the authority of no authority
"The Incarnation tell us that if we want to be like God, then we must be courageous enough to fully and unreservedly embrace our humanity." -Peter Rollins (Insurrection, page 112)The Bible is an incarnational book. It comes from the space between space and invites us into our own particularity. As such, I actually believe that if we want to have a high view of scripture, if we want it to bear the full weight of its own authority, then we've actually got to embrace the humanity of it. Humanity is not so much an affirmation of subjectivity, though that certainly fits in the equation, as a denunciation of the illusion of objectivity. Jesus did not so much deny the absoluteness of God's authority and power over all creation as he simply refused to exploit it. Think upon the story of Christ's trek into the desert. As Paul said it, "being in very nature God, [Jesus] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage" (Philippians 2:6). As Jesus said, "the first shall be last." The authority of the incarnation is that it has no authority. Jesus' power came through his weakness--not an arbitrary weakness but a weakness displayed through embrace and affirmation of the least, the last, and the lost--indeed, a weakness of humanity in all its subjective glory.
If we are to see scripture through the lens of Jesus--beholding the whole story of God in the world with Jesus as its principal hermeneutic--then we've got to say that the authority of scripture comes from lack of authority. The authority of scripture, like Jesus, comes from its refusal to be harnessed into objective categories. By indeed refraining from absolute propositions, it fully and authentically embraces humanity. Rather than simply settle for teaching absolute truth, the Bible causes something to happen in us. Rather than drawing out a clear and objective map for directions, the Bible chooses to steer us completely off track, to meet us in the uncertainty that typifies any sober interpretation of the human situation, to rupture our internal systems and invite us to become nothing... and thus to partner with God in the work of creation, even ex nihilo. To create a renewed world in the midst of the world at large. In the honest and loving embrace of imperfection and subjectivity, the Bible invites us into a reality, an ethical and political system that does not currently exist but has visited us in Christ. The Bible invites us to live lives that we cannot now justify with reasoned arguments but are only justified in a world that has not yet come to fruition--lives that lead to crosses and find joy in the midst of suffering. The Bible finds its authority only in the lives of the people who demonstrate it, the lives of imperfect and messy humans. The Bible finds its authority in love.