Christotopia: Spaces of Christ*

Cristotopía: Espacios de Cristo

Danilo Dourado Guerra

Christotopia: Spaces of Christ*

Theologica Xaveriana, vol. 73, 2023

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Danilo Dourado Guerra

UniAraguaia-Centro Universitário, Brasil

Received: 20 november 2021

Accepted: 23 july 2022

Abstract: In this article, driven by the hermeneutics of the phenomenon and specialties, I propose the structuring of a theoretical-theological framework capable of identifying the categories and elements inherent to the antagonism between good and evil present in the order of created things, substantially in the human ontology. In this epistemological path, by the methodological option, I will go through the syntagmatic itinerary of evil, in its nuances and territorial thanatopic demarcations to antagonistically demonstrate the elements and traits that constitute the good that orbits the entire divine cosmogenesis. These elements that involve the positive response of humanity seen from the ethical and moral evaluative praxis to the paradigm of human faith shown in the lives of individuals and societies, the framing of the spatial specter of opposition to chaos in the midst of it. These spaces of axiological opposition and cosmic redemption are generated from the (in)carnational ontological-territorial phenomenon of the manifestation of the (trans)forming presence of Christ and his Basileia, through which the Christophanic theophany in its immanent transcendence reveals to us the heterotopic molds what I call Christotopia, the spaces of Christ.

They are theotopic spaces from outside, but substantially, biotopic spaces from inside. They are spaces of life and meaning in which christophany is established in a diametrically opposed way to spaces of death and non-meaning which are installed throughout time and society in all its spheres. In the light of Foucault’s heterotopic metaphor, the Christotopias focus on human existence and can be seen as boats launched into the infinite sea of the thanatopic cosmos. The Christotopias are places without a place; places of re-signification and survival; spaces of faith and decision, life and salvation, palpable spaces of overlapping deviation from death, closed, but at the same time open, spaces of art, poetry and melody amidst the noises of this world, real places where utopias become realizable, palpable, and dreams in Jesus Christ become possible.

Keywords:Christ, christology; space, heterotopia; power.

Resumen: En este artículo, impulsado por la hermenéutica del fenómeno y las especialidades, propongo la estructuración de un marco teórico-teológico capaz de identificar las categorías y elementos inherentes al antagonismo entre el bien y el mal presentes en el orden de las cosas creadas, sustancialmente en la ontología humana. En este camino epistemológico, por la opción metodológica, recorreré el itinerario sintagmático del mal, en sus matices y demarcaciones tanatópicas territoriales para demostrar antagónicamente los elementos y rasgos que constituyen el bien que orbita toda la cosmogénesis divina. Estos elementos que implican la respuesta positiva de la humanidad vista desde la praxis valorativa ética y moral al paradigma de la fe humana muestran en la vida de los individuos y las sociedades el encuadre del espectro espacial de la oposición al caos en medio de ella. Estos espacios de oposición axiológica y redención cósmica se generan a partir del fenómeno ontológico-territorial (in)carnacional de la manifestación de la presencia (trans)formadora de Cristo y su Basilea, a través de la cual la teofanía cristofánica en su trascendencia inmanente nos revela a los moldes heterotópicos lo que llamo Cristotopía, los espacios de Cristo.

Espacios teotópicos desde fuera, pero sustancialmente, espacios biotópicos desde dentro. Espacios de vida y sentido en los que la cristofanía se establece de forma diametralmente opuesta a los espacios de muerte y no sentido instalados a lo largo del tiempo y de la sociedad en todos sus ámbitos. A la luz de la metáfora heterotópica de Foucault, las Cristotopías se centran en la existencia humana y pueden verse como barcos lanzados al mar infinito del cosmos tanatópico. Las Cristotopías son lugares sin lugar; lugares de resignificación y de supervivencia; espacios de fe y de decisión, de vida y de salvación, espacios palpables de desviación superpuesta de la muerte, cerrados, pero al mismo tiempo abiertos, espacios de arte, de poesía y de melodía en medio de los ruidos de este mundo, lugares reales donde las utopías se hacen realizables, palpables, y los sueños en Jesucristo se hacen posibles.

Palabras clave: Cristo, cristología; espacio, heterotopía; poder.


Même quand un poète évoque une dimension de géographe, il sait d’instinct que cette dimension se lit sur place parce qu’elle est enracinée dans une valeur onirique particulière1

Human existence always raises questions about the realities that surround it. On the ontological stage that affects our lives, we find ourselves facing demands that we cannot satisfactorily address. In this aspect, one of the greatest problems consists in understanding the inherent conflict between the good and the evil generated in the heart of the individual and which is unleashed in the spheres of existence. Overcoming the Zoroastrian and Manichean patterns, a cosmic ‘battle’ already won drives us to understand the designs and dramas engendered in the divine creation. In this tabloid, where good and evil are configured as transcendent and immanent prehuman forces, antagonistic and asymmetrical, of spiritual and moral dimension, on the one hand, the problem of evil, its elements and effects that permeate the course of human history stands out in a theogonic framework of conflicts and uncertainties. On the other hand, humanity’s positive response in the midst of the chaos and theorems of God’s death presents us with traces of divine DNA on the human face.

In the course of this essay, I will not return to the questions and propositions that have already become rhetorical about the genetics of the ambivalences that orbit this cosmic ‘duel’. Neither will I try to weave a conceptual reference for the problem of theodicy. I do propose, under the hermeneutic Christian nuance, the structuring of a theoretical-theological framework that is capable of explaining the syntagms inherent to the evil (‘privatio boni’ in the Augustinian mode) that inhabits the spatial ordering of created things. I intend to decode the spatial meanders that involve the reality of the evil that enchants and dominates humanity. However, despite all the network of malignant powers2 mechanized in a plot in which the human mimetically becomes a devotee and a puppet in the hands of the one who controls the threads, I will seek, above all, to highlight a reality in which the light shines in the midst of darkness. A breath of life in the midst of the death plans that frighten the human race. In this purpose, the greatest step intended consists in the proposition of the existence of an ontological and phenomenological vector that explains how the elements that constitute the good are structured, and influence, and subsist in the spaces of creation, even in the midst of chaos.

