Monday, 23 November 2015

Trans/gression



If original sin is human then original transgression is divine. Transgression precedes sin. Humans lost their innocence because of sin but it was transgression of God which made the innocence possible. Sin is 'missing the mark' in contrast to transgression, which is, 'deliberate crossing of the line.' This deliberation must precede innocence. Sin can be committed in innocence whereas transgression requires full conscious of the line to be crossed.

Within the sacred, taboo is juxtaposed to transgression. Taboo demarcates and regulates the boundaries of the limit. It is in violation of the taboo does the transgression 'violently'[1] opens the space of limitless. Only in the sacred realm taboo comes into play by placing limits. But sacred space and limits depends on the movements of crossing those limits in other words, as Bataille writes, "The sacred world depends on limited acts of transgression."[2] These acts of transgression do not “deny the taboo but transcends it and completes it.”[3] Thus taboo is in place to limit the limitless (sacred) while it is transgression which invades the limitless by pushing the limit. In Foucault’s words, “Transgression carries the limit right to the limit of its being.”[4]

In Christian soteriological history, transgression precedes taboo. Initial transgression is visible only in the retrospective of the revelation of the taboo. The taboo that is revealed “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything” (Ex. 20:4; Deut 5:8) is preceded by “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness;”” Gen 1:26 (NRSV). This taboo which was revealed had already been transgressed by the divine in the very form of human being. Thus the sin of Eden only resulted in the limitless (expelling) by closing out the limits of the “Garden”. The sin of the human resulted only in the moving of the limit towards the limitless where the divine transgression has now set the limits.

Monumental transgression makes way for wiping of the horizon of whatever limits set for transgression by transforming it thereby into righteousness. For instance parent’s transgression when uncovered by a child is also an uncovering of the consciousness of the limits of transgression thereby transforming both the parent and the child by wiping away the child's limited transgression into his own righteousness because of the monumental transfiguration of the known limits of transgression. Thus righteousness always depends on the limits of transgression when the horizon is transfigured through a monumental transgression then all limits are raised towards this monumental transgression leaving everything transformed behind it as righteousness.

As the final act to the story of salvation, one final leap of transgression by the divine transforms the limits once and for all. This final “fall” of the divine is how it “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form.” Phil 2:7 (NRSV, italics mine). This transgression of the divine reverses everything by limiting the limitless. This monumental transgression once and for all breaks the taboo on the first instance and in the second removes all bounds on the transgression by wiping away the horizon clean with no demarcation between the limitless and the limit. Now the limitless is within the limit and the sacred has removed its taboo to be fully transfigured itself as the totality of transgression, thus offering the righteousness to every conceivable transgression. This monumental transgression not only offers total salvation from all conceivable transgressions it also reopens the being as if for the “first time” saying, “they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34), thus restoring even the innocence.

2 comments:

  1. Amos, you need to work on some grammatical errors, and also try to read your article aloud a few times, before posting it, to see how you can improve the framing of certain sentences, to make them more clear and concise. And some repetitions can be avoided, right? Or do you intend it to be a kind of poetic rhetoric?
    But I loved this article too!
    Check out Sergei Bulgakov's concept of the Divine Humanity in the book "The Lamb of God"!
    I am especially fascinated by how this whole pattern of transgression as deliberate wiping of the horizon, which in turn transforms all sins into righteousness, works out in the area of sexuality!
    I guess I have some experience too in this matter... ;-)
    Although I am not comfortable with the same notion if applied to social and political evils like the greed, corruption and apathy (in government and the construction industry) that have led to disaster & misery in Chennai recently.
    Lastly, how do you relate your philosophical side to your ministry? I am curious to know, since I struggle with this tension... looking to redefine ministry in such a way that I can express my scandalous intellect even in and through the traditional work of edifying Christians...

    Hope to catch you soon. I do feel a kinship with you! Guess we could be good friends...

    Grace and Peace to you!

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    1. Certainly I do need to check my errors before I post .. But I feel too lazy to proof read .. Thanks for being honest.. Actually I stared to read Bataille's Erotism after you mentioned it in one of your comments .. From that came forth this notion of transgression... I woe that to you ..

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