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The Eschaton Has Been Immanentized: Against the Modern Gnostics

August 18, 2009

Do not immanentize the eschaton. How many times do we find these words repeated, time and again, since Voegelin has suggested to do so is Gnostic? How ironic is this claim, when authentic Christian theology believes that the eschaton has been immanetized in Christ. Voegelin, and many of his followers like Buckley, became critical of anyone who would try to connect the supernatural with the natural in a way which understood the eschatological ramifications of Christ have any this-worldly implications.[1] But this is exactly what Christian theology proposes. God became man; the eschaton has been revealed; the world and all that is in it has been affected by the immanentizing of the eschaton that history can never be the same. Christians are called to live out their lives in and through Christ, bringing the eschatological implications of Pascha to the world itself. The world is meant to be transformed and brought to its perfection, and we are to be Christ’s workers in helping to bring this about; of course, our work is not on the same level of Christ’s, but, if we truly become one with Christ in his body, we must understand this is exactly what we are called to do.[2] Anything else is a rejection of the incarnation, anything else which tries to establish an absolute duality between the immanent and transcendent is what really qualifies as gnostic!

Gnosticism was dualistic in that it saw the transcendent eschaton could not be immanentized in this world; at best, a docetic presentation of the eschaton could be presented, but it would not be the eschaton itself – God did not become man, but only seemed to appear among humanity, because the eschaton must lie outside of history, outside of the immanent world of experience. Gnostics said that only those who have transcended the immanent reality and have experienced a gnosis which transcended the world of experience, the world of “evil,” can be saved, for only they have experienced the true God who can never enter the world.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This Word, who is God, is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end – the eschaton.[3] The eschaton dwelt among us, the eschaton became flesh. “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world”  (Heb 1:1-2). The Word has come to us in these last days, the eschaton has been revealed – the kingdom of God has been established through the death and resurrection of Christ – this is what Paul means when he says, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1Cor 15:21). It was this truth which made Christianity a scandal – the Greeks could understand an emanation of The One entering into the world, but not the One itself. No one has a problem with the immanence of an emanation, only the immanence of the eschaton. “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1:15 – 19). The Gnostics denied it; they said, like the Greeks, this could not happen – the eschaton might appear to be with us, might appear to be in the flesh, but this was only an illusion, something unreal. John said otherwise – this, he said, was the position of the antichrist. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already” (1John 4:2-3). The eschaton has become immanent with creation, the eschaton has immanentized, and all of creation rejoices, for “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  (Rom 8:21). The world is to be transformed, not abandoned. Since the eschaton has been immanentized, we cannot ignore the world, we cannot dualistic seek only things of the spirit and reject the physical world and all its needs; we must seek the eschaton not apart from the world, but in it – for the Logos, the eschaton, has set up his camp and now dwells among us.

Gnostics rejected any attempt to help heal the world – because the world was outside of the scope of their understanding of the eschaton. While some forms of Gnosticism were highly ascetic and demanded austere practices (if one was attracted to the things of the world, one could not transcend it),[4] many others became so indifferent to the world, that anything in it became meaningless. There was no responsibility to anyone, there was indeed, more morality – the world is not real, and so what happens in it is irrelevant. While this might show why Gnosticism is difficult to present, because its principles lead in diverse directions, we can see that both tendencies nonetheless continue to influence those who follow the Gnostic rejection of the eschaton entering the world, and often converge together. For example, we can find it with many modern-day Gnostics as they combine an extreme puritan-like stand in sexuality with an indifference to the fate of the world itself.[5]

Of course, Christian morality also expects holiness in the body. It is because the body itself is holy and is have a share in eternity that must seek to live our lives in purity. Salvation is of the body and of the soul, and expects purity in both. “And since man is an animal made up of soul and body, that [salvation] must come about through the instrumentality of both of them, there is both bodily holiness, the safeguard of abstinence from all shameful things and all wicked deeds, and holiness of soul, the preservation of its integrity of faith in God, adding nothing and subtracting nothing from it.”[6] Our spiritual life cannot be had outside of the body. We must not view the flesh as evil and our sexuality as a thing to be rejected, but rather, both must be seen as good and capable as working for God’s greater glory in creation (and not apart from it).

