There is no greater challenge to faith than the pervasive judgment that faith is a flight from life, an evasion of pain and suffering, a refusal of the burden and the anguish of the human condition, or a capitulation to that passivity which is the very reversal of freedom and responsibility.  Certainly I have always known faith as an ultimate challenge, and an ultimate challenge inseparable from a profound conflict, one which could be understood as an ultimate conflict between a pure activity and a pure passivity, or between a genuine freedom and a fully actual impotence.  Insofar as Stonewall Jackson as been a model for my life, I have thought of this conflict as war itself, a deeply interior and yet violent war, one finally allowing no hostages or slackers, and demanding a ruthless discipline, and yet a discipline allowing if not impelling truly innovative tactics and strategy, for here the odds are overwhelmingly against victory, and even the very meaning of victory is deeply in question.  While ultimately faith is a gift of grace, humanly it is a deep struggle, and the absence of struggle can be understood as an absence of faith, but the struggle itself can only be a deeply individual struggle, hence truly transcending any possible guidelines or rules, and wholly inseparable from oneís unique condition and situation.  Even Catholicism can know and accept the autonomy of the individual conscience, but so, too, is there a deep autonomy of faith itself, and even if there is an extraordinary variety and multiplicity of faith or faiths, each is individually enacted, and is only genuine faith to the extent that it is individually enacted, an enactment which itself is inseparable from a deep struggle.

 Inevitably that struggle occurs in a unique and particular world, so that there is a struggle for faith that is unique to our world, and I ever increasingly became persuaded that this can best be understood by way of the category of absolute nothingness, one that was deeply called forth philosophically in the nineteenth century, and far more comprehensively called forth imaginatively in full and late modernity, and it is certainly possible to understand a late modern and postmodern history and society as having a deep ground in such a nothingness.  It is important to distinguish a literal from an absolute nothingness, just as evil could traditionally be understood as a literal nothingness, no such understanding is truly possible in our world, hence we have become bereft of actual conceptions of evil, and if only thereby inevitably bereft of actual conceptions of the good, so that if only in this sense our world is truly beyond good and evil, a beyondness inseparable from the advent of what can be named as an absolute nothingness.  That is a nothingness assaulting if not dissolving our deepest ground, and it is certainly an ultimate challenge to faith itself, and just as it has generated truly new fundamentalisms throughout the world, it embodies a unique arena for the struggle of faith, one now truly inescapable, and inescapable if only because of the advent of a new and comprehensive nihilism, a nihilism which is now and for the first time our deepest and most universal challenge.

 I had been very much aware of this challenge throughout my theological work, and I discovered that in intimate conversations with theologians this topic almost always arises, commonly hearing the judgment that a particular theology is hollow or unreal because it fails to meet this challenge, and again and again sharing the agonizing possibility that perhaps none of us can do this, and cannot do it if only because we lack an ultimate courage.  If only through my fellow theologians I became persuaded that such a courage is now an absolutely necessary theological discipline, and while I am alone in centering my work upon damnation and Satan, I certainly am not alone in centering theology upon an absolute nothingness, and just as Hell can be known as a primal symbol of absolute nothingness, damnation can be known as a deeply modern if not universal condition, and one that becomes truly meaningful to us all through the language and the imagery of an absolute nothingness.  I suspect that a primary reason why my fellow theologians refuse to employ the language of damnation and Hell is because of their intention of distancing themselves from all orthodox theologies, but it is remarkable that in our century both orthodox theologians and orthodox evangelists have abandoned or are abandoning the language of Hell and damnation, perhaps at no other point is television evangelism more distant from traditional evangelism, or Barthís dogmatics more distant from all traditional dogmatics.  Yet in the time of the Holocaust why are we so silent about Hell?

