Reviewing the synopsis for Adam’s Fall after a long time away from the story, I realized the extent to which the Orthodox concept of theosis, the union of the person with God, is a central theme and the possible backbone for the troubling (for me) Book 3: Adam’s Reformation.
Theosis, according to Wikipedia, has has three stages: purgation, illumination and union. Although it it could be argued that the entire first two books of Adam’s Fall are about purgation, the stripping away of all that is a hindrance, all that is unnecessary, Adam in Book 3 still has some stripping away to be done. Hence, we find him naked, stripped not only of his clothes but his surface knowledge of who and what he has been. His awareness of his own nakedness is close to the last demolition necessary to begin rebuilding on a rock-solid foundation.
Yet awareness of his nakedness is not the last demolition necessary.
Adam needs to be stripped of the shame that has been stuffed into his soul and incorporated into his body. Therefore, he must experience this shame when his body responds with the ultimate pleasure as he is being massaged by Anthony. It is only after Adam reacts with abandon, then in shame, after he realizes his utter exposure and powerlessness, that the work of illumination can begin.
It occurs to me that Book 3: Adam’s Reformation is a story within a story. Much as the entire overarching narrative is based on Evelyn Underhill’s five stages, so Book 3 can be structured on its own, five-phase spine.
What does that look like? [Looks like I need to review the five stages; I can’t recall what the first stage is!] I can steal the three-part theosis formula of purgation, illumination and union. I can slip in the Dark Night of the Soul in between illumination and union (borrowed from St. John of the Cross via Underhill) and I now have a coherent structure to work with. Why didn’t I get this before? Why didn’t I see this year’s ago? I guess it wasn’t time.
But the time is now to fill in that big hole which has vexed me for years — a hole I couldn’t patch because I had been avoiding looking at it.
What, heretofore, has appeared to me a pit or a dark chasm I now see to be a series of peaks with their attendant valleys, peaks which show the way to the true promise of Adam’s Fall: a life of love, joy, power and freedom beyond our wildest dreams.
Thanks be to God!
Friday, 16 October 2015 (04:12)
The Digital Scriptorium