From the floor where I walk and believe, I will present to you what I call “Christotopia”. A Christological hermeneutical framework for realities. In primeval tones, the term Christotopia refers to space (τόπος. topos, topoi), or to cosmogenic spaces in which the biblical Christ manifests itself to promote a process of axiological opposition, and, fundamentally, of cosmic redemption. These Christophanic spaces are established in a diametrically opposite way to the abstract and concrete spaces and vectors of domination3 installed throughout time and society in all its spheres. The present Christological topology is not fixed as a pantheistic approach, nor is it panentheistic in its proposal for understanding the spaces of the Christ. Rather, I propose the Christotopological constitution from the relationship between a phenomenology of the Christian faith and a dialectical theology4 in reformulation. This relationship points the Christotopic space not from a Christological ontology ‘Christ as all or in all’, but from the traces of phenomenological experience perceptible and imperceptible in anthropogenic and cosmogenic ontology.

In theoretical and methodological terms to present you to Cristotopia, I propose an analogous axis between French theoretical geography and traditional Christian theodicy. I understand that French theoretical geography, in particular the contributions of Bachelard and Foucault can be used as a hermeneutical lens for the decoding and understanding of the world within the framework of spatialities. Within its theoretical projection, its elements and categories of analysis are structured as tools of investigation and interpretation of spatial realities, including good and evil, when viewed under these terms. In dealing with traditional Christian theodicy, it is known that in the Augustinian mode, evil is not conceived as a substance in itself, but as a space of absence of good. Within this perspective, as a timeless analytical category and hermeneutical prism, both the poetics of Bachelard’s space and Foucaultian heterotopology provide the enterprise of Christian theodicy, elements for revisiting and retrointerpreting some of its paradigms, above all, with regard to the philosophical geography that evokes the spaces of good and of its absence. Therefore, in this essay, the correlation between French theoretical geography and traditional Christian theodicy will be hermeneutic, analytical and historical in its retrointerpretative sense.

By space, to the molds of an imaginary geometry in its infinity, I understand the dimension and immensity of the territoriality and the inherent interactions of the things and beings created by God (L’immensité est en nous5). In terms of humanistic geography, space is the “product of interrelations, as constituted through interactions, from the immensity of the global to the intimately”6. Space is the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity, in which heterogeneity coexists. The same is always under construction, never finished. It is never closed7. Space is a location open to a horizon without limits, something that allows movement8. This territorial and relational geometry is evident from the places of abstraction as the symbolic space; the space of ideas; the space of symbolic systems (art, religion and language); the mythical space, the spiritual space, the social space and its spheres (economic, political, aesthetic, religious, virtual), the spaces of no meaning and meaning9, to the physically palpable places quantized in all divine creation, as the individual and collective body, the phenomenological space that constitutes the first human territory and has its temporal meaning at the level of everyday experiences10. In the history of divine creation, it is within this topographic character that the signs of evil and good articulate and materialize, announcing that spaces of death and spaces of life coexist in the interior and exterior of human beings. It is in this geospectrum that the places in which Christophany unveils Christotopia are designed.

Therefore, I invite you to walk with me in search of the spaces of Christ. In this search, as a first step, I will try to implement the idea of the cosmos as a space of death structured in the mastery of creation by means of a network of malignant powers. Once this is done, I will map the existence of heterotopic spaces of life in which the hierophany will present us with Christotopia.

The Cosmos as Thanatopos: Powers, Structures and Elements

According to Johannine literature, it is unquestionable that the order of things and beings created by God is under a dynamic of orchestration governed by the cosmos ‘world’. It is a system of malignant powers that has the devil as its prince and puppeteer11. In theological terms, this system of powers with vectors of domination (physical, psychological and, above all, symbolic) is constituted in the space or metaphysical spiritual dimension, invisible and timeless that is quantified, introjects and interferes in the threads of the order of divine creation through the ages, since its hamartiological genesis. Such hamartiological origin configures molecularly the cosmos as a space of separation from the creative divinity, the systemic locus of domination in which by the salary of sin the power of death “thanatocracy” (θάνατος. κράτος) rules. The tissue in the genes of sin, the cosmos is architected as “thanatopos” (θάνατος.τόπος), that is, space of death. Here, phenomenologically, evil and death become spaces of non-meaning, places of non-life. As an apparatus of domination this is in charge of promoting all the paradigms inherent to death and loss of meaning in the existential horizon of creation. In the cosmos, the plots of fear that propagate the deaths, spiritual, physical and symbolic of creation and the actors of humanity are concatenated. Trapped in its plots, the human species is dead because it loves darkness more than light12. Not only humanity, in the cosmos as thanatopos, God also is dead.

In the historiography of cosmogony, the thanatopia of the cosmos, from Eden, spreads and is engendered by the propagation of its essence and destiny: the darkness13. In this dark environment, the human being is lost in his own attitudes that imprison him. Thus, the world is characterized by the illusion of the human being about his own reality. Here, the ontology of death goes back to a link of life broken by the idolatry of human flesh14. This is the value nexus of thanatopia, in which the darkness proclaims the corruption of the body (spirit and soul) and leads the captive humanity in the webs of lies15. In this ontological zone, it is not governed by truth, but by force. From the perspective of imprisonment, the world as a thanatopos is a “land of slavery, because sin is practiced in it”16. It is the hostile environment, the oppressive system of injustice, violence and death, personified in the ‘boss of the world/ of this order’”17, that deprives man of his freedom in favor of the structures of domination18. In this meaning, the (in)carnationality of the thanatopic cosmos is structured based on the paradigm of colonization of body-subjects articulated under mechanisms of control and life management (existence), such as necropower and necropolitics19.

These mechanisms, in turn, are structuring the topographies of cruelty20, networks and spaces of terror, which designate the individual and societal formation of (micro) and (macro) worlds of death on the human scene21. This conflictual plot confirms the axiom that God is the only being who knows good and evil and is able to deal with evil without being corrupted by it.

