Let’s see how much people like stories. I investigate here the Big Story of the Bible as it may concern human history.
I will try to fill in the Story with what I see as human course. In a way, it is a story of the Big Story, which amounts, I guess, to a type of exegesis of the Big Story itself. I ask that you suspend your belief and give me the benefit of doubt.
I begin with being human, because there is nothing that can be talked about or known without a human being. Though God may be responsible for my existence, and it is possible that God may have created me, I do not begin with God, because God does not come to be known until there is a human to know of God. Also, this knowing does not begin with knowing God created me, knowing begins with knowing and then God might be known as my creator. So I guess, my Story begins with the human being. The Story can include God, but the Story can only be told by a human talking about God. If a human being knows of or about God – and here I am not necessarily referring to the ‘knowing God’ as we have talked about in our (mine and yours) discussion – it is because that human being is human.
There is an apparent inability for human beings to reconcile their existing, that they exist, with the world of their experience. We have doubts, insecurities, things don’t go our way when we think they should, etc.. We feel that when we are doing ‘right’ that things should be right, but this is not always the case. In this state, we are defacto ‘knowing good and evil’, not in an absolute sense, but in a right and wrong sense. When things are right, then the world is right, or at least our being in it, and when we are wrong it is because something is off or not right. If things are wrong, we must make them right, yet even when they are ‘made right’, something wrong happens again. Also, when something contradicts what we know as right, we typically get offended, feel ‘wrong’, and often plain deny it. There is an apparent discrepancy with being human in the world.
In the search for why this may be so, it is not difficult to extrapolate the discrepancy into some aspect or element of what we are able to come across of our lives that is more than this, more than what we are able to account for, as to what I just said, that we feel that things should go our way, that the world should follow a sort of moral guideline, that we should not feel wrong when we feel or think that we are doing everything right. We thus have a tendency as well as ability to ‘see’ that there must be a ‘more than this’, that we as conscious creatures should be accounted for in our shortcomings and inabilities by an even ‘more conscious’ consciousness of sorts, since it is apparent to us that we are not like other creatures and should not have to be accounted for as merely another creature that is ‘not (human) conscious’. It can make sense that there should be a ‘God’ that tends to us in particular because we are as we are, a ‘special’ consciousness. This sensible understanding, as a primary cognition, should be able to relieve the discrepancy, since such sense would mean that we are taken care of, that whatever happens God has ‘got my back’, and our insecurity would diminish. In so much as it does, it is not a far stretch to call this relief ‘life’, as the feeling associated with a removal of worldly doubt and insecurity is more than more preferable to the life plagued with such discrepancy, a life that in relation to the ‘God-backed’ life, so to speak, can easily be seen as ‘death’.
If this may be the case, then we have to account for why it should be so, being involved with this God, that we might be left to our discrepancy for accounting of the world. We can understand this in one scoop and call it a ‘fall’, since if there is this God we have to account for why It would have us in such a situation in the world. A ‘Fall’ can then make sense of our discrepancy, and of course it must have happened before us, since it seems to all humans that there was no time when everything went our way, except maybe the remembered perceptions of when we were a child. The Fall can account for why a sensibility for God does not relieve the discrepancy; arguing backward from what can make sense, we ‘fell’ into discrepancy, since the cognition of a necessity for an accountant of human consciousness, God, must have occurred before the consciousness that is accounted for.
What humanity was before the Fall is not knowable; rather, it can only be knowable through consideration of what it is to already have fallen, which is the state of human discrepancy. In relation to this, then, before the Fall human beings were ‘secure’, ‘un-doubtful’, ‘content’. Humans could account for themselves in the world since after the Fall human beings ‘wonder’ why or how it is that they evidence a discrepancy in the world; they accounted for themselves through God. There is no sense in having a sense about God that does not fulfill somehow the doubts that are involved with human sensibility. A very sensible way to speak about how it was before the Fall is: heaven.
Yet, the discrepant state through which such sensibility derives its sense persists in its sensibility of its pre-Fall state. In as much as humans in that pre-Fall time were still humans, it is sensible to have them be curious and at times downright obstinate and even defiant. Hence, the Fall argues itself as a sensible moment before our present human condition without the need to explain what may have been before, because, in the same mode of sense, God was before our sensibility. The redundancy involved in having a Fall explain our discrepancy while extending the sense of human demeanor to a time before the Fall resolves in a further sensibility: The Fall could not have so much to do with everyday attitudes and necessary reactions to worldly matters, it has to do not with one’s worldly life, for the world is not the proper domain of humanity, God merely made the world to place humanity; the proper domain is of the soul, the spirit, which is the domain of God, or perhaps more sensibly said, God is the domain of the spirit.