The world, the flesh, and the workings of both, can be and should be seen as good, and worthy of preservation. God so loves the world that he seeks to save it, not destroy it, and the Christian must seek to have it saved by the means God has chosen – through the incarnation, through the eschaton immanentized.[7] “Action, then, is preserved by faith, because unless you believe, says Isaias, you shall not continue; and faith is given by truth, since faith rests upon reality: for we shall believe what really is, as it is, and believing what really is, as it is for ever, keep a firm hold of our assent to it.”[8] One who lacks faith will not act for the betterment of the world, because they will not believe the world is real and worth preserving; the one who has faith knows it is real, created by the good God, knows it is worthy of being saved and preserved from corruption, and will follow the example of their God by working with God’s grace to its benefit. The incarnation expects earthly glory; Gnosticism rejects it; one’s belief about the eschaton explains the way one will deal with the world. Christian belief is incarnational; unbelief attempts to remove the eschaton from the world, as Ireaneus says: “And others again despise the coming of the Son of God and the dispensation of His incarnation, which the apostles have transmitted to us, and which the prophets foretold would be the summing-up of humanity, as we have shown you in brief. And such people too should be counted among the unbelievers.”[9]

The dispensation of the incarnation is for the world, for its transformation and transfiguration, while those who reject the immanentized eschaton in Christ find all kinds of excuses to reject the world and excuse disinterest in its wellbeing. Such faith without works is dead, because it is not a faith in the incarnate One, but in the disincarnate eschaton which rejects the world. Life, however, is a thing of the world.  “Irenaeus, with great perspicacity, understood this, and showed it [Gnosticism] up for what it was. For him Christianity is about the divine and spiritual Word becoming flesh and body. The redemption depends on the real Incarnation, the real suffering on the Cross, and the real resurrection of the flesh. All three of these are a real scandal for Gnosticism.”[10] All three reveal not only that the eschaton has become immanent, but what the eschaton has done in that immanent activity – it is a scandal to believe the eschaton can be immanentized, it is worse to believe that immanentized eschaton suffered – how can the transcendent suffer? And yet the answer to this, as it always should be, is that God is love, and the incarnation is the revelation of this love. God loves the world, and so gives himself over to the world – the eschaton emptied itself to give us the gift of himself, the gift of love. A rejection of the immanentized eschaton is a rejection of God’s love, for it seeks to keep God separate from us. But for the Christian, this can never be believed, for we have witnessed the love of God for us, and we have encountered God on the cross: “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 5- 8). This is the Christian message, and our life in faith requires us to follow through and follow his example, of self-giving love for the betterment of the world. Either we believe in Christ incarnate or we do not; but we must never let it be said, like the Gnostics, we believe in Christ unincarnate, the eschaton non-immanentized: this must always be seen as the ideal of antichrist, for it teaches a God who does not love.

Footnotes

[1] Lubac’s understanding about the divide between the natural and supernatural in Western thought proves itself valid here: because the supernatural is transcendent, Gnostic speculation says it is incapable of being seen in the natural world and any attempt to see the two working together is rejected. Grace no longer works to perfect nature, but one seeks to overcome nature and the world through it, so that the world is of no real importance. In extreme forms this becomes Manichaean dualism, which rejects the world as evil and sees anyone who seeks to preserve and protect the world as evil as well. It is no wonder that the crusading spirit of this modern Gnosticism looks like the Gnostics of old – they “know” they are right, and those who oppose them are wrong; they know their rightness makes them as those who support all that which is good, and those who they oppose as pure evil, an evil which must be destroyed. They have no ability to see evil for what it is: a wound which needs to be healed, to be overcome by love, not annihilation.

[2] Thus the Church is, as Balthasar points out, the continued presence of Christ in the world, in history, and through the institution of the Church, Christ continues to work in history. “The institution of the Church, which from within is the presence of Christ and a liberating sphere, acts as a scandal to the world. And this very scandal is indispensable to prevent the Incarnation of God, and even his crucifixion, from dissolving into idealistic vapor and shallow morality,” Hans Urs von Balthasar, New Elucidations. trans. Sister Mary Theresidle Skerry (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986).Therefore, one can say with the continued incarnation of Christ’s presence in the world the eschaton continues to be immanentized.

[3] “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:1).

[4] Many Gnostics, including later forms of Gnosticims like the Cathars, saw sexual reproduction as evil, entrapping more and more sparks of the divine through reproduction.

[5] But it is also true, many are indifferent when it comes to sexual morality, but most who say “do not immanentize the eschaton” say such words whenever anyone works for a better world, revealing full well their rejection of the world and an uncaring response to its needs.

