Cur Deus Cruciatus?
The basic question of this dissertation is, “Why a crucified God?” The history of this question is traced through strategically chosen increments in Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and Lonergan. Each contributes in some important way to the development of a tradition that focuses on the choice of divine love and wisdom to answer evil through the justice of the cross rather than by coercion. In light of these earlier transpositions and Lonergan’s own development, this dissertation examines the meaning and justice of the cross, as epitomized in Lonergan’s Law of the Cross, and re-contextualizes this law in relation to our collective responsibility in and for history. This teleological re-reading of Lonergan’s soteriology brings to the forefront that a fitting remedy to the problem of a dis-ordered love is a re-ordering and (re-)ordered love, not coercive power. According to Lonergan’s Law of the Cross, the intrinsic intelligibility of redemption is the transformation of evil into good by love. This love, caritas ordinata et ordinans, is understood by analogy with the antecedent offer of diffusive friendship and by analogy with sacramental penance. The restoration of right order through the cross is fitting because, if the laws of nature and history are not suspended, retaliation would only multiply the objective surd. The constructive part of this dissertation further specifies ontological conditions for the fittingness of the cross by bringing the lex crucis into dialogue with Lonergan’s general theory of historical process. In continuity with the emerging world order (as subject to classical, statistical, dialectical, and genetic laws), the cross manifests an orderly communication of divine friendship to sinners. Correspondingly, the justice of the cross regards, not retributive justice, but the possibility of justice among sinners. This possibility, it is argued, is inaugurated by Christ’s transformation of suffering into the means of a new finality in history, the probabilities of which are decisively shifted in the cross event and concretely realized through the emergent agape network, the higher integration of the human good of order through the whole Christ, head and members, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The justice of the cross, then, is an emergent agapic justice which proceeds from the dynamic state of being in love with God as its principle and is realized in a dialectic unification of all things in Christ, constituting the “cruciform” transformation of human (inter-)subjectivity and the recovery of human progress as ordered to the eschatologically definitive reign of God.