Because we are among friends here, I can hazard a metaphor: Life is the Desire of God, and this Desire is mimetic because God created man (and woman) “in his image.” The Desire of God – Life – animates and runs through every living thing without distinction, and that is why the supreme heresy and sin consists in invoking God’s aid to destroy another’s life. In this universal and creative Desire of God, which lives everywhere and in everything, the original sin, the one that is at the origin of all the others, is an avatar, a side effect of mimeticism: the invention of false differences that generate conflicts and rivalries. the first and the most toxic of these fallacious differences being the one “ingested” by our first ancestors, the difference between Good and Evil, which since time immemorial has hurled men to their doom and which in our world rages with particular violence.
Desire, being mimetic, my desire and the other’s desire are strictly identical. What is diabolical and worldly is the assertion that “my” desire is Good, that it is inspired and blessed by God, and that the “other” desire is Evil, inspired by the Demon. Obviously what the “other” thinks is a mirror image of this assertion.
-Jean-Michel Oughourlian, My Life with Rene (From the For Rene Girard collection)
This an extension of the “there is no wrath in God” theory. I like it but still, at this point, cannot reconcile it very well with quite a few other things. This needs some serious work. Frankly, I think some of these Girard inspired theologians like James Allison have GOT to do a better job with this or most Christian thinkers and leaders will continue to not take them seriously. For starters you need to reconcile this with the various commands for capital punishment in the Old Testament. Now, I think there are some decent explanations for this, but you guys have got to articulate them. Same thing with the angel of death (in several places in the OT) and also the lake of fire. That God only ever desires life but frequently works outside of human beings to instrument death is not going to fly.
I really want Oughourlian’s idea here to work, but it doesn’t yet.
I’m glad some other folks are bringing this up as well:
Certain difficult and somewhat unsettled questions about the theory have, at times, been tricky to work through. For example, the question of atonement and the sacrifice of the Cross has been difficult to reconcile with traditional theology; certain questions of evolution have been challenging, as have the assumptions of mythical elements i the biblical text; and finally, the mysterious interaction between grace and free will in reorienting “fallen” mimesis has often been difficult to understand. Over time, I have come to see that the faith is the most important thing, and the speculative dimensions of the theory are, well, speculative.
-Tyler Graham, Rene Girard’s Hermeneutic (From the For Rene Girard collection)