 Ever more gradually I came to venerate our great artists for their profound courage, this is perhaps clearest in the modern world, and I can see that the modern artists whom I most venerate clearly embody an ultimate courage, here Kafka and Becket are primary models, both not only confronted but luminously recorded an absolute nothingness, and the pure clarity of their writing evokes an awesome clarity of absolute nothingness itself, an absolute nothingness which is absolutely meaningful and absolutely meaningless at once, and which can truly be entered only by way of the deepest courage.  At least in America, Melville, Faulkner and Stevens evoke a comparable awe, here lies a courage far deeper than our theologians have known, and if only at this point we can see the absurdity of all theological apologetics, and thereby, too, the absurdity of all theological language about ultimate depth, as though this had ever been reached by any of our theological languages.  Here, it is also possible to see how lacking in courage we theologians are, how our very theologies shield us from the possibility of genuine courage, inevitably making of theology itself a way of ressentiment, a way for those lacking the courage of facing our actuality itself.  The secular mind almost invariably knows theology as a way for the weak, and even if this is also true of our behaviorisms and our positivisms, and perhaps of every ideology whatsoever, it is uniquely damning for the theologian, and damning for the theologian if only because of the audacity of theology, for only theological language now claims to speak of God.

 The very word ĎGodí has virtually disappeared from contemporary philosophical and literary language, and it is now threatening to disappear from contemporary critical theological language, this is no doubt an extraordinary if not a unique condition, and it impels one to ask why this might be so.  Here, our literary language is decisively important, and above all that late modern literary language which most seemingly evokes or names God, and while this never directly or openly occurs in our deeper literary language, just as it does not occur in a fully modern painting, here a theological naming is nevertheless overwhelmingly real, as I discovered in my studies of Joyce, but it is Kafkaís naming of God which most deeply affected me, for this is surely the naming of an absolute darkness or an absolute nothingness.  Kafka was an explorer in the deepest possible sense, and one whose profound courage is unquestionable, courage here is a deeply solitary courage, and I became persuaded that this, indeed, is a genuine theological model, and a model most clearly for the truly contemporary theologian, or for any contemporary quest for the meaning of God for us.  Immediately we must note the deep difference between this way and all traditional negative theologies, for this way certainly does not lead to a dissolution of all ideas and images of God, but rather to their very reversal, a reversal leading not to an absolute darkness or absolute chaos which is a human or fallen reflection of the Godhead, but far rather to an absolute darkness which is Godhead itself.

 It is with Ray Hart that I most deeply shared this way, and while he has primarily been affected by a Neoplatonic philosophical theology and its modern parallels, I have been primarily affected by modern ďidealism,Ē an idealism that in our time can only be known as a dark or negative idealism,  and most clearly negative in its inevitable enactment of the death of God, an enactment already beginning philosophically with Spinoza, and occurring in our own time In Heidegger, and while many theologians have been far more deeply affected by Heidegger than I have been, I think it of the utmost importance to understand his thinking as a culmination of our philosophical tradition, just as late modern poetry is a culmination of our poetic tradition.  Perhaps only a Blakean can understand Kafka as a culmination of a uniquely Western poetic tradition, and if we can understand this tradition as beginning with Homer, and thereby beginning with the ending of an archaic or primordial night, Kafka even as Joyce certainly resurrects that night, but now darkness is total as it never was in the primordial world, and if theologically we can understand an archaic or primordial world as being innocent of ďGod,Ē no such innocence is present in either Joyce or Kafka, but it is Kafka who most purely and most decisively enacts the ending of every possible innocence.

