In Romanticism Comes of Age, Barfield explains his twist on the theory of evolution:
If you want to represent the process of evolution diagrammatically, you must think, not as the evolutionary humanists do, of a straight line sloping on and on and on and up and up and up, but rather of a curve like a capital “U” Now, if you move down the left-hand side, or limb of a letter “U,” round the curve at the bottom and up the right-hand limb, you will keep on reaching points on the right side which are at the same level as corresponding points on the left; and these levels you certainly did pass on your way down. The journey on will, by its nature–to that extent–involve a journey back, or a return. . . . Oddly enough, it is very much the same with a clock. It is not only when you move the hands backwards that you bring them back to where they were before; you also do it when you move them forwards. (RCA 230-31)
So he’s changing the constant incline of optimistic liberalism into a U shape. David Field suggested, at the ’07 Auburn Avenue Conference, that we think of Scripture’s progression as a big check mark. I think Field’s check is better than Barfield’s U. The check preserves the initial decline and then rise, but it provides a great climax than the origin. Draw one with your index finger- down and then up, twice as high as you started.
That’s the Biblical picture. There’s the initial death, followed by the resurrection unto glory. You didn’t have glory to begin with. You gained something more through the death-experience than you began with.
Adam dies, and he wakes up with a wife. Jesus says the seed has to go into the ground in order to bring forth much fruit. There is both continuity and discontinuity in fundamental union and progression.