[NOTE: Before reading this article, I recommend you read the preceding one, “The Cross of Contradiction”, where I explain the relationship of Jesus to the Law…that is, the morality of Jesus-as-God relative to his legal obligations as a man and a Jew. With that foundation, the following article will probably be more understandable.]
It is often argued that Christ’s death on the cross was the example of God’s greatest humility. And this may be true. But consider another act…one I submit was even greater, because it was an act that not only implied but made inevitable the crucifixion of Christ, which occurred many hundreds of years later. In fact, I would assert that it killed God long before the Romans did.
That act was giving the Jews the Law.
The Law is a LEGAL ethic, not a moral one. Morality and Legality are utterly exclusive of each other. Morality looks to love. Legality looks to Authority…and Authority is Force. And force does not negotiate, it does not think, it does not plan, it does not consider, it does not value, It is a hammer that smashes; a gale that levels; a beast which mauls. Everything good is submitted to it; everything of love is stomped into oblivion under its jack boot. But the Jews just had to have it. They needed a Law, which meant they needed a Ruler, an Authority. and as God is Love, this ruler could not be him. So they got a king. And at that moment the Jews were ushered into an absolute existence of Authority and Submission; of rulers and the ruled. Of those above and those below. Of those whom the law would exploit and discard, and those for whom the law would become a sword…and then a gun, and then a bomb, and then a nuclear bomb, and then a smart bomb. And at that moment…at the moment of the giving of the Law, God became just another one of us in the crowd of unwashed masses. Just another subject of the State. Just another voice which matters not, except when it dissents, and then like a laser the scope of the ruling class gets its bead right between his eyes. And he finds himself branded not a religious enemy, but a political one. And then he is destroyed. Sermons, speeches, invocations, appeals, supplications, warnings, proverbs, parables, miracles…all of no consequence as far as the Authority is concerned. He is simply you or me…which means no one. And into the ground he goes….just another day in the life of the State. God he may be, but even God must give way to the “Common Good” it seems.
Yes, my friend, we didn’t have to wait for Golgotha. God was dead before Moses even left the mountain. God gave his life on that day, because man demanded a law, and God has never, ever been he who spends his time pointlessly quarreling with his children. He negotiates, and then as reason—that is, Truth—dicatates, he relents in the face of their recalcitrance, defiance, and threats…but not out of fear or exasperation. He simply treats them like the adults they are and lets them lie in the beds they make. With the giving of the Law, God himself got in line with the masses, and conceded Authority to the ruling class which now must take his place. Which, incidentally, is why Christ came as a pauper, not a prince.
THIS is humility, my friend. THIS is love.
For true love understands the reality of choice, and with that the reality of consequence. Even when that consequence includes the death of Himself on a Roman cross.
Now, please don’t hear what I’m not saying. None of this means that God consigns himself to some ultimate non-existence…for God, like man, is an eternal being. The Law can never actually subordinate he who rightly refuses to accept that it has any real or just power to govern his eternal essence. The law SEEKS to replace man with itself and the Authority, but this ultimately cannot happen because at root it’s a contradiction. Both God’s and Man’s eternal life is secure…for this is rational, and law and authority are enemies of Truth, and thus they are ultimately toothless. Jesus walked through mobs of those who sought to murder him, and walked on water to find his friends, and made a cornucopia from a smattering of bread and fish. God leveled an entire army through one man, sustained Jonah in the belly of the whale, quickened David against Goliath, brought the Babylonian empire to its knees with a dream, and rendered Nebuchadnezzer’s fiery furnace of no more danger to human flesh than a sun room. The law marginalized God and murdered his Son, it is true, as the law will do. But they were never actually at its mercy.
In the same way that Jesus rose, God could never be subordinated to the Law that the Jews demanded of him. Law which was indeed demanded as a function of the insistence that man needed to be governed, and thus could NOT BE FREE. The Jewish slave mentality which they had acquired in Egypt never left them as they fled into the desert. But lest we blame the Jews entirely for this, we must realize that this mentality was not a Jewish invention. The fact that governments, like Pharaoh’s, already existed is proof that the suppressive and oppressive idea of Law and Authority were not unique to the Jews. Far from it. No, my friend, all manner of men are complicit in this evil.
Look around you. How many of us are actually devoted to a stateless society? How many voluntarists or REAL anarachists do you know? And I don’t mean the leftist, neo-marxist demon hoard anarchist posers. I mean ACTUAL anarchists…those who preach morality not legality; the Individual and his property as the metaphysical plumb line for truth and goodness, not the commie Collective Ideal of the “Workers”, “Diversity”, “Common Good”, “Social Justice”, “Equality” or whatever other authoritarian socialist trope du jour happens to be on the democrat menu this week.
Hell, I AM a voluntarist and I don’t know of any others in my circle of friends, family, and acquaintances. I know of a few public intellectuals here and there who claim anarchism as their primary political philosophy, but even they tell me that I should vote for Trump, so it seems they haven’t yet acquired introspection enough to avoid indulging in hypocrisy and contradiction. And I’m guessing that you, my friend, yourself, aren’t a voluntarist. And even I wasn’t one until a mere seven years ago. My point here is not to rebuke or disparage you or me. I’m simply saying this: We’d better not dare lay all fault upon the Jews for ushering in the death of morality and, in the process, the death God. If the Jews are indeed to blame then we are ALL Jews. It’s been 2000 years since Christ was executed as an enemy of the State, and judging by America’s 22 TRILLION dollar debt we havne’t learned a damn thing.
