For what follows to make sense, the reader must be at least relatively open to the idea that Jewish and Christian revelation is a legitimate source for "data" to be taken into consideration in thinking about why we're here and where we're going. Each thesis could be a chapter in a book, but I'll assume the reader has enough biblical and philosophical literacy so that the more obvious references need not be elaborated upon. I've also added several "footnotes" in the comment section to develop some of these ideas or to entertain objections.
- The Logos is the uncreated ground of all created Being and as such the condition for the possibility of the created World's intelligibility.
- Humans were created in the image and likeness of the Logos. Therefore the Being of the World is intelligible to humans, as like knows like.
- The Being of the World is the human unconscious as both it and the human soul are grounded in the Logos. Heidegger says that we humans have forgotten Being. Yes, and knowledge is the making conscious of what humanity knew once about the Being of the World and has forgotten.
- So much of the Being of the World has been forgotten because human consciousness is shrouded in darkness since the Fall, a prehistorical, perhaps even a preevolutionary, event in which humans forgot who they were and for what purposes they were created.
- We have no idea about what the biblical story of the Fall literally signifies, but it suggests that the universe is multi-dimensional and that the Fall was experienced as an ontological shift in the sphere of human activity from a higher dimension to a lower one, from a conscious communion with a higher order of being to a state of alienation from it, i.e., from alignment with the Logos, to a misalignment with and an eventual forgetting of it.
- We are immersed in Being yet we are estranged from it insofar as a vestigial memory of our former home in the higher order lingers. Homelessness is our existential condition and some humans experience that homelessness more intensely than others. To not experience the homelessness is to be in the despair that Kierkegaard says is unaware of being despair.
- The rules governing how things work in the lower dimension are what we recognize as the physical laws of science in the material world, which, like the principles governing biological evolution in the life world are for the most part impersonal, random, and cruel.
- The fall into biological evolution--qua fall into alienation, homelessness, and misalignment with the Logos--is a fall into a condition of fundamental injustice. This state of 'injustice' is what the Christian tradition calls ‘original sin’, a condition from which humans are helpless to liberate themselves.
- To be liberated means to be realigned with the Logos, which is to be in a state of justice, or to be 'justified'. A state of justice is one in which cruelty is replaced with compassion, randomness by alignment with the higher order, the impersonal when all aspects of the Being of the World are in communion with one another.
- Promises were made by the Logos to ancient Jewish ancestors that this liberation or justification or realignment would be a possibility in the future. A world ruled by justice is, therefore, one in which the logic of biological evolution will be replaced by the logic of the Logos, a new law of communion that makes possible wolves lying down with lambs and swords being beaten into ploughshares.
- The movement toward justification was enabled by Logos-inspired interventions from outside the sphere of original sin through the work of prophets, philosophers, saints, bodhisattvas, rishis, great sages, culture heroes, and lawgivers throughout the world and at different times.
- These culture heroes provided extrinsic rules, laws, taboos, and customs that helped humans to live in ways that more closely approximated justice, i.e., to help them find ways to live together that were more aligned with the Logos rather than with the random, cruel, impersonal principles that governed the lower or 'fallen' dimension alienated from communion with the Logos.
- The introduction of Law was a reminder of home in the higher order, and with it an uncomfortable tension developed in the human soul, which was pulled intrinsically in one direction by the instinctual logic of evolution, the will to power, and the master/slave dynamic, and in the other direction by the extrinsic imposition of counter-instinctual laws and customs given by the Logos-inspired culture heroes.
- While interventions from outside the fallen sphere were universally experienced by all human cultures, some interventions had more significant impacts than in others. The cultures in which the great world religions developed are those in which these interventions had the greatest impact.
- One particular culture, the ancient Israelites, was singled out for a unique intervention, and it was through them that the Logos entered into biological evolution in order to influence evolution from within it rather than only from outside of it. The Logos incarnated as the human being Jesus Christ, a Jew. His mission was to remind humans who they were and to make possible a restoration of the communion with him that had been lost in the Fall.
