Epilogue


A number of issues have arisen in the course of this approach to the gospel of Mark. The first of these concerns the isomorphism between the series of messianic miracles and the creation story (Genesis 1.1-2.4a). The basis of the congruence of the two series, creation and salvation, is their configuration according to some fairly simple structures or serial patterns, the primary one being transcendence : immanence. The fact that both narratives had a total of seven units each and the fact that these were divisible in terms of  simple double patterns - 3 : 3 and 3 : 4 - was the first thing that attracted our notice. Thus both stories manifest a structure at the first level of analysis which is binary, dyadic, bipolar, polarised. In the story of the Days of creation it is the clear recapitulation of the formal pattern established in the first, the most important half of the text. We observed that Days 4, 5, and 6 follow the Days 1, 2, and 3 respectively, in terms of their content.

In the messianic series, the miracles are also divisible into two sorts, transcendent and immanent. These are immediately recognisable by a raft of criteria which we classified as secondary and primary. When we compared the two textual cycles, gospel and Genesis, we determined the basis of the division in either cycle to rest upon the relationality of identity in the case of transcendence, and unity in the case of immanence, according to the normative functions of the Days 1, 2, 3 and the feeding miracles together with the Eucharist. Thus whether we examined the Days or the miracles, in dealing with the transcendent episodes, identity was a thematic and structural motif. Alternatively our survey of the feeding miracles and the second half of the Days series likewise exposed their basic content and form to rest on the concept of unity. These are somewhat abstract terms, but all the more useful to either text, Genesis or gospel, for that.

In effect then, because each of the cycles had its own emphasis, it was clear that the the story of beginning required the messianic miracles, without which it remained inconclusive, a beginning without an end. Thus the sevenfold series of messianic events gave final meaning to the term 'earth' in the opening inclusio of Genesis 1.1 'the heavens and the earth', a meaning which constitutes the various subjects of the messianic miracles and Eucharist. Certainly, the miracles reverted to Genesis as to a precedent. They did not simply append themselves to that text without due deference. This was absolutely obvious in the case of the three transcendent events. The series as a whole however resumed the form of the propositions of the initial text, and the referential component 'recapitulated' the 'beginning' episodes no less. This recapitulation was more than a mere duplication. By means of it, the conceptual polarity of mind disclosed in Genesis was complemented by disclosure of the soma, the body of sense percipience, its equal and opposite polarity. That both polarities concern mind, goes without saying; just as does the fact that both are in the first instance Christological. This meant that the accentuation given in the creation story to transcendence was balanced against a similar but opposite trend in the miracle stories, the emphasis there being on immanence. Taken as a whole, an equilibrium between the two cycles is thus generated and their own intrinsic pattern of symmetry is repeated. In other words, where the two cycles co-exist as transcendent Days (Genesis) and immanent miracles (gospel), they formulated one whole.

When looked at as  a whole, the Days of creation - including the seventh or Sabbath - constitute a theology of transcendence. Each of the members of the series is defined as a Day. This taxonomizes them at the first level as belonging to the one series, the one class of events which when taken in opposition to the miracles, instantiates transcendence. Yet within these seven Days, there is a distinction between transcendence proper and an 'immanent form' of the same. The last four Days of the series represented this immanent aspect of transcendence proper. Conversely, when we examine the miracle cycle, particularly from the point of view of its relationship to the text in Genesis, we see a series of events which in its entirety, is immanent in kind. All of these episodes, including the Eucharist if in a modified manner, enjoy the status of 'miracle'. Even so, a distinction corollary to that in the creation story emerges so that there are effectively four episodes which are unambiguously immanent, while the remaining three  exhibit characteristics of transcendence. The immanent forms of the transcendent - Days 4, 5, 6, (7) - and the transcendent forms of the immanent, the two miracles at sea and The Transfiguration, which posit the forms of unity, and the modes of imaginative consciousness respectively - both require special attention. They  make explicit the relationality between the two cycles in so far as they modify any absolute polarisation of the two cycles such as prevents the explication of their congruence, their isomorphism.

To put it another way, a fundamental difference between the story of beginning and the story of the end was effectively one of the difference between transcendence and immanence respectively. Nonetheless, each of those stories in turn recapitulated the same binary pattern. This after all, their internal bipolar form, was what further secured their analogous relationality, or isomorphism. If the creation story had no immanent perspective at all it could not relate to the messianic miracle series; conversely, if the latter was totally void of a transcendent perspective it could not sustain a relation to the creation story.  Hence where the story of 'beginning' (creation) is essentially the story of transcendence, it nevertheless demonstrates its own division into transcendent (identity) and immanent (unity) polarities; and where the story of 'end' (salvation) is the story of immanence, this nevertheless also recapitulates the paradigm, dividing into two sections recognisable as transcendent (identity) and immanent (unity). It is this further division of the two halves of biblical theology conforming to the same paradigm, which guarantees the dialogue between the two polarities. Not in spite of, but because of the emphatic polarisation already given in the equal but opposite halves of narrative, Genesis and gospel, there is a recapitulation of the paradigm again reiterated contained within each of those halves.

The logical rudiments of consciousness are various. In the narratives we have considered, we witnessed the incidence of monadic, dyadic, triadic, tetradic, hexadic, heptadic and dodecadic forms. Nor is that all. The feeding miracles present further logical patterns that involve the fivefold and twelvefold. By such accounts, the formal contours of mind : body are indeed protean. This plethora of patterns testifies to the variety of relations subtended to each other by those things that are the ultimate subjects of the narratives, the realities foundational to consciousness. However, the incidence of binary (dyadic) form is striking, and the perfect starting point of analysis. This study has concentrated on the categoreal paradigm transcendence : immanence for this very reason. Both the creation narrative and the seven messianic events of the gospel, seminal texts for Christian doctrine, confront us with the same fundamental paradigm. It informs equally the categories of transcendence - the three conceptual forms and the three forms of unity - and the description of the structures of perceptual consciousness - in short, percipient memory and percipient imagination. It makes for certain consistency among the things related to consciousness, but it also reveals some of the relations that obtain between them as nothing less than paradoxical.

Looked at as a whole then, the formula transcendence : immanence is the most primary and easily detectable formal aspect of this strand of biblical theology. It assumes the role of organizational principle . Concerning as it does, the exposition of what is from a point of view of the propositional content of biblical theology, the nature of human consciousness, mind, or the psychophysical entity which is the human person, we therefore refer to it as the categoreal paradigm.

Here a review of the four categories disclosed in Genesis and the gospel can now be undertaken. At the outset, we can simplify matters somewhat by expressing the contrast between pure conceptual forms - the ideas of space, mind and the symbolic masculine, and perceptual memory - of whichever mode, haptic, acoustic or optic. There is an absolute contrast between these two categories as between extremes on a scale or spectrum from transcendence to immanence. We can refine this notion at a later point, but to begin to review the various categories, and expound the relations between them, we should first observe this. Whatever outcomes, affective or rational, issue from the conceptual forms, we can be sure of one thing, that they will be at total variance with those associated with the forms of perceptual memory. Some of these characteristics have already been alluded to; thus for example, in relation to the differentiation between free-will and determinism, we can urge that the processes attributable to haptic memory (the erotic) are characterised by the latter. Haptic memory, to take one example of a purely immanent form, is dominated by the prevalence of  a psychological force at utmost variance with free will. This after all, is visible in the representations of compelling need given in the various feeding miracles. At the opposite end of the spectrum from this is the conceptual form mind. Even though both of these centres of consciousness identify the Son, they occur in total contrast. The immanent Son of the miracle at Cana - Eros, or the divine bridegroom - is the same as the logos, the word become flesh - from the point of view of a theology of the Trinity. But the former disposes consciousness in a mode that is completely other than the way in which it is disposed by mind itself (logos). This fullness of contrast occurs wherever we take the instances of the same (Trinitarian) identity given by perceptual memory on the one hand, and the corresponding absolute or pure conceptual form on the other.

The purpose of this simple illustration is to convey here at the start, the fullest expression of antithesis which obtains between the pure conceptual forms -space, mind, symbolic masculine - and the forms of memory - acoustic, haptic, optic. These are unequivocally transcendent and immanent forms respectively. It is only with the intermediate categories - the forms of unity, and the forms of imagination - that we encounter digression from this fullness of contrast.

Both the (three) immanent terms of the transcendent categories and the (three) transcendent forms of immanence are characteristically equivocal. They present a status 'intermediate' between normative transcendence, defined as purely conceptual, and normative immanence, defined as mnemic sense-percipience. Forms of unity and forms of imagination mediate the absolute contrast sustained by complete polarisation in the case of true concepts and pure perceptual forms. We affirmed that time is necessarily conjunct with space, the soma with mind, and the feminine with the masculine. What is novel and determinative of identity in these forms of unity is the transcendent term of each. That tends to subordinate their unity. There is a necessary tension between the terms conjunct in the immanent forms of the transcendent categories, space : time and so on. Similarly, there is inherent in the transcendent polarity of the immanent categories, namely the various forms of imagination, a similar paradoxical strain. Imagination is native to memory - nonetheless, it strives against it in a certain sense. We must acknowledge the contrastive elements that constitute each form of unity; and we must discern the ostensible dearth of content innate to imaginative consciousness. It is only the transcendent forms space, mind and the masculine, which are unequivocally transcendent; and only the sense-percipient forms of memory, which are unequivocally immanent. For the rest, we find the dialectic of contrast, tension, and paradox. Thus, the nature of imaginative consciousness is poised in equilibrium to the forms of unity. Whereas the transcendent categories in their immanent forms manifest contrast at the expense of identity, the forms of imaginative consciousness realise the principle of identity so as to subordinate what we would otherwise predicate of them as immanent in kind, the principle of unity. The net result of which is to qualify any contention for only neatly delineated categories of transcendence and immanence.

