One of the issues that arose in Galatians concerned the seemingly inseparable link between desire and the Law, which simultaneously tells us what we desire and forbids us from pursuing it. Can we have immediate access to pleasure, or do we need the Law to experience Paradise? I mentioned in the comments that I’d previously written a related exegesis on Cultural Parody Center. In the interests of continuity of thought here it is.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by the law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning her husband. So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she is released from the law concerning her husband. So that if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:1-4)
In Paul’s hypothetical scenario there are two triangles: wife – husband – law; wife – husband – other man. The husband dies but the other man lives. Strangely, Paul doesn’t say that a new triangle forms that links the widow, the other man, and the law; i.e., through her remarriage. Instead, Paul says that with the death of the husband the widow is released from the law. Now what had been an illicit cuckoldry becomes a free relationship between the widow and the other man, not bound by the law. Before her husband died she was double: both wife and adulteress. Afterwards she is neither — she is not named by the law, even though she is still joined to the other man. He too, we observe, is unnamed; throughout he is “the other” (hetero in Greek).
Then, the strange therefore clause: Therefore, brethren, you died to the Law through the body of Christ, in order to be joined to another, who is the risen Christ. It’s not death of the wife that’s envisioned here, but the death of the husband. The “brethren” are represented by the wife/adulteress who becomes the widow; the husband is Christ. It’s Christ’s death that frees the brethren, a death that releases the brethren from the death or diversion of desire caused by the Law’s binding action. There’s a doubling of the wife with the dead husband: he dies to the Law, and she dies through his body — some kind of coupling between the wife and the husband’s corpse. But it turns out that the other man is also Christ — not the dead Christ but the resurrected Christ, the dead husband brought back to life. Which implies that the wife’s husband is always already dead. But she too must already be dead, bound in death to her husband’s corpse.
The Law binds a corpse in marriage to a corpse, and it also binds an adulteress in transgression to the other. Both of these two channels of desire lead to unfulfilled barrenness. Freedom and fecundity result only through resurrection, passing through death to the other side. The dead husband comes back to life as the desired other, the bound wife/adulteress comes back to life as the unleashed and unnamed desirer. And the desire is fulfilled; it “bears fruit.” So: Law either kills desire or channels it into a digressive hetero-sexuality. Resurrection deterritorializes desire, allowing it to attain fruitful satisfaction. And God is on the other side of death, not as one who binds desire but as one to whom unbound desire flows. God is the name of the dead Law resurrected and deterritorialized; God is He who does not name.