John’s Cosmic Reconstitution: Redemption as Overcoming Dualism

The human disease presents itself in a variety of oppositional dualities – darkness versus light, good versus evil, flesh versus spirit, such that the seeming cure would be in reconciling these differences. “Oppositional dualities,” however, are not “dualisms” in which the opposed pairs are equally real and stable and forever needing to be harmonized.  The Star Wars “dark” and “light” sides of the Force typify this Gnostic sort of dualism, in which evil is pictured as a competing reality with the good. In this world (cosmos), good and evil or life and death constitute a “reality” of struggling between opposed pairs. Life is consumed in an agonistic striving toward balance, but the illusion –  producing suffering and death, is that engaging the struggle more intensely is the means of resolving the struggle. This peace through war or life through death antagonism not only misconstrues the power and substance of war and death but loses life and peace in the process.  Simply stated, the human failing is to confuse reality with unreality, setting up an antagonistic struggle to the death. John’s Gospel, defines the cosmos of darkness through a series of oppositional dualities which are precisely not dualisms, as John will reduce and collapse one pole of the opposed pairs. In a closed cosmos (in which the cosmic reality is all encompassing) oppositional forces, in David B. Hart’s description, constitute “an economy, a cycle of creation and destruction, oscillating between order and chaos, form and indeterminacy: a great circle of feeding, preserving life through a system of transactions with death.” Hierarchy, law, and sacrifice are aimed at warding off chaos through maintaining a rigid balance. In John, the Logos explodes this cosmos of darkness in that the light will penetrate and expose the darkness, life will defeat death, heaven will come to earth, and the children of the Devil will become the children of God. The evil, fleshly, world below is not an enduring autonomous reality but is exposed and defeated so that the apparent dualisms are exposed as mere oppositional dualities.  Continue reading “John’s Cosmic Reconstitution: Redemption as Overcoming Dualism”