning of the same indicates the three identities in their difference from one another. The specific meaning of immanence is the identity of the Holy Spirit; its generic meaning, the unity or oneness of God.

Trinity entails two formal notions - hence two terms, one primordial and one eschatological. These are the threefold and oneness. The former is the concern of the P narrative, the latter is the abiding theological pre-occupation of the messianic miracle series and Eucharist taken as a whole. From the last statement it should be clear that the unity of God is discussed not in terms of  the lineaments proper to transcendence, threeness.  Rather the pattern of God's unity is fourfold. This is already adumbrated in the Genesis cycle, where the week is divided disparately into three and four Days. Almost everywhere we find the concept of immanence we discover the tetradic pattern.

Thus taken in itself, each form of unity encapsulates the triad as an epiphany, a manifest of 'God'. But each form of unity is distinctively structured in a way that expresses either the Transcendent, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Their categoreal polarity  promotes the comprehensive coherence of these structures. The analogical relatedness of the categories and their individual accentuation are the same thing.  It is thus the space of space : time and the female of male : female which more than the alternative term in each case, it is these which reveal God, now transcendent, now immanent respectively. The Christological category  as party to both modes of emphasis, remains paradoxically in equilibrium.  We can say then that neither mind itself nor the soma, the unity of mind and body, is the more significant factor. This category integrates just as it separates.  Thus it disjoins and conjoins, not just each of the three categories, but the analogical relations of these categories. Hence it informs us as to the other forms of unity; or rather, they converge upon it. The Christological is the occasion of the co-incidence of the archaeological and eschatological categories. We can formulate the internal triadic structures of the three forms of unity as follows:

                                                                       transcendence : immanence

                                                                                      space : space-time   ('beginning                 

                                                                                       mind : mind-body      and

                                                                                       male : male-female    end')

The internal triadic form of each of the three forms of unity conforms to the paradigm transcendence : immanence. Additionally, we have already seen that two forms of unity, space : time and male : female, stand in a particular relation to one another. These latter, the primordial and eschatological forms of unity respectively, taken in (analogous) relation, answer to the binary form of the paradigm. These two categories together recapitulate the same order. Their relationship brings to light the paradoxical and central character of mind : body and fulfills the totality of the morphological scheme as announced in the opening words of Genesis:

     Transcendence          :              Immanence

        Space : time :: mind : body :: male : female

The analogical relation of the three categories reifies the 'image and likeness of God'. It has both triadic and dyadic formal aspects. These are inseparable from one another, and manifest the recurring patterns of this text as of the messianic series.



The Categoreal Analogy


Transcendence                       Immanence

Space : time :: mind : body :: male : female

 

The words italicised denote the categoreal analogy of transcendence, and the words underlined, the categoreal analogy of immanence. It is certain that these converge or coincide at the Christological category. The Christological entity, the category of mind : body is accentuated in its transcendent pole, that of Mind proper, accordingly. That is, it persists in itself and for itself, independently, and self-identically. It is nevertheless also accentuated in its determination as immanent form of unity, soma, the conjunction of mind and body in virtue of the principle of immanence, unity. Mind is equal to space in its transcendence, just as the mind-body unity  enjoys parity with the anthropic form of unity, male : female, which is accentuated in virtue of immanence.

The morphology in the creation narrative, entails the proposition that the two peripheral forms of unity, those rubrics, Day 2 and Day 3, are so similar, inform us concerning the structure and content of the psychophysical. Those two forms of unity, one archaeological and the other eschatological, are co-incident with reference to the single focus of Genesis as of the gospel, the Son. The accentuated term in each occasion - now triadic space, now the inclusive feminine of the anthropic dyad -  refers now to transcendent Mind, now to mind : body disposed by immanence as unity. We shall discuss the first of these here under the heading of' the categoreal analogy of transcendence. This aspect of the analogy concerns the three pure conceptual forms, space, mind and the masculine.

Effectively, we have already elaborated this analogy as the iconographical representation of the modes of antithesis a propos of spatial tri-dimensionality, and the consequent bearing this has on the cruciform pattern and further on the paradigm of the planet rotating on its axis, an image which comports with the planetary imagery of the Day 4 Christological rubric. That is, we have already begun to examine the meaning of the triad in the creation story, in relation to space itself, in relation to mind and finally in relation to God. So far then, we have dealt with half of the basic formal outlines of the creation story. We have understood the first part of the triadic-dyadic, the 3 x 2 composite. What remains is further consideration of the significance of the twofold form.

