Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Kingdom and the Power: What the Resurrection Means, Then and Now

 

N.T. Wright ABC Religion and Ethics 10 Apr 2015
There are compelling reasons why Christianity is historically incomprehensible without the resurrection. But the question of whether it happened mustn't distract from the question of what it means.
There are compelling reasons why Christianity is historically incomprehensible without the resurrection. But the question of whether it happened mustn't distract from the question of what it means. Credit: Jurand / Shutterstock

Of course, one might say that the earliest Christians were mistaken. But I have also argued that the best reason for the rise of that belief is that it really did happen.

It is rather too easy, however, to allow the question, "But did it happen?" to distract from the question, "But what does it mean?"

The event of the resurrection remains vital, but the meaning is all-important. We in the church have often downgraded that meaning into terms of private spirituality or the hope of heaven - but it goes far deeper and wider than that.

Many Jews believed in bodily resurrection as the ultimate destiny of all God's people - and perhaps of all people. They clearly meant bodily resurrection (as we see, for instance, in 2 Maccabees 7). But it won't do simply to say that the early Christians, being devout Jews, reached for this category in their grief after the death of Jesus.

The early Christian view of resurrection is utterly Jewish, but significantly different from anything we find in pre-Christian Judaism. There, "resurrection" was something that was supposed to happen to everyone at the end of time, not to one person in the middle of history. Nor had anyone prior to the early Christians formulated the idea that resurrection might mean the transformation of a human body, so that it was now still firmly a human body but also beyond the reach of corruption, decay and death.

Read more at http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2015/04/10/4213929.htm

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