An important biblical text about what is conceived by the cosmos/world is found in the First Epistle of John. In his discourse, the Johannine author lists three elements that synthesize the ephemeral spectrum of the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1Jn 2:16). These three syntagms, in turn, are structured as factors of the dynamism constitution of the cosmos and are catalyzed by what I call a “latreocracy.”

Through latreocracy (λατρεία.κράτος) I conceived the macrosphere of cultual power that has its genesis in the diabolical ideology of self-deification implanted in the human heart during the time of lapse. This is the power of the search for the throne of glory and devotion (Is 14:13-14), of competition based on ego and greed. In the pre and post edenic lapse of human history, the latreocracy was the leitmotif of temptation and the adamic fall. This is the power that becomes the substratum and driving force of everything in the world (1Jn 2:16). The devotional Sarkic power, the greed of the eyes (epithumia ton ophthalmon) and the vainglory coming from the thanatopic cosmos that produces devices of illusion and enchantment (Gen 3:6), under which the human being, just like the prince of this world, longs for his divinization and devotion (Gen 3:5). The power of cultic magnetism refers to the ascension of idols and altars in the various spheres of being. The force that decentralizes and fragments the human adoration and broker as latreia to all that is not God, and the power under which the thanatopic cosmos is equipped and establishes its mechanisms of domination.

Throughout the history of civilizations, the latreocracy is configured as the power by which the construction of divinity is directly imbricated with the fabrication of the devotee to it. In the latreocratic machinery, the belief is structured as a device of government, as an instrument of maintenance of cultural power. Under a dialectic tabloid, the fabrication of the devotee is frontally related to the production of mimetic parameters of stratification and hierarchization derived from the rites of apotheosis that pantheonize divi and divae on the stage of human history22. This is the devotional force that governs the cosmos as thanatopos and that after the adamic lapse takes root molecularly in the core of the relationship between humans and God, and between human and human, and is founded as the main vector of domination by which anti-Theos values are constituted.

Behind the latreocratic paradigms divinizing and cultured of the cosmos are the powers and syntagms that engender the evils and dramas of humanity. At the level of human relations, expressed in the thanatopia of the cosmos, the latreocracy is erected and condensed from a network of micropower that are articulated in a circular23 interposed and dialectical relationship, in the individual and collective spheres of societies.

The first micropower inherent to latreocracy concerns the performatic layer that surrounds it. In the domain of the thanatopic action of the cosmos, the cultual power is established in a choreographic way in the dynamism of the bodies and can be conceived from the orb of the theatricality, thus appearing as a dramatic game that remains throughout time and occurs in all societies24. In social processes, the function of power is to ensure the continuity of action, that is, the creation and maintenance of the number of options of potential actors25. On this stage of movements and circularities, the cultural power is only built and preserved effectively by transposition, from the moment it is dressed in symbolic masks, appropriating the manipulation and organization of symbols in a ritualistic-ceremonial framework. In short, the latreocracy marks its entry into history through the device of spectacularization. In this dialectical symbiosis between power and spectacle26, appears on the scene the theatrical power: the theatercracy, “it regulates the daily life of men in collectivity”27.

In the thanatopic scenario of the cosmos, the theatercracy reveals, in turn, the existence of three micropower directly related to it. These powers are the backbone of the dynamism chain that composes the latreocracy.

In this sense, the Johannine discourse of 1Jn 2:16 reveals to us the subsistence of a micro-power that manifests itself in human flesh. I am referring to what I call an “eroscracy”. There are several types of eros that refuse to be disciplined and converted to the power of love (agape)28. In this disfranchisement, the eroscracy is designated as the power arising from the profanation of the edenic eros produced and proposed by God in the early days of creation. The fleeting power that is structured in the webs of sexual passion (pathos), of hedonistic erotic desire that becomes cult and contaminates the sacred values of divine eros. It is the power of eroticization that supplants love. The force of manipulation and perversion of eros, in which sex is naturalized and routinized by the subjective patterns of selfish and egocentric individuality. The pathological power of erotic madness irrationalizes the animal and monstrificates the human. The connecting thread of the pleasure urge for pleasure that without alterity of reductionist form conceals and embodies identities and individuals. The empowering power of domination and sexual latreia, under which individuals dominate and are dominated become worshipers.

The eroscracy is nourished by the lust by which we are intimately tempted not to love. It reveals to us the power in which the ‘epithumia tes sarkos’ (lust of the flesh) reveals in the human interior the passion that dishonors, the perversion of sexuality sedimented by sin that consumes the human species. In the territorial plots of this network of powers, the manifestation of the latreocracy occurs through desire, the greed of the mirage that blinds the eye and the veneration of the body that holds the erotic capital. This space of divinization and adoration occurs in the aesthetic, symbolic and political spheres of the individual and societal body/organism of humanity. From this veneration feedback the passionate power that dances and flirts with death.

On the other hand, of equal importance is the visibility of other spheres of power inherent to the latreocracy in the dynamism plot of 1Jn 2:16. I am referring to the spheres of micro powers that orbit the symbol of the pride of life (alazoneia tou biou). In the Johannine text, the Greek term used is alazoneia and connotes pretension, arrogance and pride29. In the latreocratic core of the Johannine cosmos, the arrogance of life concerns the life of vainglory, the objectification of the supremacist hierarchical apex, the anthropocentric dispute for sovereignty, the temptation to possess all kingdoms and the glory of this world (Mt 4: 8-9). In the (in)carnate thanatopia of the cosmos, these axiological axes constitute the mosaic of human pride and are orchestrated by the “theopolicracy” and “mamoncracy”.