At the broadest level of analysis, there are two classes of things to consider: the subjects of the theology of transcendence in Genesis, and those of the theology of immanence in Mark generally speaking. As just noted, however, these categories of the transcendent and the immanent themselves further recapitulate the same paradigm. Thus there is a transcendent : immanent structure within transcendence itself, and the same structure within immanence. This yields four discernible classes of things.

 

The Categories of Transcendence


Conceptual forms

The Markan doctrine of mind emphasises three formative subjects as rudimentary to the specifically human form of consciousness: space, mind and the symbolic masculine. The first two of these are arguably more salient than the latter, as transcendent in the truest sense of the word;  nonetheless, all are classifiable as conceptual forms manifesting the principle of transcendence. All obtain in virtue of identity. These same ideal entities lend a shape to consciousness that is definitively 'Trinitarian'. In this, they reformulate the transcendent category of space itself - or, what is the same thing, space itself emulates their epistemic coherence -  so that we may speak of mental, or conceptual, or ideal, dimensions as well as the epistemological predisposition of space in se.. These dimensions espouse the principle of  identity, such that they shape or dispose consciousness into aspects which are readily recognisable as different from one another. The differences are optimal, and that is why they can legitimately be iconographically represented in terms of tri-dimensionality. The effect of conceptual forms is thus opposite in a sense, that of the various perceptual modes of memory. The issues in consciousness of the same ideas, which are the many and various conative forces and epistemic processes that they generate, are typically transcendent. That is to say, they will be pre-eminently susceptible of identification. In this, they stand over and against the ingression of sense perception in consciousness. For memory in general tends towards the unification of the elements of consciousness; it is responsible for the aspect of mind which remains undifferentiated.

The range of qualities associated with the conceptual forms have to do with the 'beginning'. They signify change, revolution, novelty, in short, the creative advance. Certain scientific disciplines and historical consciousness both have tended towards emphatic recognition of the past, often at the expense of the future. The delivery of the creation story however, sets great store by futurity, because it identifies space with 'beginning' and with transcendence. It writes large the transcendent aspect of the equation. In effect the space of space : time is dominated not by the past but by its opposite. The inherent futurity endogenous to the spatial, supervenes the continuity of the present with its past. Thus, the future, readily identifiable with transcendent space, 'the heavens', is the guarantee of novelty in the universe.


Forms of Unity


These are space : time, mind : body and male : female as fundamental determinants of consciousness. Expounded within the second-level taxonomic order of the creation, they are related to the above as immanent determinations of what are otherwise categoreally transcendent realities. They bear the appearance of immanence. This means that in terms of their effects, they may bear comparison with the forms of memory.  We can speak of them as transcendent, although their paradoxical status means that we might just as legitimately construe them in terms of immanence. The taxonomy in Genesis places them in serial continuity with the purely transcendent forms. Hence, in the first instance, they remain definable as conceptual.  It may seem most difficult  to concede as conceptual, the body, and again the anthropic, male and female. We tend naturally to associate the body and its sexual differentiation with anything other than the conceptual. Nonetheless, conceptual forms of unity must be classified as concepts and not percepts. They are ideas which furnish the radicals of consciousness. Their  role and function in consciousness is truly comparable to the role and function of the transcendent forms. This tendency to understand forms of unity as if they were percepts is diminished in the case of time (space : time). We are inclined to view it as an abstraction. The reason for which is that space : time in so far as it is spatial, remains pre-eminently transcendent. Its corresponding transcendent polarity, space, is weighted in virtue of transcendence. Space tends always to dissociate itself from, to transcend, space : time as a compound entity. This lends the spatiotemporal form of unity its greater similarity to the pure conceptual forms. But logically all three forms of unity are of a piece, even though each is weighted or structured differently. The categories space : time and male : female stand in opposition to one another as ordered in favour of transcendence and immanence respectively. Hence, the latter may be juxtaposed with what was said just previously in regard to novelty and the transcendent forms. The anthropic form of unity tends to incur domination by the past, echoing the disparity of the primordial and the eschatological. Here then is just one respect, in which a form of unity is comparable to the modes of memory. The central category mind : body is paradoxically configured as being equal to the primordial space : time in its transcendent bias, and equal to the eschatological male : female in its bias towards immanence. This means that the transcendent constitution of the psychophysical is proportionate to its immanent nature. It means also that the psychophysical remains the focal point for the resolution of the competing claims of the primordial and eschatological.

 

Categories of Immanence


Memory

One thing is clear: if the story of creation stresses the role of conceptual consciousness for Christian epistemology, this is answered and ultimately balanced by the unstinting and consistent appraisal of the perceptual which we encounter in the gospels at every turn. We should see this as squaring perfectly with the 'incarnation'. The normative mode for perception is that designated by the common language term, memory. Thus the modes of haptic, acoustic and optic memory stand juxtaposed to the three transcendent forms with the greatest degree of contrast. The theology of memory is a concrete testament to the viability of Markan metaphysics.

There is no dearth of speculative systems of philosophy-psychology which describe the nature and functions of memory in our mental and affective lives as humans. The great distinctiveness as well as the advantage of Mark's doctrine of soma is that it secures the affinity of memory, and imagination, with sense percipience. At one stroke then, Markan metaphysics resolves the issues surrounding what memory is and how it works. The recurrent metaphor for the latter is assimilation, and so appetition-satisfaction. Every one of the miracles which elaborates the doctrine of mnemic consciousness  uses this figure.

The principle of immanence declares the unity of relata which to some extent are oppositional, contrastive, antithetical. The forms of imagination, haptic, acoustic and optic are co-opted in the same unity, and these are the contrastive relata operative within memory. There is no memory without imagination. The contribution of memory to consciousness, a contribution that is inseparable from the functioning of sense perception in its various modes, is also inseparable from imagination. Thus, imagination too participates inextricably in the activities of (sentient) memory. The principle of immanence, the unambiguous sense in which immanence espouses manifold unity, entails that memory in itself can not exist. Memory is necessarily compounded with imagination. We ought not to understand the contrast between memory and imagination in absolute terms, those of the theology of transcendence. There is no absolute and lasting distinction possible between the forms of memory and the corresponding forms of imagination. Memory itself insists on the synergy of the two.

In the same way, the future is already ingredient within the past, already contained, included; yet for all that, the relation of the present to the future as it is in itself, must be understood as being discrete rather than continuous. The indissoluble bond of memory and imagination prohibits the pure epistemic and ontic retrieval of any past event. Memory never functions without the intrusion of novelty of some kind and to howsoever a minimal degree, as assured by the role of imagination. The extensive analogy for this economic co-operation of perceptual imagination and perceptual memory is the eschatological form of unity, male : female.


Perceptual Imagination

As for memory, so also for imagination: there is no imagination without perception. Mark's doctrine therefore gives meaning and content to this dimension or mode of consciousness. Even so, imaginative consciousness involves non-sensuous perception. The concept of the imagination put here redefines both the ideas of perception and imagination. For it determines imagination inextricably with perception, while the concept of transcendence seems to qualify the notion of the sensuous to the point of annihilation. One difficulty in conceiving perceptual imagination is the misconception that future events are not real in the same way that past events are. The sense in which the imaginative consciousness consists of discrete and identifiable forms may also seem problematic. If imagination is co-opted in the functioning of memory, how then can we argue the existence of thoroughly independent imaginative centres of consciousness? We have not stated such a case. In the last resort, imagination is beholden to memory, from which nonetheless, it differs. However, there is a clear sense in which imaginative centres of consciousness diverge from one another and more certainly still from memory. They espouse the principle of identity. For example, the ingression of haptic imagination in consciousness is discernible, that is isolable as in some sense, self-contained, whereas the ingression of haptic memory is much less so. For the latter tends to merge sympathetically with the remaining forms of memory. The ambiguity attendant upon the attributes and functions of the imagination confront us. It does so for the same reason that the radical contribution of the forms of unity to consciousness is problematic. The forms of imagination are transcendent determinations of what is congenitally immanent in kind. Thus, we cannot deny the ambiguous natures of either the forms of imagination or the forms of unity. But these are vital precisely because of their apparent intermediacy between the pure conceptual forms on the one hand, and the sense-percipient modes of memory on the other.

We already have sufficient information concerning the imaginative centres of consciousness to be able to distinguish them from other such centres. Structures of imaginative consciousness are comparable to those resulting from the ingression in consciousness of the three transcendent forms, space, mind and the masculine, particularly the last. Effectively they echo the pure conceptual forms. This is evident in the close similarity between the transcendent messianic miracle stories, and the theology of creation. To a lesser extent, they also bear comparison with the forms of memory. That is, just as we drew comparisons between the forms of unity and the two unequivocal determinants of consciousness, transcendent forms, and forms of memory we can adopt this procedure in relation to imagination.