This process of convergence of the primordial upon the Christological, or their co-incidence as analogously polarised, is tantamount to the proposition that the affiliation of the Son and Transcendence entails the 'shaping' by Mind of Space itself. But that is to invert the emphatic awareness of mind implicit in the text, and  to overlook the epistemological rather than ontological accentuation of the categories. The spatial three-dimensional manifold exists conformably to the persistence of Mind. Whatever space is in itself, and the same applies to the male : female as unity, is less important than its reality as an elemental factor in consciousness. It is here that the story of creation centres, upon the Son, upon the Christological; that is upon the epistemological, upon mind or logos. Hence the real import of both peripheral entities space : time and male : female, is to be found only in reference to psychophysicality. We can argue consequently that space is the way it is, namely tri-dimensional, because of mind; likewise the predominant formal constitution of the anthropic category the male : female dyad,  its binary configuration, defers to the psychophysical, about which we shall have more to say in the discussion of the messianic series, the 'end' series. It is in the Christological category, mind : body,  that the significance, source and reason, beginning and end, of both structural norms, the threefold and the twofold is realised.



The Convergence of the Categories


We still have to consider the analogy of the categories as entailed by their common recapitulation of the categoreal paradigm. This analogical relatedness of the transcendent categories, the manner in which the analogy of polarity obtains between the three forms of unity, will serve as introduction to our study of the messianic miracles. The primordial and eschatological categories are co-incident, externally related, as the psychophysical.  Christian metaphysics considers that the central event in the cosmos is the form of unity mind : body. This Christological category is the ultimate frame of reference for the only two other entities comparable to it, space : time and male : female. Thus the two peripheral categories are co-incident with respect to the form of unity mind : body. But just what does this mean? For one thing, it entails that the discussion of spatial tri-dimensionality must always defer to the consideration of Mind. The ontological character of space does not concern us. Given the abiding focus of the creation narrative, that is, its radically Christological intonation, we can say that both formal aspects of the archaeological and eschatological categories, the threefold and twofold, stem from the central or focal topos: mind transcendent, and mind : body or soma. It is by reason of this pivotal entity, Christological mind : body that the contours of the other entities involved, space : time and male : female, are as they are. They are explicable in terms of it, nor is it definable according to them.

We can focus on two aspects of this co-incidence of the peripheral entities upon the Christological, its threefold, and twofold outlines. The threefold speaks for transcendence itself, and while the twofold can be logically connected to immanence, because in its most immediate determination it will be a binary conjunction of polarities, we shall more readily associate the figure four with immanence. Thus the second half of the narrative, in common with the immanent messianic events, is tetramorphic. The four last Days, like the four messianic events tell for immanence as does the threefold for transcendence. (In the case of the Days, the figure squares perfectly with the spatiotemporal manifold as four-dimensional.) We should make this point clear. Unity, the defining principle of the immanent, is not rendered in the two narrative centres as a simple. It is not singular. Unity as composite involves plurality. The singular, like the simple pertains more appositely to the vocabulary of transcendence, as bespeaking its arelational quality. Mind disjunct from the soma, space apart from space : time, and the symbolic masculine unrelated to the anthropic form of unity, these are single entities, not compounded ones. The point is that the unity or oneness of God, as opposed to the threeness of God, is always rendered in relation to the fourfold. Immanence, thus represents the unity of God; it is a tetramorphic manifold. This means of course, that the other great numerical cipher of both series, creation and salvation, the three, denotes transcendence. There are three identities, three self-same entities in God, not four, not one.


We have already discussed the threefold a propos of the archaeological entity, space, and affirmed the affiliation between it and mind. That the creation story itself appears to reify this threefold form concurs with the clear sense of the self-relationality or reflexiveness of Mind attributed to the same by the Johannine prologue. Hence in having said that mind seems to contain or include itself, which it does in the creation narrative as the extensive entity sweeping together in the one epistemological/Christological taxonomy while also enumerating itself as one of those very entities, this avowal sits well with the Johannine prologue and with a similar quality attributed to space in the Genesis text. For the shape of that text in general, its sixfold pattern reducible to the threefold, the cipher of transcendence, functions similarly. It points to itself.

The twofold and bipolar disposition of the spatiotemporal, rather than the triadic dimensionality of space itself, is its inherent divisibility into perspectival past and future. (We should not fail to note the role of consciousness here, a role which we will expand upon, in the later discussion of the messianic events.) Asserting the idea of the present by such an analysis effectively reduces the number of terms to two. We customarily speak of past, present and future as if three comparable realms existed. But this is an unnecessary multiplication of categories and confers upon the present something it does not possess. The simplest way to proceed is to accept the obvious antithesis between the past and the future. So also for consciousness; there is the trajectory from the present to the putatively infinite past which recedes backwards, and the trajectory from the same present to a similarly infinite future which proceeds forwards. Such an analysis follows the formulation of the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. We characterised the essential difference between these two relations as summed up in the terms continuous and discrete.

The present is not comparable to either the past or the future as far as their projection to infinity by consciousness goes. The present is distinguishable from both just as it remains the province of both. Nonetheless, present immediacy is not a third term. The present acts as frame of reference for vectoral direction; it establishes two spatiotemporal perspective, one towards the past, the other towards the future. We conceive of movement from it in only these two ways. In this analysis the present is always the point of divisibility; it is 'juncture' of past and future, meaning both conjunction and disjunction, immanence : transcendence. There is no third thing given : tertium non datur.  The restriction of terms in accordance with the Occamist principle results merely on the one hand in the past which enjoys a continuous relationship with present immediacy, and on the other, the future which is discretely ingredient in present immediacy.