 Faith itself realizes a wholly new meaning in the perspective of Kafkaís writing, here vanishes any possible ďatheism,Ē and any possible innocence of ďGod,Ē now God is overwhelmingly real, but real only as the deepest and purest darkness, yet this is a darkness that speaks or unveils itself in the luminous clarity of Kafkaís prose, a truly poetic prose in its very immediacy, and a prose that speaks us by speaking our darkness, a deep darkness that is here simply undeniable, and undeniable insofar as we can read or speak.  Is this a condition transcending any possible faith, or a condition indistinguishable from faith itself, a condition immediately knowing God, and so deeply so that here an unawareness of God or an unknowing of God is simply impossible?  The impact of Kafkaís writing has become overwhelming, and even so for the theologian, but can the theologian know this as a genuine knowledge of God, and a genuine knowledge of God for us?    Twentieth century dialectical theology could know such an understanding of God, one that Barth could decisively draw forth as the God of ďreligion,Ē but this is the God who is the very opposite of the God of faith, a faith that is born by way of a genuine negation of the God of religion.  This is an understanding that deeply affected my generation of theologians, but it is one that could not be sustained, first largely disappearing in Barthís dogmatic theology, and then wholly disappearing in all subsequent systematic theology, for this is a dialectical theology whose negative movement is far more powerful than its positive counterpart, thereby not only making impossible any genuine coincidentia oppositorum, but also making impossible any positive expression of faith with even a residue of the power of its dialectical counterpart.

 One deep problem with such a dialectical theology is that at its very core it is more dualistic than dialectical, so that religion and faith inevitably become dualistically rather than dialectically related, and just as this demands a purely non-historical understanding of religion, it also demands a finally non-historical understanding of faith, and while originally New Testament scholars could be deeply drawn to dialectical theology, with the passage of time this attachment withered away, although in my judgment Bultmannís Theology of the New Testament is the greatest achievement of dialectical theology since its inauguration in Barthís The Epistle to the Romans.  So it is that in our time genuine Biblical scholarship has become deeply atheological, with the consequence that our understanding of faith has become even more deeply ahistorical, and if only by this means deeply removed from our own situation and condition, and just thereby fully removed from any genuine meaning for us.

 I had long been fascinated by literature and theology, the problem is that this has never become a genuine discipline, or not in theological circles, the one real exception to this is Robert Detweiler, whom I like to think succeeded me at Emory, and who was fully embarked upon a unique theological vocation until this was shattered by a massive stroke.  Shortly before this I had seen Bob at a literature and theology conference at the University of Glasgow, he was in splendid shape, as healthy and vigorous as any theologian whom I have known, and despite his vocation, which has taken him into very dark centers and voices, he is a man of deep joy which he immediately communicates to others.  Now he had suffered a catastrophic fall which is unique in the theological world, and despite the apparently wholly negative medical prognosis of a team of specialists at Emory, whom I gather were amazed that he survived at all, Bob remains very much alive, although crippled and with only a fraction of his former energy, and only by way of a continual passage through pain and suffering demanding the deepest possible discipline and sacrifice.  Along with many others, I look upon Bobís present condition as a theological paradigm for us, and if here darkness and chaos are truly literal in their embodiment, it is chaos and darkness which Bob had freely chosen to explore, and just as Bob has had a deep affect upon a large number of students and associates, I expect this affect to deepen in the future, for it is my hope that he will yet give us a truly dialectical theology, and one only possible by way of a genuine embodiment of darkness.

 If only through Detweilerís fall, we can sense the true dangers of every vicarious theology, of every attempt to know darkness only vicariously, or only all too indirectly, such theology can be known as a product of what Bonhoeffer named as ďcheap grace,Ē a cheap grace which is the very opposite of grace itself, and yet a grace which Bonhoeffer could know as dominating the theological world.  Of course, nowhere is such a world more comprehensive than it is in our academic world, and if here everything whatsoever is finally vicarious, or is so outside of the hard sciences themselves, this is a world which has no doubt deeply damaged theology, if it has not made it impossible altogether, and done so if only because ďexperienceĒ itself is so alien to the academic life, as perhaps best captured in the phenomenological method of reduction or epoche, which completely bars one from using any judgment that concerns spatial-temporal existence itself.  Of course, this is far from the way of our great theologians, and even far from the way of our major twentieth century theologians, but all such theology is now deeply questionable if not simply anachronistic, for if there is one world that is truly and wholly an atheological world it is the world of postmodernity itself.  Theologians of my generation were struggling with this problem even as we began our theological work, but in one sense we were deeply fortunate, for theology was then only beginning to enter the American academic world, so that if our horizon was all too limited, it was nonetheless relatively clear.

