S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
argument. Tertullian did not have a problem with something that we
apparently do: facing the fact that when you're dead, you're dead.
Finis, that's it. Period.
In the end then, if we -- even for an instant -- believe that "Jesus
Christ the Son of God died" is a statement that only seems absurd, is a
statement that we only pretend is absurd for the sake of argument, that
amounts to believing that He only seemed to die, that He only
pretended to die. And that belief, of course, could not have been more
decisively refused by the Church's magisterial proclamation from very
early times as gravest heresy.
Yet it seems that we are no longer shocked that "Dead is the Son of
God." We no longer even seem able to take it seriously. But there is no
more decisive way to completely and totally be part of the world of the
necessary and the arbitrary, the world of Cause and Chance, than to be
I am afraid that this still does not shock us. Our flight to the time-
less, ratified by more than a millennia of Catholic theology, is so
instinctive that we just 'skip over' that part. The thought of it offends
not just the Reason of the Greeks. It offends our Reason as well. And
so, to begin to get you to understand how fundamentally Covenantal
Theology refutes our flight to the time-less and turns us toward the
Eucharist as the sole "medicine of immortality," I feel it necessary to
genuinely shock you with another true sentence:
Jesus Christ the Son of God had no free will.
It seems more than a little ironic that devout Catholics who register
no sense of shock and outrage at the statement that Jesus Christ the
Son of God died, almost to a man might sputter with shock and outrage
at this one, which is, after all, quite a bit milder. I think this is a little
hint of just how far Catholic thought has taken us from the plain public
worship of the Church.
It's an even bet that, despite the fact that I practically gave it away
by talking about Jesus Christ being "completely and totally . . . part of
the world of the necessary and the arbitrary, the world of Cause and
Chance," you probably still weren't ready for it.
We just talked about how anyone who enters that world can not
have free will.
Mr. Minsky's world is The Real World, the grown-up world, the
world of "pure nature." It is our world. When we are at our brightest
and bravest we realize that the world we really live in is the world of
death, the fallen world, the world of Cause and Chance, the world in
which time itself is Hell, and that our only way out is in flight, to the
world of the time-less -- which, unfortunately, we also realize is the
1. Since this may be so shocking, I need to
be very clear. First, Fr. Keefe says nothing
about 'free will,' but he says repeatedly that
the fallen world is the world of
irresponsibility -- lack of free will (as Mr.
Minsky also sees). Thus, it is as true to say
that Jesus Christ had no free will as it is to
say that He died. Both are completely,
utterly true. So leave poor Mr. Minsky alone
-- he's right. Thus, Jesus Christ, "true Man,"
fully participated in Man's total lack of free
will. Jesus Christ has free will -- but not
because he shares in our supposed glory, our
'free will.' His acts are fully responsible, he
has free will, because "Truly this man was
the Son of God." [Mark 15:39 RSV] "In
Christ," we have free will. We have a share
in His free will, not the other way around.
Christ's One Sacrifice, the New Covenant,
the Eucharist, is crucial to Man's very
existence as Man -- and it is a complete
surprise. That is all Catholics may say in
response to this -- and all they need say.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.