The same bipolarity is reflected in the event of sexual dimorphism, even though not all living things are sexually differentiated. Some living forms are hermaphroditic, and some reproduce 'asexually'. We make this note in the interests of the validity of the symbolic masculine, that qualified sense in which the masculine polarity figures transcendence. But the more general incidence of living things involves the polarity male : female. The dimorphism of the eschatological category is co-incident with the dipolar perspectivity inherent in the spatiotemporal. Moreover they share this morphology as the central event, the occasion of their convergence. The significance of the analogy of the forms of unity concerns the mind : body. The morphological equivalence of these  two forms of polarity, one primordial, space : time, and the other teleological, male : female, and equivalent to their convergence or co-incidence, is ourselves as human persons, actual embodied consciousnesses.

We cannot indicate the fuller import of the term consciousness here, it is subsumed under the messianic miracles. That is, we cannot enter into the discussion of the threefold aspect of immanent consciousness. There is no binary configuration without the accompanying threefold pattern, and the latter belongs to the study of the miracle narratives themselves. But we can point to the convergence of bipolar space : time, past and future, and bipolar gender, male and feminine, in so far as it reveals intimately a vital aspect of the soma, the psychophysical entity. In this sense the anthropic category simultaneously stands as an elementary metaphor for the binary organisation of that part of our mental life described in the messianic events. The concurrence of the masculine with space qua the trajectory present-to-future and that of the feminine with space : time qua the trajectory present-to-past, concerns the very physical structure of the gendered body/bodies. Genitalia in the male are disposed 'outwards'. The 'phallos', to use a word consonant with the semiotic tenor of Markan discourse, replicates physically that trajectory congruent exactly with transcendence; the present-to-future. The 'phallos', is effectively 'centrifugal or 'efferent'. It is determined from an interior or centre outwards. The 'womb', and here again, the term I am employing highlights the nature of this discourse, is 'centripetal' or 'afferent'. That is, the feminine body is analogous to the complementary spatiotemporal perspective; it is directed inwards to a centre or interior rather than from it. The orientation of masculine and feminine as the physical disposition of the gendered soma, occurs analogously to the fundamental bifurcated disposition of the spatiotemporal continuum, which is oriented to future and to past respectively, and is so, in relation to consciousness. There is no disregard of the role of consciousness here, that is, of the link between the awareness of time and the nature of mind. Time cannot and does not exist in any 'objective' sense truncated from the very observation or awareness of its existence by ourselves and by other living entities. This link between mind and time, which we first encountered in the creation narrative as the connexity between light and time, is confirmed by the Johannine prologue and The Transfiguration. We shall have to investigate it further at a later stage.


But does this procedure of regarding the body end there. Each classifiable bodily member engages the same semiology. That is to say, it is not merely the phallos which is 'phallic', neither is it merely the womb which embodies the feminine. All members of the body replicate this dichotomy. All members of the body consist with this fact of sexual differentiation as their premise. To cite just one example: the head. The head is physically predisposed in a forward, outward, centrifugal perspective. The means of sensation, eyes ears, nose, mouth, are all located on its front, its face. Indeed, that is what the word 'face' means. This spatial congruence with  forwardness, as with the future, means that the head is aligned with the masculine rather than the feminine. It conforms the 'phallic' polarity of embodiment.

Therefore the confluence of the binary disposition of space : time and the dimorphism of the anthropic form of unity, concerns human persons irrespectively of their given gender. Thus the semiology of the body, like the symbolic masculine, relates primarily to consciousness. The make-up of all men, and that of all women, is in the same sense, masculine and feminine. It conforms to the feminine as the type of this unity. This sits with what we have always put, namely that the feminine as the inclusive category, denoting masculine and feminine, signals the anthropic. This anthropology will be party to the theology of semiotic forms, an essential part of the Markan mandala. If we are to understand something of the connection between the body and consciousness, which connection will involve essentially the processive representation of ourselves to ourselves, in other words, that very self-referentiality or reflexiveness which we have already noted in connection with 'the Word', the mind, then we must attend to this aspect of the theology of semiotic forms - the intimate link between our self-representation and the disposition of the body as the convergence of the 'first' and 'last' of the forms of unity, those entities in the universe which conform themselves to the Christological event, mind : body.

This theology of semiotic forms is an important part of the sub-text of many of the healing miracle stories in Mark, as we shall see later when we examine them. There is indeed much more to Mark's understanding of the anthropic category, that of gender, in relation to consciousness, but it is introduced here as stemming from the logical formulation of the propositions contained within the creation story. That narrative displays the peculiar relationality of the 'beginning and end' categoreal forms of unity, space ; time and male : female respectively, with reference to the phenomenon of  the mind : body as the most prominent feature the cosmos. That Mark not only accepts and adopts it but uses it for further purposes becomes apparent as soon as we begin to penetrate the meaning of the miracle stories. We are yet to see that the final  significance of analogical correspondence between the past-future polarity of space, and that of feminine-masculine concerns not just the anatomy of human consciousness, the nature of (somatic) mind, but also a fully developed Christian eschatology, a theology of religion itself.




