Rene Girard’s Ironic “Mimetic Emulation” of Biblical Criticism

To, in effect, “psychoanalyze” the writers of the New Testament rather than extol the Written handiwork of their Divine Author is to go astray in understanding. This is a disturbing flaw even in the surprisingly luminous explorations of René Girard (e.g., I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, pp. 133-36). This is to pit one penman against another in diversionary lapses that distract from the central Message that God’s Wholesome Spirit is trying to highlight. It is also presumptuous and hence partakes (out of an ironically inconsistent mimetic emulation) of the historical-critical (so-called) and literary-critical fabrications of scholars who have uniformly stumbled on the Corner Capstone, the Lord Jesus Christ, and replaced him violently with their own imaginary effusions. We should expect better things of Girard himself, who otherwise has seen so much truth, including much that the humble Creator has hidden from violent, unsubmissive scholarship of the past and present…perhaps for just such a time as ours. [5/11/06; 10/27/07]

By means of “penal substitutionary atonementideology, Satan manages again and again to deflect from himself much real, significant, or substantive guilt in Messiah’s murder. This public murder was to be the centerpiece of his gloated victory over God and His Kingdom. Instead, it morphed into Satan’s own coup de grâce. The nails in the Savior’s hands and feet secured Satan’s own coffin. Yet even so, Satan has kept trying to outmaneuver this Message of his doom in order to sap it of its native potency. “Penal substitution,” at least in part, denatures and dilutes the full force of the apostolic witness to Resurrectionary Atonement; it substitutes God for Satan in the role of agent and perpetrator of Messiah’s crucifixion. Thus does Satan add crime to crime in his career of murder and deception. [5/11/06]

We might have little difficulty with the term “substitution” were it not for the incubus of its association with “penal” that so persistently weighs it down. This sullies its potential usefulness as a technical term. But if we must dispense with it, we must not grieve its loss since it does not appear in the Inspired vocabulary of Scripture and hence is inherently inadequate to bear the weight of the full Truth anyway. [5/11/06]

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