Sunday, April 27

When God Meets Hades


I'm very interested in the concept of the Coincidence of Opposites - it is the the peculiar act when two things which are diametrically opposed in their essence enter into a singularity. I love discovering it in modern mythology - Gandalf surrenders his fate to the demonic balrog; Obi Wan Kenobi to Darth Vador; Neo to Agent Smith. In Christianity the prime incident of this is Jesus laying down his life on The Skull - the Creator of Life is consumed by Death.

Suffice it say, at that point the Opposites change each other fundamentally.

There is second, at least, Coincidence of Opposites in Christianity that I hadn't realized until today - in Revelation 20 where God meets with Death and Hades. The details are sparse: the dead souls are vomited back into consciousness and "Death and Hades is placed in the fiery presence of God, in the "lake of divine fire", it is destroyed, because it is in the very presence of God, death can not exist when God is present." (This blog inspired by this article, btw.)
This leads me to an obvious question: At the Coincidence of Opposites, the True One undergoes a sacrifice and in their resurrection they undergo a great transformation: Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White; Obi Wan becomes "more powerful than you can possibly imagine," Neo gains mental powers, and Jesus appends the Divine Female and can walk through walls. So when God adjoins with Death and Hades, what is the sacrifice? Will God, the entire Godhead, die? As heretical as it sounds, it seems the only possibility. And what is the transformation? The thought awes and titillates me.

I don't know how (or even "if," really) God's own self would transform, but I think it must have something to do with the transformation of all Creation occurring around the same point: fire and mountains falling from the sky, the earth rumbling, the seas exploding, the earth burning - sounds fitting for the Death of God. I wonder if God will bring us into that death as well. I don't know from which side we'll enter, though. Will we, as dead people, enter with Death and Hades consuming God or next to God and consumed by Death. Or some of both; the dead or sinners with Death and the still living or saints with God. I am befuddled that in myth, the True/Good/Hero/Light/Righteous One does not consume their Opposite but allows their violent Opposite to consume them. It's unanimous. But here, Death and Hades are the passive party.

The transformation, apart from whatever happens to God, I can only guess means for the rest of us the final and full sanctification. I've always wondered at the teaching that we humans die and then become perfect so simply and so easily. Of course Scripture, our Experience, and Revelation are all silent so there's little to know, but I don't assume the silence means there's nothing to bother talking about. I'm confident it must be agonizingly difficult, painful, messy, and just complicated because that's how Christianity is; that's how the Cross is. And beautiful. There is this assumption that at the Apocalypse God will throw off pretenses of peace and powerlessness and slaughter everyone God doesn't like without restraint like a schizophrenic. This was not God's method before, during, or after the Incarnation and I find it inexplicably out of character. God has always used Power Under in place of Power Over and I see no reason God would change except for the lack of imagination of some bloodthirsty Christians.

The birth of the New Earth and New Heaven come, too. I never thought of if this before either, but if Heaven must be resurrected, and Heaven is synonymous with God, then this implies God has died and resurrected as well.

On the other hand, I write all in this in the utmost humility knowing that I don't understand a lick of Revelation. Nevertheless, I fully expect if anyone reads this to be burned at some stake.

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