Here the notion of transcendence proves its worth. It frames the direct complementarity between actual and potential sense perception correspondingly with perceptual memory and non-sensuous (yet) perceptual imagination. Memory is the being re-minded of past events, events which reiterate the symbolic feminine. These are actually determinate. Imagination is the consciousness of events whose ontological status is not in doubt, but necessarily non-determined. Memory and imagination replicate the radical shape of immediacy.  This follows the formulation of the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. The present is the province of both. Nonetheless, present immediacy is not a third term. The Eucharistic hic et nunc from which putatively infinite vectors in time extend backwards and forwards is the symbolic conjunction  of masculine and feminine  which realises incarnation.

We have drawn sufficient attention to the equivocal status of the intervening categories: the forms of unity on the one hand and the forms of imagination on the other. One final observation is in order here; just as the conceptual forms, and the forms of unity establish the differentiation of human from non-human consciousness, there are certain indications in two healing narratives of Mark which confirm the appurtenance of perceptual consciousness also to the sub-human. These are the two stories of The Gerasene Demoniac (Mark 5.1-20) and The Syrophoenician Woman (Mark 7.24-31). These have more in common than just the single motif of feeding animals: for example both are conspicuous as exorcistic cures, and both involve some sort of negotiation between Jesus and the forces which imperil the lives of the protagonists. They also function as the first and the last of a chain of healing events, as we saw in the previous discussion of the story of The Haemorrhagic Woman. All we need to notice now is that the texts include allusive references to the role of perceptual consciousness in animals other than humans. Mark's doctrine of mind would be incomplete without a reference of some kind to the nature of sub-human consciousness. These narratives are obvious starting points for any discussion of the same, the indications being that perceptual consciousness with its many and manifest outcomes, belongs equally to the human and sub-human realms. The reason for such a claim is that the overriding metaphor for sense-percipience in the gospel remains that of assimilation.

 

The New Testament and the Theology of Creation


It is regrettable that we cannot dwell on this topic to anywhere near the extent that it merits.  All the same however, we cannot fail to mention the implications of the interpretation we have posed concerning the messianic events. These ensue from  the analogy of the two sevenfold series of Genesis and the gospel - creation and salvation - which maintain complete synthesis, and which are arguably the single and best instance of a systematic rapport between the two canons. The second half of the creation story, anticipates the gospel. The great contribution made by the various subjects of the messianic miracle series to the exposition of Christology, and what belong to the same, Christian epistemology and philosophical psychology, concerns sentient existence. Thus, where the creation narrative frames its grasp of the immanence of God, it envisions the entirety of living forms. The prospect this generates for the consideration of the continuity between  animal and human consciousness is invaluable, and sorts well also with the underlying metaphysical principle of evolutionary theory - that of unity, which we regard as the signal of immanence itself.  But here we have stumbled upon a major discrepancy in received theological wisdom; to wit that there is virtually no New Testament theology of creation. The hermeneutic postulated here renders the speciousness of such a claim all but palpable, and we reject it out of hand. It stems from the indifference of scholiasts to the miracle narratives, and the widespread preference in the Western academe for the J creation narrative over that of the Priestly author.

We have affirmed repeatedly that the ultimate hermeneutical value of the second half of the creation story devolves upon the events in the gospel, the meaning of which we have just proposed. That second section of the narrative, identifiable as a theology of immanence, anticipates the disclosures made by the later texts. These disclosures concern the processes of sense perception as radical to the nature of animal and human consciousness in a manner complementary to the conceptual categories elaborated in the creation story, which are likewise foundational for human consciousness.

The prevailing outlook of the creation story is transcendent. Its demonstrable predilection is for the categories of mind and space, the pre-eminently transcendent entities. After these in order of significance, are the immanent polarities of the same, mind : body and space : time, and the eschatological category, male : female. Next in order of significance is the role of sentience, the modes of sense perception, although this is categorised only pre-emptively. We cannot be sure until we accept the disclosures of the gospel, where the definitive account is provided, but this is what the story of the last four Days effectively anticipates in virtue of the inherent logic of the two narrative chains. We refer to this content of consciousness whether in animals or in humans, as ‘immanent consciousness' or 'perceptual consciousness' on the basis of its initial contrast with the conceptual polarity constituted by the pure ideas in particular. Common sense dictates that as for the categories of immanence, there are ample grounds for comparisons to be drawn between animals and ourselves. Almost all animals do possess the modes of sense perception, which we possess, and in varying degrees of likeness to our own.

The story of the final four Days bristles with living creatures.  This is in keeping with what we know from experience and what so many biblical texts affirm. The former is that we are similar to animals in varying degrees. Such a tenet is a premise of the theory of evolution, which seeks to articulate the relationships between all living things in terms of historical, 'narratological', process. The presupposition of evolution is that of the unity of the organic world. In this, it does not deviate from the chief pre-occupation of the theology of immanence.  The view of the relatedness and contiguity of the human and animal worlds, which the biblical texts repeatedly acknowledge, is complemented with the view of the human and animal worlds as discontinuous. The doctrine of imago Dei is the classic instance of  the latter. That it is fundamental to the theology of transcendence in Genesis 1.1s is certain. Human and animal life forms are equally 'creaturely'. The creation theology acknowledges both animals and ourselves as corporeal and sexually dimorphic. God creates only humans however, 'in the image and likeness of God'. This puts the ambiguities of the situation with consummate poise and the same paradox sits at the hub of the Pneumatological doctrine of creation: the insistence equally upon continuity and discontinuity of the human with the sub-human. The conceptual categories, whose formulation is the chief point of the narrative, remain the best explanation for the difference obtaining between the animal and the human. The Genesis story taken in conjunction with the gospel, only ever infers such a proposition, but that it is concerned with it is beyond doubt. Immanent, sentient, consciousness as depicted in the gospel however, posits the basis of the opposite and complementary contention, that of the connectedness between our consciousness and that of our fellow creatures.

A second point regarding creation theology in the New Testament concerns the importance of the modes of sense perception from the evolutionary as well as theological perspective. I do not wish to press the theological case for evolutionary theory. I consider that a fait accompli. The clearest case for it exists in the Day 3 rubric which explicitly predicates a relation between the 'earth' and the two types of plants; a relation which functions analogously  to that of the earth animals and humans, as expressed implicitly in the Day 6 rubric. This relation is summed up by the word 'produced'. On the contrary, what is quite astounding is the entrenched reluctance of theology generally to accept the contribution of evolutionary theory to our knowledge of the world and God. The rhetoric that Christianity is an historical religion, a virtual shibboleth of modern theological scholarship, rings hollow because of its consistent neglect by theology of the theory of evolution. Evolutionary theory and history are twin arms of the one episteme - call it narratological, or historical consciousness. If 'the historical Jesus', then so too 'the evolutionary Jesus'; if Christianity is an historical religion, as we are constantly reminded, then it is necessarily also instructively formed by the disclosures of the theory of evolution. The epistemological nexus between history and theory of evolution makes it incumbent on theology to attend to those disclosures. The recognition of the implications of evolutionary theory for theology is all the more important because of a profoundly narcissistic anthropocentrism which infects the proclamation of the historical nature of Christian religion.

Any influence of contemporary understanding of the origins of humankind upon theological reflection need not necessarily be one-way. Certain possibilities for some sort of reciprocal interaction between theology and science exist. The contribution of Christian theology to metaphysics of evolutionary theory will thus accentuate the role of sense perception. The gospel's account all but equates mind : body, soma, and the forms of sentience. It is not yet clear what value evolutionary theory accords to the same. We should be able to see that a dialogue between theology and evolutionary theory  might possibly plot the significance of the successive appearance of the modes of sense perception against the background of the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism. This is one obvious area for dialogue. As far as I know, evolutionary psychology, which is perhaps still hostage to 'sociobiology', has remained silent on this matter. It is not clear whether we should take the seriality of the second half of the creation story at face value. That is, it is not clear whether we should interpret the text as a taxonomy of the modes of sense percipience from the point of view of the evolutionary-historical  process. The notion of the emergence of forms of sense-percipience in successive evolutionary stages may itself be incorrect; yet it is worth investigating vis-a-vis some of the patterns that emerge in the texts we have been studying. The real province of the understanding of the sense-percipient body remains the gospel. The order between the two cycles varies, and of course it is possible that it is the business of neither text to make any  delivery of this kind at all. Nonetheless it remains a possibility.