I deal with the theopolicracy, the cultual orb and the theatrical power that is structured and emanates from the thanatopic ontology of the cosmos. I am referring to the microsphere of cultual power in which the theological and political powers are synthesized into a single power. This is the chimera of powers in which the theological conception of diabolos about the Creator hybridizes with the malignant political core of the symbolic instance of their decisions and relations with God and the order of their creation. This evil theopolitical power, in turn, has reached the human heart, denigrating the order of its relations with the Creator and with its neighbor. In the perimeter of human relations, the theopolicracy is a synthesis between the “low-politic”30 and the “low-theology”31 implanted by the cosmos. This power, structured by a low theopolitics, is thus established as a constitutive vector of the chains of domination, the sacralization of terror and fear fostered by the synthesis of theological and political arguments over the ages. It is the theopolicracy that governs the divinizing nexus of human pride. Through this ideological/argumentative symbolic force, the gods and men in common agreement come together to govern the world. This is the power of the plausibility discourse that magically unites heaven and earth. The profane power of deification and mystification that generates signs of death and legitimizes the contentment of the discontented, the fascination for inequality, the ethos of the resignation of those oppressed by the logic of caste. The power that produces in the devotee a neocosmovision, which, forged in devices of illusion32, foreshadows an ordered look in relation to a legitimately disordered cosmos. A prototypical mirage of order and meaning in the world, inserted in the midst of the chaos in which this world finds itself. In the thanatopic dynamism introjected into humanity, the theopolicracy condenses the political and religious power in favor of fabricated devotion in which the closer it appears to be to the divinity, the further away it is from the Creator the more God murders.

In the axiological territory of arrogance inherent to the cosmos, the theopolicracy relates to mammoncracy (µαµωνας/κράτος). The power of riches and money riches that enchant souls and produce devotees of the economic capital throughout time. It is the tempting power of souls (Mk 8:36) that makes money the gravitational center of existence and leads to mammonlatry (µαµωνας/λατρεία), the cult of riches. It is the mamoncratic stratum of the cosmos that is responsible for the religious love of money that takes root in all evils (1Tm 6:10).

All these powers are rooted in the corruption of divine designations. All (in) carnate and disfigure the image and human conduct by imposing on them traces of hatred, violence, lies and injustice typical of the death system of this world. Such powers and elements inherent to the thanatopia of the cosmos are responsible for the creation of a type of Zeitgeist (spirit of the time), which from time to time is installed and determines the system of values and conducts anti-Theos in human history. In this web of powers, in which the latreocratic ideology institutes the malignant teleology of the cosmos, the human being is dominated by the dominator syndrome. And we will be equal to God. This network of powers in which the latreocracy becomes a barycenter is responsible for promoting the spaces of death and loss of meaning arising from the thanatopic spirit of the cosmos that brings humanity.

However, in spite of all that has been said, I try to bring good news. There is someone greater than the cosmos. There is a reality of spiritual government infinitely wider than the cosmos that reaches us. There is an ontological territorial phenomenon in which good surpasses evil, the light shines in the darkness, the life supplants death, and the Christophany reveals the Christotopia to the creation.

The Christotopic Map: Elements for a Christopology

In the molecules of the cosmogenic order, there is a reality put and claimed by the Creator. There is an essential axiom in which the manifestation of Christ becomes a primordial and burning phenomenon in the various spheres and spaces of creation. Through Christ, I conceive of the nominative messianological theopoliticized title that was born in Hebrew culture and re-signified in the realm of the original Christianisms. In this essay, I do not refer to Christ as a kind of acronym for the mediating function present in any religion, nor to the liberating political meaning proper to the Jewish understanding of the Messiah. Rather, I prefer to think of the spectrum of Christ from the Christological refinement established in the protochristian core. In this conceptual treatment, the meaning of the term Christ is imbued with the revelational projection of the Logos-Christ, the Messiah pre-existent to time and space (En archē ēn) “what was from the beginning”, to be prehuman, transcendent and immanent, author and consummate of creation, what was with God (kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon), and was God (kai theos ēn ho logos), the supreme divine face of Yahweh33, who in the fullness of time became flesh, receiving the name of Jesus.

This conception shows us the hypostatic existence of a single divine being visible from the metaphysical Christ (kata pneuma) to the incarnated Christ (kata sarka). Both manifestations of Christ are structured under a dialectical, not binary, bond of identity interdependence. This interdependence designates that the concept of Christ, to some extent, is beyond, but not beyond, the Jesus of history. It is made beyond, in the sense of its pre-existence and pre-humanity, however, it is made beyond to the extent that the metaphysical Christ is the Jesus of history pre-Sarkic, in the sense that the Jesus of history is not only one of the manifestations of Christ, but the Christophany in its personality, totality and teleological, ontological and salvific fullness. In this aspect, Christ is ‘only’ and totally Jesus. This is totally by essence, the same and unique Jesus Christ, the lamb known and sacrificed before the foundation of the Universe (1Pt 1:20; Re 13:8) that manifests and reveals itself since the beginning of human history (He 13:8).

In the plot of the revelational dynamics of Christ, Christophanies are established matricially by the character of his (trans)formative presence. This presence occurs in the timeless and temporal, spiritual and physical manifestation of his powers and his Basileia; in the theophany that reveals the traces of the image and similarity of Christ in human DNA; in the divine attributes communicated to humanity; in the theophanic phenomena visible both in the narratives of the religious experience of the Hebrew people and in the (un)known and selfless manifestations of Christ to other peoples on earth; in the company of the Jesus of faith with his disciples in his earthly life and those who believe in him throughout the history of the world (Jn 14, 21; 17, 20).

In the course of human history, this Christophanic territorial demarcation gives rise to what I call Christotopia. Here I borrow the concept of ‘heterotopia’ (hetero/ topos) coined by Michel Foucault34 to refer to the ‘other spaces’ (outside and inside, in my view). Places of life and meaning carved by the manifestation of Christ within the territorial macroreality of the human body, soul and culture. According to the philosopher, unlike utopias that are characterized as spatial unrealities and positions without real place, heterotopias are other spaces. These are real places, species of utopias realized in which the real positions found within a given culture are at the same time represented, challenged and inverted. These are kinds of places that are outside of all places, although they are effectively locatable. These different spaces are characterized by being a kind of concomitant mythical and real contestation of the space in which one lives. They are places that are opposed to all others, destined, in a certain way, to erase, neutralize or purify them. They are like counter-spaces35.

