Hopefully, this is not against my better judgment, but I want to throw a little piece of something I’m working out at the moment.
Deleuze’s theory of meaning and sense is best described as ‘a series of paradoxes’, partly because ‘sense is a nonexisting entity, and, in fact, maintains very special relations with nonsense’ (Logic of Sense, xiii). Paradoxes are produced from the relationship between sense and nonsense; it is the very excess of that relationship. I suggest that this can also be interpreted through Tillich’s definition of paradox as the ‘logical form in which the perfectly concrete and the perfectly absolute are united’ (Systematic Theology 1, 167). While the word choice is different, the content is strikingly similar. Tillich’s ‘perfectly concrete’ speaks of a particular instance within the finite–in other words an understandable revelation. This is very much in agreement with Deleuze’s usage of ‘sense’. For both, this is not a final entity but a result, dependent upon the subject’s own context. The difficulty in equating Tillich’s and Deleuze’s definitions of ‘paradox’ comes with the second part of the ‘perfectly absolute’ and nonsense, respectively. For Deleuze, nonsense is can be compared to Tillich’s ‘perfectly absolute’ only as the infinite abyss beneath the surface. For Tillich, this abyss is the nonexisting God, the ground of Being.(ST1, 264) For Deleuze, however, this abyss is an empty signifier, a position without meaning; and this non-thing bears no relation to Being. With these differences aside, paradoxes are produced from the relationship between ‘sense’ and something else (the absolute or ‘nonsense’). Deleuze paints the two (sense and nonsense, that is) using the image of a Möbius strip; the two form the two halves of the the hermeneutical cycle that plays in the figuring of sense; it is the ‘coexistence of two sides without thickness’ as a flat, endless plane of meaning(LS, 22). For Deleuze, a symbol’s meaning is an infinite regress of signification where a symbol always and only points to other symbols. He has reduced this regress to a process of four steps which repeat infinitely:
There is  the name of what the song really is;  the name denoting this reality, which thus denotes the song or represents what the song is called;  the sense of this name, which forms a new name or a new reality; and  the name which denotes this reality, which this denotes the sense of the name of the song, or represents what the name of the song is called. (LS, 30)
The meaning of this process, that is the sense of the symbol, occurs twice because both events are ‘two simultaneous faces of one and the same surface, whose inside and outside, their “insistence” and “extra-being”, past and future, are in an always reversible continuity’ (LS, 34). In other words, meaning occurs both when an object of sense is seen as being formed from other symbols and as constituting the formation of other symbols. In semiotic terms, sense occurs as the synthesis of two different series: one as signifier and one as signified. At the point of this synthesis, a singularity of sense is created in both series: as an empty place within the series of signifier and a supernumerary object within the signified series. The relation of these series at their convergence forms the dual meaning of an object as a paradox between sense and nonsense. Nonsense should not be understood as the absence of sense but as that which produces sense; likewise sense produces nonsense as the two form a paradox of meaning throughout both series of signification. Meaning is the excess of these productions such that it occurs in both directions, simultaneously. In other words, the meaning of an object is only understood when it is placed within the context of its own text. A short example here would be one’s understanding of a sentence. A particular sentence has no meaning until every word and expression within that sentence is understood within the context of the language (i.e. within the context of its general usage) and within the context of the sentence (i.e. as the particular usage). While a phrase may have a metaphorical meaning (e.g. ‘kick the bucket’), that particular usage can only be understood within the context of a particular sentence as it also has a non-metaphorical meaning; this cannot be realised until the phrase’s context is realised. At that moment of realisation, the event of meaning finally occurs. In summary, meaning as the ultimate regression is what Deleuze terms the ‘excess’ of signification; it is the redundancy that arises when a signifier is realised to signify its own self (A Thousand Plateaus, 114). To clarify this one more time: a symbol’s meaning is understood only when the entirety of the semiotic relations that develop out of and into that symbol are understood—the symbol as a singularity.
Returning to Tillich, now, we can cast new light on Tillich’s usage of symbols. Symbols point beyond themselves like signs, however they must also ‘participate in the reality of that for which they stand’ (ST1, 265). This participation, in Deleuzian terms, is the duality of cause and effect which must coexist for the event of sense to occur. A symbol that does not participate in such a reality lacks the cause that gives it meaning; a symbol is meaningless without a creative relationship with its reference. A cross has no meaning in Buddhism itself because it, as a symbol, does not participate in the Buddhist reality. It is the duality of cause and effect which provides a reciprocal relation for a symbol and its reference in that the reference itself (e.g. the death and resurrection of Christ) becomes an occupant without a place within the signification of the symbol (e.g. the cross) and the symbol becomes an empty place within the signification of the reference. It is in this reciprocity that symbol and reference participate in one another; and this is the singularity that produces meaning. Tied with this is something implied in Tillich which Deleuze makes explicit: symbols always produce meaning, regardless of what that meaning is: ‘Your wife looked at you with a funny expression. And this morning the mailman handed you a letter from the IRS and crossed his fingers….It doesn’t matter what it means, it’s still signifying’ (ATP, 112). This is the reason why Tillich argues that symbols are irreplaceable; they are always producing meaning such that replacing them changes everything.
For Tillich, symbols hint at a paradox of participation. Taken through Deleuze’s's concept of paradox of the production of sense and nonsense, we can anticipate Tillich’s understanding of paradox as a ‘concrete event which on the level of rationality must be expressed in contradictory terms’ (ST1, 149). With God participating in humanity and humanity participating in God through the christological symbols, these symbols produce the same excess as the series of signification do. The christological symbols can only be understood in both directions simultaneously: without one, we have a Jesus without Christ; without the other, a Christ without Jesus. It is also here that Tillich’s christological paradox becomes clear: God does not exist (ST1, 227). Tillich does this by de-ontologizing God; God cannot exist because God is not a being that can exist. The ontology of God becomes in Deleuzian terms, the empty space in the series of signification; God becomes the supernumerary object in the second series such that God can never be found along the Möbius strip of theology. God is always immanent but never present. Perhaps this gives new meaning to Christ’s proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand; for Christ himself is the Kingdom of God, immanent and transcendent. Yet it is always both simultaneously. These two terms–immanence and transcendence–should not be confused with a concept of presence (which is, sadly, another post another day).