This is Austin’s final response to a conversation we’ve been having on the blog concerning the Nature of God and Evil in the world–I know: light stuff, right? Here are the relavant links, if you’re interested: I wrote a post mentioning God taking death onto his own self; Austin took issue with this; I replied with a full-on development of the idea that God’s Nature is like an unfolding narrative–one in which there is Evil and Death; Austin responded by critiquing some of my Bible interpretation; I then wrote two posts, one responding to his response, and one telling of my fears that I’m wrong (where I also quote the James Joyce book Austin references below, as well as list out my 5 main premises for my thoughts he responds to here). This post is Austin’s final words on this (or part 1 of those words, at least). I’ll have a few concluding thoughts next week.
Is then the whole of life only a contradiction; can love not explain it, but only make it more difficult? That thought he could not endure; he must seek a way out. There must be something wrong with his love.
—Kierkegaard, The Expectation of Faith
I, like Paul, am one who has been deeply affected by Joyce’s story. That story, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is really the central struggle of my life: Artist or Theologian? Much in that book, including the scene that Paul elaborated in his response, continues to resonate in the sometimes hollow-feeling caverns of my mind. “I shall never swing the thurible…the oils of ordination shall never touch my head.” Those words wounded me and have stayed with me like a scar, long after their initial cut. I, too, am often much afraid.
Like Jacob, I wrestle with God. Israel indeed.