[6] St Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Teaching. Trans. Joseph P. Smith, S.J (New York: Newman Press, 1952), 48.

[7] John 3:16.

[8] Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Teaching, 49.

[9] Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Teaching, 108.

[10] Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Scandal of the Incarnation: Irenaeus Against the Heresies. Trans. John Saward (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 3.

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21 Comments
  1. Liam permalink
    August 18, 2009 6:52 pm

    Maybe it’s better to understand that dystopian visions of an immanetized eschaton are the problem.

    But Christ’s victory, trampling down death by death – icons of the Anastasis come immediately to mind – signifies that the power of death, which is the ultimate weapon of earthly powers – is no longer absolute. Caesar yields to Christ in the end, but the glorious new creation is already underway.

  2. August 18, 2009 7:04 pm

    Liam

    Right, Christ’s victory is eschatological and has come into time. Obviously the application of this is important, and there is the “now — but not yet” dynamic which needs to always be kept in play (and why utopia is not possible); but I find the proponents of “do not immanentize the eschaton” follow the dualism which Lubac said led to atheism (and I agree). Of course, I knew this already — as Nicholas of Cusa points out, God is the not-other ;)

    Nonetheless, what really annoys me about Voegelin and Buckely is that they posit something which is radically Christian as Gnostic — and many people believe them!

  3. David Wheeler-Reed permalink
    August 18, 2009 7:42 pm

    Henry… would you mind if I commented on this as a New Testament Scholar? I only ask because I don’t want it to seem as if I’m pulling rank, etc.

    Thanks,

    David

  4. August 18, 2009 7:47 pm

    David,

    Comment as you would wish; I’m going at it in relation to systematic theology, which of course reads the NT in light of the tradition. The Gnosticism in the NT times was beginning to make itself known, but not as advanced as it would later come, though enough is there to use in relation to full-blown 2nd century Gnosticism.

  5. Excelsior permalink
    August 18, 2009 8:36 pm

    I think you mistake V and B.

    “Do not attempt to immanentize the eschaton” means, in their vocabulary, something very similar to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.”

    In particular, the prohibition on immanentizing the eschaton as they state it emphasizes that God alone has the power and sovereignty to create justice and paradise from the top down; that all human attempts to do so through government are doomed to failure through the corruptibility and lack of wisdom — or even adequate access to information! — of those in control, in conjunction with the fallen-ness of those being governed.

    The Catholic integration of Subsidiarity With Solidarity reflects this: Governments and political movements, with their “new social orders” and attempts to rewrite culture and human nature, inevitably produce the “bloated spider parody” of Solidarity Without Subsidiarity as all wills are subsumed within the collective will and subordinate units (states, counties, towns, communities, families, individuals) experienced reduced freedom to take initiative. But the Catholic vision of the new Christendom would mostly have individuals doing what they see is just, with some assistance from families and communities; to a slightly lesser degree communities doing what they see is just with some assistance from towns and counties; to a still lesser degree counties doing what they see is just with some assistance from states, and as a last resort, states doing whatever remains that they are competent to accomplish, with federal-level government cleaning up whatever items they can’t do.
    This is not the bloated spider, but reflects instead a social order where there is enforced unity only in the essential things, and in non-essential things there is diversity. (And by the grace of God, in all things there is charity.)

    Christ will immanentize the eschaton; which is to say He has already begun to do so and will complete the process at His return “and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.”

    But He does so not only through power, but rightful power rightfully applied.

    Those men who would immanentize the eschaton through government propose to use force, guided by fallen human minds and fallen human consciences, to achieve what only Christ has the wisdom, moral perfection, and the just authority to compel.

    Hence the admonition to mere men NOT to “immanentize the eschaton.” It is obviously not an admonition directed at Christ; rather, it is a recognition of His unique, non-transferable eschatological prerogative.

    Furthermore, that it is directed at men who habitually use force (unjustly) to achieve their “end of history” schemes tells us that its underlying philosophy has nothing to do with Gnosticism.

    It is rather much more like an application of the Just War Doctrine. Just as one may not use force except at the instigation of just authority, proportionally, when justified, as a last resort, using moral means, and when there is some chance of success, so too men may not enlist the guns of government to remake human society according to their latest cockamamie schemes except at the instigation of just authority, proportionally, when justified, as a last resort, using moral means, and when there is some chance of success.

    Which is to say: Never. Because (to list items in reverse order) it never works, it generally involves immoral means, they incline to force as a first choice, the social inequities the hope to ameliorate never justify the rules broken, nor are proportional to the damage done, and finally, They Aren’t Jesus.