 A deep question for us is the very identity of a genuinely theological voyage, who is it that embarks upon this voyage, what is the voyage itself, and does it have a genuine goal?  Once again Barth became a paradigm for many if not most of us, and did so in his movement from a dialectical theology to a Church dogmatics, I saw this not only as a deep disruption but also as one demonstrating the necessity of a truly solitary voyage for us, a voyage wholly unsustained by any possible corporate or institutional community, and one demanding a truly individual way.  America is an apt site for such a voyage, one not only epically enacted in Moby Dick, but comprehensively called forth in a uniquely American poetry, a poetry again and again enacting deep and solitary voyages, and voyages which can be understood as theological voyages, voyages into the deep, indeed, but only insofar as they are solitary voyages, and voyages liberated from every other horizon.  Certainly such a voyage is a voyage into darkness, and into the depths of darkness, and if darkness can here be named as an absolute nothingness, the theologian must know that darkness as Godhead itself, and not a Godhead whose darkness is the epiphany of an absolute glory to us, but far rather a darkness which is Godhead itself, and is Godhead itself in the depths of its absolutely negative abyss.

 That abyss has been called forth again and again at decisive points in our history, but never so comprehensively as in full modernity, and if this is now the arena in which fundamental theological work must be done, such work cannot be accomplished apart from deep risk, here a vicarious risk is no risk at all, for inevitably deep wounding occurs in every such venture, a wounding which I have long thought of as simply being inseparable from genuine theological work.  Needless to say, there is a real danger here of confusing oneís own sickness and weakness with such wounding, but just as we have learned that a deep anxiety is a deep Angst, a deep wounding transcends any possible neurosis, and even if we cannot clearly distinguish such wounding from psychosis, we can know it as issuing from our deepest depths, and those are the very depths which the theologian is called upon to name.  Yes, theology is a naming of darkness, and the deeper the darkness the deeper the naming that can occur, hence I have long been hypnotized by Blakeís naming of God as Satan, one which I believe made possible a revolutionary transformation of his vision, and only as a consequence of this transformation was Blake able to envision the apocalyptic Christ and apocalypse itself.  But how was it possible for Blake to name God as Satan, that very Blake who gave us a more comprehensive vision of Satan than any other seer, and who could know our own selfhood as an embodiment of Satan?  Is this because Blake was the first seer to envision the death of God, and because it is the dead body of God which Blake most deeply knew as Satan, a totally repressed and alienated body, and yet a body which is the body of a wholly fallen totality?

 Yes, Blake has been my deepest theological model, although I have continually wondered if Blake could possibly be a genuine theological model, indeed, Blakeís vision is more deeply complex and genuinely contradictory than any other Western vision, being rivaled here only by Vajrayana Buddhism, yet Blake has had an enormous impact upon the late modern imagination, whether directly or indirectly, and it is only Blake who has given us a full vision of God as Satan, unless this is reenacted and made yet more comprehensive in Finnegans Wake.  Why follow such a way?  Certainly this is a way of knowing the deep darkness and the ultimately negative abyss of the Godhead, one which has never entered any of our theologies, and thereby it is a way of entering the absolute nothingness and the absolute nihilism of our world, and entering it through a deeply Christian even if deeply radical vision, for Blake was the first Western seer to envision an absolute nothingness, or to envision an absolute nothingness as absolute totality.  Blake could be known as a madman even to many of his friends, and until a century after his death in 1827 literary criticism commonly judged his work to be a consequence of madness, yet such madness can be known as a holy madness, and one which is the inevitable consequence of a deeply prophetic vocation.