In its very first presentation, that of the P creation story, albeit implicitly, sense perception is announced as in league with  value. A recurrent theme of the creation story is that of the 'goodness' of creation itself. The refrain 'And God saw, how good it was.' occurs as frequently as the time/light motif. God positively evaluates the works of each of the Days; thus, Genesis 1.10, 12, 18, 21, 25 and v 4 ('And God saw how good the light was'). Day 2 is the only rubric to which this evaluation is not applied, and as if to compensate for which, it is applied twice in the case of Day 3! The same judgment is made at the conclusion of the week (v 31): '... and God saw everything that he had made, and how good it was.' Axiology (the theory of value) is crucial to the epistemological enterprise; that it is equally vital to the theological goes without saying. It pertains to what we have so far repeatedly affirmed of the Christological categories - namely their universality. It applies to both the transcendent and immanent categories; that is, to the ingression of both conceptual and perceptual forms of activity in human consciousness.  So whether we are dealing with mind, or soma, and whether we are dealing with the haptic memory, Eros, or with mind itself, the enigmatic tissue connecting logos and Thanatos, we are dealing with the sovereign, central, focal value in existence: goodness itself. The gospel will elaborate this notion, for it will consistently frame the phenomenon of perceptual consciousness in terms of appetition. Therefore, these narratives confirm our observations that perception subsists in relation to the animal-human apprehension of value. The miracle at Cana, which first enumerates one of the patterns of sentient consciousness, is resoundingly frank on this score. It ends with a logion about the good wine and the poor wine. This means of course that consciousness is shaped by the axiological conviction that sexual gratification is undeniably one of life's 'goods';  additionally it outlines a complex system of other axiological beliefs effected by sentience. For the enumeration of six jars of water transformed into wine is the application of an axiology to the six forms of sense percipience - the forms of memory and forms of imagination.

The relationship between epistemology and axiology is fundamental to Markan metaphysics. The creation story is the first text to state this relationship. If the theme of value resonates throughout the latter, then by default it is the legacy too of the series of messianic events. We mention it only in passing here in order to concentrate on the fundamental hermeneutical issues confronting us. It is vital that we do not neglect it, and the full exposition of this essential component of doctrine is incumbent upon us. The Christian doctrine of mind will have to explicate at every turn, the extent and significance of the theories of value inherent in the conceptual and perceptual components of mind revealed in these texts seminal to Christian metaphysics.

The second point is more obscure, and pertains to the eschatological, and the certain role that the male : female form of unity plays in the same. Hindu and Buddhist doctrines of samsara may have a great deal to teach us concerning eschatology. A prerequisite will be that we disabuse ourselves of prejudices, no easy task to accomplish. We need to be able to re-assess the proximity of the concept of re-birth, 'reincarnation', to the eschatological doctrine of 'resurrection from the dead'. Eschatology remains an evasive and prone area for theology, but one that we must nevertheless broach. Where Christian theology enters this picture, we can see the context for the immanent as decidedly the past rather than the future, and hence the occasion of one’s birth rather than one's death. The province of the immanent is the past. The same past which is the subject of both evolutionary theoretical 'science' and history. This has repercussions for an eschatological doctrine of the resurrection.

Here equally evasive and prone is evolutionary theory denying its inherent metaphysical leanings. We have mentioned one of these - the abstract concept of unity. As a presupposition this goes today still largely unfleshed and somewhat in need of substance. But there is another still more pressing demand for the metaphysics of evolutionary theory which again touches upon eschatology. The second problem of the theory of evolution is its dogged faithfulness to the concept of efficient causality. This is blind faithfulness, faithfulness to  a fault, faithfulness at the expense of the concept of final causality. Here the prevailing assumption is that the past is completely shorn from any rapport with the future. We have stressed in these studies time and again, that immanence is qualified by its compound nature, so that there is neither memory without imagination, female without male, nor past without  future somehow ingredient within it. The ingression of the future in the past vouchsafes the validity of the concept of final causality. To conceive the past as absolutely shorn of all relationality to the future is to confer upon it a status totally at variance with its immanent character.

Thus any hint of teleology or indeed of anything that smacks in the least of teleology, seems to inspire a kind of dread in most exponents of evolutionary theory. Symptomatic of this nervous strain that characterises any discussion of teleology in relation to the evolutionary process was  the coining of the term ‘teleonomy’. This was to have replaced the concept of teleology, although the distinction was never more than notional at best. There have been certain attempts on the part of  'scientific' understanding to address the indubitably metaphysical implications of evolutionary theory. These speak varyingly of the  'weak' or 'strong' 'anthropic principle'. Overall however, such efforts remain fraught.  Evolutionary theory remains as neurotically intransigent as ever about teleological argumentation. Indeed the posture of evolutionary science concerning the idea of telos is every bit as prone as was that of creation theology when it first encountered the hypothesis of evolution. If theology shirked some of its responsibilities due to it in virtue of its pre-occupation with historical method, a pre-occupation bordering on the obsessive, then it is also true that evolutionary theory for its part has played down if not denied its own metaphysical foundations. It is of course precisely the concept of teleology that identifies the categoreal feminine, the very category that is either lacking or improperly defined in the prevailing evolutionary theoretical weltanshauung.

Previously, in relation to the evolution of the percipient soma we touched upon the concept of value. We can be more precise concerning this now. Beauty is the purposive lure of evolution. The telos intrinsic to the evolutionary-historical process is the aim to beauty. The expression of the value beauty is what determines the evolutionary process. The end, telos, of the universe is the manifestation of the beautiful. Humankind, the categoreal feminine, is the supreme exemplification of beauty. So too she is, from the point of view of the author of the second creation narrative, the pinnacle of the created order. This gives added substance to the repeated affirmation  'And God saw that it was good.'

The very word aesthesis, meaning sense perception, should give some indication of the sense in which the emergence of sentience in the animal-human soma has guided the morphology of soma, the becoming of the body. The term 'aesthetic' has become synonymous with the beautiful. Thus, the evolutionary process as it gives rise to the pleroma of sentient life, is teleologically informed.  The teleology of the process of evolution-history is aesthetically driven. Beauty as the dominant value instantiated ultimately in the phenomenon of human reflexive consciousness is internally real to evolution. Its axiological directive is the beautiful. This requires sentience in the human. Whether animals can apprehend this value, is difficult to prove. Evidence exists in the case of certain species of birds that they respond to 'aesthetic' criteria in both modes, optic and acoustic, and also for insects regarding the latter at least. It is certain however that the apprehension of such a value is a prime factor in human motivation.

It is no more possible to apprehend evolutionary process than it is to observe another human being or one's own reflected image without some semblance of this value comprising the experience. Nor is it possible to recognise the comparative degrees to which other sentient forms fulfill the telos of beauty without acknowledging the superlative culmination of this drive in its expression in humankind. It is not valid to postulate parity between humans and sub-humans, animals, precisely because beauty is real and innate to the process of evolution. To posit beauty as the specific telos of the evolutionary process thus insists on the role of this value, beauty, at the very least, in anthropic self-reflexiveness. Beauty is that specific value operative in the mimetic, reflexive event of the world's, human, consciousness of itself. In this way, the human is inseparable from the awareness of the value beauty (aesthesis). That the animal-human erotic co-opts this value to a profound degree goes without saying. Nor has the classical exposition of the process of 'sexual selection' been able to ignore it, especially in the case of the evolution of humankind.  

Evolutionary-historical process gives rise to the immanent (animal) consciousness, that is, to the pleroma of sentient beings of which the human is the last and most beautiful. It is here once more that the evolutionary theoretical account, which all but abjures the concept of the categoreal feminine, exposes not only its insufficiency, but also its disingenuousness. Whatever an evolutionary 'scientist' may aver concerning the process viewed in the objective, that the human is a random outcome, and the idea of parity between the relative degrees to which sub-human and human forms express that pre-eminently immanent form of value, beauty, is inconceivable. The solution of evolutionary science - though never so of mathematics - has been consistently to repudiate the phenomenon of the beautiful root and branch.  This is at least consistent with the epistemological classification of evolutionary theory as science, a definition  routinely denounced here, for which reason the term is highlighted by means of inverted commas. Thus, science has arrogated to itself a mode of knowing which is diametrically opposed to it epistemologically.  It is not possible to describe evolutionary theory as ‘science’  for the same reason as it is specious to apply the same word to history. This goes directly to the heart of Christian epistemology: the doctrine of logos. Science and history are categorically distinguishable not only because of their opposing temporal orientations. One is ultimately predictive the other is exclusively concerned with the past. But their methodological natures are clearly disparate. Evolutionary theory, identically to history, is narratological. It disavows principles, laws, though not causality of a restricted kind, as noted. The premise foundation to all scientific method is nomological and deductive. To have lost sight of this radical difference is one of the more egregious epistemological transgressions of the age.

Yet another concern which evolutionary historians have shirked is the question of  the potential end of life on earth, which is all to real, and now nearer as a possibility than most of us would wish. This has implications for the theology of the symbolic masculine and the Son of man. The received doctrine of evolutionary theory involves cataclysms and catastrophes in which vast numbers of species are made extinct. Even so, life in one form or another has continued. But what faces humankind, indeed the entire realm of living things during the present epoch is the possibility that life in its entirety will be annihilated. More to the point, that this would arrive at the hands of humankind herself. Why would the evolutionary process labour over virtually infinite lengths of time to produce humankind only to have this same last product annihilate itself and every other living form on the planet? Thus far, a credible response  to the question evolutionary theory has proven itself impotent to proffer. We are then, as far as evolutionary theory is concerned, in a condition worse than simply being hostages to the  splendid whimsy of  unqualified randomness, we are the victims of our own ingenuity. On such an understanding the  apparent answer to the disciples question "Do you not care if we perish?" is tacitly affirmative. More alarming still, there is the possibility that the annihilation of ourselves and of all other forms of life might serve some purpose broadly definable as aesthetic or beautiful.