We should see that at some point in our growth from child to adult, we became aware of this problem of our discrepancy. Perhaps it develops slowly, but at least there is a distinct moment in our lives when the particular awareness of oneself in this world becomes apparent, when we begin to reflect and try to make sense of the discrepancy. If the sense that comes to know of God is insufficient, story of an ancient ancestral Fall can do well to alleviate our wonder.
Further, it makes sense that if this is the case, the reason for our situation as we come upon it in life and experience, then it also makes sense that there should be some capacity or ability to ‘return’ to God, to ‘recover’ from the Fall, to come upon an understanding or type of experience of the world that reconciles the discrepancy, for we know of this God, and it would not make sense that this God, as our tender, the one who accounts for our existence in the world, would leave us in such a state, us having become aware of the situation as we have, of such a God, us, and the world.
Yet we, as a humanity, do remain there. The ‘covenant’ that arose between God and man, those told of Noah, Abraham, and Moses, as an efficient way to describe the developed situation above, fails to bring any but a very few back to God. The aggregate of humanity fails to be ‘brought back”, at each reinstatement of the covenant, people continue to remain in the discrepant world, and more of them.
What makes sense is, as a more than suggestive route, again, not happening; there is still a discrepancy. People are not being able to come back to God, the formula of sense that is necessary is not sufficient. The ‘faith’ in the sense of sense is not sufficient. So what makes sense then is that we need something else, we need something that will act as a intermediary, something that takes the sense that should make sense, the God-world calculus mentioned above, and, since this is not making enough sense for people to get it, make it easier for people to make ‘the right’ sense: the correct correlation of meaning that is knowledge of God is not separate from God, the sense that relieves the discrepancy, the sense that brings one back to God. The easiest and most sensible sense is now one does not need to make any more sense than that what makes sense is not sufficient, let alone needed. One needs only believe in Jesus and Jesus will do the rest to bring one back to God. Faith turns from a primary sense into a secondary sense of ‘belief’.
But again, this is not working, even this simple sensibility is not sufficient for most people. From here it can make sense that since it is so simple – one does not need to make the right sense, one need only believe – it must not be a failure of their ability as human, but a failure in what they want. The Fall then also functions unilaterally dual to explain this. Why would anyone wish to stay in such an aggravated uncomfortable state? Well, it makes sense that it is not their own doing; some other element must be causing people to not wish to return to God, some element that screws up their ability to make sense, an element that deceives them despite their supposed inherent ability to make the right sense: Sin, instigated by the Serpent on one hand, which explains the condition, and on the other, Satan, or the Devil, which explains why people are obstinate in their want to stay in the discrepant world.
Now, not only does Jesus take up the sensible human inability as a trait of an individual person, but he also takes up the apparent increasing discrepancy occurring as more and more people do not even take the shortcut that Jesus is. Satan thus accounts for, makes sense of, the historical movement of sustained discrepancy, the discrepancy that increasingly becomes the norm. As repeated successive covenants seem more to serve the realization that the sensibility is lost, that there is less and less an effective sufficient explanation, or right sense, even that concessions to allow for the lack of sense do not work to overcome the overwhelming and sheer number of people who now take the discrepancy as course, which is to say, as the ‘right sense’ or the truth, the sense that accompanies the human knowing of God as of course makes still more sense of this situation. History accounts for this continuing move away from what is sensible, and accounts for it by extrapolating the movement into the future, when the discrepancy has become so aggravated at its ‘senselessness’, when Satan has implemented a series of even more grand deceits, when Jesus, the shortcut now removed at length, ‘returns’ as sense returns, the sense that is the equivocation of God and knowing of God.
The Virgin Birth.
To back up a little; there is another unilateral duality at work. In case you are unfamiliar with this term: a unilateral duality is two aspects of a single operation that function separately, segregate to one another, where one cannot be reduced to the other except that they function along the same ‘unilateral’ line, but where also one of the pair can account for the other, and one of the pair does not account for the other, hence the ‘duality’. The situation is uni laterally dual. A strange way of saying what this means is, the one side is two; or, if there is a side, then the other side is the same side; or, in so much a there is a ‘side’, there is only one side, but because there is a side, there is an other side. At once, the structure of the meaning has an inclusive aspect and an exclusive aspect. Here, I am speaking of the virgin birth.
