I was teaching on the very touchy subject of Christian Universal Salvation the other day when one of my students confronted me with what he called the ‘faulty nature’ of the penal system against Christ. He asked, “why should I believe in an angry God who is shocked with the actions of humankind and kills his own son because he needs ‘justice’!?”
Backdrop to apostate thinking: N.T. Wright
I knew that one of my student’s *new influences* was N.T. Wright. N.T. Wright calls the Sacrifice of Christ not necessary for our salvation. N.T. Wright says that the Christ-Scapegoat formula is a faulty and pagan idea and that God does not need to go through all of that drama to save us.
N.T. Wright fails to see predeterminism, pre-ordained & portentous foreshadowing from non-Jewish and Jewish backdrop. He fails to see universal themes and the fulfillment point of all of these theme’s sketches in both the pagan and religious world. He fails to see how all of the enactments of the pagan and Jewish world line up to fulfill the Pagan-Religious Christ figure – i.e., *REASON* for the world (I might add as always that “pagan” was meant by me as an ‘a-moral’ term just as its etymology tells us).
N.T. Wright is a soft spoken academic who literally teaches “no suffering” at the hand of God—which, in turn, takes ANY SUFFERING out of God’s hands and strips the ancient to modern universal theme of the ‘stricken god’ out of the equation. N.T.W. steals the value and depth of “the Story” of a transcendent God who truly gave us value and REASON by His ACTS for 3 years. By these ACTS we now know value and reason, fulfillment of pagan and Jewish prophecy, and Reason by which Plato was alluded to in John chapter one as LOGOS – the “LOGIC”, “LOGICAL ONE”, “The -OLOGY of all things, etc.
N.T. Wright, due to his ‘easy-believism’ breaks the ‘continuity’ of this eternal theme from antiquity to the Ages to come. This is a ‘lesser god’ than the one of Isaiah 45 which claims that “I create Good and Evil – Tov and Ra’ah in Hebrew, or, ‘that which builds up and that which breaks down’. N.T.W. leaves himself and his followers ‘left in a field of quandary due to no ‘tie-in’ with 6 thousand plus years of human development and connected anthropological and sociological meaning. The only ‘rational’ reason that I could see him doing this is for popularity and the income which comes with popularity.
No matter what the next convoluted idea that might come out of N.T.W.’s mouth, I believe will implicate him as an apostate in the literal sense. That is, the word “apostate” means, “no suffering” (Greek: “apo” – “take off” + “stasis/ state” = “the stand”, “standing”; –i.e., “to fall away”).
I decided not to stir an infection caused by N.T.W. in my student. Rather, I said calmly, “The Narrative of the Scapegoat is Everything”.
He asked what I meant. I said to him, “I’ll ask you two questions to answer us both—
1) If the Lamb (the Jesus figure) was ‘slaughtered from the foundation of the creation’ –mentioned in Revelation 13:8– do you think that Jesus was actually ‘murdered’ by some hysterical God/ Father figure who needed someone to die because ‘he was angered over the sin that *surprised Him*?”
2) Or, do you think that EVERY series of events needs the next series of events to carry the entire creation of time and space in a collective gestalt —which was planned before the foundation of creation? If you answer yes then good! Consequently, the Lamb of God must fit into the laws of thermodynamics and Biblical Predestination as ‘energies that be’. Therefore, Jesus *necessarily* was slaughtered for our sake to fulfill a part of the congruent whole both under the laws of Thermodynamics (because it already happened), Biblically, and to fulfill the pagan’s hope. Hence, the FULL Narrative.
My student thought out loud with me: “If Jesus’ death was ordained from the Foundation of creation then every action would have to be *contingent* on the next from the very act of creation to present day and all actions in between”. I said, “good!, You just described Biblical Predestination, a befitting plan for The Scapegoat without a surprised God, and surprised Thermodynamics (lol) —-all at the same time! Funny, isn’t it, that these 3 AGREE in logic?!
Then I asked and answered for him the following:
“if you are willing to believe that God can bring us all, that is – the entire world- to justification, rectification and salvation not of our works but of His Will, Works, and Energy – (Philippians 2:13) then the next step is to ask about the transcendent “method” by which God must walk with us in order to teach and guide us. Might I say, God has been ‘walking with us’ as we were a created unified system – from the dawn of time to the end of the world.