Our effort to understand the import of polarity and analogy vis-à-vis the creation narrative now requires a return to the text, particularly that of Day 3. The anthropic category is the last to be listed; and so it represents the culminating act of the hexad, during the last of the Days of creation proper. This is befitting the status of male : female as teleological/eschatological. We shall have more to say about this in the future, and in the interests of focusing on the creation story we allude only to it herein order to give more substance to the systematic description of the male : female form of unity as 'eschatological' employed throughout this study.

Both enterprises, the theory of evolution and certain eschatological doctrines accept one and the same epistemic underpinning, time, of which they nevertheless adopt different understandings. By time in the former case is meant the relation of past(s) to the present. In one real sense, the evolutionary episteme is faithful to the feminine perspective. It is not about the future in any probable relation to present immediacy. Evolutionary theory fights shy of any sustained reference to the future. It refuses to enlist any notion of final (teleological) causality, confining itself instead to the notion of causal efficacy. The future in its relation to present immediacy as understood by the theology of transcendence, is altogether other than the past. The latter relation is continuous and actualised; but the rapport between the present and the future is discontinuous. Just so, we equated the depiction of 'heavens' or space, given in the theology of transcendence, as precisely void of temporal passage if by the latter we are referring to the relation of past-present. The episteme evolutionary theory-history primarily concerns the continuous trajectory of a past to the present, or that of pasts to the present if we distinguish the two episteme. This will mean of course, that any implicit eschatology within the epistemic dyad evolutionary theory-history must comport more correctly with those forms of religious consciousness which follow the same eschatological principle, that of the feminine rather than the masculine. That is why we have said 'certain' eschatological doctrines. We can refer to these briefly here in passing, as the samsaric religious sytems - those systems of religious consciousness whose prevailing eschatological theories stress recurrence, rebirth, reincarnation. Such a vision emphasises actualised inheritance from the past, with which it enjoys continuity.

The two basic eschatological outlooks of world religions devolve upon two juxtaposed views of 'time' itself; broadly speaking these are usually identified as the cyclic (feminine) and linear (masculine). The metaphysics of samsaric religious systems - those of  the various families and schools of Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism - do not envisage a singular, final fulfillment of mundane time  in just the way that this informs all three faiths representative of the masculine eschatological principle - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Our intention here has been only to sketch in the very briefest detail the significance of the consistent reference made throughout this essay to the anthropic as the eschatological form of unity. This equation will stand us in very good stead in the discussion of the theology of religions. Its relevance to the feminist critique of religion will be fundamental.

If on the basis of Christian metaphysics, we establish the epoch prior to the incarnation as constituted in virtue of the feminine principle, we have then to note the equilibrium this sustains with the epoch after the same, the incarnation. Eschatology is thus broadly 'divisible'  into the two radical kinds - feminine and masculine, as duplicating the two epochs. I have hedged the word divisible with quotation marks, for this form of unity is accentuated by dint of unity, which the feminine principle embodies. Hence the eschatological reality conforming to the feminine is nevertheless inclusive of the masculine component. This is tantamount to the claim that the future, in some measure, is always already ingredient within the past. Aware of such subtleties we can nevertheless posit the consistency of two epochs, one prior to and one subsequent to the incarnation, on the basis of their eschatological predispositions. That the incarnation begins the second epoch, I am in no doubt concerning. This entails the proposition that Christianity is logically, if not chronologically, prior not only to Islam but to Judaism as well. That it is logically prior to Judaism has been a guiding if unstated  premise of the hermeneutic of the creation story just announced. I am well aware of the contentious nature of this view, and that moreover concerning the chronological, even so I believe there is a reasonable case for arguing the chronological priority of Christianity to Judaism; that however is another story.

 