It is at this very point that we find again that evasive figure,  the Son of man. Of the eighty-two times which the gospels refer to the Son of man, twenty-seven of these concern the coming Son of man. So the eschatological Son of man sayings forms the largest of any group. In the discussion immediately above we raised the question of death in relation to genera, the idea of the total death of living entities which share a common, generic, identity, the death of species. This belongs intimately to the meaning of the symbolic masculine and the Son of man as does the concept of beauty. This discussion leads directly to the dichotomy of the collective versus the individual.

The Christian psychological interpretation of any  generically human will-to-death would stress the necessity to humanity of identity and the limits of generic, or collective, identity.  True identity the generic cannot and does not sustain. Death is precisely the single great occasion of what we mean by 'individuation', 'identification'. Pain and suffering themselves carry this same capacity to isolate us from our fellow creatures, but death carries it absolutely. Death signifies the absolutisation of identity for humankind, in just which respect it stands beside the predication of the same attribute or quality in God. Generic death, like generic identity is truly problematic. If we could answer the question concerning the future of the human race, and say that it will at some unknown point suffer collective extinction, self-annihilation as a totality, we might also be able to infer the existence of an individual 'Son of man'. A vital part of the meaning of the Son of man occurs in relation to the phenomenon of collective consciousness.

Collective consciousness is readily identifiable in certain animal species where phylogeny outweighs ontogeny. The dilemmas surrounding the relation of animal consciousness, the immanent polarity of mind, and the transcendent polarity of the same, recur to Christology, and hence to the stories of The Transfiguration and The Transformation Of Water Into Wine. In other words, it is finally the person and work of Christ alone which can resolve this  dichotomy; a dichotomy is variously phrased as one/many, ontogeny/phylogeny. In this context we need to say very much more on the subject of the two Christological miracles. This study is preparatory to an exposition of the Christological doctrines contained in these narratives. But even at first glance,  we see that both events (Cana indeed less so) signify the individual rather than than any one figure of a kind that is repeatable; for they depict the ontogenetic rather than the phylogenetic, to borrow terms from biological discourse.  Mark's cycle of events sites The Transfiguration as the last miracle. It functions as a ne plus ultra, the equivalent of the story of Lazarus in the gospel of John. The Raising Of Lazarus contains the only occurrence in the gospel of John of a personal name for any figure involved in a miracle. Its use is salient and the introduction makes very plain the close intimacy enjoyed by Lazarus and Jesus. The later narrative (John 11.45-12.11) tends to blur even the distinction between Jesus and Lazarus. While it is not the same as the resurrection of Jesus, Lazarus enjoys a kind of re-incarnation if anything, similar to that of the Elijah-John figure of The Transfiguration. The Raising Of Lazarus promotes 'their' identity, before the event so to speak. The merger (union) of their identity, raises the question of the possible denumerability of mind. Thus the concept of identity and that of the denumerability of mind intersect.

Number can be predicated of the generic; number is its warranty. Generic identity always has the capacity of being counted and counted precisely. It attracts towards itself the concept of number. Where mind - the Christological category - is concerned however, we are not even sure as to singular or plural; we are not even sure whether it is possible to posit the existence of one mind or many minds, or indeed whether even to frame the matter in such mutually exclusive terms is valid. One alternative here is the adoption of the concept of the infinite - which transcends the denumerable, and so transcendes the question of singular/plural. We referred previously to the problematic issue of the denumerability of mind, now we find ourselves confronted with the dichotomy one/ many. This is one of the great aporias of philosophy, and one which connects with the Son of man and  our relation to that figure. It takes us to the core of the theology of incarnation.

On the one hand is the tendency to think of minds as given denumerable entities, attached to bodies. For the bodies are denumerable. Thus we arrive at the notion that souls, minds, are many, just as bodies are. The corporeal, so-called 'great chain of being', never gives rise to such an inference in the first place. But this does not seem to check the tendency to conceptualise mind inevitably in relation to the existence of self-contained embodied persons. In other words, corporeality itself is contingent upon unity, that great index of the immanent. On the other hand is the monistic conception. Certain Hindu traditions conceive the soul, atman as singular in number. But neither view seems acceptable. The reason for this is that the antithesis posited by the two categories other than the Christological category, subtend the relation to one another of singular and plural. That is to say: space is uniform, and singular and as such non-denumerable. There is not more than one space. Persons however are by definition many; they can be totalized. These categories of space and the anthropic we have consistently presented in terms of the juxtaposition between the relata of the Christological formulae: 'beginning and end', 'first and last', 'alpha and omega'. The primordial and eschatological categories are representative of the antithesis  one and the many, an idea which remains to been developed in relation to the epistemology inherent in the theology of transcendence, that is, the theology of conceptual forms.

It is not appropriate to engage these topics fully here. We have outlined certain philosophical and psychological issues pertaining to the figure of the Son of man, in keeping with the image of the theology of creation implicit in the messianic series. This occasioned some consideration of the similarities and differences between sub-human and human consciousness, and hence an evolutionary psychology of some kind, as well as a consideration of the eschatological repercussions of Mark's doctrine. We have already alluded to some of the latter in the previous discussion of The Transfiguration. But one thing is clear: that this issue revolves around dismantling the confusion stemming from the tendency to compound personal, or 'individuated', and generic identities - ontogeny and phylogeny - a dilemma which begins with the story of humankind in the garden of Eden. For we are inclined to read the story of the first man and first woman not as if they 'are' individuals, nor as if they were personae representative of the collective, total, human race, but as both.  This is a categorical error, and the cue for the next stage of our discussion -  the criticism of the Christology of Paul.

 

Christologies of Recapitulation in Paul


Some comment is in order regarding a substantial difference between the gospels and several of the Pauline letters in their appropriation of the theology of creation. We adopted the view that some sort of appropriation of the second story of creation (J)  fleshes out details concerning the Sabbath. But the real import of the seventh event defers to the Eucharist. As a member of the immanent section of the Days, the seventh day is not accounted for until the Eucharist itself transpires. Or, what is the same thing, there are only three entities - forms of unity - which are eligible for description according to the basic postulate of the narrative, 'beginning', creation, transcendence. Thus transcendence theologically (formally) rests upon the identification of the triad. This renders recourse to the second narrative of creation including the story of the garden of Eden and the disobedience of Adam and Eve relatively more or less unnecessary. Even so, in order to press the case for the isomorphism between the 'end' series (messianic events) and the 'beginning' series (Days of creation) it is valid to include the Sabbath in the creation series, and so we took into account the second creation narrative.

That procedure involved recognition of the primacy of the first narrative. Indeed it is placed first in the canon with a view to its pre-eminent status. Any reading of the J creation according to the hermeneutic put here, if it is not taken in tandem with the previous creation story, to which it necessarily defers, and thence, if it is not interpreted correlatively to the propositional content of the P narrative and so too, with the extensive relation this bears to the messianic series which culminate in the Eucharist, cannot stand. That is to say, the doctrinal content of the second creation story does not exist in itself. Interpretation of it as such, as if it obtained in a self-enclosed vacuum of meaning is invalid. Its immediate point of reference, as a theology of immanence, remains the Eucharist. The discussion of the gospel of Luke in particular will support this claim, as will the Christological doctrines which result from the hermeneutic we are in the process of developing. But clearly the P creation story, is central to, if not the actual core of the keygmatic content of the gospel rather than Pauline anthropology. This entails that that no legitimate understanding of that later narrative of 'beginning' can ignore the rapport between Genesis and the gospel, which the Days series and messianic series establish. It is a rapport encapsulating the relation of the first to the last canon. Christologies of recapitulation according to such a judgement are invalid, both in terms of their Christological and anthropological claims.

The gospels generally - though ostensibly John less so, for varying reasons, less so - subscribe to this procedure: the logical citation of the P narrative. It remains inseparable from the cycle of messianic events which culminate in the Eucharist, in John, we may say, in the Raising of Lazarus. Thus any gospel which includes the messianic series, is de facto citing the series of Days, the P creation narrative. But the failure to observe the analogous relation of the two cycles has resulted in the mistaken view that the New Testament contains no theology of creation. Not only does it possess such a theology. The logical relation between the three transcendent miracles and the first three Days, and the close link of the former to the resurrection narratives, all serve to connect the concept of creation with the event of resurrection, having already secured the indissoluble bond between beginning and end. For this reason we emphasised the temporal orientation of the creation story as predominantly that of present-to-future. The logical relation between the four immanent messianic events, the last of which is the Eucharist, and the second half of the P creation story function likewise in terms of securing to relevance of salvation to creation. These are two aspects of one and the same process, which guarantees the reciprocity of theologies of creation and salvation. Either of these taken in isolation is is no more than a truncation.
 