God has shown us The Story over the millennia. Therefore, how does the Scapegoat NOT fit into the ultimate meaning/*Reason found in Christ’s death and resurrection as the ultimate Scapegoat? (A) I say that this is answered by Owen Barfield’s idea of ‘The Evolution of Consciousness’. We were babies 6,000 years ago and are adults today. That we have only *relatively-recently* (the past 2,000 years) been able to understand the ideas of the Scapegoat personified through Christ and the Grace received from Him. This MAIN EVENT takes away any intimation that WE DID ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS and destroys the discontinuous postulate of N.T. Wright.
Were there earlier- more primitive enactments or Narratives that required a Scapegoat? (A) absolutely! James Frazier’s “Golden Bough” is an exemplary research into this practice among the pagans and Hebrew cult.
Why did these communities require a penal system? (A) Primitive beliefs instigated by Shamans, Priests, or collective superstitions show that when elemental or anthropomorphic gods were angered they ‘acted out’ in a retributive fashion. It was up to the Shaman, Priest, Priest-King, or leader of the primitive community to ‘resolve’ the god’s wrath by offering a vessel (Scapegoat) which would take the offending sins away from the community. This was a technique in controlling the masses. If this didn’t work, human sacrifice was not an estranged idea. We see the ‘appeasement’ of the angered god through Jack (the figure of the devil in the young boy) in the Lord of the Flies. The ‘collective soul’ amongst the tribe of English school boys -turned motley crew- was instigated by Jack’s ‘chaotic mind’ and his lust for dominance. In this example, the one with REASON was killed. REASON, expressed the character Piggy, was not welcomed because REASON exposed the chaos. The chaos of Jack, as the devil, worked-operated as the head of a ‘collective beast’ which generated a mesmerism of fear.
I find it interesting that in the Archko Volume, or Acta Pilati – Jesus was described physically as ‘not that attractive, big nosed, blue eyes and looked the part of a common Jew in His day. It was said that even the sound of His voice wasn’t that attractive until He spoke of His Father. It was the unattractive character – Piggy – that had likened societal defects . He was portly and optically challenged. His manner of speaking, for sure, was not appealing to the mass. Though his words were true he was hated because ‘the beast’ which worked through the boys under Jack saw a Scapegoat. The murder of Piggy, by Roger- who had no ability to think under Jack– ‘solidified’ the gang into faux strength and carried for another day an appeasement rooted in riotous fear and blood thirst.
Was there a ‘balance to be restored’ for these communities such as the children in the Lord of the Flies? As seen in my last statement, there can only be a short lived ‘appeasement’ of the masses (and the appeased god) for dominance seeking and leadership by power will begin again. Ultimately, had Ralph, the good boy-who led by righteousness, had not ‘come-upon’ the Military Commander who landed on Coral Island, the social cannibalism (possible physical cannibalism) would have continued until one would remain.
“if the enactment within the Narrative of the Scapegoat’s death was to be Christ’s crucifiction on the cross then what was the *meaning* of His death? – (A) I say, ‘to answer the pagan’s societal conflict of guilt, rage, shame and anxiety who had **no methodological approach to reason’. Christ IS **REASON for this VERY REASON! The Scapegoat fulfilled is the ULTIMATE REASON. Life Now has something to act to, for, from, at, journey from and come back to —i.e., the meaning of VALUE in the Scapegoat-Christ Jesus. Herein lies the answer for the Pagan in this regard. Again, this is where I address N.T. Wright’s faulty premise: Christ as ‘the Scapegoat’ is pagan. I agree with N.T.W. on this point!! But not in the way N.T. Wright says it. Christ fulfilled ALL pagan foreshadowing through God’s providential acts of establishing Primitive-Pagan enactments of putting sin to a thing and carrying it away into the unseen lands. Christ associates with the historical pagan and associates with the pagan in the Gospels! In this good sense of pagan association: Owen Barfield’s ‘collective consciousness’ might be answered in the Scriptural passage: Colossians 1:16 “For by Him ALL things were created: things in Heaven and on earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by HIM and for HIM”. Christ’s death and resurrection was once and for all. His atonement needed no further sacrifice or scapegoat. The doctrine that followed Christ’s enactment was in continuance to HIS enactment. That is, we must die as HE did, every day. We must speak the TRUTH unto our death as the enacted Scapegoat. In this, no more ritual without substance, rather, substance to everyday enactments.
Lastly and repeated for emphasis: “If the Lamb was ordained to death from the foundation of creation then *predestination* was the mode by which God’s Sovereignty acted. Clearly, the desire of the pagan’s collective enactments of sacrifice and Scapegoat were intently genetic and can be seen as a predetermination force all through the most remote of tribes from time immemorial. All of them and all of us have been looking for an eternal ONCE AND FUTURE KING.