As I mentioned above, there is a point in the life of every human being when he realizes his situation in the world. A point when the person has a certain type of cognition about him or herself, when they realize they are conscious, perhaps a moment when they start to understand what consciousness really means to them as an individual, as this connotes also a certain awareness of the world that has a significance for them as being human; some have called this the moment of reflection. What existed of them before this point, which is to say, what they knew of themselves before this point becomes a particular point of knowing: at this point they know that there was a ‘before’; maybe it can be likened to realizing that they ‘were’ a child, and now they are something else, say, a young adult, or even an adult. One cannot put a timeframe to when this moment occurs for each individual, but at some point they know ‘differently’ than they did before.
This ‘before’ moment is the period I wish to highlight here. The fact that I was an infant is known to me, but when I was an infant I did not know it. Perhaps I knew something of myself, but it was not what I know now of what an infant is, neither was it a knowing that was ‘myself’. This knowing of myself, that I was an infant, is different than the knowing I had when I was an infant. In fact, it is only in as much that I am capable of knowing myself as myself that I can say I was an infant. I could not know this when I was an actual infant. The notion that I was an infant as well as knowing that what I knew as an infant was different than the knowing I know now, is exactly the situation of memory. But I have no memory of when I was an infant, except maybe a few brief flashes of scenes, I only remember that I must have been an infant.
This situation can be understood as the meaning of ‘being thrown into existence’. I am here, a human being, myself, but I only know of the present situation in which I find myself; the past, my history, my memories – all such knowledge about myself and the world is just me, right now, having memories of myself in the past, which is to say, all that I know of myself are ideas. It is a working of presence where I have ideas of the past, where these ideas function to categorize aspects of myself not only as to qualities of my demeanor or attitudes, but likewise function to place ‘the past’ as such, of the past as opposed to my, this, present in which I am considering the past. But all such consideration are occurring only now. They are not so much being ‘summoned’ by recorded memories of some actual past as much as they are a situation of consciousness that is me, right now. The realization of the total reality that consciousness presents to itself as me brings an odd sort of experience of being here, but ‘how did I get here?’ This moment is the moment of being thrown into existence.
If we can understand this situation, then we can begin to comprehend what could possibly be ‘before’, since even in those supposed moments of the past my consciousness was creating for me as me my world in the same way as it is doing now, now that I see how consciousness operates, and that also, in as much as consciousness was doing that of and for me then, it is only doing it now for my ability to apprehend that it may have been doing it before – but now: before what? The answer, as typically versed, would be, before that moment in which I remember.
In this way the meaning of the virgin birth breaks up into four meanings ( again, follow: uni lateral dual: one that is two that is two) a quadripartite, that all stem from the same meaning, which is a birth that was consummated by something ‘not of this world’, beyond the normal working of things, of a miracle, or for short, God.
The first could be the movement in the Story itself, where what is sensible is made plain in the Story because it is seen as, in a manner of speaking, more than just a story. Perhaps, this is most similar to your Big Story of the Bible.
The second then could be another way the Story makes sense. In the sense of meaning and possibility, the Story could be a what makes sense of making sense, so to speak, of reducing the truth of the story to a ‘meta narrative’, the story that tells the story of the story, similar to the narrative above. The virgin birth might be argued to be metaphorical or symbolic of actual historical situations, such as how trees seem to sprout from seeds spontaneously, this certain sensibility and or set into contexts of superstition and ignorance, such as the outright misidentification by (ancient) superstitious people of natural phenomena.
The third is the more proper existential version. Here, the Story begins at arbitrary points, and speaks not so much upon or toward an actual truth, but instead situates the Story as the relation of its meaningful parts that cannot be sorted out of the context of the whole, for the whole is also a meaningful part; the whole being its significance to human experience as commonly come upon, the context of the whole only finding ground in the relation of its parts as any part can be the context of the whole when the ground is ultimately the human being in a commerce of economy of meaning. For example, how I am developing the concept of the virgin birth, by the way, that I have not yet fully developed here.
So, my Story has to do with how any telling of The Story might be argued against any other telling. These three ways of situating how a story amounts to the Story, including that one may be more correct, tell the story of the universe as it is apparent when we consider the Story itself, that a sensible rendition of the issue of existence, as I have presented it considerate of human discrepancy (described as ‘sin’) and its resolution (God, Jesus), is insufficient to render a sensibility of an absolutely true Story beyond the argumentative bases of merit in the discourse located by the telling of the Story itself. The ‘moral’ or ‘sensible meaning’ of the story is not automatically included in the mere telling of the authoritative Story, nor even explanatory renditions of it, to bring about its sensible meaning effectively. So I have said, the truth of any Story is found by the faith invested in it.
