Re: resurrection etc

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 11:07:46 EST

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    Ted wrote, in part: "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, after his
    burial, by multiple persons who were not hallucinating.
    (3) I believe that Christians must believe (1) and (2).

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments; at this time I want to comment
    only on the first part (above).

    I have a bit of a problem with the word "bodily" in (1) since the Christ
    arisen certainly had a different KIND of body than he had prior to the
    cross. So as it stands I can't (yet) affirm it (the specific statement)
    as it stands. Let me hasten to say that I do affirm the Apostle's Creed,
    as it stands, but then I've thought that one through a long time ago.

    I don't think (3), independent of my comments above, can stand. Let me
    explain. Friend wife and I have, over the years, often taught Sunday
    School classes to developmentally challenged adults. We love these
    people. Their faith is childlike, though they are very much NOT children.
    They understand little -- and they understand a great deal. What is it
    that they "believe" about God and Jesus? I would say that they understand
    that God loves them, that Jesus died and came alive again, and that they,
    personally, are in a love (agape) relationship with God. They are, in
    every sense of the word, Christians. But I would not say that they
    particularly "believe" (2) above. To the extent they hear the story,
    sure, but it is not one that sticks in their memories particularly. (1),
    of course, does.

    Another story. When I became a Christian, back in about 1961, while I
    knew "something" of the Christian stories, I don't know as that I had any
    particular knowledge of (2) -- of course I soon did! Was I not a
    Christian because I did not yet believe in a story I had not yet heard? I
    think I would challenge that.

    Finally, as I understand Marcus Borg, I think he would challenge all
    three as being "beliefs that a statement is true" vs "beliefs (trust) in
    a person, Jesus the Christ," and so, while such beliefs reasonably follow
    a conversion to Christianity, they do not lead. In this, I tentatively

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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