 Theology has always resisted the contemporary prophecy which it has confronted, and the deeper the prophecy the deeper the theological resistance, unquestionably Blakeís prophetic vision is very deep, indeed, and even if it is ignored by virtually all of our theologies, there, too, is ignored the possibility of confronting the depths of our world, and yet ironically Blakeís vision is more manifestly Christian than any other fully modern vision, leading one to wonder if it is the depths of Christianity which theology most deeply resists and opposes.  There are wise ones among us who are persuaded of this, and this can occasion the deepest opposition to theology, and one even found among theologians themselves, no doubt I am one of these, nevertheless I remain a theologian, but only insofar as a profound transformation of theology is actually possible.  Yet such a transformation cannot occur if faith itself is known as wholly given and unchanging, just as it is not possible unless even the deepest authority can be totally challenged, hence authority itself is inevitably a deep problem for the theologian, and ultimately the authority that must be most challenged theologically is the authority of God.  In a real sense, every deep prophet has done this, certainly challenging everything that can be known in his or her world as the authority of God, and even when the prophet claims a higher authority of God, that is inevitably a deep challenge to every manifest authority of God.

 Here, the Christian theologian faces a unique problem, and that is the problem of knowing or even naming that God who is the God of the movements of incarnation, crucifixion, and apocalypse, Milton, in his great theological treatise, De Doctrina Christiana, is the theologian who has here most affected me, and this occurs in his affirmation that the infinite essence or substance of God could not become incarnate, just as the supreme God could not empty Himself, for it is impossible that the very essence of God could be emptied.  The truth is that this deep problem was not conceptually broached until Hegel, just as it was not fully imaginatively resolved until Blake, but then we truly become aware that it is the very essence of God which is ďemptiedĒ and becomes incarnate, and only this ultimately kenotic movement of self-emptying makes possible apocalypse itself.  Hence it is Godhead itself which is ultimately and profoundly transformed in these movements, a transformation which can be understood as an absolute transfiguration, an absolute transfiguration of the Godhead truly and finally shattering or reversing everything whatsoever which is given us as Godhead itself.  But how is it possible to understand such a transfiguration theologically?  Certainly this cannot occur apart from a total challenge to everything that we can know as theological authority, but is it possible to challenge, the deepest theological authority, and the deepest authority of God?

 This challenge surely occurs in a uniquely modern blasphemy, one most forcefully occurring in Blake, Nietzsche, and Joyce, and if the identification of God as Satan is the ultimate blasphemy, this is one that is virtually unheard in our theologies.  I well remember an exciting theological colloquium on Lonerganís theology in which I participated  almost thirty years ago, it was the first time that I had engaged in deep conversations with Catholic theologians,  and at that time younger Lonerganians were rebelling against Lonerganís orthodoxy, and above all against his orthodox understanding of God, my paper was on the Satanic identity of Lonerganís God, and while so far as I know it was positively received, when a three volume edition was published of the conference papers mine was the only one which was omitted.  This may well have occurred to protect me, for I have never known anything but kindness and support from Catholic theologians, and in my experience the rigid orthodoxy of the dominant Protestant theological world is wholly absent in contemporary Catholic theology,  but nevertheless I do not think that the Catholic theologian is open to blasphemy, and this despite the fact that many of them are deep lovers of Joyce.  But was not blasphemy the primary charge against Jesus?  Dante himself could identify the Papacy with the Antichrist (Inferno XIX, 53), and here, too, there is a deep continuity between Dante and Joyce, and if Catholic theology continues to resist the radical Catholic tradition, is there no possibility whatsoever of a genuinely radical Christian theology?

