Moore, “Ecotherology”

Moore looks at two aspects of Revelation he feels has been neglected by previous commentators: the animality of Christ and the huge, fairly desolate New Jerusalem.  Largely basing his examination around Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign, Moore explores the similar, yet contrasting natures of the Lamb and the Beast.  Bestiality’s traditional association with political despotism, on one level, explains why John personified the Roman empire as an animal-like figure.  But, it also raises the question, why is the Lamb, simultaneously an animal and symbol of the divine, assigned to embody Christ?  Moore draws on Derrida to conclude that Revelation presents a hybrid view of animality.  The two beasts, divine and evil, behave as humans expect animals to behave- by remaining mute.  However, they both carry significant metaphorical connotations (the Beast as absolute evil and the Lamb as absolute divinity), illustrating Revelation’s dual view of animality.

Moore then addresses other instances of evil and divinity in Revelation that are directly related to the respective beasts.  Human savagery is simultaneously present in the Beast and the personification of Babylon, who physically rides on the Beast’s back.  Both figures are closely connected, almost morphing into one evil being.  The Lamb also corresponds with a human figure.  The virtuous woman is closely related to the divine animal.  However, her connection runs deeper, as she is referred to as the bride of the Lamb.  Moore points out that Revelation transforms the bride into the New Jerusalem, equating the good woman with the good city and the good woman with the good people of God.  However, Moore questions the “goodness” of the new city when it is described as essentially empty, with the exception of the river, the tree of life, and the Lamb.  Again, he states that while eco-commentators have addressed the river and the tree in the walls of the city, they have rarely tackled the unfathomable size of the New Jerusalem.  Moore admits that the sheer size is used to convey power, authority, and sovereignty, but the description presents a dystopian environment devoid of life, similar to a dead megamall.  And the Lamb, as the sole living creature within the dead environment, is again part of the duality (or contradiction) of Revelation.  Questioning the place of animals in the New Jerusalem, Moore metaphorically relates the unworthy humans to dogs, cast out of the city because of the dirtiness and base desires.

Moore concludes that the lone presence of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem signifies that humans now exist to serve animals, instead of the reverse that is often assumed by humans (especially those living today).  Christ takes the throne in the heavenly city as an animal, the only form in which he is worshipped by humans, demonstrating that, in Revelation, the ultimate form of divinity is the animal Christ.

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