Thursday, February 14, 2008

MP and Christ's Grasping

The first chapter of Mysterium Paschale attempts to link the incarnation of Christ with his passion. To demonstrate that "he who says Incarnation, also says Cross." What I find most interesting in this chapter is his account of Kenosis reflecting on Philippians 2. The phrase Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. I think this always left me with the impression that the Father still remained somehow 'higher' than the Son. Balthasar says that this passage refers not to a power relationship. He writes that the form of God is not something "which is to be conquered by force . . . but rather something precious." And that Christ "did not believe it necessary to hold on on to that condition as to some possession, precious, inalienable, all his own. . . . [Christ] can renounce his glory. He is so divinely free that he can bind himself to the obedience of a slave. In this reciprocal detachment of two images of God, the self-emptying Son stands opposed, for a moment, to God the Father who is still in some way depicted in the colors of the Old Testament palette. But theological reflection at once evens out this difference: it is in fact the Father himself who 'does not believe it necessary to hold on to this Son', but 'delivers him over' as the Spirit is continually described as the 'Gift' of them both."
"The question of some kind of 'mythical' premundane temptation of the Son (as primordial Man) does not, then, arise. It is not a matter of an incapacity to master the highest degree of glory without undergoing Incarnation. There is, therefore, no parallel with Adam who, anticipating the reward of the divine command to obey, 'grasped' the apple for himself. What is at stake, at least in a perspective of depth, is an altogether decisive turn-about in the way of seeing God. God is not in the first place , 'absolute power;, but 'absolute love', and his sovereignty manifests itself not in holding on to what is its own but in its abandonment - all this in such a way that this sovereignty displays itself in transcending the opposition, known to us from the world, between power and impotence." [emphasis mine]


Jason said...

It sounds like a good read. I like this interpretation. Does this make a difference from the perspective of historical humanity? I mean, if the usual interpretation -- Christ refusal to appropriate divine power -- has its analogue in the refusal of humanity to appropriate (violent, state) power. Does this non-violent exigency change if the analogy is not precise?

Unknown said...

Well seeing as I am getting into my Mennonite roots I would certainly see an analogy in historical humanity. I think what is important is that this sort of thinking does not become a 'law'. There are plenty of 'violent' approaches to the renunciation of violence. Sorry not much more to offer at the moment.