We are concerned in the first instance with the story of the third Day, the prototype for the creation of male and female sub-humans as well as humans. This occurs after the waters have been gathered together in one place, and the land has appeared and been named 'earth', and the gathering of the water has been named 'sea'. Thus another remarkable feature of Day 3 is that it contains two distinct if related events of creation. Firstly we should appreciate that the inclusion of two different if related events of creation makes possible the completion of the theology of transcendence insofar as the image of the gathering of waters and the subsequent appearance of dry land, adds a third metaphorical mode of opposition to the previous two; a third dimension to the emerging image of spatial dimensionality. It envisages the horizontal, as juxtaposed against the vertical imagery of the previous rubric, and the all-encompassing light motif, whose axis we have depicted as rotational in keeping with its equal manifestation of transcendent and immanent modes of antithesis. This conceptual form of the anthropic is provisional or circumscribed in its transcendence, due to the fact of its corresponding form of unity being weighted in virtue of immanence. So the story of the third Day completes the logic of the text, and the iconography of a space of three dimensions, and adds to the category of transcendent entities - which already includes mind and space - the third, the symbolic masculine. If we were to press the case for identifying the precise metaphor for the symbolic masculine, the transcendent masculine mentioned by the text of the Day 3 story, it would have to be the sea. It is this part of the narrative which the messianic miracle, The Stilling of the Storm, extrapolates, not the details concerning the sprouting forth of living plants. Yet the latter is indispensable. For it leaves us in no doubt regarding the identity at work here - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit ('breath/wind') of God referred to in the introduction as 'moving to and fro over the surface of the waters'. All the activity of the third Day is the work of the life-giving Spirit.

The Day 6 rubric duplicates this, and so allows for a parallel distinction between sub-human animals, the creatures related to land rather than air or water, and humans. At the same time, the narrative intuitively grasps that a continuity of some sort between the earth animals and the humans is extant as part of the meaning of sexual dimorphism, for both are subsumed under the same rubric. If we refuse to concede this and the considerable formal arguments positing the continuity of the various life-forms, we fail to appreciate the sophistication and subtlety of the narrative. The governing principle of immanence, as of evolutionary theory is unity.

And God said: Let the earth bring forth living beings, each of its kind: cattle and reptiles and wild animals, each of its kind. And it was so. (Genesis 1.24)

And God made the wild animals, each of its kind, and the cattle, each of its kind, and all animals that creep on the ground, each of its kind. And God saw, how good it was. (v25)

And God said: Let us make human being according to our image. (v 26)

And God created the human race according to his image, according to the image of God he created it, as male and female he created them. (v 27)

And God created humanity according to his image, according to the image of God he created it, as male and female he created them. (v 27)

Concerning the concluding description of the sixth Day, a charge has often been levelled against the promise of God to the humans:

And God blessed them, (saying): Be fruitful and increase and fill the earth and make it subject to you! Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the heavens and over every living being that moves on the earth!

And God said: And so I hand over to you every seed-bearing plant over the whole face of the earth and every tree, with fruit-bearing seed in its fruit; they are to serve you for food.

While to every animal on earth and to every bird in the heavens and to every animal that creeps on the earth, (to everything) that has the breath of life in it, (I give) every sort of grass and plant for food.

And God saw everything that he had made, and how good it was. And it was evening and it was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis.1 28-31, John J. Scullion's translation of the translation by Claus Westermann)

The charge, alleged by an ecologically minded hermeneutic of suspicion, or, one might just as well, say ideologically minded, is that this pledge to humankind, in addition to being effectively humanocentric, establishes the basis of, and in fact invites the exploitation of the creation by the humans. This criticism is disingenuous in the extreme, for it ignores just how consistently the text strives to realise the unity of the created order as the index of a unity which purports sympathetic understanding between the world of the sub-humans and that of the humans. To willfully overlook the impetus of the narrative drive towards completion, finally achieved only with the creation of humans, is plainly obtuse as well as counterintuitive. In fact the humans are here at one with the animals, and with the vegetative forms of life which preceded them. Careful exegesis and interpretation of the story yields the conclusion that the humans as conceived here are anything but carnivores. Time and again the creation is affirmed as 'good', a measure of some part of that good is the harmony between the various orders of created things. Polemical carping of this kind with its strident note of the dystopian is extraneous here; it is appropriate to the ensuing narrative. The subjection of the sub-human world to humankind is descriptive and not prescriptive. It is necessary to make these remarks because so widespread has the practice of projection of guilt onto chosen targets become. In fact one hesitates even to use the expression 'sub-human'. That however perfectly depicts the realpolitik of the existential situation.


Reading the complementary rubrics, Day 3 and Day 6, in parallel, as they are organised, produces a relation between the earth animals and humans which is commensurate with that of the earth and plants, as noted above. The expression 'male and female' (hbfq"n:w rkfzf) is applied only to the creation of the human couple (1.27); although we must note that the blessing and command to reproduce is given to the creatures of Day 5 as well as to the humans during the sixth Day, and by inference to the sub-human creatures also created during that day. Thus humans are conscious of the sexual determination of their own bodies. It would seem that the author is not prepared to impute the same capacity to the consciousness of animals. At the same time, this concerns the specific relation of the humans to the creator; for no other animal is made according to God's image.

And God said: Let the earth sprout forth fresh green plants which produce seed, (and) fruit trees that bear fruit on the earth each of its kind, (fruit) containing its own seed.

And God said: Let the earth sprout forth fresh green ()#e$de, Cre)fhf )#$"d:t,a,e myhilo)E rme)yio):

 plants which produce seed ((raze (ayriz:ma b#e('),

(and) fruit trees that bear fruit on the earth each of its kind (w0nymil: yrp,: h#e(o yrip,: C(' (raze (ayriz:ma b#e("),

(fruit) containing its own seed (cre)fhf _l(" wOk_wO(r:za r#e)a:).

