Friday, November 19, 2010

"Adam, the son of God"

Back in 2006 I began to study the Epistle to the Hebrews. One of the prominent themes in that book is the concept of sonship. Both Hebrews and the Pauline corpus have developed theologies of sonship; for instance, they both oppose sonship to servitude. Through these studies I became convinced of the deep spiritual unity of the entire New Testament. Different emphases may be present in different writers, redemptive historical events may be organized and presented variously, but the substance is the same. The entire New Testament testifies to the divine Sonship of Jesus Christ.

In researching the genealogy of Jesus, I noticed for the first time the remarkable culmination of St. Luke's genealogical sequence: "Adam, the son of God." Adam was the first son of God to be born in the world. In biblical cosmology, firsts and lasts are always highly significant. The Lukan genealogy outlines the entire range of human development from its historical alpha, the first man, to its eschatological omega, the last Man.

Through his creative acts the Creator God introduces concrete principles into the world and superintends their development toward their appointed ends. These ends cannot be thwarted, though they can be delayed by creaturely free choice.

Adam was created after the divine Image, the eternal Son, and the created image, though defaced, was never effaced. Immediately after the first sin, the Lord sought out the man and his wife. God’s wrath is primarily directed at the serpent, though Adam and Eve must suffer the consequences of their sin. Chief among these consequences is the sentence of death that came upon them and all their posterity. And though Adam and Eve were banned from Eden, this was for their protection (Gen. 3:22-24). Our first parents were driven from Eden, while being simultaneously directed to hope in the Seed God would raise up to crush the serpent and, by implication, destroy death.

Cain, the first son of man to be born, was born outside of Eden. He was also the first murderer, committing the first act of fratricide. Following the first sin, these creaturely acts introduce other—alien—principles into the world. A necessary consequence of these is that the promised deliverer had to come through a younger son. The eschatological blessing was taken away from the eldest and devolved to a younger (though it must be maintained that natural inheritances still pass to the eldest unless forfeited).

We know Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God, and therefore the First; Adam and his race must then be sons only derivatively by way of participation in Him who is the incarnate divine Image. Jesus is also the younger Son of Man, born not by a (human) father’s will but through a Virgin. Jesus is the Seed of the Woman that was promised.

Jesus was born into the world as God’s beloved Son. The inheritance of all things predestined for him he possessed by right potentially, if not (yet) in actuality, by virtue of his Person. Jesus demonstrated the reality of his sonship by performing acts of filial piety culminating in the sacrifice of his life, but he never positively performed some work that meritoriously upgraded him all the way from the status of disfavor (non-sonship) to the status of favor (sonship) in the Father’s sight.

Indeed, Jesus did take upon himself the form of a servant, but he was always materially the Son. He assumed the form of servitude in order to exercise a universal High Priesthood in solidarity with all humanity. The prodigal son intuitively takes this form when he seeks to return to his father’s house. This is the expression of genuine contrition that a son ought to show after he realizes the enormity of his fault. Servitude is a self-inflicted condition after the Fall; it does not belong to the original order of things.

All this has been written to argue against the Federalist theory that God put man under the kind of legal contract under whose terms positive rewards were rendered for services strictly performed (the wages of servitude). Federal theology is a distortion of biblical teaching. It grossly underestimates the significance of the sonship-inheritance dynamic and conceives of humanity’s relation to God and Christ in purely extrinsic legal terms. Filial merit is essentially different than the merit of servitude, which always must fall short in comparison.

Adam never lost his natural status of divine sonship. This status can never be earned or lost; only its blessings can be forfeited through personal choice. Hell is the anguish of those sons of God who, through their own fault, are eternally deprived of their inheritance because they persist in impenitence. They want what they want on their own terms, not the Heavenly Father's.

Monday, November 08, 2010

What Would a Monarchy in America Look Like?

I commend to the readers here the following articles by John C. Médaille:

On Democracy and Kings

A Real Catholic Monarchy

Monarchy and the American Constitution

John C. Médaille is a father of five, an adjunct Instrutor of theology at the University of Dallas, and a real estate agent in Irving, Texas.  He has a web page devoted to "Distributivism and Catholic Social Teaching" and other subjects.

The Patriarchal Theory of the State

I just came across this article over the weekend and thought UO readers would be interested in reading it.  It's one of the finer statements I've read lately from the monarchist point of view.

My own perspective is fundamentally that of the patriarchal theory of the state.  My understanding is that Adam was created head of the entire race and that fatherly authority was transmitted to his male offspring.  In opposition to the theory that men are created as free and equal individuals, my view is that persons are first established in families and only achieve a degree of autonomy later.  This autonomy has to be earned; and there is good and bad autonomy.  However, the path of authentic personhood always involves honoring one's parents in obedience to God from whom every paternity in heaven and earth receives its name.

Furthermore, on my theory, society is essentially a network of families in covenant tied together by the bonds of faith, loyalty, mutual care, and blood.  The state receives its legitimacy from its participation in the the divine rule of Christ who rules as everlasting Father by the will of his divine Father.  To the degree a state departs from the divine pattern is the degree it departs from its taproot in Eden.  A state departs from its purpose, i.e., to produce godly seed before the Lord, in direct proportion as it undermines the integrity of the nation's families.

Finally, the basic function of law is to protect the family and govern relationships between kinship groups, not enunciate the rights of individuals in abstract isolation from everything (and everyone!) else.  Law should not prefer the abstract individual over the family, for the individual cannot exist without the family.  Fathers have high privileges and grave responsibilities under this system that other persons do not, cannot, possess.  Justice, in order to be just, must be applied in a way that honors the familial structure of the human race.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Selected Quotations

"Monarchy is the one system of government where power is exercised for the good of all."

Aristotle, 322-384 BC.

"To be a king and wear a crown is more glorious to them that see it than it is a pleasure to them that bear it."

Queen Elizabeth I.

"They tell us that all Kings are bad; that God never made a King; and that all Kings are very expensive. But, that all Kings are bad cannot be true: because God himself is one of them; he calls himself King of Kings; which not only shows us he is a King, but he has other Kings under him: he is never called King of Republics.  The Scripture calls Kings, the Lord’s Anointed; but who ever heard of an anointed Republic?"

Association Papers, London, 1793.

"A priest who is not a monarchist is not worthy to stand at the altar table.  The priest who is a republican is always a man of poor faith. God himself anoints the monarch to be head of the kingdom, while the president is elected by the pride of the people.  The king stays in power by implementing God’s commandments, while the president does so by pleasing those who rule.  The king brings his faithful subjects to God, while the president takes them away from God."

Neomartyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev, tortured and killed by Bolsheviks on 7th February 1918.

"The monarchical principle is laughed at by vulgar and foolish people in all the suburbs of Europe.  It is hated in all the gutters of the world.  The reason is simple.  It enshrines with a fitting dignity and elaboration the principle of authority as something independent of this or that politician.  It places it above attack.  It symbolises and consecrates an attitude of mind essential to the happiness of peoples."

D’Alvarez, Storm Over Europe, by Douglas Jerrold (1930), Chapter XII.

"Above the ebb and flow of party strife, the rise and fall of ministries, and individuals, the changes of public opinion or public fortune, the British Monarchy presides, ancient, calm and supreme within its function, over all the treasures that have been saved from the past and all the glories we write in the annals of our country."

Sir Winston Churchill.

"There is nothing about which I am more anxious than my country, and for its sake I am willing to die ten deaths, if that be possible."

Queen Elizabeth I, in 1564.

For more quotations, please visit the quotation page on the Constitutional Monarchy Association website.