Word made fleshly the realm of naturesociety

To invoke the name of Jesus Christ is, in my account, to propose a differentiated and complex holism. Interpreted by reference to sociality, the ecological situatedness of un/natural humanity must be grasped dialecti-cally: by reference to human societies, natural societies and their relations in the pro nobis, sacrificial structure of creation. The description of humanity as un/natural is dialectical: humanity cannot be grasped by reference to itself (anti-natural) nor can it be subsumed in nature (natural). Humanity, as located in a common realm of God, nature and humanity, is thereby best understood as un/natural: oriented towards the triune God as both social and natural. In turn, non-human nature may be understood as oriented towards the triune God as both natural and social. Ecological identities must therefore be understood as given yet not static: human identities are to be interpreted relationally with reference to God and nature; natural identities are to be interpreted relationally with reference to God and humanity; the divine identity is to be interpreted relationally (that is, as triune) by reference to the act of God in incarnation as fleshly: social and natural.

A rich Trinitarian ontology emerges which affirms the organisation of the world as social, permits an account of the proper otherness of nature and recommends three different modalities of human interaction with nature. Can theology engage with the complexity of the concept of nature and yet reform such complexity in relation to the idea of God.? The answer is in the affirmative: difference in the interpretation of nature in political theology is required by creatio ex nihilo. Differences of nature in the common realm are founded in the idea of God as triune creator. That is, the implication of the claim that Christ transcribes the intrinsic character of God is considered from the perspective ofcreation.

What is realised in the mission of Jesus and perfected in the Father's raising Him from the dead is the very unity of God, the consistency of God with himself in relation to his creation. We have to do with a privileged human action that is grounded in God, that in fact provides the very rationale of creation itself.58 In this compressed passage, Donald MacKinnon reprises the Christology of the theology of the common realm of God, nature and humanity presented in this chapter. Such theology is 'revealed', related to the incarnation of God in Christ. The unity that is founded in the economic actions

58. MacKinnon, 'The Relation of the Doctrines of the Incarnation and Trinity', p. 99.

of the narrative of the creator and Son has to do with the triune unity of the immanent God. The immanent unity of God precedes the economic unity of God: the career of Jesus, especially the cross and the resurrection, is the 'repetition-in-difference' (Catherine Pickstock) of the immanent Godhead. That is not to say, as MacKinnon may perhaps be read as suggesting, that creation is for the incarnation. Rather, both may be regarded as sacrificial actions of God: acts of condescension which grant a future to creatures. Yet, of course, we know of creation only in the perspective of the narrative ofsuffering and dereliction which is the conclusion ofthe career of Jesus Christ. Creation and incarnation are related: the Logos of God is the Incarnate, Jesus Christ; the Logos as the shaper of creation emerges in the very texture of shaped, material, sociality which is the life of Jesus Christ. If the incarnation provides the 'rationale ofcreation', this should be read in the sense not of'justification', but rather of the continuity between God's commitment to redeem and God's initial and continuing action to create.

The practical significance of this multiconstrual ofhuman-nature relations can easily be seen. In theological perspective, humanity is other than nature, nature is mediated only through social contexts and humanity has natural conditions which escape its control. Further, there is no requirement to opt for naturalistic interpretations of the relation between humanity and nature nor to propose Stoic attitudes in the face of nature. The blessing ofnatural life is to be understood in a number ofways but always interpreted as mediated by God (in Christ). Christian wisdom here resists any hasty divisions and determinations in the 'worldly' interpretation of human-nature relations.

Throughout this chapter, although I have tried to learn from them, I have not sought to correct the positions in political ecology presented in part II. Instead, I have sought to highlight the contours of an emerging theological ecomaterialism which stresses both the actual, material relations operative in ecosocieties, and the theme ofcooperation between the human and the non-human. Thinking theologically with the transcendental of sociality we have learned of the mutual relations of nature and society, maintained in a Christological thought. None the less, the picture is incomplete. In that Christ is never Christ without the Spirit, we must consider once more the theme of un/natural humanity situated in a common realm but this time from the different perspective of pneumatology.

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