And it was so. (Genesis 1.11)


And the earth sprouted forth fresh green ()#ed,e cre)fhf )c"wOt,wa):

seed-bearing plants ((rze (ayriz:ma b#e("), each of its kind (wOhn"ymil;),

and trees that produce fruit (yrip,:_h#(O C("w:),

containing its own seed (wOb_wO(r:za r#e)a:),

each of its kind (wOhn"ymil;). (Genesis 1.12, translation Claus Westermann)


But applying the formal logic of the text in this case results in some surprising outcomes. By formal logic, I mean of course the parallelism, so closely maintained everywhere in the narrative, between the first triad of Days and the second. What is so startling in this particular case is the classification of the plants:

DAY3
DAY 2
(1) SEA : LAND
(1) (MALE : FEMALE (?) EARTH CREATURES
(2) PLANTS FIRST KIND : PLANTS SECOND KIND
(2)MALE : FEMALE HUMANS

It is necessary to question the attribution of male and female to the earth creatures only because of its obvious link to consciousness in general, and its link to the self-awareness of humankind in particular, a subject of the ensuing J narrative. There is no dispute as to the actual sexual differentiation of the land animals, any more than there is of the other living creatures, those for example whose creation is described in the preceding rubric. But a difference accrues from the fact that self-awareness is linked to this same phenomenon, sexual dimorphism, and the story rightly contests whether or not the animals created prior to the creation of the humans possess such a thing.

In the first half of the equation the term directly analogous to 'sea' is not apparent. The creation of 'the great sea monsters and every living being that moves with which the waters teem, each of its kind, and every winged, bird each of its kind', has already transpired during Day 5 (Genesis 1.20-23). In the hermeneutic proposed here, this answers its complement, Day 2, as the form of unity answers the transcendent entity, or thing in itself; that is, where the all important Day 2 rubric formulates space as an entity which transcends space : time, Day 5 envisions space : time as its complementary form of unity. There could hardly be a more fitting or beautiful image of the space : time manifold than that offered by the living creatures which move in both realms, the atmosphere and the 'waters'. Humans are effectively confined to less than four dimensions of the same manifold; we are more or less glued to earth by gravity, and although we are capable of climbing and descending an incline, our existence takes place largely in a plane/surface of two spatial dimensions. We inhabit the same temporal dimension as the creatures mentioned, but they by dint of their motility are the best of any fitted to represent the manifold in its entire four dimensions. Some migrating bird species are known to travel in excess of thousands of kilometres annually. Movement is an important criterion here, as we see from the opening rubric, that of Day 4. To the ancients the sun appeared to move, just as does the moon. Thus they qualify, where plants do not, for inclusion in this section of the taxonomy where the important factor is time. There is no better way to conceptualise and represent time than by movement, and of all the creatures mentioned, those listed in the story of the fifth Day, are arguably the most able and qualified to do so. These are those animals which literally embody the space : time manifold.

The other important factor germane to the 'earth' section of the text, Days 4-6, which categorises the three forms of unity 'parallel' to the pure conceptual  forms (transcendent entities) mind, space, and the symbolic masculine - these are respectively mind : body (Day 4), space : time (Day 5) and male : female (Day 6) - is of course that of sexual dimorphism. This is emblematic of a form of unity; it functions as paradigmatic of immanence. What is the precise relation of the two types of plants to the male and female humans? How does the parallelism just noted obtain in the  two rubrics, Day 3 and Day 6? Clearly the immanent rubric recapitulates the transcendent one, but just what are we to make of this?

There is a serious effort on the part of the narrative to deal with the logical complexities at stake. If we extrapolate from Day 3 to Day 6 with regard to the second section of each event, we see that the plants of the first type should somehow prefigure the masculine polarity, and those of the second type should prefigure the feminine. This is a justifiable claim when we read the description given of the plants in terms of the role of 'seed'. In the first instance are the 'plants which produce seed' ((raze (ayriz:ma b#e('), and which ought to stand as symbolic of the masculine; in the second are the 'fruit trees that bear fruit on the earth' (yrp,: h#e(o yrip,: C(' (raze (ayriz:ma b#e("), '(fruit) containing its own seed' (cre)fhf _l(" wOk_wO(r:za r#e)a:).  'Each of its kind' is said of both the first and the second types of plants, although in the case of the second only, is the connection between 'earth' made. It is true that the 'earth' 'sprouts forth' the plants of both kinds, but both times  this is mentioned (vv 11, 12) , it is used in connection with the generic term 'fresh green' ()#e$de), so that the link between the 'earth' and the second type of plants is the more assured. This second type and the like expression 'earth', are both in varying ways representative of the feminine polarity.