    • August 19, 2009 2:45 am

      Excelsior,

      As Digby noted well, you miss much with your dualism, which is exactly the point of this text — that it is indeed a dualism which separates the two spheres which Christ has brought together. It is also a dualism which rejects the implications of Christ, who as the immanentized eschaton, continues to have influence in the world through the Church; and we, who are the Body of Christ, the Church, are called to do the work, to be incarnational. The “already but not yet” means precisely this — it is a repudiation of Christ to deny the world and our work in the world. Of course the means have to be the means of Christ, but that is a different question. Understood properly, the immanentized eschaton leads to Catholic Social Doctrine — the reason why we have social doctrine is because we become persons in Christ, and are to do the work of Christ.

  6. digbydolben permalink
    August 18, 2009 11:53 pm

    They Aren’t Jesus.

    Well, then, you’ve missed what I take to be the whole point of Henry’s brilliant entry, because, to the extent they have faith, and to the extend they participate in the sacramental life of the Church, they are, indeed, becoming Jesus. THAT was Jesus’s purpose and the mission the Church continues.

    I’ve heard both Catholics and Protestants in that Gnostic-shadowed land I hail from call these lines blasphemous:

    …Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is
    –Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
    Lovely in eyes and lovely in limbs not His,
    To the Father, through the feature of men’s faces.

    And I believe that Hopkins was not speaking “figuratively” there at all, but meant it literally. You are obviously a Gnostic yourself, to the extent you reject what Henry has said above, and to whatever extent that you find Hopkins’s magnificent repudiation of Gnosticism repugnant.

  7. David Raber permalink
    August 19, 2009 1:05 pm

    “Do not immanentize the eschaton. How many times do we find these words repeated, time and again, since Voegelin has suggested to do so is Gnostic?”

    Yes, Henry, I was just in the grocery store the other day when I overheard a soccer mom bemoaning the “immanentization of the eschaton.” I am reminded of Anthony Burgess’ description of how the crowd in St. Peter’s Square greeted the new Pope John XXIII. He said they were “gaudeating magnally,” though I don’t think his remark had any relation to theology.

    On the substance, thanks for a post that was more than interesting, it was uplifting–to use the simple Anglo-Saxon locution.

    • August 19, 2009 1:12 pm

      David, I’m glad the piece was uplifting; of course, I admit I don’t hear “ordinary” people discuss the problems of “immanentizing the eschaton,” but I see it quite common in certain religiously-based political discussions, so I admit, I might have better said how many times have I heard it repeated time and again…

  8. David Raber permalink
    August 19, 2009 3:14 pm

    Henry, I was just pulling your leg.

    I do wish a viewpoint like yours (which I would identify with the mainstream Catholic tradition) would get to the ordinary people in the pews, and the unchurched too for that matter.

    Perhaps under the influence of Protestantism, or a gnosticism that has somehow survived over many centuries (in the Church and out), or as an artifact of the science/religion feud, there is a powerful popular notion that Christianity is anti-physical, anti-world, ethereal, unrelated to matters of daily life, not at alll practical, and so on–in short, very lofty and no fun at all.

    I wish, for one thing, that something of your analysis, and the passion that goes with it, would get into more Catholic homilies.

    • August 19, 2009 3:32 pm

      David,

      I knew what you said was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I also think there was something valid with it, even with the joke. Sometimes I speak about my experiences which is not always the normal experience of others — and I need to be careful with that.

      Nonetheless, you are right — this is one of the most needed messages of Christianity today and any day– that the incarnation has real meaning and value to our earthly/worldly lives. Gnosticism itself was the continuation of a pre-Christian dualism, to be sure, but with its incorporation of Christian thought, it influenced Christianity — and I’m afraid, it’s an influence which will probably be with us for a long, long time to come. St Augustine is not the only source of it, but he has been a major power behind this — he was such a great intellectual influence on the development of Christian thought that his mistakes made way for this kind of problem. In the modern age, it has I think been enhanced — and our culture continues with divisions which make no sense to Christian thought, but does to Enlightenment ideologies which influence us all.

  9. August 19, 2009 5:56 pm

    I’m with Voegelin on this one.

    I think “immanentizing the eschaton” has more to do with the mixing of Christianity with earth bound political faiths, whether as in the moral majority on the right or the liberation theologians on the left … this is the syncretism that has to be resisted.

