The following is part of an essay I am proposing for some conferences, titled “The Passing of the Peace: The Ascension after the Death of God.” Here I am working through a notion of the Post-Christ, which is the reality of Christ between the resurrection and the ascension. The bottom line here is questioning the absolute exigency of the resurrection in most radical theologies, that it seems to me that the “Christ-event” is more than the resurrection. Is the resurrection the main act? Or is there something radical to be disclosed if we do not stop reading at the resurrection, and on to the ascension (and later, Pentecost)?
the arrival of the first fruits of the Post-Christ and the New Creation with the event of the resurrection, old thinking about the divine must transfigure, as the Christ-event has fundamentally changed any conception of God in such a cataclysmic way that a new post-Temple epoch may be conceived. After all, “death” is an “impossible” concept for the Post-Christ, according to the Pentecost narrative in Acts 2:24. We should recall that in the apocalypse of 2 Baruch, after the destruction of the first temple, the angels inhabited the real, spiritual temple. Given Luke’s nostalgia for the recently-destroyed Temple, could it be possible that the ascension is a ritual exercise recalling the post-Temple apocalypse of 2 Baruch?
Even though the ascension is an upward movement, it is an ascension into a temporally destroyed temple, an apocalyptic ascension in a post-resurrection world that is a final symbolic movement of an actual dissolution of Godhead into flesh.
Turning to the Deutero-Pauline epistle to the Ephesians, the Post-Christ is described as having “put all things under his feet” and been “made…the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Although “Paul” speaks of these in “the age to come” (1:21), the Gospel and apocalyptic narratives place this authority in the present. Returning to the authentic Pauline epistles, again we find that Christ is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28) a total presence, remaining fully divine as entangled enfleshment.
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