In light of this conceptualization, and with the resignification of postlapsarian space as a Christotopian meta-argument, I wish to propose the genesis of a Christotopology. A Christological science decoding the spaces of the Christ, derived from Foucauldian heterotopology36. In an elementary way, the embryo of this science develops from the matrix sentence that all Christotopia is a heterotopia. In the structuring dynamics of Christotopia, from the process of resignification and (re)configuration of the six heterotopological principles proposed by Foucault37, six Christotopological principles are postulated, namely:

  1. There is not a single culture in the physical or metaphysical world that does not consist of Christotopias (First heterotopological principle38). In this definition, like heterotopias, the spaces of Christ are designated as a constant both in the cosmicspiritual dimension and in any human societal paradigm.

  2. Each Christotopia has a precise and determined functioning from the cosmic dimension to the interior/exterior dimensions of the human being and of society (Second heterotopological principle39). Under the heterotopic approach, Christotopias constitute spaces of alternative social order, that is, spaces whose functioning clearly differs from the current order40. Thus, Christotopias can be “a place of resistance and freedom, enabling other social realities that differ from those that only dominate and oppress”41.

  3. The Christotopic phenomenon arising from the manifestation of Christ has the power to juxtapose in a single real place several spaces (Third heterotopological principle42). This spatial juxtaposition is established both in the metaphysical spectrum of the cosmos as a thanatopic system, and in the world-space of signs and the materiality of created beings and things. This territorial overlap is established in the micro and macro spheres of the real, revealing the constitution of a Christophanic place placed from the spiritual dimension of the cosmos to the tissues of the spirit and human flesh.

  4. Christotopias are linked to the cuttings of time, and they become fully functional when creation and humanity find themselves in a kind of absolute rupture with their traditional time (Fourth heterotopological principle43). This heterotopic factor signals in the Christophanic element the production of a heterocronicity of eternity, in which Christotopias are configured as spaces of yearning and conquest of the eternal, in which there is the possibility of the superposition of temporal and timeless life before the thanatopic locus temporized by the timelines of death. In Christotopias, the coexistential reality between time and space is defined by the revelational and salvific personal experience44 of the Creator. Moment of the phenomenal encounter with the hero in which Christotopia merges with Christochronia (The time of Christ, which becomes the time of humanity).

  5. Christotopias always suppose a system of openness and closure that simultaneously isolates them and makes them penetrable (Fifth heterotopological principle45). Within their scheme of closure, Christotopias are closed to the cosmos to the extent that they are configured in sacred spaces that can only be accessed by a process of sanctification/purification of what is profane. In the same way, their mechanism of openness is introduced in the sense of the manifestations of Christ to the human being. This system of openness paradoxically evidences Christotopia, both as an areligious phenomenon, in the sense of not presupposing the sphere of religion to be formatted, and as a paradigm of spirituality, to the extent that it becomes a central hierophanic phenomenon of Christian religious experience.

  6. In the cosmogenic dynamism of creation, Christotopias has been established under an anti-cosmic character since the fall of the prince of this world. In a process of opposition, the spaces of Christ are instituted as heterotopias of deviation (le comportement est déviant par rapport à la moyenne ou à la norme exigée 46), inversion and paradigmatic contestation of the thanatopic powers and values of the cosmos. In this antagonistic matization, Christotopia is characterized as a heterotopia of compensation47, functioning as “another space, another real space, so perfect (aussi parfait), so meticulous, so well arranged as ours is disorganized, malodorous and confused”48.

From this Christotopological theoretical reference, we can catalog the establishment of important Christotopic phenomena throughout the history of humanity, namely:

All these important Christopical phenomena articulated throughout the history of humanity consolidate the Christotopia as an anticosmic space reality. Within this perspective, the Christotopic spaces identify with the metaphor of Foucault’s boat, his great heterotopic example, “Le navire, c’est l’hétérotopie par excellence57. Under the tone of the Foucauldian metaphor, we can conceive that throughout the history of humanity, the Christotopic navigation is adorned as spaces of power, decision and proclamation, spaces in which the fishermen of men are constituted (Mt 4:19). In the atmosphere of the thanatopic sea of the cosmos, Christotopic boats are ruled by the Christocracy: the omnipotent and magestatic power of Christ Himself that generates a circular relationship (interposed and dialectical) of powers among which is one of the strongest and most sublime: the power of life, the “biocracy”.

By biocracy (βίος.κράτος), I conceive of the exclusive power of God represented by the tree of life forbidden so that man does not eat and live eternally (Ge 3:22). It is the divine essence of the Logos-Christ that ignores the finite plots of death and chaos. The Christogenic and creative power of the gestation of everything, of the breath it generates animates, of the birth towards eternity. The revealing power of life and “cosmogenic meaning”, of the day that begins after a night of darkness. The propelling force of the resurrection of the hero who, like the sun, overcame death. The power that suppresses the thanatocracy. In the ontological landscapes in which the spaces of Christ are configured as places of deviation from death, the biocracy moves as a structuring dynamism of spaces of life originated from Christotopia. In other words, from the point of view of biocracy, all Christotopia is configured in a space of life, in a “biotopos” (βίος.τόπος), or “biotopia”. Within Christotopic realities, the biotopos are manifested and cosmic thanatopia is superimposed in two dimensions. These dimensions, in turn, reveal the complexity and scope of Christ’s spaces.

The Christotopia as a Hariological Biotopos

Throughout the history of creation, the constitution of Christotopias as biotopos inaugurates the paradigm that through faith in Christ, or independent of it, there is only life, even by breath, from the spaces of Christ. In relation to humanity, this apotegma refers to two Christotopic axes in which life manifests itself: the common hariological biotopos and the hariological salvific biotopos.

By common hariological biotopos, I conceive the Christotopic structuring in which the power of life manifests itself as a favor (grace) to all human beings, regardless of their belief system. This constitution points to a type of the self-revelation of the life (l’auto-révélation de la vie) connected to the ‘Archi-intelligibilité’ de la Vie 58. In terms of Christotopic expansion and comprehensiveness, the common hariological biotopos are diagrammed as a spatial ontological phenomenon, in which from the manifestation of the imagetic features of Christ the elements of his life constitute human beings as locus of life (Ac 17:28). From an anti-thanatopic territorial perspective, the common hariological biotopical reality of Christotopia manifests itself in humanity through a genetic axiological engendering and the powers/attributes of Christ’s being communicated to human beings. Within this framework, the Christotopic constitution establishes some assertions:

  1. In the individual and societal human body, the Christotopia as a common hariological biotopos raises the maintenance and genetic axiological propagation of the ethical and moral dialectics inherent in Christ’s being. There is, therefore, a type of hieroethics that is structured and dissolves in the social apparatus from the axiology of the Sacred. The promotion of this valuative gens that involves senses of truth, spirituality, goodness, fraternity, justice and communitarianism, is engendered in the social territory as a kind of collective consciousness59 independent of the Zeitgeist (spirit of the time) and the historical, social and cultural variants that determine the change of ethical and moral standards throughout civilizations. In the constitution of Christotopia, the common hariological biotopos are responsible for promoting through an evaluative nexus the divine nomos60 that regulates and balance individual and social life throughout time.