 Yet this is also to ask if there is no real possibility of a genuinely radical faith, very few real theologians would accept such an impossibility, but then only a few theologians have explored the possibility of a radical faith, and while I do not doubt that this has indeed occurred silently and privately, the published results are all too meager, and this despite the absence of theological censorship, although that is now again occurring in the Catholic world.  I know of no more radical conception of faith than that which is comprehensively embodied in D. G. Leahyís Foundation, but there has been virtually no theological response to this, and as I discovered it is almost impossible to find a theologian who would even review the book.  Why such deep silence?  Why is it now so difficult to raise the question of radical faith, surely nothing else has so deeply banished theology from the academic world, or so alienated it from the world of Biblical scholarship, or so isolated it from the great body of humanity, and yet our theologians continue to refuse to speak of radical faith.  Is this now far more difficult than it was in any previous theological world, and is this because we are truly being consumed by nihilism, so that any radical language about faith will inevitably be realized in a truly nihilistic language, and thus would necessarily be the very opposite of faith?

 I must confess that I respect this position, and suspect that it is widespread among theologians today, but it has devastating consequences, of course, and is now virtually confining theology itself to our most conservative and reactionary forces.  If only through Heidegger, we can know that nihilism is an ultimate question for us, and yet it is extraordinarily difficult to understand nihilism, our clearest and deepest nihilistic philosopher, Nietzsche, devoted his final years of creativity to an ultimate attempt to conquer nihilism, and if this shattered Nietzsche himself, is this simply an impossible project?  Or is radical faith itself inevitably nihilistic, it certainly is deeply antinomian, and this occurs in Christianity as early as Paul if not in Jesus himself, and if historical Christianity has truly and comprehensively reversed its original ground, is it possible that only the deepest nihilism could recover this ground?  Already Kierkegaard could know the necessity for faith of negating historical Christianity, and it is not impossible to understand Kierkegaard as a nihilist, just as it is fully possible to understand Blake as a nihilist, and even as the Western mind almost inevitably understands Buddhism as an absolute nihilism, could this be said of the depths of faith itself?  Once again Buddhism may well be a decisive theological key for us, and if it is only Buddhism that has fully known an absolute nothingness, is anything comparable to this nothingness truly incarnate in our world today?

 At least from a Western point of view, Buddhism can be understood to embody an absolute transfiguration of an absolute nothingness, or an absolute transfiguration of samsara into nirvana, and something fully comparable to this does occur in a uniquely modern vision, as most clearly manifest in Nietzsche and Blake, but theologically this must finally be understood as a transfiguration of Godhead itself.  Yet is this actually possible, is it even possible to understand any kind of transfiguration of the Godhead, or does this occur in Lutherís understanding of justification itself, a justification ultimately demanding a transfiguration of the God of judgment into the God of grace, and is that understanding already present in Paul, and one which has been a deep underground of Christianity throughout its history?  Certainly it is not possible to think such a transfiguration apart from defying the deepest theological authority, this occurs in both Paul and Luther, of course, but must it occur in every genuine theological thinking?  Paul, too, is often understood as a nihilist, and not unjustifiably, so that we must ask if it is possible to think an absolute transfiguration without thinking nihilistically, or without wholly transforming if not shattering our deepest theological categories.  A deeper nihilism is not simply a negation of thinking, it is an absolute transformation of thinking, and just as many of our deeper scholars understand Hegel as a nihilistic thinker, it is possible to understand an Hegelian Aufhebung as a nihilistic negation of thinking which nevertheless and precisely thereby realizes an absolute transformation of thinking itself.

 Nietzsche could understand the theologian as inevitably being a nihilist, a nihilism inseparable from an affirmation of the Christian God, that God whom Nietzsche knew as being absolute No-saying and absolute No-saying alone, here Christianity itself can be known as a pure nihilism, as an absolute assault upon life itself, and as the deepest historical source of ressentiment.  Yet Nietzsche himself was at bottom a theologian, and surely a theologian in his ultimate project of transforming an absolute No-saying into an absolute Yes-saying, a project impossible apart from the deepest understanding of No-saying, and a project impossible apart from the deepest understanding of transfiguration itself.  Is that project inevitably one of understanding an absolute transfiguration of Godhead itself?  And it that the inevitable core of deep or genuine theological thinking today?  If so, that could account for the seeming impossibility of contemporary theological thinking, but it could also establish the possibility that ours is indeed a time of profound theological transformation, one deeply preparing even if all too silently for a deep break which could be a deep breakthrough, and a breakthrough into an understanding of that Godhead which is an absolute nothingness, but is an absolute nothingness only insofar as it is an absolute transfiguration.