We have stressed the temper of the transcendent miracles as one of angst. They transpire against a background not just of dread alone, but of awareness of the total and irrevocable nature of death. None more so, than The Transfiguration, (or in the case of John, The Raising Of Lazarus.) Death does not loom large in such theology of P as it does in the second creation story. There is no mention of the mythical 'fall' so-called. Yet the containment of every single rubric within the span of a 'Day' - ' And it was evening and it was morning, the nth Day' - will suggest if anything the same reality. If the motif of light in the P creation narrative serves to identify the Christological category, mind, then it also stresses the intrinsic relation of the same and time. Hence it links the Son and death. The role of time in the creation narrative, and the role of time in The Transfiguration, which we have yet to elucidate, work towards the same end. They remind us of the death-resurrection of Jesus. In both Christological miracles there are references to death. The Transformation Of Water Into Wine refers to the same in the negative - "My hour has not yet come." (John 2.4b). But its relationship of complementarity to The Transfiguration assures their common semantic interest in death. Certainly the theme of death is sustained in The Transfiguration as the culminating transcendent messianic miracle.

One seminal purpose of the present hermeneutic is to elucidate the relationship between the Christological miracles. This requires first the qualification if not the outright repudiation of the kind of theology of death purveyed in the Christologies of recapitulation (a0nakefalaiwsiv) beginning with Paul. Irenaeus and later Augustine appropriate the germs of the latter and expand them into fully blown doctrines of 'The Fall' and 'Original Sin' as they are known. This has coloured Christian anthropological doctrines and it stands in the way of a balanced understanding of the Markan theology of death.

Paul's own situation within the development of Christian doctrine has given his writings enormous influence, in several cases much beyond that which they might have otherwise merited as theology rather than writing of a distinctly pastoral cast. Unlike the gospels, Paul shows little interest in the Priestly story of 'beginning' relatively to the attention he gives to the second creation narrative. In which very respect he stands apart from the gospels. We are quite hard pressed to find any explicit reference to the P narrative in Paul. There is a reference of sorts to the creation of the human couple (Genesis 1.27) at the beginning of Romans:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. ... For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (Romans 1.24, 26, 27)
This allusion rests almost entirely on the reference in verse 23 to 'images' (ei)ko/noj) which picks up the Septuagint Greek expression of Genesis 1.27:
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or reptiles. (Romans 1.22, 23)
And there are allusions to Christ the bearer of the new creation in 2 Corinthians and Romans:
For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4.6)

For those whom he knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (ei)ko/noj tou= ui(ou= au)tou=), in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. (Romans 8.29)
It is instead the second creation narrative, that of J, which is more or less crucial to Paul's Christology. He accepts the Genesis 3.1s story as a literal account of the prehistory of humankind. Such acceptance will not withstand the scrutiny of contemporary criticism. It would be difficult to estimate the full extent to which this dominates Pauline anthropology. It is most apparent in the letter to the Romans.  Romans 1.18-25 first exposes his confident belief in the second creation story and in Genesis 6.1-4. Romans 3.23 also evinces his reliance on the Genesis 3 myth. The Christologies of recapitulation in Romans 5.12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15.21, 22 (also vv 45-50), demonstrate plainly that Paul accepted literally the mythical aetiology of death in the second creation story, Genesis 3.1s. The Hebrew scriptures themselves are much more guarded in adopting such a hermeneutical strategy, although we find references to the Genesis myth in Ezekiel 28.12s, Ecclesiasticus 25.24 and Wisdom 2.23, 24.  Romans 7.7-11 alludes to the same complex mythology, as does 8.19-22.

Just how indispensable this premise concerning 'Adam' is to Pauline Christology is not clear. We do need to note that often the real purpose controlling such references as we find in Paul to sexual love, if not those to death, pastoral rather than systematically theological.   In order to save Paul, one would do well to argue that the real model for the human here is not Adam, but Christ; and that to understand this is to refuse to invert the significance of his Christology. In other words, that the extrapolation takes place from the Christ to 'Adam'. However, this tactic would contend that the Christologies of recapitulation do not actually concern the theology of death whereas clearly they do. In part, the problem arises from the tendency to interpret the 'beginning' as synonymous with the past. Countless generations of Christians have done so; I have inveighed against that interpretation here. As a transcendent form, space, the abiding logical topic of the creation story,  is synonymous with the not-yet, the future.

The interpretation of Pauline theology is vulnerable on just those very counts that the gospels impute to Christ by right, Eros and Thanatos. It would be remiss not to claim that these are major weaknesses in Pauline Christology. Whether or not they vitiate his doctrine of the person and work of Christ does not concern us. The comments entered here are in the interests of approaching the disclosures of the gospel on their own terms, in short those of systematic theology. Vulnerabilities of yet another kind again are native to the systematic hermeneutic of death, and for this reason, I make no effort to construct Pauline theology and that of the gospel as options excluding each other. Nor have I ruled out of court the theological significance of the Genesis narratives seminal to Paul’s anthropological thought. Rather I have incorporated them into the Eucharistic theology of the New Testament, all the while stressing the prospective and thus provisional nature of the earlier narrative. However, if Paul as it seems, does in fact adopt these stories as reporting actual historical verities, this fatally flaws his theology of death and necessarily seriously undermines his Christology. One of the most vital steps towards the formulation of a viable and contemporary Christology involves repudiating the story in Genesis 3.1s as an aetiology/theology of death. Mark frames the last of the messianic miracles, The Transfiguration and so his transcendental Christology, precisely in this context of the theology of death.

The psychological meaning of the miracles in the light of Eros and Thanatos highlights  the delimiting occasions of our human existence. As first and last episodes, they define the centres of gravity of consciousness, and construe the life course in keeping with the meaning of the crossing 'to the other side'. These episodes contain the resolution of the problematic relation between ontogeny and phylogeny. The fact that the former is capable of repetition, while the latter is unique expresses their essential disparity. We can see immediately that Eros, first explicated under the miracle story of the Wedding at Cana, accords with the Eucharist and with the whole tendenz of the forms of memory, to repetition, recurrence, plurality or manifold unity.  Here then is true recapitulation - the unity of the many. Every one of the forms of memory engenders psychological processes which demand repetition. In this, they conform to that aspect of the dichotomy one/many which denotes immanence - the many as one. Such an expression itself demonstrates if nothing else, the duplicity of words, and the necessity in philosophical discourse to circumscribe the same. We have previously spoken of unity in relation to immanence, and now repeat that this unity is essentially a compound; it is constituted by a plurality. The terms from biological discourse, ontogeny/phylogeny, are altogether more felicitous as expressing the fundamental disparity between the individual person and the human family - a distinction blurred by successive readings of the second creation story as noted. Thus the messianic series as beginning with the event at Cana, highlights the notion of the (one, or unified) human family - the phylogenetic. All of the immanent episodes conform to this anthropological stance - the viewpoint which sees humans as members of a group, family, class or in short a phylum.

 

Aporias of Mind


1. Ontogeny and Phylogeny

We must enter a rider at the start here. Having already used the term 'unity' in relation to the immanence of God and as the complement of identity, we must be careful to distinguish between its several meanings. Indeed, in Aristotle there appear to be as many as four different meanings of 'unity'. It is important not to confuse the discussion of the denumerability of mind phrased in terms of the dichotomy one/many. For that reason we have adopted the terms from biological discourse, ontogeny-phylogeny, to denote the differentiation of the individual and the collective. This involves the persistent controversy of the social sciences
, the question whether individuals or societies are prior. It is important not to confuse the use of the word unity in the context of the categoreal paradigm transcendence : immanence, with the concept of the individual, the singular, the unique person. We extrapolated from the categoreal paradigm to the polarity identity: unity. If anything, it is preferable to conceive ontogeny, the being of the individual person, correspondingly with the transcendent term of that equation, namely identity. We have tried to indicate how problematic is the concept of generic identity. In the same formulation of the categoreal paradigm, identity : unity, unity is not the same as singularity or uniqueness, and in fact it consists as manifold unity. It depends upon the existence of plurality. The family, the economic, indeed the phylum, these pertain to immanence rather than transcendence. Phylum, though it is usually translated 'family' is used here in the sense of the 'social'; to refer to groupings of persons. of a magnitude envisioned in the Transcendental feeding miracle story, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand. It sits at the centre of the chiasmos, at farthest remove from the Christological occasions. These episodes, which we refer to repeatedly in terms of Eros-Thanatos, denote just the mental and affective processes which are determinative of human existence as individuated, or 'ontogenetic'.

The significance of the two narratives that begin and end the messianic series for contemporary Christology can hardly be overestimated. This is not merely because the Trinitarian rationale of the messianic series as a whole has not been acknowledged and consequently the first and last signs of the series have not been acknowledged as Christological, although certainly that is bad enough. The value of both stories for the future of an evolving Christology rests also upon the fact that their metaphysical foundations are their own, namely biblical. One of the current criticisms still leveled at the Chalcedonian Christological formulation of 'two natures in one person', is just that it lacks scriptural warrant. One other very apparent advantage offered by the Christology contained within the messianic series is the fact that it is developed in relation to the doctrine of Trinity. In order to utilize the Christological possibilities inherent in the messianic miracles, it is necessary first to discern their metaphysical tenets. This requires the synthesis outlined here; some sort of anthropological doctrine with specific regard to the nature of the categories expressed by the words soma and logos; the psychophysical entity and mind as thing in itself. This study is thus preparatory to an exposition of the Christology of the messianic miracles.