[*The debt, by the way, as far as I can tell is mathematically unpayable, which means that American currency is backed only by the Largest Military in the World Standard…as opposed to the gold standard, for example. Thus, it appears more and more that considering ourselves “slaves” to the State should be less of a figurative or philosophical idea and more of a literal one.]
Consider this excerpt from my last article:
”Christ had to die because that’s what Law demands. Once the Jews demanded legality instead of morality they replaced God with the Law, and consigned themselves [and God] to death. The Law brings death absolutely and indiscriminately. It murders BOTH man and God by replacing THEIR inherent existential morality with its own absolute LEGALITY. It replaces the RATIONAL ethic of morality with that of IRRATIONAL legality.”
Expanding on this, understand that there is no fundamental philosophical difference between religious law and political law. Which means that there is no fundamental difference, period. ALL law is, in fact, political, because it implies an Authority to compel man’s behavior. In other words, all law implies governing authority, which implies Government. So when I speak of the law here, there is no distinction made nor necessary between God’s law and man’s law…Jewish law or Roman law. Sharia law or Soviet law. Church law or U.S. law. All mean the exact same thing: Authority, obedience, death.
So what do we learn then from the crucifixion of Christ? Well, first we must understand that it was NOT Divine condemnation or a consequence of violating Jewish tradition, but was, rather, a political execution intended to diffuse a possible sectarian revolt in the interest of perpetuating the power of the imperial ruling class; whilst at the same time it served as a warning to other potential enemies of the State.
And so here’s what we learn:
The law condemns even the Son of God. Meaning that for those under law, God cannot save. Indeed, as far as the law is concerned even HE must obey…for the law is NO respsector of persons when it comes to its jurisdiction. It is intended to transform volitional agents like God and man into mere extensions of the ruling class in service to a subjective Collective Ideal. It replaces moral choice with legal obligation; Self-will with Rank Obedience.
The law condemns all men, even the Jesus. Being God’s Son, miracles and all, did not grant even Christ a moral pass from the politcal authority. Roman law demanded the death of God’s Son, and for the most insipid and obvious of reasons: he was a threat to the ruling class…to the Jewish teachers and the Roman officials alike. They negotiated their most advantageous political positions by using Christ as a bargaining chip. So, in the end he was murdered in the interests of both Jewish and Roman power. Period. There is nothing more to it than that. Nothing particularly deep, nothign cosmic, nothing mystic, nothing transcendent, nothing allegorical or poetic or beautiful. Just power. That’s it. Same as always.
You see, the mistake we make is attempting to draw some sort of relevant or meaningful distinction between Roman law and the religious law of the Jews, either Pharisaical tradition or the law of Moses. Jewish leadership saw Roman law as merely an extension of its own authority, as evidenced by the supplication they made to the imperial officials as a means to eliminate Jesus, who was a threat to their power and polity. The Pharisees, though they employed Roman law when necessary and expedient, did not really recognize Roman authority over them, and they had no problem seeing the Romans as a tool…a convenient means to cleanly dispose of their political enemies. The Roman Empire was a hired thug until such time as they could co-opt its politcal institutions and turn it into a theocracy with them comprising the ruling class.
That this didn’t happen doesn’t mean it wasn’t an objective. Religious institutions have always craved state power, and will always do so, whether overtly or implicitly. For example, for all of their talk of love and mercy and compassion and cooperation, Christians in America have no problem with politcal advocacy to the point of making it a corollary IDEOLOGY…they don’t see it as hypocrisy at all. The perfection of Christian Virtue is the State using its monopoly of coercive violence to force the masses to obey “God’s laws”. And as far as Islam is concerned…well, State Power is the open and obvious corollary to its doctrines. They don’t bother trying to cloak it in any sort of western enlightenment garb. After 25 years in the protestant church, I actually find that sort of honesty refreshing. I’d rather be told to “obey or die” instead of “God loves you, so agree with me or he will throw you into hell”. At least Islam is consistent in its messaging.
So, no, the Pharisees saw no contradiction with using Roman law to condemn and execute an enemy of the Jewish religious establishment. None whatsoever. They knew that law equals authority, and that authority means power. And THEY, according to their traditions, were the only legitimate power in the land. And power answers to NO ONE, not even to the man who spent his life bringing sight to the blind, creating food for the poor out of almost nothing, and showing divine mercy to the Pharisees OWN congregants…doing the work the Pharisees wouldn’t. In short, even GOD was not to be pardoned for the crime of threatening their political hierarchy. It didn’t matter that they appealed to Rome to do their dirty work…Roman law, Jewish law, it all equaled they exact same kind of condemnation that they sought to bring against Jesus, with the desired outcome: death. Law is Authority, and Authority is always manifest by the State. The Jewish religious institutions with their Clerics and Rome with her emperors—they are both servants of those who deem themselves Authority. The law belongs to them and thus they will use whatever politcal power is necessary and most expedient to enforce it.
And not even God has a Get Off the Cross Free card.