    • August 19, 2009 6:01 pm

      Lizzy

      I’m with Irenaeus and the Christian faith on this. I’m with the belief that the incarnation is real, is valid, and has real authority on this earth. Voegelin CLAIMED Gnostics “immanentized the eschaton,” which is the most ABSURD claim to make. In doing so, anyone who follows him in the lunacy show full well THEY are the gnostics, THEY are the dualists.

      Recommendation: Mystery of the Supertnatural by Henri de Lubac. You need it. Or, read my series on Gnosticism. Seriously, Voegelin and those who follow him on this are the Gnostics and really show the secular-dualism which rejects the world from being influenced by Christ. No wonder they always say “don’t immanentize the eschaton” when someone does the work of Christ!

  10. August 19, 2009 8:20 pm

    See, there you go again. Political advocacy does not equal “the work of Christ,” no matter how deeply convinced you are that whatever you are advocating will acheive a Christian goal.

    • August 20, 2009 3:42 am

      Lizzy

      You have not answered how “immanentizing the eschaton” is Gnostic; second, and more important, you have yet to show or justify the absolute dualism you support. Who is “going” again but you? It’s quite clear, you don’t think within the context of the Christian faith, but an atheistic secularism which tries to tell Christ “get out of here.”

      • August 20, 2009 3:53 am

        From Quas Primas (Pope Pius 11) — read about the implications of Christ’s authority — and you will see it connects to the secular sphere — the eschaton HAS BEEN immanentized!

        18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.”[28] Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.”[29] He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. “For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?”[30] If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. “With God and Jesus Christ,” we said, “excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation.”[31]

        19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord’s regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen’s duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. “You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men.”[32] If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.

        20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth — he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.” Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! “Then at length,” to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, “then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.”[33]

  11. August 20, 2009 12:45 pm

    So … if rulers realize they are servants of God, they will rule wisely and justly, and there will be peace in the world. If the nations submitted themselves to Christ, there would be peace.

    You’ll find no arguement from me about any of that. But there are a whole lot of “ifs” there.

    This is the problem. There is no such thing as Christian politics. There are Christian goals like: improve education for the poor.

    Well, how? With charter schools? With aid to private non-profits? With increased federal funding for public schools? With better central coordination and nation-wide standards? With a dismantling of the Department of Education?

    Which of those positions is the Christian one? Well, any of them may be.

    Immanentizing the eschaton is gnostic because it involves we human beings claiming that we, through our man made laws, can accomplish what only God’s law can acheive.

    I am not a gnostic or a secular atheist by the way. I am an Augustinian.

    • August 20, 2009 1:39 pm

      Immanentizing the eschaton is gnostic because it involves we human beings claiming that we, through our man made laws, can accomplish what only God’s law can acheive.

      Once again, you are not showing anything in relation to Gnoticism. Indeed, no one is saying through politics “one can accomplish only what God’s law can achieve,” on the conrary – and Christians engaging politics through their faith know this already. But again, even if someone was saying this — what has this to do with Gnosticism?!?!?! Gnosticism is not about anything this worldly! What you are mentioning are people trying to affect this world — Gnostics deny this is possible ENTIRELY. Seems like you.

      Second, your arguments have not even been Augustinian when it comes to worldly affairs– Augustine was incarnational and didn’t deny the connection between the sacred and the secular (look to his arguments on the Donatists which demand such connection; of couse, he was wrong in application, but in fundamentals, he was not in this respect). “Augustinianism” however has LONG been a place where Gnostic dualists have abused the name of Augustine, using the traces of his Gnostic background to do what you do here — split the two sphere apart, and indeed, this LEADS to practical atheism (see Lubac). What you have is not Augustine, but the corrupted misrepresentation of him called.. Jansenism! Indeed, this is quite clear. That Christians can have many options and ways to engage the world for its betterment is not an argument, btw, against such incarnational theology. Indeed, as I keep saying, your responses all show your Gnosticism and you really don’t understand Christ BECAME MAN because such Gnosticism cannot!

  12. August 20, 2009 7:49 pm

    Pardon me! My theology teachers and I have apparently somehow completely missed the point of City of God. Apologies.

    • August 21, 2009 3:10 am

      Apparently so, Lizzy. It does start as an apology for Christianity and how Christianity didn’t destroy Rome… and again, look to Augustine and his relationship with authorities. There is a reason why HE is the foundation for JUST WAR theory.

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