The Antimony of Essence

Ironically: Sonia, a prostitute, is the saintliest, altruistic character. Marmeladov, a drunken wretch, is a solicitous man towards his ménage. These kinsfolk are both abundant and impoverished, financially in the former, and spiritually in the latter.

Raskolnikov too is a conundrum, as a nihilistic fideist (which is contradictory). Thought-provokingly, Raskolnikov’s God is everlastingly divine, yet was a mortal.

The God-Man enigma, for centuries, is never fathomed. Yet, the paradoxes of the characters in Crime and Punishment are likewise incomprehensible mysteries, but worth exploring. The baffling quandary is that God was both God and non-God, an incarnate of an infinite, timeless being, into a finite, temporal flesh.

However, kenotic arguments intensifies unconditional love: God must share a human nature to honor the definition of perfect love, which is to execute crime, so to say, to the laws of reason. He was broken, paradoxically, in the sense that He broke His own perfect essence to substantiate perfect love.

Here lays two allusions: the paradox of being, and the tale of redemption (through martyrdom). Christianity teaches to “love thy neighbor,” reaching out to the broken.

The nub is that salvation demands crime. Prostitution and drunkenness itself are crimes for God. Nevertheless, the intentions of those crimes of Sonia and Marmeladov, contrasted to Raskolnikov, can be distinguished: crime with the noble aim of self-sacrificing love, and crime with the vile aim of self-seeking hate.

Jesus Himself committed blasphemy (crime), metaphysically and linguistically, hence the crucifixion (punishment). The broken God with perfect love saves those who are broken but with love, who ought to imitate the Redeemer and absolve those who are broken but with no love.

This theological postulation, if compatible, implies a chance of redemption for the every broken individual, or, humanity itself.

The befitting title would be “Crime and Punishment, then Salvation”.


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