Philip K. Dick

In Apocalyptic and The Future of Theology, Susan Grove Eastman offers a constructive corrective to J. Louis Martyn’s language of apocalyptic invasion.

I suggest that we need to move beyond the language of “invasion” to that of “incarnation.” True, “invasion” does convey the motifs of conflict that are frequent and important for Paul. But it also brings to mind the images of masked, invincible commandos who infiltrate the bunker where the prisoners are held, or storm the beaches of occupied territory, overwhelm the enemy, and set the captives free. The problem is that this imagery does not go quite far enough in depicting the depth of Christ’s identification with Adam’s race as his modus operandi. Christ’s death with and for us is an “inside job,” which frees us in an utterly counterintuitive way. He takes the form of a slave; he becomes one of the captives; he joins them in the prison cell; he assumes the position of powerless trust in the God who alone can save. He dies as one of us (171).

Eastman argues that the language of divine invasion does not go far enough, in that Martyn neglects the other key theme of Paul’s apocalyptic vision: Christ’s humanity given through time. The accent mark of Paul’s theology is not the cross alone, but the “participatory rectification” wrought in the incarnation and given continually through his Body (176).

The church is to be the vanguard of this liberating action of God, already accomplished by Christ, and carried forward by those who belong to him. The church is the place of participation in Christ who already and always joins himself with the godless – that is, all us us (182).