It is at this point that I am capable of saying, as I have said, that I agree with your telling of the Big Story. This is the fourth telling; that the various argumentative tellings of the Story that seek to tell the ‘more real or true’ story as exclusive from the others, are actually all true because they stem from a basic human situation, the situation that the Bible more or less tells the story of. This is what has been termed, a unilateral duality. Both stories are true, but one story includes the other while one excludes the other. I call this aspect of including while excluding, and excluding by including, irony.
The virgin birth describes a situation of a child that is born without the usual human male female act of consummation, and because this is the case, it means that this child is blessed, but more so, blessed as The Son of God because such a blessedness contradicts what is typically known as blessed due to the fact that human beings who are not The Son of God are blessed in that all other humans are conceived in the usual human manner. The Idea of the Son of a God born of a virgin as opposed to those who are not is a Story told from the perspective for whom the sense of God, where knowing of God is having God, was not sufficient to reconcile the discrepancy.
Where as the first two situations tend to argue over truth, the third situation, while evidencing a standpoint, indicates a movement of meaning to the fourth, which is a recapitulation of the first while incorporating all three.
The virgin birth concerns one who comes across the operation of consciousness mentioned above. There, the ‘before’ cannot be accounted for by any sort of knowledge no matter how it is situated for truth and fallacy, because such knowledge is exactly only knowledge of what exists right now. Because this ‘before’ has no necessary relation to knowledge, but only sufficient relation, that is, the relation of the past to the knowledge of the past is sufficient to supplying a past, but such past is not necessarily correspondent to any knowledge of it, it is arbitrary, and so any notion I have of the past is completely based on speculation, and the more significant feature of being human, offense. When this is come across in experience as experience, what was ‘before’ is understood as being outside of the normal or regular functioning of reality; the manifestation of myself in existence, situated as I am, is, in no compromising terms, a miracle, and act of God. This knowledge is necessary; its meaning draws from a necessarily correspondent actuality. This is right sense in the sense that brings God: the knowing of a God is God.
In this way, the human being in existence is born of a ‘virgin’, because there is only one necessary cause that I can know of to have brought me here. Such a one is born ‘of God’ but ‘of a virgin’ because, in an obvious sense, he was somehow ‘born’ into this world, but, in a maybe not so obvious sense, not in the usual man woman consummated manner. This is not to say that he was not born naturally, in the usual manner, neither is this to say that Jesus is not the Son of a God in the way usually meant, but it is to say that what we have of this situation of knowledge concerning, at least, the Big Story of the Bible, is a unilateral duality.
I hope this is a good rendition of my Story, that you can understand, and why I can say that I agree with your Big Story, but somehow we disagree.
And yet, there is more.
A few other comments.
Of the Three to Two to One.
When we find such a logic, as represented in a unilateral duality, and can see this route as true because it emanates from actual (‘radical’ means little more than an assertion of importance) lived experience, then the three scenarios that resolve in two conclusions as I have just indicated here by the discussion of the Virgin Birth, must be both viable. To wit, the movement of discourse as indicating the truth of human existence; the exclusive tellings, Jesus is a singular historical person, is the Son of God sent to earth, involved with a significance of history, where faith is instrumental, and, the discussion that speaks of the story of Jesus as a social-political event involving an eccentric figure named Jesus, where likewise faith is involved; and the inclusive, the story of Jesus is a story of a typical but particular and uncommon human experience under which all humans may reside, the story of the Gospels an example, a recording, a rendition of the scenario involved with the lived experience; the sensibility that ‘together is brought’ the knowing of God is God. Hence, the conclusion from this, the three conclusions that indicate a two, is that time and history are concepts that reveal a true assertion of power over what constitutes reality, and the two that exhibit a one, that this power can be undermined. This feature of discourse, as we can situate it, calls forth the categories as I have determined them in my essays thus far; which are, conventional reality of faith, which reduces to the one, and the ‘indivisible remainder’, that of the one evidencing two, that I have termed ironic.
The One of Two.
The situation indicated by the third rendition, itself and then also its movement into the fourth is, what can be called, the end of history, or and also, what some philosophers say is the end of philosophy. The most prominent and explicit indicator of this is the Non-Philosophy of Francois Laruelle. Slavoj Zizek also sees this, but does a very good job as ‘speaking from the middle’; Alain Badiou has even suggested along these lines that philosophy has to become something else, whatever that is. Quentin Meillassoux and others accordingly have or are proposing what this ‘new’ move may be.