If we read the description of the plants both vis-à-vis the later male : female polarity with which they are clearly related analogously, and with the role of 'seed' in mind, and also viewing the emphasis on the notion of the reproductive or generative process both here in the Day 3 story and in the second section of the narrative as a whole, a process whose significance is not wasted on the author(s) since it always recapitulates the initial creative process itself, and is indissolubly linked to assimilation as to the continuation of life, we can hardly avoid the conclusion that the description of the two types of plants is a reference, if somewhat veiled, to the physical organisation of the soma according to the analogy we have just proposed. The first type of plants 'which produce seed' stands as the type ('kind'?) of reproducing entity in which the propagating function is achieved externally, and the the second 'containing its own seed' stands as the type in which the same function is repeated internally. Thus the two types of plants would seem not just to approximate but to mirror very particularly the two forms of the animal/human body whose reproductive organs in the male are external and those in the female internally disposed.

This text according to the hermeneutic, is obliged to faithfully represent transcendence as severance from the alterity with which the entity in question is otherwise conjunct. Here those terms are male and female respectively. This it does; albeit with the essential predisposition of their conjugability never far from consideration. The fact that both types of plants, a 'symbolic masculine' and a 'symbolic feminine' are represented, can only be accounted for in terms of the fact that as noted above, the reality involved here is not physical but mental. Thus we have emphasised that the symbolic masculine does not refer to the event of sexual determination in any actual or literal case. It is applicable to both genders, male and female, as is the phenomenon of the conjunction of the polarities. In other words, specific sexual determinations do not duplicate specific epistemic/psychic modes. What is signified here something other than physical. It is instead something pertaining to our conscious mental life. The creation story is attempting to deal with sexual difference as a quotient in human lived conscious experience independently of any particular case of sexual determination, and so faithfully to the image of freedom/self determination provided by space. That is to say: both men and women think/feel and generally live their conscious lives according to the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism but independently of their belonging to one particular sex, male or female. The conscious lives of both men and women accord with one and/or the other principle, the symbolic masculine and the ('symbolic') feminine.

So interpreted, the text speaks epistemologically and Christologically in a manner that is logically or formally consistent. For we have already seen that the two forms of relation, the internal and external, are radically involved with the categoreal paradigm, and what is the same thing, with the logic of identity operative within the narrative. Moreover, we have observed the categoreal analogy which links primordial and bifurcated space : time, the space : time of past and future occasions, with the sexually dimorphic humans, female and male respectively. There is more to say concerning this, especially a propos of internal and external relations, but it is fitting here to note the consistency of the narrative in its repeated deployments of these concerns. The concept of causality, in both of its modes, causal efficacy of past occasions determining present ones, and so too future occasions, and teleological or final causality, whereby present occasions, and so too past occasions enjoy rapport with the non-present occasions,
with the future, a rapport of a markedly different kind, one which we have called 'discrete'. Such ideas too belong to the consistency of the creation narrative's use of the categoreal analogy of transcendence and the categoreal analogy of immanence. The latter of course, awaits a more detailed exposition as part of the examination of the messianic series.

The presence within the third Day 3 rubric of two acts of creation, the second issuing naturally from the first, provides for the procedure adopted in extrapolating from the archaeological to the eschatological while referring to the Christological category as we have done. The mention within the first act  of Day 3, that of the 'waters gather[ed] into one place' (dxf)e mwOqmf_l)e) and 'dry land ... appear[ing]', reinforces the concept of space and spatial dimensionality which it ties with the concept of the masculine in particular. Subsequently, in the second act of the same rubric, the production of the two types of plants, masculine and feminine, in some form, are if not exactly itemised, then portended as they are to be rubricized in the Day 6 story. For as yet, during the third Day the plants are conspicuously separated, or differentiated. Hence in the Day 3 text, the transcendent (symbolic) masculine is emphasised, as the transcendent in se must be according to the basic meaning of transcendence. This brings together within the final rubric of the theology of transcendence proper the peripheral or terminal conceptual forms, space and the masculine. Moreover it only does is so logically as referent to the Christological event, mind. The rubric is thus a summation in just the same way that the Day 6 rubric is. Functioning as the conclusion of the taxonomy of pure conceptual forms, transcendent entities which exist in themselves and for themselves, it confirms the analogous rapport of the primordial and teleological prompting the rational procedure inherent in the coexistence of forms of polarity or modes of antithesis - analogy.

