The Brother Karamazov and Gospel Parallels


So currently I’m listening to The Brothers Karamazov online at work. It’s been great so far. Today I just finished the section on the Grand Inquisitor. The Grand Inquisitor’s response to Jesus’ unwelcomed return reminded strongly of Paul’s reaction to Jesus in the Last Temptation of Christ. In the The Brother Karamazov, the Grand Inquisitor attacks Jesus for coming back by telling him that the church no longer needs him to function. The freedom Jesus offers man is too great for man to bear. Instead, the church gives man the proper amount of authority and mystery to keep man happy in his obedience even if it is a falsehood. Similarly, when Jesus encounters Paul in the Last Temptation he tries to tell Paul about his not going to the cross. Of course, Paul resists this and tells him he will proclaim his gospel regardless of what Jesus did or did not do.

Also, it particularly struck me when Ivan Karamazov said he refused his ticket and would gladly hand it back because he could not accept God if that meant one child had to suffer needlessly. “It is not God I do not accept, Aloyosha. I merely most respectfully return him the ticket. I accept God, understand that, but I cannot accept the world he has made” (The Brothers Karamazov, 258). This got me thinking. In the same way that Ivan refuses the ticket, might we not also say that Judas himself refuses the ticket? Judas cannot bear to go along with God’s plan to kill an innocent man for the redemption of the world. Judas cannot bear to watch his friend’s blood be shed to appease the one true God. If this God demands the blood of an innocent man, then Judas would rather not live in a world created by such a God. Judas cannot bear to hear the cry of dereliction. What kind of Father would do this to his son? Perhaps, then Judas catches a glimpse of this dark God that he cannot stomach. He had no choice but to commit suicide. This could help further explain his actions in the Garden. Perhaps he was trying to force Jesus’ hands to lead a rebellion, but Jesus refused because of his submission to Father’s immutable will. Judas tried to protect his friend from his damned mission. After this, Judas could do nothing but return the ticket because in a world ruled by such a God, Judas would rather not live.


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