With this in mind, we have left to make explicit the correspondence between the third rendition and its movement and the Big Story of the Bible. If we begin with the beginning of the Big Story, in a certain way, in a particular manner of understanding, we have a movement in history that does not take us to the end of the Bible, but to the middle of its last book, Revelation. In this, if we have understood the true cognizance that is occurring with the human being who has become aware of the operation of consciousness, it is most ironic that what has occurred at this moment is, in the most absurd and impossible way, a revelation. The sense that should equate the knowing of God to God, the sense that has ‘been ceasing’ to make sense through history, as I tell about in the beginning of this essay, has played out. The ‘right sense’ has become ‘nonsense’ and the discrepant individual in the world has asserted its own sense as true due to the increasing number of individuals, as these individuals manifest in a discourse no longer capable of ‘sensibly’ considering what God could mean, being unable to make that ‘right sense’. A complete inversion of meaningful categories has come to fruition, so predominant and ubiquitous is this ‘nonsense that has become true’.
This is so much the case, it can account for the historical movement of Western philosophy. Where philosophy had pondered God, and included the idea in its deliberations, which might be said to have reached a ‘plateau’ with Neo-Platonism and perhaps Scholasticism, oth which may evidence a method of reducing and instituting the absolute transcendence of the ‘One’ in reality, soon God was ‘argued’ out, religion went its dogmatic way, philosophy went on its questioning way, such that in the 19th century God ‘died’. The aspect of philosophical consciousness that at one time included God, had ‘killed God’, removed the requirement or need for the term. God became the dialectical, that aspect of consciousness that no longer need the term God, a ‘spirit’. Soon the spirit was unneeded. Martin Heidegger tore it up to Being, and Ludwig Wittgenstein showed how only language remained. Language shredded what was left of what was human such that we found ‘nothingness’ beyond. Jean Paul Lyotard spelled out the dire situation: there is no communication occurring, right sense cannot be justified. This can be transcribed as meaning, we are dead. Perhaps Gilles Deluze offered a hope in the parameters of insanity. Yet this nothingness was left to us in such a state that the State itself seemed the only recourse for our humanity, and not ‘divine’ or ‘Godly’ justice emerged, but rather social justice, human justice in the face of and for the sake of being human. And we heard Jaques Derrida, in the midst of the deluge of linguistic tempest, ask why ‘spirit’ had become such a pariah, such a ‘forbidden’ word in philosophy. Even then the sense that is the knowing of God as a God could not be voiced, it was enough and barely tolerable that he could even summon the ‘spirit’ to write an essay about it and be taken seriously.
As I will show in a later work, the situation upon the point of contention has not changed, only the terms that are used to describe it has changed. The emphasis or orientation being upon the terms’ nature complicit with its objects’ truth, reveals history as such as the representation of the condition or ‘shape’ of conventional reality.
Now, of course this is a very rough and highly porous telling of the story, and though I could fill in much more, I’m sure, highly argumentative, speculative and conspiratorial ideas, many many authors’ contributions I have left out. But this much makes sense: Of the knowing of God, such a one who ironically comes upon his own ends without having posited them beforehand as history, summons (for a Biblical context) Jesus, but without the ability to name him. He stands ‘born of a virgin’, ‘anointed’ by the unknown, ‘delivered’ from the world to his death as course, and ‘delivers’ his own death for the world; he exposes himself in the ‘spirit’ but thereby serves to ‘kill’ what the spirit meant. He stands in the middle of history, revealed into history. Seeing the past, argued backward and told as a beginning for the discrepant, he acts in mode of history, the mean of human possibility for knowing. He is blasphemy and he is the death of God. Yet he is reborn in the world, as himself, yet not himself. Man yet not man, Christ yet not Christ; God but the motion that accuses and destroys the sense of God. He is proof that is obstinately rejected. He speaks but is effectively silent. He is and speaks the truth, and hears in reply only “what is truth?”
And Pilate says to the crowd, “I find no fault in him”; and the crowd yells, “Barabbas” – that thief and murderer, that representative of discrepancy – “free Barabbas!”
How am I able to tell the Big Story? I say I agree, but somehow we disagree. For when I tell how the Big Story has any meaning, it becomes nonsense. Perhaps, Lyotard is too correct.
It is from this point that a ‘new’ philosophy fails, and ironically the question of ‘how a new philosophy could fail or not fail’ is pertinent. It is at this point we may consider what is actually meant by a ‘return’ of the ‘right sense’.
Because, don’t you know, this whole scenario is nonsense. We have to tell how this is the case also.