Creation and Time

All that remains is to appreciate the comprehensiveness and sophistication of the creation narrative concerning time, some of which we have already expounded. The virtual repetition within the second half of the creation taxonomy of the first, those three entities which function as foundational to human consciousness and therefore qualify as Christological - mind itself, space, and the symbolic masculine - must be accounted for vis-à-vis time still more clearly than we have so far done. In the first section of the narrative, the theology of transcendence proper, the pure conceptual forms are introduced. By pure conceptual forms is meant those entities which comply unequivocally with the postulate of transcendence. They are without remainder, even if with qualification in the case of the third, the symbolic masculine, transcendent entities; each is, and each is what it is. These three entities or conceptual forms, evince both being and identity, the inseparable criteria of transcendence proper. But as noted above, their recurrence within the second half of the narrative, where they are compounded with their complementary polarities, introduces some complexity into this picture. The complements, respectively mind : body, space : time, and male : female, we have referred to as 'forms of unity'. The word 'form' is designed to highlight their listing as nevertheless within one overall schema, that of 'beginning'/creation as opposed to 'end'/salvation. Their categorisation within the story of creation intends to convey that by reason of the transcendent component in each case, they nevertheless  qualify as subsumable under the banner of transcendence. Hence the first word of the expression, 'form' adverts to their taxonomic status. That is part of the equation; the other part is the fact that they also exhibit qualities proper to immanence, the chief one being unity. Hence the word 'unity' is used to described them in distinction from the conceptual forms. We represented this as follows:

 

                                                                        transcendence : immanence

                                                                                      space : space-time   ('beginning                 

                                                                                       mind : mind-body      and

                                                                                       male : male-female    end')

The title 'immanence' in this pattern is adequate for the moment. It will require elaboration, for the full significance of that term - and its textual equivalent 'earth' - devolves upon the messianic miracle series. It is there finally, and there alone that the significance of the term will be disclosed. However, it is at least introduced here. So what we discover within the creation series is an intimation of immanence, immanence under the guise of the transcendent. In the messianic miracle series we will find the exact corollary; for that series is taxonomically the 'end' series, immanence proper, yet we notice within it, three events bearing all too close a resemblance to the first three Days, the three 'transcendent' messianic miracles. That aspect of the narrative too we must contend with, we must interpret.

But the immediate problem concerns the recapitulation of the transcendent forms in the guise of an immanence of sorts within the creation story, whose overall thrust is transcendent. This thrust is therefore aligned towards a future as it must be in a story of beginning. We have identified the future and thus the relationality of present-to-future at several steps in the narrative, all of them within the first half of the text. That said, we need now to address the commonplace manner in which this story is conceptualised. Most often we tend to think in terms of hoariest antiquity, or if we are inclined to approach the deliveries of the theory of evolution without fear and trembling, perhaps we understand it in a manner more in keeping with contemporary scientific insights. It does not matter which for the present point, for the received wisdom confirms in us this abiding tendency to imagine the entire business as already having begun, that is, as stretching from a barely conceivable past continuously into the present. Yet everything we have understood and said concerning the whole weight if not bias of the creation story, is that it favours transcendence over immanence. This means not only that we must revise our outlook but also somewhat invert it. For that temporal perspective analogous to immanence is certainly identifiable within the story; but within its second half, which in no uncertain sense, is secondary. It is to the taxonomy of the forms of unity that this perspective normally associated with creation belongs. It is the forms of unity, in their equivocal instantiation of transcendence itself , which they  modify to such a degree that they espouse the antithetical polarity ('earth') even if within the same category, that of transcendence, it is to these same things that the usual concept regarding creation applies.

As for transcendence itself, transcendence proper, the pure conceptual forms first referred to in the story of creation as 'the heavens', the temporal construct that obtains here is completely other. It is that discrete relation extant between what is yet to come and the present. This is the sense in which we need to invert our usual comprehension of what creation means. It is a sense which perhaps the author of The Apocalypse understood when he wrote:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. (Apocalypse 21.1)

Creation always bears this primary meaning. It is the promise of novelty in the world; the pledge of a future; of that which has not yet been and is yet to be. Rather than interpret the creation narrative in the light of the past, its governing concept of transcendence insists that we understand it in terms of what is yet to come. In this respect it is essential to the fuller realization of the meaning of the resurrection. For just which reason the fourth gospel begins with an unmistakeable reiteration of the theme of 'beginning'.

Having situated the incarnation of the Son precisely at the juncture of beginning and end we have inferred one obvious conclusion for a metaphysics of history, and this has delivered real depth and moment to the often repeated notion that the incarnation reveals the centre of gravity of the same history. Here however, 'history' itself is too small a concept for what is at stake, since it complies with a perspective that is purely one-sided or unilateral. We consider the idea of the incarnation as the focus of not just history, but the whole course of time as suggested by the terms 'beginning and end'  either from the point of view of beginning or end. We identify the incarnation as the rational interstice between past and future, as between epochs defined eschatologically in accordance with the (eschatological) category, female : male. A Christian understanding of time reckons the confluence of past and future as the adjunction of such epochs. This means that it is intelligible as radiating from the incarnation in two perspectives; not just the one which equates analogously the entirety of the past with the meaning of the feminine, but also the other; that which proposes futurity itself as analogously aligned to the complementary principle. The present, wherein we necessarily remain, is determinable in relation to both perspectives, even though it remains aligned with the second of these two epochs. That said, neither epoch of its own accord can supply us with the encompassing reach of the influence of  'the Word become flesh'.

 

Copyright 16th February 2017.  MM Publications.

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