Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Courtesy of Captain Koma

"I have been reading a lot about Balthasar's theories (make that progressive theories) about Holy Saturday. Holy Saturday being the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Balthasar talks of the dead Jesus in Hell (that is the lowest Hell where all sinful and bad people go) there with all the other dead. In Hell lies the Son of God mute, silent, passively in torment. Detached from the Father though the Spirit stretched to all but a sliver still even in the lowest Hell connects the God Head.

This is Christ's witness to the dead in Balthasar's progression/embellishment. The God-man is suffering in Hell dead as all the others in Hell. Now Balthasar's scene and imagery are potent and his use of the dead Christ's solidarity with the dead has potentiality to be used two ways. First it can be used to either illuminate the torment and witness of Christ in Hell on Holy Saturday. Or, secondly it can extend itself further into an additional soteriology, extending salvation to those already dead. It is the extension of the salvific possibilities with Balthasar's progression that are most dangerous.

Such hope that it is possible for those long dead who did not show any belief or commitment is a false hope. It is this desire like the Rich man begging Abraham and Lazarus that we find ourselves begging Christ now. Begging so that He in His solidarity with the dead in Hell to witness that our loved ones may believe in this last chance for salvation from the silent tormented Christ in Hell with them.

That it is glorious that the God-man still connected though stretched beyond all understanding (yet is also abandoned) in Hell there is no doubt. But, there is little hope for those already dead now. Christ's solidarity is not with those dead in Hell with Him, but in those who are “dead in Christ”. It is our solidarity demonstrated in Baptism with the dead Christ that is the glorious event.

The images of Balthasar and the other musings of the Dead Christ that have been taken and used are misleading without the proper foundation. For this one should turn to Barth in Church Dogmatics V II. It is here that Barth points us away from any universalist hope (Moltmann) that those who have passed and not believed. Our hope in the salvation of loved ones who have died without Christ needs to be grounded in Christ alone and His right and true judgment. It should not be founded upon a maybe of tradition with little biblical reference and a shady background clothed in victorious action filled emotion.

The original reason for the descent, if you take Rufinius and others into account is as a guard against heresy. Mainly an heretical line that Christ unlike the current and historical belief that all who die got to the place of the dead did not. The whole descent is an issue of the two natures. That in being the God-man Christ's human trajectory was in no way different than any other person. So therefore if I go to any limbo, Gehenna, Hades or Hell Christ as his human trajectory states went as well. As a part of the reality of the incarnation and the substitutionary acts of Christ to bring about redemption, to redeem humanity Christ had to live out the full trajectory of humanity. Fulfiling tis trajectory those who believe align themselves in solidarity with Christ in His Birth, Life, Death, Descent, and glorious resurrection.

Balthasar's progressive theory is a vivid description of Christ in the final phase of redemption of the human trajectory. It is this redemption that changes (for those who believe) the final outcome of the human trajectory back to God and to resurrected life with Him."

- Captain Koma