I am working on my dissertation. Somewhere along the line I stumbled on David Bentley Harts essay for First Things from 2003 entitled Christ and Nothing. It can be found here for free. This quote, among others, jumped out at me:
“Christianity is the midwife of nihilism, not because it is itself nihilistic, but because it is too powerful in its embrace of the world and all the world’s mystery and beauty; and so to reject Christianity now is, of necessity, to reject everything except the barren anonymity of spontaneous subjectivity. As Ivan Karamazov’s Grand Inquisitor tells Christ, the freedom that the gospel brings is too terrible to be borne indefinitely. Our sin makes us feeble and craven, and we long to flee from the liberty of the sons of God; but where now can we go? Everything is Christ’s.”
The reason I am reading Hart is because he articulates the subversive move which was Christs ultimate act at Easter where the sacrificial system not only of the Jews but also of the Pagans was overturned. This subversive act is the building of tension, which precipitates the punchline to the cosmic joke. The idea is that there are two forms of humor. The first is that which draws on nothing, the second draws on everything. The first starts and ends in tragedy, the second starts in creation and ends in joy.