In the previous section of my lecture, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”: Paul, the Kingdom, and Living between the Times, I argued that the Gospel is the story of the God of Israel who is on mission to save the world that he has created and that he loves. This is apparent in Galatians 4:4-5, where Paul writes, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children” (NRSV). This motif of a redemptive mission or liberating invasion suggests that humanity is, in some sense, in captivity. This is affirmed by Paul in Galatians where he uses the phrase “to be under the power of” ten times over the course of the letter to describe humanity’s plight. This section engages with some of the twentieth century’s most culturally astute and theologically perceptive readers of Paul in the attempt to come to an understanding of Paul’s discourse surrounding the “the principalities and powers.” Near the beginning of this section, I refer to a video clip from the movie The Matrix, which I have embedded below.
Part 3 – The Principalities and Powers