Re: Geoff comment

Murphy (
Sun, 03 Nov 1996 18:00:35 -0500

John W. Burgeson wrote:
> Geoff wrote, in part: " Some people will tell you that they couldn't accept
> Christianity if they had to believe in a physical Resurrection. They have
> accepted Christianity, or think they have. Should we therefore conclude that
> they're right about the Resurrection? "
> It is NOT "Christianity" that one accepts, but "Christ."
> The question needs to be -- "Can one accept Christ without believing in a
> physical resurrection?"
> I think the answer is "yes," but others may differ.
> But I think the question is "right."
> Burgy

A crucial part of the question here is what one understands to
be _physical resurrection_. Certainly the NT doesn't encourage us to
think of Jesus' resurrection as simply a return to the familiar type of
physical existence. Paul's arguments in I Cor.15 are quite different.
But in some real sense there is continuity between Jesus before & after
Easter: It is, after all, _Jesus_ who is raised and not simply some
generic human being. The message of the resurrection is that a fully
human & fully divine Jesus is alive today.
Both the very earthy world view of the OT & modern science
insist in their own ways that we are inescapably material beings - i.e.,
that we are not fully ourselves, or exist in a kind of mutilated way,
without our bodies. In that light, to say then that one does not
believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus (a better way of speaking
than "physical" resurrection) would be to say that Jesus isn't _alive_
in the fullest sense. And then what would it mean to say that one
"believes in" him? As what?
There are questions of physics which have to be faced in this
onnection - but they are hardly insuperable. And there are plenty of
worldviews - New Age, gnosticism &c - which would be happy to be free of
the "prison" of the body. But that is not biblical and doesn't seem to
me coherent with science.
In saying this, I don't want to argue that no one can be saved
who does not accept bodily resurrection. Salvation does not depend on
intellectual coherence of one's world view. But such a version of the
faith has rather small scope.
Note: I am leaving for a conference on science & religion at
the Lutheran Seminary in the Slovak Republic for a week tomorrow, so
won't be able to field any responses to this or anything else for