There can be little doubt, that from the existential point of view we experience both orders of being, the phylogenetic and the ontogenetic. We experience ourselves as members of the phylum, or possibly of several phyla, otherwise every form of intercourse would be denied us, and communication of any kind would be proscribed. So languages is a key factor enabling the experience of phylogenetic being. The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, which denotes acoustic memory, states this very plainly. No event of the series mentions a more multitudinous gathering. Even so, we know and experience ourselves ontogenetically. We know and experience a self inaccessible to every other self. This ego, the uniquely private 'I', indeed is part of the meaning of alterity, or otherness. It is not infrequently the source of human alienation. But every healthy individual requires experience not just of its kind, but of itself as placed apart from it, and even beyond it. The Transfiguration clearly points to the conceptual polarity consciousness and Thanatos as a prime, but not the single source of the ontogenetic self. The structure of the conceptual pole of mind as well as its nature are first given in the creation narrative. Conceptual consciousness remains intimately germane to the theology of death, or Thanatos, as the principle of individuation.
It is certain that The Transfiguration takes us back to the story of Days. And that its introduction  reproduces the entire pattern of the creation and hence refers us to the conceptual forms, correlating them with the six perceptual forms of consciousness. Thus The Transfiguration presents the apotheosis of Jesus, and pictures him like a God, indeed the very God of Day, so that the logos, mind, becomes the single category which encompasses the mystery of death and with it, the mystery of individual identity, ontogeny. The Sabbath as 'rest' will be a theme taken up and greatly expanded in The Letter To The Hebrews, which also develops the Eucharist, through its depiction of Jesus as the 'high priest of the order of Melchizedek'. Thus it amplifies the Sabbath : Eucharist analogy. This it does in accordance with the meanings of 'transformation' and 'transfiguration', as they are developed in the gospels. The doctrine of intentionality is the next step in elaborating these strands of Markan metaphysics, as we shall see in the ensuing study which focuses on the transcendent Christological category, mind. The point here however, is that existence is sifted through both filters; the phylogenetic and the ontogenetic. For all that however, they are dichotomous and incommensurable. The product of the one cannot be transposed into the other. They remain juxtaposed to one another, in a relationship describable as processive.

The reason for treating the locus in chiastic sequence of the Christological and Transcendental miracles as relevant to the understanding of the fullness of this contrast, reiterates what was said previously concerning the Christological categories as paradoxically weighted in favour of transcendence - in the case of mind or logos - and immanence - in the case of haptic memory (Eros). Were we to take the categories which similarly identify the Transcendent (the 'Father'), the resulting contrast would not be analogous. Space, to be sure, is a pure conceptual form; it is a true idea which evinces the full weight of transcendence. But in like manner, so does the immanent category which instantiates the Transcendent - acoustic memory. This too is inclined in favour of transcendence. That is, the (pure) perceptual form does not set up a maximum contrast with the corresponding conceptual form. In the case of the Holy Spirit, the same disparity of contrast occurs, for the same reason. The conceptual form of the symbolic masculine does not exemplify transcendence to the same degree that the forms space and mind do. Optic memory (like haptic memory), is fully immanent, wholly polarised, but the conceptual form, the symbolic masculine, is not wholly transcendent.  And therefore, when taken in tandem with  optic memory, the immanently polarised structure of consciousness which identifies the Holy Spirit, the resulting differentiation is not equal to that which logos and Eros maintain. It is the peculiarly central, sovereign and co-ordinating role of the Christological occasions which entail that they evince both transcendence and immanence to the fullest extent. To recognise this in relation to the meaning of the chiasmos is an essential part of what Mark seeks to convey to us.

In the event of referring to the nexus between the texts - the fact that the figure 'six (jars)' of the miracle at Cana story  refers to the six messianic miracles themselves, whereas the same term 'six (days)' refers to the Days of the creation series - there is a clear effort on the part of Markan theology to resolve the contradiction implied by the concurrence of the two series. The entities - now perceptual mind, now conceptual mind - they describe, do not exist in isolation from each other, in spite of any radical differentiation. The explication of their consistence will be a major task for the theology of semiotic forms. Thus the real purpose of the structure of the two series and the logical import of these key terms,  effectively this one key term - 'six', which identifies the Son, the real task for Christian epistemology and so for Christology, is to comprehend the relation between the two polarities. We have here simultaneously stumbled on the resolution of the dilemma of phylogeny versus ontogeny. This, the dilemma of how to view persons and societies at the same time, is none other than the distinction of mind in the terms provided and the understanding of the relation of the same.


2. Many Minds or One Mind

We have chosen to refer to this dichotomy by means of this formulation of a classical distinction between singularity and plurality, in spite of the fact that it was impossible not to use the term 'one' in the previous discussion of ontogeny versus phylogeny. Here then is a second dilemma which Christology must face. We spoke above of the provenance of mind as the given of the reproductive act, which places each one of us within the human family, and each one of us as sharing the same perceptual polarity of consciousness. This assures the nature of society as phylogenetic by definition. Without it, communication and knowing would seem to be impossible. Whether we should count this phylogenetic, perceptual consciousness, as being one or many is a real difficulty. It is common to hear in the celebration of the Eucharist the phrase 'We being many are one body, for we all share in the one bread.' or some such. This is a bare admission of the dilemma which goes nowhere towards rendering it more comprehensible, though it does express something of the relation between incarnation and Eucharist. It also recognises the barest, or least minimal, human form of congress, the sexual union of male andfemale, as taxonomically belonging to the same class of entities. Thus the forms of sense-percipient memory are each in varying degrees, classifiable as phylogenetic, even though this Christological category, which we have referred to throughout these essays as Eros, is the least so. Haptic memory as an exemplification of immanence, is equivalent to the most immanent of the modes perceptual memory, the optic. Yet, the pure conceptual category mind, logos, is with the pure conceptual form space, the most transcendent of this class of radicals of consciousness. The Christological categories thus bear the burden of resolving the apparent contradiction between transcendence and immanence. This dichotomy, the categoreal one which we can encapsulate as the dialectic, or logos, of identity and unity, is not the same thing as the relation between ontogeny and phylogeny.


The tendency to think of minds as given denumerable entities attached to bodies leads directly to the notion that there must be many minds. There are even mythologies which ascribe more than one soul (mind) to each individual. This occurs even though the concept of corporeity itself, the so-called 'great chain of being' which links embodied existences in a catena, never gives rise to such an inference. That is, even though the perceptual polarity of consciousness - soma - is directly associated with the meaning of the body, and  bodies exist rather than just one body, the fact that the same bodies remain generated through historical time, and that somatic unity of a putative kind at least, can  therefore be envisaged; even this has not checked the tendency to assume the existence of many bodies. The ensuing assumption entails the existence of many minds at least far as the perceptual polarity is concerned. Yet we have already urged the generic nature of perceptual consciousness. The fact that it gives no purchase whatsoever to individuation prohibits such an assumption. The perceptual polarity of mind cannot occasion individuation, and this belongs just as much to the notion of the many. If there are many things absolutely identical to one another in all respects, in all properties we cannot speak of there being many at all. This is one kind, and the said things are one of that kind. The soma offers no refuge for the notion of a plurality of minds. If anything it sits better with the postulate of the singular mind, soul, atman, affirmed in certain Hindu traditions.

The consideration of human experience from the point of view of ontogeny makes matters worse, for it redoubles the confusion over the denumerability of mind. It sustains a contrast with phylogeny according to the manifest difference of identity and unity. Identity certainly conjures the idea of differentiation. Indeed this is how we speak of the plurality within God: as of there being three identities. Whether or not this is the same thing as a plurality of minds is far from clear. For one thing, mind is associated in particular with just one of these identities, persons, the Son. Consequently, we cannot press the ontogeny/phylogeny dichotomy into the service of the philosophical question regarding the denumerability of mind.

Here we must warn against any blurring of the conceptual forms. That is, we must avoid confusing the category of the psychophysical with that of gender, the categoreal anthropic. There is every reason why we should not make the error of eliding the concepts -  the body and gender. Both exemplify immanence to the same degree, but they remain distinguishable as categories. The same is true of space and mind: both exemplify transcendence equally, but this is no reason to confuse space with mind. The real purpose of the comparison of the psychophysical and gender, is to understand perceptual consciousness. Gender is paradigmatic for the relation between forms of memory and forms of imagination. It accounts for the radically binary structures of perceptual consciousness. So too with any comparison between space and logos, or mind in itself. Space is the paradigm for mind in that its three divergent dimensions illustrate the propensity to identity of the conceptual forms, and manifests the same propensity to identity in truly human consciousness.

We said above, in passing, that the contrast subtended by the non-Christological categories, namely space and the form of unity male : female, corresponds to the antithesis posited by singular and plural respectively. Space, the primordial, is singular and homogenous. There is only one space, and we speak of it as being uniform. The eschatological category, masculine : feminine is completely other as the occasion of plurality. There are many females and males. This was the reason for averring that generic identity attracts to itself the concept of number.  If the transcendent status of the Christological category mind is equivalent to that of space, and the immanent status of the soma, mind : body, is equal to the immanence posed by the eschatological male : female,  then we cannot urge either singularity or plurality of mind(s). Or rather in urging both, as complying according to the categoreal analogies, we are left with an insoluble contradiction. Humankind - a term in the context of biblical metaphysics which we now know connects the anthropic to the sub-human forms of life in virtue of perceptual consciousness - and space establish a juxtaposition which it is the task of the mind : body to  co-ordinate. Space as primordial and male : female as eschatological are the logical correlates of the distinction between the one and the many. But the distinction between singular and plural  can not apply to the differentiation between logos, conceptual mind, and soma. Neither singularity nor plurality fits either.