  2. Regarding the network of powers inherent to Christocracy, Christotopia as a common hariological biotopos is established as the locus in which the power of life reveals the power of love, that is, the “agapecracy” to each human being (Dasein61).

By agapecracy (αγάπη.κράτος), I conceive of the power of Christ’s sacrificial love (αγάπη) (1Co 13:4-8). The agapecracy is divine; however, it is areligious. It is not based on the structures of the symbolic system of religion, but on the essence of God (1Jn 4:8). It is a driving force inherent in Christian virtue, but it is not restricted to Christianity. It is celestial, but it is also configured on earth. It is designated by the driving force of the sublime state of understanding and experience of life, the human capacity to see and sympathize with the dramas of humanity not through the prism of welfare dogma, but from the eyes and heart of God, and, above all, to act from that perspective. It is the vital and poetic power of being, the pre-decisional ontological flame that drives the fiat of the decision to love and overcomes the decision not to love, the existential lens that replaces indifference, decodes and qualifies the meaning of life and human relationships. Thus, the power of love manifests itself independently of religious experience, but it originates in Christ and has its apogee in the encounter with him.

In the midst of the latreocratic, thanatopic order of the cosmos, which has as its objective that the human being does not love, in which the lust of the eyes, of the flesh, and the pride of life reach and dominate our lives, the power of divine love communicated to men, is the numen motor capable of overcoming mammoncracy and mammonlatry, overcoming the power of betrayal and cultual greed coming from the eroscracy.

The second Christotopic axis in which Christ’s life manifests itself concerns what I call hariological salvific biotopos. This is configured par excellence as the territorialontological reality in which life enters the world as the scenario of human history, the place where history unfolds and the kerygma of salvation. In this soteriological movement, in which life reveals itself to humanity in the most sublime way, the spaces of life generated by Christotopia are substantially constituted as spaces of Zoe aionios, places and worlds of eternal life. In this sense, eternity is the quality of distant places62 that become close in Christ.

This sublime proclamation concerns the (meta)existence that goes beyond mere existence, the ontological element of the resurrection of the spirit and the human body, the inexhaustible knowledge of God, the pinnacle of the relationship between creature and Creator, in which the creature becomes a son. Here, I deal with the Christotopic locus in which the domains of Christ’s grace shape the spaces of life as ontological spaces of salvation. These spaces of life in which Christ acts in a saving way are configured within those that in his time, trajectory and culture were found by him. All of these, regardless of historical demarcations, have been redeemed by the cross. This paradigm leads us to some premises:

From an anti-thanatopic perspective, the spaces of eternal life that come from Christotopia are above all related to the power of love (agapecracy) that goes beyond life itself in the reductionist logic of its historical materiality, that throws away all fear (1Jn 4:18) and restores to the human being the company of Life itself, before and after its death and resurrection (Mt 28:20b); with the pnematopic expression that evokes the dwelling of the spirit of Christ within those who believed in him; with the true freedom provided by the knowledge of Christ (Jn 8:36). In the phenomenal structuring of this intra-individual living space, the body profaned by sin becomes a sanctified place, a temple of the sacred (Jn 14:23; 17:26) and of the values of its kingdom (Jn 18:36), the first territory of adoration and worship of Christ. This hagiotopic paradigm of the human body, in turn, is extensive to the symbolic sphere of the body of Christ represented by the collective of his followers throughout the ages. In this ecclesiological angle, the invisible church also becomes the sacred locus templar (2Co 6:16) and cultic in which Christ dwells and generates life (Mt 18:20). Another significant element to be addressed in relation to the antagonism between the spaces of death and the spaces of life structured on the human existential frontier is that both the hariological salvific bio-space and the thanato-space are configured as places of devotion and worship. However, there is a significant parameter of contrast between them. While the spaces of death originated in the cosmos are characterized as divinizing and cult territories with a polytheistic nuance in which the latreocracy becomes the nucleus, the spaces of life and salvation managed by Christotopia are installed as Christolatric devotional territories of monotheistic nuance, in which the Christocracy becomes the center. It demands a Christolatry65. It remains for the human being in his interior to choose the altar of his devotion.

In the structuring of this cultural paradigm, the Christotopia contests, reverses and destructures the order of (micro)powers and domination unleashed in the thanatopia of the cosmos. In the Christolatry that comes from the freedom of life, all the self-divinizing and cultual mimetic links and processes of the latreocracy that dominate and enslave the ego, the soul and the spirit of humanity needing to know God are subverted. In Christolatrical praxis, the theatercracy that performatizes, enchants and sculpts the man-god is supplanted. In his high theo-politics, the theopolicracy is subtracted, it manages mechanisms of cultic plausibility agreed between heaven and earth. In Christolatry the eroscracy is defeated, which in its ephemeral (not)alterity makes the body of the other its altar; and the mammoncracy that generates mammonlatry is eliminated. This is the juxtaposed configuration of the spaces of those who are in the world who no longer belong to him (Jn 17:14-16).