 For an absolute transfiguration is only actually possible by way of a transfiguration of absolutely opposite poles or polarities, only when these opposites are fully and actually real could this transfiguration occur, these are the full opposites which pass into each other in an absolute transfiguration, and all deep and genuine dialectical thinking and vision incorporates such a transfiguration.  Twentieth century dialectical theology was stillborn if only because it did not incorporate a fully dialectical transfiguration, here Godhead itself is non-dialectical, and therefore cannot be transfigured, this is true of virtually all theology, and certainly of all orthodox or ecclesiastical theology, with the great exception of Barthís truly dialectical understanding of election or predestination.  Only in the course of many years of theological struggle was I able to open myself to the possibility of the absolute transfiguration of the Godhead, for this is only possible if the negative pole or polarity of the Godhead is absolutely real, that could only mean that Godhead itself is absolutely ďevilĒ even as it is absolutely ďgood,Ē  only the deep darkness and abyss of the Godhead makes possible an absolute transfiguration, and not only is that abyss transfigured in this transfiguration, but it can even be understood that the final expression of this process could only be actually manifest in its most abysmal or negative mode.  Thereby we can understand how both ancient and modern apocalypticism can know a totality of darkness, a darkness inseparable from a full and actual apocalyptic dawning, or inseparable from apocalypse itself.

 So it is that we can also understand a uniquely modern absolute nothingness as such a darkness, but so, too, can we thereby understand that if an absolute transfiguration of the Godhead even now is occurring, then it could only be manifest to us in an ultimately abysmal and negative mode, so that the very advent of an absolute nothingness can be understood as an inevitable consequence of a final or ultimate transfiguration of the Godhead, and the very absence of such a nothingness could be interpreted as the absence of absolute transfiguration itself.  We cannot deny that our deepest modern visionaries have entered an absolute nothingness with an ultimate affirmation, and even when this is profoundly resisted, as in Kafka, it nevertheless occurs, and inevitably occurs in the fullness of vision, a vision whose very actuality is a profound witness to the positive power of an absolute nothingness, a positive power which could be known theologically as a decisive sign of the transfiguration of Godhead itself.  The very naming of absolute darkness is surely such a sign, a naming which is as deep and comprehensive as any naming which has ever occurred, and one in genuine continuity with all full apocalypticism, but one in profound discontinuity with every Gnostic dualism, or every possible dualism whatsoever.

 As my theological work approaches its culmination, I can see that the transfiguration of the Godhead has become its deepest center, and if its previous center was a coincidentia oppositorum of Christ and Satan, that, too, can be understood as a transfiguration of the Godhead, so perhaps this has always been the deep center of my work, and while this only all too gradually became manifest, and has been hidden and obscured by conflicting turns and moves, perhaps these were necessary to this theological voyage, and necessary if only because of the weakness of this voyager.  I deeply believe that each and every one of us is called to a theological voyage, and that it inevitably occurs whether or not we are aware of it, so that in this sense theology is our most universal way, and even if theology has never been so invisible as it is today, that invisibility could be a necessary mask for its contemporary actuality, and my gravest fear about my own work is that it is an irresponsible dislodging of that mask, and one only unveiling a hollow and artificial theology.  Perhaps any such unveiling will inevitably suffer this consequence, for  silence may well be the deepest theological virtue, so that if nothing else I hope that my work will illuminate one such false path, for we dare not allow any path to go unexplored.






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