- Jesus remained deeply aligned with his own inmost identity as Logos, but unlike the prelapasarian Adam's failure in the garden, Jesus in his prelapasarian state (born without original sin) resisted a similarly intense temptation in the wilderness. After returning from the wilderness, he began a public teaching ministry in which He announced the coming rule of Justice, i.e., the coming realignment, in a kingdom in which the first in the Fallen World will be last in a Just World.
- At the end of his public ministry, he freely surrendered to the rule of cruelty and will to power that had been the inner driving force behind evolution and empire, and penetrated into the very depths of it so that a new competing inner driving force might be introduced into evolution.
- The kingdom of justice is thus something that gestates within the soul of the world and within the individual human soul insofar as each becomes gradually more aligned with the Logos, and this counterdevelopment grows alongside biological evolution transforming it, and in the distant future supplanting it.
- If interventions before this point were outside-in (law, custom), after Easter and Pentecost, the interventions would gradually become more inside-out. Moral behavior becomes increasingly governed by the grace-inspired heart rather than by law or custom. Conscience, the intuitive apprehension of the Logos, replaces superego, the internalized extrinsic code of the tribe.
- The kingdom of God born within is the seed of the promised reign of justice, and individuals and societies are justified to the degree that that seed germinates and grows first in individual souls and then in the communities they form and the societies they build.
- The Christian Church itself goes through evolutionary stages: the first, the ebullient Age of the Church Fathers; the second, the stern post-Constantinian age of Roman code and dogma; the third, the Protestant disenchantment of the world emphasizing interiority, freedom, and the individual conscience.
- The fourth, the post secular age into which we are entering now, I believe will retrieve a sacramental imagination of the cosmos. As the Logos germiniates and grows in indvidual souls, it awakens correlatively in the soul of the world, and with that awakening comes the re-enchantment of the world experienced as sacrament.
- The goal of history is the fulfillment of the promises made to the Jewish Patriarchs, the earth and all beings on it shall be justified and all creation shall live in communion, thous in love with other thous. All shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.
- The transformation of evolution is a human task from within history, not a divine one from outside of it. After Easter, humans still remain very much in a fallen, homeless condition, but their deliverance comes from inside out, from the depths. The Logos since Good Friday no longer works outside-in; he works inside-out. Home is not in heaven, but something humans build gradually in history.
- The task for humans now individually and collectively, is to help and encourage one another as best they can to live justly, i.e., to cultivate the growth of the reign of justice within, to live discerning their way forward with grace-inspired consciences, to fight compassionately for justice rightly understood, to do their part, no matter how small, to advance the reign of justice in the world.
While I'm sure that people more learned than I can point to problems I'm unaware of, I believe this is a completely orthox account that answers the question: Cur deus homo? Whether this account is believable to others or not, I believe an account like it is called for an will emerge sooner or later that is broadly accepted by Christians, who currently do not have much of a sense of the meaning of history or of how to think about evolution.
Does anybody think it possible that without a story like this one humans can find the intellectual and spiritual resources to avoid drowning in the dehumanizing flood in which we are all swimming? Conventional Christian thinking about history cares more about what happens outside of time than what happens inside of it; the goal has been for the most part to get out of the flood rather than to push back against its impersonal, random cruelty and chaos. This "escape" narrative is a deeply and unnecessarily alienating insofar as it distracts us from the richer, deeper meanings of incarnation that were opened up for us because of the redemptive act of incarnation that occurred two thousand years ago.
On the other hand secular postmodernity gives us no place to stand in order to get a foothold to push back. We need such a foothold if we are not to be swept away, but we need more than a foothold if we are to move forward. We need a sense of rich, future human possibility that's worth striving for. Does anyone really believe that secular humanism and the levelled consumer society it has spawned has any belief in human possibility that is worth fighting for? The political and religious Right in the country are deeply, deeply mistaken, but they at least believe that they are defending something worth fighting for. Does the typical careerist cosmopolitian on the cultural Left have any such belief?