Waiting for Goddot and a Soteriological Predicament

Among the many interesting segments of dialogue in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Goddot is a segment that raises a predicament that is related to one that I pointed out when discussing what this blog is about. Here is the segment of interest:

Vladimir: Let’s wait till we know exactly how we stand…I’m curious to see what he has to offer. Then we’ll take it or leave it.

Estragon: What exactly did we ask [Goddot] for?

Vladimir: …Oh…nothing very definite.

Estragon: A vague supplication.

Vladimir: Exactly.

Apparently, there’s some controversy regarding whether Beckett intended Goddot to be God in this play, but for now, I’m just going to assume that that is what is going on in Beckett’s play. With this assumption in place, we have something very interesting going on.

Goddot, for Estragon and Vladimi, is someone who can provide them with meaning and direction. Without Goddot, they seem to be unable to direct their lives toward any goal. Indeed, they cannot even commit suicide because they can never remember to bring a rope to hang themselves. They are waiting for Goddot to save them, but they do not know exactly what they’ve asked Goddot for. In other words, they know the meaning of Goddot’s arrival (or lack thereof), but they do not know the means of Goddot’s salvivic actions.

This is precisely the situation in which we find ourselves, even for someone like myself for whom Goddot has arrived, so to speak. I know the meaning of God working in my life. I understand what the conclusion is. I, however, have little idea about the means that God will employ to bring about that work.

Interestingly, like Vladimir, if I was given the opportunity to ask for whatever I wanted, I would not be able to say much beyond “to be saved.” I cannot ask to make a lot of money, for the rich and the poor can be equally damned. I cannot ask to be successful, for the glorious and the meek can both be Godless. I cannot ask to be upright, for the “saint” and the sinner can be strangers to Love.

What, then, can I ask for? I can only ask for a Love of God, for a dedication to wait on the Divine because “whoever wants to save his life will loose it, but whoever looses his life for my sake will gain it.” In a sense, though, this just might be the essence of salvation. But Augustine’s question looms large here: What do I love when I love my God?

Something strange is going on here, something paradoxical, something that I can’t quite get my mind around. Like I said before, its related to the same predicament that I pointed out in the “About” page for this blog. I wonder if this process of Seeking and Loving Love is something that is itself beyond words…

I’ve thought a lot about the implications of an incomprehensible deity. I’ve thought very little about what it means to be engaged in a process of Loving the Incomprehensible. (This all reminds me of Kierkegaard’s absolute paradox in Philosophical Fragments, except I’ve raised a soteriological paradox without really talking about Jesus.)

But so what? What does all of this amount to? I’m not even really sure. Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.

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