How the Journey with Jesus Makes Room for 5Q

Having recognized the hero’s journey in the sending, the descent, and the ascent of Jesus, we are now in a better position to understand exactly how Jesus redeems the archetypes and gifts them to the church. And here we are well-equipped by an ancient New Testament teaching on the meaning of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, called anakephalaiosis (Greek) or recapitulation (Latin) theory. Although the term is derived from the New Testament itself, it was Irenaeus and the early church fathers who actually further developed the doctrine. Recapitulation teaches that Christ is the new representative man who, as the second Adam, succeeds where the first Adam failed.

One of the main New Testament Scriptures upon which this insight is based is in Ephesians 1:10 where Paul says,

[God’s purpose is, in] the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up [Gk. Anakephalaiosis, literally “to restore in the new head”] of all things in Christ, things in the heavens, and things on the earth.
Ephesians 1:10 (NASB)

In Colossians 1:15–23 Paul further formulates the gospel in terms of recapitulation/reconstituting all things through his death on the cross. And very significantly, in Romans 5, Paul states that the work of Christ as the Second Adam reinstates his lordship over a fallen creation by living a fully human and obedient life. As we can see from these important texts, recapitulation is seen to be an inextricable part of the gospel itself. Stanley Hauerwas (referencing Yoder) observes:

The confession that the Messiah has been placed by God above and not within the cosmology and culture of the world means that under his lordship the cosmos finds its true meaning and coherence. In Colossians the powers are rightly understood to be not merely defeated but reenlisted in their original purpose to praise God.

In Jesus, the rationality of the world and of history is dethroned and put to work in advancing his work through the church.

Through man’s original and ongoing disobedience, the evolution of the human race has gone terribly awry, and the course of its wrongness could neither be halted nor reversed by any human means. But Jesus Christ, the true human being, perfectly carried out and realized in obedience the purposes of God. Jesus thus consecrates human history and culture in his own authentic living of it on behalf of the fallen race. Playing on the word “recap” (as in recapitulation), theologian Peter Leithart calls Jesus:

the Father’s “summary statement” … the Logos of the Father—the logic or purpose in and through which the whole divine economy is conceived and implemented [italics mine].

Similarly, N.T. Wright, following Irenaeus, reads Christ’s work of redemption in terms of what he calls reconstitution; meaning that Christ acts in a representative fashion to reconstitute the nation/people of God. Humanity is perfectly restored and history effectively “rebooted” in Christ. And this, grasshopper, gets us to the very core of the teaching on recapitulation.

Now back to the significance of all this to 5Q; apply Jesus’ recapitulation specifically to the fivefold archetypes. Along with all other varied dimensions of humanity, the fivefold APEST archetypes existing in fallen humanity are taken up into the very person of Christ and are thereby redeemed and reconfigured in and through his perfect life and his holy offering on the cross! APEST is hereby verified, reformulated, and elevated by Jesus. In the act of recapitulation itself, in becoming the Second Adam, Paul teaches us that Jesus becomes the new Head (Gk kephale, Lat. caput) of the human race and is explicitly called the Head of his Body, the church (Ephesians 4:15).19

We can say therefore that Ephesians 4:8–11 teaches that Jesus takes the pre-existing fivefold archetypes and (along with all the various other orders of creation) recapitulates them in true obedience to God. In so doing, Jesus gives APEST its most definitive and exemplary expression.20 In other words, Jesus embodies APEST in a way that God originally intended, thereby sanctifying/reconsecrating the fallen archetypes. Having done this in his incarnation and cross, he then “gifts” them (Ephesians 4:7) to the Body of Christ, where they are embedded into the very genetics of the church and subsequently lived out in different individuals in different times and places as their unique callings.

One might even say that if, in the logic of monotheism, worship is essentially offering the world back to God, then we can view recapitulation as the way in which Jesus takes all humanity—including the fivefold archetypes—reconsecrates it and then offers it all as worship to God. The church is the central part of the offering that Jesus the High Priest makes to the Father! Jesus worships the Father through the ongoing redemptive ministry of the Body of Christ, whose very purpose is to extend his mission in the world (cf. Ephesians 1:22–23, 1 Corinthians 15:21–28).

And so we have traced the implications of Jesus’ hero journey in the form of his incarnation; his exemplary life; his suffering; his redemptive work on our behalf; his ascension and subsequent return to the Father, for the benefit of humanity. We affirm that by ascending to the Father he bequeaths the now reconstituted APEST archetypes to the community that is called to be his embodiment in the world. We now have all that we need, to do what he has intended … we are perfectly equipped. It remains for us to remember the enormity of the graces we have been given and live into his purposes in and through us.

Note that 5Q is somehow involved at every point of this whole schema, but is meant to be the treasure of the church who are the people indelibly marked by the person and the way of Jesus. If we break up, or bypass, or purge elements of the fivefold, we mess with the constituting design of the church and introduce a fatal flaw into the life and the capacities of the Body of Christ.