Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6J

God is righteous.  In order to justifydivine any act as righteousness, one has to step out of oneself and weigh the act using criteria established by a Total Other: God.

Revelation establishes God’s criteria.  The revelation itself cannot be questioned, especially when it comes as a Book.  The Book is what it is.

On the other hand, the interpretation of the Book can be questioned.  For example, Moderns interpret the Bible as “myth” (“fable”, “conjured” and so on).  One cannot prove or disprove this interpretation, or any interpretation, for that matter.  One can, however, find consensus.

Each consensus-interpretation constitutes an element in a symbolic order that, in turn, supports particular social constructions.

The Modern consensus that “the Bible is myth” undermines the social constructions of Christianity and overmines the social constructions of various alternate cults, especially the Public Cult of Progressivism and the private cults of New Age and Satanic Magic.

Modern enthusiasts say “abandon the Bible as Revelation” and “accept Das Kapital as Revelation”.  But which is more mythic, “the Stories of Eve and Adam” or “the theory of surplus capital”?  See Thomas Sowell’s book, Marxism, on that one.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6I

At this point, we have learned that concupiscence defines itself in the context of justificationself.

Plus, perhaps because we can step back and observe “what we have done” with our justificationself(concupiscence()), there is a sense that our self-serving words and impulsive actions are somehow “outside ourselves”.

I now return to Peters text: Chapter 6 of Sin: Self-Justification: Looking Good While Scapegoating Others.

Peters told several stories that recall the essence of these lessons.  In each case, the justificationself came from the outside, or at least seemed to, and empowered the person to do follow her concupiscent desires.

Peters’ stories tell us that justificationself can even adopt the symbols of justificationdivine, in order to steal the goodness of God for ourselves.  Perhaps, instead of “goodness”, Peters should have written “righteousness”.

Peters mentioned a book by Jack Katz (Seductions of Crime, 1988) which argued that, after a humiliation, justificationself(concupiscence()) can escalate into righteous rage and violence.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6H

From a psychoanalytic point of view, Keller craved to have the Divine Presence play according to His own script, which Keller had made his own.

The Divine Presence played along, until that one point where It broke with the script. He raised His staff as if it were to strike serpent(Eve’s justificationself ).

With that gesture, It pointed to Keller’s horror:  Keller was trapped in his own concupiscent skin.

The Divine Presence did not need to deliver the crushing blow.  Helen ended the session.  That was enough.

In the next session, Helen was not so fortunate.  She could not break with the script and delivered the crushing blow herself.

Keller’s concupiscent skin was somehow bound to his deal with the jinn.  What the Divine Presence accomplished, by playing along on His own terms, was the separation of Keller justificationself from his concupiscent self.  When Rachel realized what the deal was, the separation was accomplished.

Like the Divine Presence, she loved the sinner, and revealed the sin.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6G

How does the idea that the serpent is “a reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts” play out in An Archaeology of the Fall?

In this re-imagining of the Fall of Adam and Eve, Keller “put on the costume” of the serpent and played “the reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thought”.  The play went according to the Genesis script, until…

Once the Divine Presence appeared, on cue, Keller could not get out of his costume.  The Divine Presence spoke his timeless lines, then did something unscripted.  He raised his staff as if He were going to execute the “her seed shall strike your head” verse.

Helen, who was witnessing the scene, freaked out and jumped ship.  She thought that her brother was about to get his head bashed in.

Here, just as in the Genesis text, the Divine Presence acted as if He were taking everything at face value.  He motioned to strike the serpent(Eve’s projection) as if it were not also serpent(Keller).

In doing so, It disrupted Keller’s construct.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6F

From a psychoanalytic point of view, the Divine Presence separated Eve from her own reified justificationself.

The Divine Presence said “I will not force you to take responsibility for your unconscious Thing”.

At the moment of the mythic confrontation, the Divine Presence indicated, “I will accept your pretense (that your justificationself is independent of you) and not force you to take complete responsibility for the generation of own justificationself.”

Then, the Divine Presence predicted that Eve’s seed would fight the seed of the serpent, that is, the children of Eve would fight their own justificationselfs.

Thus, Genesis speaks to the Ruins of Modernism.

Love the sinner, but not the sin.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6E

How does the idea that the serpent is “a reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts” play out in the Genesis text?

The idea that the serpent is an independent being comes in the introduction, where the serpent is described as the “most wily creature that the Lord God had made”.  But, this description also fits the modern psychoanalytic concept of the “unconscious”.

The serpent first speaks in an “ongoing conversation”.  Who else was Eve talking to?  Adam only is later mentioned.  She was talking to herself.

The serpent validated Eve’s “unconscious suspicions”. Then Eve converted the serpent’s comments to justificationselfs.

None of these contradict the idea that the serpent could be the reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts.

After Eve ate.  The serpent no longer spoke.