We should resist any attempt therefore to conceive mind in terms of a totality - a plurality consisting of members of one kind. There are no minds as pertaining to the many humans which there obviously are, for these humans are gendered, they exist as a kind, and their identity as generic is that of a totality, a collective, a phylum. These many humans are not the same thing as many minds. Nor on the other hand is the exclusive solution offered by the concept of a singular mind, logos, acceptable. If the former solution confused the boundary between the anthropic and the psychophysical, the latter portrays mind, logos, in the image and likeness of space. We put that space is comparable to mind, such that its own tri-dimensionality it owes to mind, the reason for claiming the paradigmatic use of tri-dimensionality in order to model or illustrate mind iconographically. This is the obverse of saying that mind, logos, is like space.

We may then say provisionally that mind is neither singular which space is, nor a totality of generically identical entities, engendered humans. Thus in spite of the fact that mind like space is wholly transcendent, it is not singular, as not being begun; and in spite of the fact that soma is comparable to the form of unity male : female as consistently  immanent, neither is it plural. Suppressed or not, one or the other of these are the premises that usually accompany the way in which we think about mind. Both are repudiated by Markan doctrine. In the end then, we are left with the non-denumerabile nature of mind. For just so the dichotomy singular/plural  cannot be predicated of the soma or of the logos. It is categoreally inapt for both the psychophysical unity and for mind in itself. Where it serves, is the categoreal distinction between the archaeological and eschatological - to wit, the spatial and the anthropic. As there is but one space, there are many humans - males and females. But we cannot logically posit either singularity or plurality exclusively to mind(s).

The concept of an infinite or a transfinite, is precisely non-arithmetical, and the only way to resolve the question of the denumerability of mind. That is to say, the appropriateness of the concept of the transfinite to the category of mind emphasises the non-denumerability of the latter, the fact that it is non-quantifiable. The very word logos expresses something of this kind. Mind is such that in adding to it, it is not more than it would have been otherwise, and subtracting from it, it is not less. We should also caution against geometrical, that is spatial, and arithmetical metaphors for the transfinite. Neither space nor number can convey the concept as concept, mind qua mind. The only concept which answers the question of the denumerability of mind is that of the transfinite or infinite understood in terms of the two perspectives (vectors) of perceptual consciousness - memory and imagination. At this point, we can conclude that the form of serial order which meets the exposition of mind - logos - in Genesis and the gospel, is that of an infinite series, without beginning and without end.

Given the association between time and mind in The Transfiguration, and the connection between this and the various Christological titles - 'first and last', 'beginning and end', 'alpha and omega' - it would seem that the idea of seriality offers the best means of conceiving the non-quantifiable nature of mind. The creation narrative is the primary exposition of the doctrine of logos or mind, and its use of the concept of serial time initiates the frame of reference necessary for understanding the Christological titles. The sense in which this narrative itself embodies or at least epitomises 'beginning' - if not 'end' - cannot be ignored. So too with the assimilation of this series by the gospels, in the form of the stories of the seven messianic events. Those texts function accordingly as representations of 'end'. But our grasp of the affinity of transcendence between mind and space should be tempered by the observation that mind unlike space, does not begin. (Equally, we should say, that unlike the eschatological category, nor does it end.) And if the creation narrative identifies one entity with the 'beginning', it is precisely space - 'the heavens'. Here the relation of  either category to God, in short one of provenance,  is the criterion needed to distinguish both forms of the Christological categories from those entities with which they enjoy affinity in terms of transcendent and immanent status. Space is begun or created by God, whereas mind is God. This is one major motive behind John's great prologue, the distinction between the thing created - space - and the person who is dissimilar from all things created or begun:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1.1-5)
Conversely, the eschatological category, male : female which stands as the paradigm for the constitution of perceptual consciousness (soma), is synonymous with 'end'. There is an intimation of the force of this synonymity, this correlation of the anthropic to the 'end' which also serves to distinguish from it the psychophysical, in Mark's account of the exchange between the Sadducees and Jesus on the resurrection:
Jesus said to them, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." (Mark 12.24-26)
This explodes the whole premise of Jesus' interlocutors concerning the resurrection and the permanence of the male : female form of unity.

The reason for dismantling  these presuppositions concerning mind  is to pave the way for its exposition as elaborated in  the gospel. That the doctrine of mind is the paramount pedagogical objective of the gospel is certain. It cannot be approached with any of the presuppositions, wittingly or unwittingly, we have just indicated. The habit of conceiving mind, and also bodies, either in terms of the singular or in terms of the multiple, the one or the many, is proscribed by the peculiar nature of the Christological categories as they remain the focus of the gospels. The logos, or what is the same thing, transcendent mind, is not one, nor is it many. It is non-denumerable, and  as such the concept of the transfinite is due to it. We can clearly affirm the essential difference of mind qua God from both space : time and from male : female, since the latter as creaturely, entities mark beginning and end respectively and bear the 'image and likeness' of God, but remain distinguishable as creaturely. Mind has no beginning; nor does it end. It is God. This is the reason for emphasising its non-denumerability and for distinguishing it, and affirming it as the focus of both those entities which consist in proportion of analogy to it.

It is also the reason why the doctrine of incarnation satisfies an aspect of the essential relatedness between mind and soma. If all three forms of unity are analogously related, there must be some sense in which even though it is not begun, and even though it does not end, the same Christological event participates in what the primordial and eschatological categories share. I do not mean finitude, but the sense in which both of these things are generated. There is some difficulty in averring that the anthropic male : female form of unity, is 'created' in the precise sense of 'begun', given the logic of the creation narrative. Although it never explicitly announces this, the inference is that the synonymity between this category and 'end' is as real as that between space and beginning. This would seem to preclude the legitimacy of speaking of male : female in precisely the same way as speaking of space : time, namely, in the context of 'beginning'. The suggestion that the anthropic form of unity is somehow already present within the state antecedent to 'beginning' if it is not actually identical to the same is one that offers itself to consideration. Perhaps this is why the introduction includes a reference to the 'Spirit [wind] of God... moving on the face of the waters...' These ideas await an more scrupulous exegesis of the creation narrative and the wider discussion of the various forms of serial order which reformulate the Christological titles. What is clear, is that to speak of the anthropic as created in the sense of 'having been begun'  proscribes the logical and theological difference between space : time and the same. We can use the term 'generation', or 'production', to cover the concept of their dependence on God and hence
to ensure the differentiation from God of the primordial and eschatological categories.

Wherever we look in the series of Days and the series of messianic events, the pattern is the same. The archaeological and eschatological episodes are both similar and dissimilar. They are dissimilar for espousing transcendence and immanence respectively, but the content of the narratives brings this essential opposition into significant difference. Thus in the beginning series, Day2 and Day 3 share the motif of water, and the complementary Day 5 and Day 6 comprise the creation of creatures which reproduce sexually. In the gospels, the two sea miracles, and correspondingly the two miracles of loaves posit the same fundamental logical pattern; that of primordial and consequent, or beginning and end, this time, within what is identifiable generically as end. For this reason, pursuant to the affinity between transcendent, three-dimensional, space and the conceptual polarity of mind, we put the primordial and eschatological forms in relationship of two axes establishing a plane, rotating about the third, the Christological polarity of polarities, represented by the 'nest of ambiguities', the 'juncture', 'adjunction', or more clearly by the sign ':'. So too, it has been necessary to discuss the conceptual categories from a point of view that is decidedly arithmetical. It has been necessary to articulate the precisely appropriate and inappropriate ways of grasping the entities before us, to clear the path ahead
, namely the theology of semiotic forms. These greatly assist in setting out the relationships subtended by the various entities enumerated in the various stories of miraculous feedings as in the form of the narratives. They do not rely on number as we might have expected. That both geometry and mathematical modes of understanding are immediately germane to the epistemological enterprise will occupy us when we consider the epistemic forms - modes of understanding inter alia - proper to the conceptual forms. In other words, the conceptual forms, and the perceptual forms, generate specific instances of cognitive and appetitive intentionalities, the discussion of which lies ahead. That the concept of space proposes geometry, or something very much akin to it, as the means of apprehending it, goes without saying. I have alluded to the analogous kinship between number and the anthropic. But our concern is not with geometry or mathematics as such.

The 'eternal generation' of the Son of which the Christian creed speaks, thus marks the comparability of the Son as mind (logos) to these two other entities, as does the doctrine of  incarnation. The former denotes the relation of the Son to the One Transcendent God, whereas the latter  satisfies the profound connection between that mind which God the Son is, and all bodies, the physical, the somatic, the corporeal - in short, all of those things which the corporeal itself apprehends and apprehends as itself by means of occasions of sense-percipience.

 

Last  published 1st January 2107.


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