Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Cruciform Human

 

cimabue
 
In my March lecture in San Francisco, I made an assertion that is worth isolating for an article. That assertion is that we are created in the image of the Crucified Christ, and that this is essential in understanding what it means to be human. I have been asked where I got such an idea. The most simple answer is: the Scriptures.
 
Arguably, the first reference to the Crucified Christ occurs in Rev. 13:5.
All who dwell on the earth will worship [the Beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8)
The Lamb, slain from the foundation of the cosmos (τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου), is St. John’s reference to the pre-existent Christ. This is easily familiar from his description in the gospel:
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 nothing was made that was made. (Joh 1:2-3)
However, in Revelation, the Word who exists before all of creation (through whom all things were made) is depicted as the slain Lamb. It is startling in what it suggests. Christ is not simply the One who will be incarnate in history and be slain for the salvation of the world, but is already the One who is slain even before the world is created.
 

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