When the Divine Presence arrived and guessed what is going on, Eve blamed the serpent in the same way that we would blame our own justificationselfs.  “The serpent beguiled me.” sounds very much like “Well, I thought that” followed by justificationself.

Then the Divine Presence addressed the serpent directly.  In doing so, (in this speculative interpretation), the Divine Presence acted as if “the reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts” were an independent entity.

Eve’s pretense that the serpent beguiled her was enough for the Divine Presence.  Sure, she was guilty and would be punished (with a description of how Neolithic and Paleolithic women lived outside of Eden), but she was not going to be held responsible for that reified justificationself.  The serpent was on its own.

Does that not sound like “the remission of sins”?


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6D

Let me review:

Concupiscence is saying “yes” when we should say “no”.

Concupiscence encompasses actuality(potential).  It parallels anxiety(faithUnChristian) on the plane of “doing”.

Concupiscence is a “state of being(“with Cupid”).  Technically, it substitutes finite ends for transcendent ends.  Practically, it makes finite ends feel as if they were transcendent.

“Addiction” goes with “concupiscence”.  There are two types of addictions.  One corresponds to the body.  St. Augustine’s addiction to sexual pleasure might be an example.  One corresponds to the soul.  Pelagius’ addiction to “spiritual perfection” might be an example.   Both addictions emerge from the lower plane of pride(anxiety(faithUnChristian)).

Concupiscence has the quality of “being imprisoned by a power that is outside ourselves”, “being a puppet controlled by demonic puppeteers”, and so on.  One of the functions of grace is to help open the jailhouse door or to help cut the strings.  That typically does not happen unless somehow – at some level of conscious or unconscious awareness – the person admits that there is no way out.

Justificationself puts concupiscence into context.

Justificationself entails “lying to ourselves”.

Justificationself has the character of an “independent voice outside ourselves” that “validates what we – at some level – already know” even though we may only be “talking to ourselves”.  This is precisely the character of the serpent in the Genesis Story of Adam and Eve, especially when we interpret the serpent to be a projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts.

To me, this idea of justificationself “outside ourselves” is a fascinating interpretation of the Genesis text.

This is the topic of the next few blogs.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6C

How much more frightening would it be if “the serpent’s seed” existed as the reified unconscious thoughts of “her seed”?

And what would animate those reifications? A living immaterial presence like a malevolent spirit?  Or a living immaterial presence like a Zeitgeist?  Or a sublime, monstrous and beautiful Thing, supported by the lamella of an undead force, living yet not aware of life, a coagulation of cells, each of which has no idea that it belongs to a body, much less aware that God has attached a soul to this body?

When we strike its head, we are only killing ourselves.

When it strikes our heel, it is only killing itself.

Such is the mystery of justificationself.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6B

Adam and Eve tried to justifyself when that brutal Father-figure suddenly appeared and asked: What the hell is going on here?  Adam blamed Eve.  Eve blamed the serpent.  The serpent was left speechless.

Their finite end was to “avoid responsibility”.  Yet, at that moment of confession, “avoiding responsibility” took on the quality of transcendence.  Everything hinged on that goal, just like everything hinges on getting that next concupiscent fix.  If the kind and understanding Father-figure had just said: “Oh, then it is not your fault.”, then what would have happened?  What was the transcendent end of Paradise?

Did the serpent know?  Or was the serpent simply elevating its own finite ends (of the pleasure of spoiling God’s Paradise) to its own transcendent end (of rebellion)?

The serpent appears even weirder if we imagine that it was “the projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts”.  At the moment that Eve disengaged, it lost its voice, yet it remained in all its scaly actuality.  Was it the embodiment of Eve’s concupiscence, crawling, belly upon the ground, like some sort of animated limbic system and brainstem or some sort of bureaucratic memento from Hell?  Or was it the embodiment of Eve’s justificationself?

Did the serpent not justify Eve’s own unconscious thoughts?

Was there not a moment of justificationself before Eve ate the forbidden fruit?

And did God not curse the serpent first and foremost?

Upon your belly you shall go.

I will put enmity between her seed and your seed.

Her seed will bruise your head and you shall strike their heels.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Self-Justification 6A

“Concupiscence” encompasses both the realm of possibility and the realm of actuality.  I depicted it as “the state of being(with Cupid)”.  “The state of being” belongs to the realm of actuality.  “With Cupid” belongs to the realm of possibility. In the plane of “doing”, “with Cupid” makes “the state of being” possible.

So what puts concupiscence into context?

In Chapter 6, Peters discussed “self-justification”, which I will write, justificationself.  After all, “self” is a species of justification.

Peters laid this step out according to the following logic:

We are mortal and concupiscence will not give us immortality.

We know the difference between good and evil and we suspect that good is eternal.

So how can we justify our concupiscence?

Well, the only way is to lie to ourselves.

We have to claim that the finite ends that come with concupiscence somehow, somehow, somehow are transcendent.

If we succeed, we justifyself.