All these elements postulate the Christotopic paradigm in which the biotopic structuring in each human being, believing or not in Christ, internalized and externalized, reveals the paradigmatic suppression of the (micro)powers of domination and death inherent to the evil cosmic order orchestrated by the prince of this world. The moment when light shines in the midst of darkness and darkness cannot erase it (Jn 1:5). In an existential table where the human body-territory becomes a space of dispute between good and evil (Rm 7:19-23), the Christotopia superimposes itself as a space of life that, on the one hand, claims the return to divine genes hidden by the masks of sin that traverse humanity, and on the other, in a more noble way, points to the maxim that in the body that abounded the sin that leads to death, the divine grace abounded (Rm 5:20-21). Similarly, the Christotopia as biotopos also ratifies that God is not dead. This observation, on the one hand, demonstrates that the secularized world, despite its majority, will never be without God, to the extent that Christotopia reveals God in the human being. On the other hand, even more sublime, the spaces of Christ point to the reality of the transcendent and immanent company of the hero God and king who will dwell in you.

In this way, the meaning of Christotopia is fulfilled.


In this essay, moved by the hermeneutics of the phenomenon and the specialties, I proposed the structuring of a theological and theoretical framework capable of identifying the categories and elements inherent to the antagonism between darkness and light present in the order of created things, substantially in the human ontology. In this trajectory, in a first moment, I identified the cosmos as a malignant spiritual systemic space of powers and domination, whose ruler is the diabolos. Gestated and orchestrated in the self-deifying and latreocratic hamartiological ontology of the prince of this world, the cosmos is architected, above all as thanatopos (space of death). Space of loss of life and meaning. This metaphysical ordering of ephemeral (micro)powers, of which the latreocracy becomes the center, has gears of materialization and (de)territorialization that invade all creation spaces, from abstract spaces that encompass symbols, systems, ideas, social spheres, to physically palpable quantized spaces, among which the individual and collective body of humanity becomes a place of silencing the divine agape, mimetic and thanatopic locus project, space of (in)carnation of death and prehuman evil66.

But that’s not all. As a methodological option, I traveled the syntagmatic itinerary of evil, in its nuances and territorial demarcations to antagonically demonstrate the elements and traces that constitute the good that orbits the whole divine cosmogenesis. The good that is found in the adamic genes and becomes a spark of optimism and hope in relation to the human race. These elements that involve the positive response of humanity seen from the ethical and moral evaluative praxis to the paradigm of human faith have pointed in the lives of individuals and societies the framing of spatial specters of opposition to chaos in the midst of it. These spaces of axiological opposition and cosmic redemption are generated from the (in)carnational ontological-territorial phenomenon of the manifestation of the (trans)forming (critical and encouraging) (image-genetic and personal) presence of Christ and his Basileia, through which the Christophanic theophany in its immanent transcendence reveals to us the heterotopic forms of Christotopia, the spaces of Christ. Theotopic spaces from outside, but substantially, biotopic spaces from inside. In this Christotopic paradigm the good is a place and a vital source of cosmogenic meaning.

As an epistemological landmark, the Christotopia becomes a category of topographic analysis of the human being insofar as it has an empirical basis in humanity itself. In the thanatopic framing of the cosmos that (in)carnate and surrounds the bodies, all Christotopia constitutes a biotopos, which superimposes itself on the spaces of death internalized and exteriorized in human relations. In the Christotopic event, the world of life is superimposed on the world of death. This is the paradigm by which the topography of the cruelty of death is supplanted by the gracious topography of life. This suppression reveals to us that in the human paradigm there is only life in the spaces of Christ and for Christ, even if the world does not recognize it and does not see it anymore (Jn 14:19). Molecularly managed by biocracy, the biotopias are configured in the common hariological axes and in the salvific hariological sphere. Both axes deconstruct the postulates of God’s death insofar as they point to the signs of his life.

In the common hariological biotopos, the insignias of life and image attributes of Christ are codified in human DNA regardless of their belief. This biotopic paradigm leads us to the paradoxical maxim that God does not deprive man of life, even though he is dead in his sins. Regardless of the Edenic sin and the contingent spectrum of evil and death that inhabits humanity, every human being is constituted as a Christotopia, and in this sense, it becomes a space of life, having the opportunity not only to exist, but to experience in his genes (even if by mirroring) glimpses of the divine Zoe that becomes the light of men. This is the vital foundation that, through the areligious agapecracy, shares and explains the gaze of God’s love between fathers, mothers and sons, between husbands and wives, friends and enemies, the fraternal embrace and the microgestions of kindness present in human relationships. The senses of truth and justice, ethics and morality are explained, and they are not sold to anthropocentric corruption arising from the greed of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

When it comes to the hariological salvific biotopos, the life of the Savior becomes person, company and life-giving spirit for eternity. In the Sarkic tessitura in which the human body becomes space, the heart becomes a place of encounter. In this experience, the Christotopia, which begins as an undifferentiated space, is transformed into a place to the extent that we know it better and endow it with value67. It is the place of life and freedom that is established in the salvific phenomenon that sacralizes the profane, an encounter in which the human being becomes the dwelling place of Christ, the temple of his spirit and the first territory of his devotion and worship. Here the Christotopic phenomenon becomes a (counter)cultic space in which the individual and collective body (church) are the spiritual and physical barycenters of Christolatria. The intra and extra-human space in which Christolatry overcomes the latrecocracy is configured. Biocracy conquers the thanatocracy.

Finally, in the lines of this text in which the theoretical space itself becomes a heterotopic space of sacralization of the Foucauldian theory, in light of Foucault’s heterotopic metaphor, Christotopias influence human existence and can be seen as boats thrown into the infinite sea of the thanatopic cosmos. Places without place, places of resignification and survival, spaces of faith and decision, life and salvation, palpable spaces of deviant overlapping of death, closed but at the same time open, spaces of art and poetry in the midst of the noises of this world, real places in which utopias become realizable, palpable and dreams in Christ Jesus become possible. Like boats, the Christotopias are small worlds of life structured in the midst of the sea of death of the individual and social human being. These bio-worlds will be perpetuated until the day when the reality of divine creation no longer needs Christotopias, namely, the moment of the (re)creation of the hegemonic sacred space, when the sea will no longer exist (Re 21:1). Kairological time and space in which Christ himself will dwell with his people and wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor will there be more weeping, lament, or pain; because the first things, including the cosmos, are already past (Re 21:3). At that moment, the Christotopic mirror will be undone, for we will no longer see it in riddles, but face to face, and we will know the hero in it as we are known by Him (1Co 13:12).


