Re: resurrection etc

From: george murphy (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 11:24:15 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Re: resurrection etc"

            A few comments:

            I understand Michael's qualification below, "Jesus rose bodily (but not
    physically)" & note its basis in I Cor.15:44. The resurrection of Jesus wasn't
    "physical" in the sense that it was a return to the same kind of biological
    existence that he lived before death.
            But some care is needed here. Especially in Paul, "spiritual" does not
    mean simply "immaterial" but refers to someone or something's proper
    relationship with God. His point in 15:35-58 is not that the physical is simply
    annihilated but that it is transformed.
            & in fact here is one of the unfortunate paradoxes of some modern
    theologians. They deny bodily resurrection because they think it's inconsistent
    with the scientific understanding of the world, but by doing so they also
    surrender the ultimate validation of the world that science studies. For one of
    the implications of the resurrection is the promise of "new heavens and a new
            OTOH, as I indicated briefly in my post yesterday to Burgy, there is an
    important point made by theologians like Bultmann who, if they don't deny bodily
    resurrection, think it unimportant. "Jesus is risen into the kerygma" is true &
    important _because that's where the risen Christ will encounter us", in Word and
    Sacrament. With all appropriate affirmation of the bodily resurrection of
    Jesus, we aren't going to see him as Mary Magdalene or Peter did. Until the
    eschaton we are always going to be in the situation of the women in Mk.16 who
    hear that he is risen but who don't see him. (I think that Mk. did originally
    end at v.8.)
            So while Bultmann's understanding of the resurrection is inadequate (&
    this is connected with his inadequate existential view of creation), what he
    does say is valuable and needs to be emphasized. One result of such an emphasis
    would be that both preachers and hearers would realize that preaching is
    supposed to be first of all proclamation of the creative Word of God and not
    morlizing or cheerleading.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

    Michael Roberts wrote:

    > See my addition to item 2).
    > Belief in the fact that Jesus rose bodily ( but not physically) and left
    > behind an empty tomb is essential if we are going to have any meaningfull
    > belief in the Resurrection.
    > The trouble with naturalistic theologians e.g. Arthur Peacocke is that
    > ultimately they have a God who is impotent.
    > I prefer William Temple (Arch of Cant died 1944) who wrote;
    > ' To believe in miracle is to take divine personality in deadly earnest.'
    > In other words A god who bound by scientific law cannot be God.
    > Michael
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Ted Davis" <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 9:45 PM
    > Subject: resurrection etc
    > > I find it helpful to distinguish three statements:
    > >
    > > (1) I believe that the crucified Christ rose bodily from the grave
    > >
    > > (2) I believe that the crucified Christ was seen and touched
    > and spoke to and ate with his disciples
    > , after his
    > > burial, by multiple persons who were not hallucinating
    > >
    > > (3) I believe that Christians must believe (1) and (2)
    > >
    > > This can't be a long post--I shun them b/c my choice is typically to post
    > > something short or not to post at all--and I grant readily that one can't
    > do
    > > justice to this in a post whether long or short. But I wish to say
    > > something about this.
    > >
    > > I strongly affirm (1) and (2) myself, and am sympathetic to (3). I
    > > understand the view (widely promoted by academic theologians since the
    > > mid-19th century) that the resurrection was actually another thing, which
    > I
    > > call:
    > >
    > > (4) I believe that the followers of Jesus believed that they saw and
    > > experienced Jesus after his burial
    > This view is what most liberals hold and about 30% of Church of England
    > clergy
    > >
    > > but I think both as a scholar and as a Christian that this view was a
    > > complete surrender to scientific naturalism, a surrender that shows
    > failure
    > > of nerve as well as failure of faith.
    > Totally agree, even though my previuous Bishop held this view
    > I am not accusing those who
    > > affirm(ed) it of failing to be faithful followers of Jesus--ie, faithful
    > > Christians--but I am saying they haven't thought carefully enough about
    > > this, and that they accepted a false view of science and its scope. I
    > think
    > > a lot of this had to do with the pursuit of legitimacy in German and other
    > > universities, but frankly I don't know that historical story nearly well
    > > enough to say that with confidence. Nevertheless, I am confident about
    > the
    > > failure of nerve and the failure of faith, and I intend to write about
    > that
    > > in my current book project.
    > >
    > > Thus I explain my response to (3).
    > >
    > > I distinguish (1) from (2) simply to separate the claim of an empty tomb
    > > from the claim of appearances. They aren't the same thing, and (again) I
    > > understand the view that (2) led to (1). Lots of books have been written
    > > about this, most of which I will never have time to read, so I want simply
    > > to note the difference. But I think that the Thomas tradition, which I
    > > accept as authentic, rules out accepting (2) without (1). It's also
    > > consistent with Paul's discussion in Corinthians, which jumps from his
    > > experience (close to category four, actually) to the highly un-Platonic
    > > notion of the glorified bodies rather than separated souls. If the
    > > glorified Christ who showed himself to Saul--er, Paul--is really the
    > "first
    > > fruits of them that slept," as Paul teaches, then I think we can readily
    > put
    > > (1) and (2) in the same camp.
    > >
    > > Ted Davis
    > >
    > >
    > >

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Feb 16 2002 - 11:23:07 EST