The psychotheology of sin and salvation
Axton, Paul Vincent (2013) The psychotheology of sin and salvation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
This dissertation, by employing the work of Slavoj Žižek in his engagement with the Apostle Paul, argues that Paul, in Romans 6-8, understands sin as a lie grounding the Subject outside of Christ and salvation as an exposure and displacement of this lie as one is joined to the body of Christ. In this understanding salvation may be seen primarily in terms of an overcoming of alienation from God, neighbour and self through participation in the Trinity (adoption by the Father through the Son by means of the Spirit), which stands in contrast to the sinful Subject who in his inner alienation and his alienation from God and others is oriented by a deceitful death dealing desire that would find life in the law rather than in God. The specific theological significance of Žižek (along with his predecessors Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan) is his demonstration of the pervasive and systemic nature of this lie (chapter 1) and its description as he finds it in Romans 7 (chapter 2). The general significance this account might have for theology is to frame the concept of sin as a deception (reifying the self) with its own logic, dynamic, and structure, similar to the Subject of psychoanalysis, and salvation, in turn, can be understood as the place and means from which the Subject of sin and its destructive nature are understood and displaced by new life in Christ (chapter 3). Sin and salvation, under this notion, are not forensic categories but have to do with the lived reality of identity, of being either a Subject oriented to death or to life.
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