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1 Bachelard, La poétique de l’espace, 163.

2 Foucault, The Subject and Power, 777-795.

3 Ibid., 782-795.

4 Barth, Credo, 2005.

5 Bachelard, La poétique de l’espace, 159.

6 Massey, For space, 9.

7 Ibid., 9.

8 Tuan, Space and Place, 6.

9 Regarding the good as a place and source of meaning, one can consult the important works of Henry, Incarnation, 2000 and Falque, Le verbe et la chair et Théologie, 2011.

10 Ibid., 85;136-148.

11 Konings, Johan. ““Meu reino não é deste mundo”: de que se trata?”, 40.

12 Bultmann, Teologia del Nuevo Testamento, 431.

13 Ibid.,431.

14 Henry, Incarnation, 330.

15 Bultmann, Teologia del Nuevo Testamento, 433.

16 Mateos y Barreto, Vocabulário teológico do Evangelho de São João, 204.

17 Mateos y Barreto, Vocabulário teológico do Evangelho de São João, 202.

18 Mateos y Barreto, O Evangelho de São João, 1999.

19 Mbembe, “Necropolitics”, 11-40.

20 Balibar, Outlines of a Topography of Cruelty, 15 -29.

21 Mbembe, “Necropolitics”, 40.

22 Guerra, Danilo Dourado, Heróis em cena, 147-234.

23 Foucault, The Subject and Power, 782.

24 Balandier, O Poder em Cena, 7-10.

25 Gordon, “The Roman Imperial Cult and the question of the power”, 37-70; 53.

26 Debord, La Société du spectacle, 1967.

27 Balandier, O Poder em Cena, 5.

28 Barth, Introdução à teologia Evangélica, 120.

29 Gingrich, Léxico do Novo Testamento grego / português, 16.

30 The merely earthly politics that architects itself without what comes from heaven.

31 The construction of the divine through the mirror of human ambition.

32 Balandier, O Poder em Cena, 6.

33 Santos, Monoteísmo Originário.

34 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 12-19.

35 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 15.

36 In Brazil, the first approach to biblical texts from the heterotopological referential finds a pioneer in the research of Richter Reimer “Construção de heterotopias socioculturais nas obras de comunidades judaico-cristãs”, 2004.

37 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”,15-19.

38 “c’est qu’il n’y a certainement pas une seule culture au monde qui ne constitue des hétérotopies” (FOUCAULT, 2004, 15).

39 “chaque hétérotopie a un fonctionnement précis et déterminé à l’intérieur de la société” (FOUCAULT, 2004, 16).

40 Hetherington, The Badlands of Modernity, Heterotopia and Social Ordering .

41 Richter Reimer, “Construção de heterotopias socioculturais nas obras de comunidades judaico-cristãs”, 113-122.

42 “L’hétérotopie a le pouvoir de juxtaposer en un seul lieu réel plusieurs espaces, plusieurs emplacements qui sont en eux-mêmes incompatibles” (FOUCAULT, 2004, 17).

43 “Les hétérotopies sont liées, le plus souvent, à des découpages du temps, c’est-à-dire qu’elles ouvrent sur ce qu’on pourrait appeler par pure symétrie des hétérochronies” (FOUCAULT, 2004, 17).

44 Tuan, Space and Place, 136-148.

45 “Les hétérotopies supposent toujours un système d’ouverture et de fermeture qui, à la fois, les isole et les rend pénétrables” (FOUCAULT, 2004, 18).

46 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 15-16.

47 Heterotopias have the function of creating spaces of illusion or compensation (FOUCAULT, 2004, 18-19).

48 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 18-19.

49 Incarnation is a very significant Christological theme for Christian theology since the earliest patristic formulation synthesized in the Christological theory of the “Semina Verbi”.

50 This link in which the finite flesh human is corrupted by power, can only be regenerated by the incarnation of Christ himself (HENRY, 2000, 330). See also Falque, Le verbe et la chair et Théologie, 2011.

51 Guerra, Heróis em cena, 147-234.

52 Guerra, Heróis em cena, 318-319. The mesochristology is a Christological theory that I proposed in my doctoral thesis in order to demonstrate the incarnation of the Logos as the dialectical synthesis between divine preexistence and humanity/sarx. Mesochristology is configured as a synthetic Christological neoprototype, in which the Christological models of the low and high Christologies orbit, shape and resignify themselves dialectically and complementarily (GUERRA, 2018, p. 318). In summary, the mesochristological prototype structures itself perpendicularly as a point of balance, intersection, and integral Christological synthesis and makes explicit a non-excluding amalgamative and (re)structuring relationship between the horizontal and vertical protochristological matrices in the Fourth Gospel. This Christological model is designated as a more sophisticated epistemological vector and Christologicalanalytical category for FG studies.

53 Guerra, Heróis em cena, 284-354.

54 Eliade, The sacred and the profane, 45.

55 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 15.

56 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 15.

57 Foucault, “Des espaces autres”, 19.

58 Henry, Incarnation, 241.

59 Durkheim, De la division du travail social, 46-49.

60 Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy, 19-28.

61 Heidegger, Sein Und Zeit.

62 Tuan, Space and Place, 136.

63 Richardson, Eternity in Their Hearts, 1-186.

64 Lewis, Mere Christianity, 208-209.

65 Guerra, Heróis em cena, 324.

66 The mythical and symbolic existence of the tree of knowledge (Ge 2:17) demonstrates the prehuman existence of evil. The evil that God himself already knew.

67 Tuan, Space and Place, 6.

* Article of Reflection. The epistemological core of this article gave origin to the book ‘Cristotopia: espaços do Cristo’ (Christotopia: spaces of Christ) published in portuguese by the Fonte Editorial in 2020. My sincere thanks to my friend PhD. Douglas Oliveira dos Santos for the initial critical reading, to my brother PhD. Arinan de Piemonte and to estimate PhD. Aquiles Martinez, for the textual revision, and to all the referees who contributed to the final construction of this text.

Additional information

How to cite: Dourado Guerra, Danilo. “Christotopia: Spaces of Christ”. Theologica Xaveriana vol. 73 (2023): 1-27.