Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Theology of Seed

Douglas Knight writes:
The Scriptures demonstrate Israel's concern with the producing of sons. Does Israel assume that the gentiles will either be attracted or defeated by Israel's own greater fecundity and success at producing sons for Abraham? Does the priestly teaching on Israel's purity and holiness represent the coming into being of this Son, a theology of the coming of the Christ and thus of the coming into being of Adam? For want of a more adequate account I will attempt to sketch the biological idiom of Israel's political claim. The Israelite who sees semen on the sheets (Lev. 15:16) sees something more consequential than himself there. He sees the life-substance of Israel, the combined presence of all generations, preceding and succeeding. Though it came out of him, it is the life-stuff of Adam and Abraham: it is not his, but theirs and returns to them. The single Israelite is no complete instantiation of Israel; his children are not the affirmation of his individuality, bu the gift he must return to the Lord. God gives children, and a man must take them, sow them in his wife, nurture and bring them up. He must present them to the Lord in the temple where God accepts them back from him and accepts that Israelite by accepting his gift of his children. Without children, he has no continuing being in Israel. A man's membership of Israel is confirmed by the arrival of the fruit of the seed given in him to plant in his wife. If his children also turn out to be obediently fertile, he is born again, not of a potential intrinsic to the flesh, but of the Spirit, or Seed, of Israel. Not all are Israel who are simply born to people who are, or whose parents were, Israel: they are Israel when they are born again of the living and enduring Seed and Spirit.
-The Eschatological Economy, pp. 76-77