Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The resurrection: What opened their minds?

In the four gospel accounts we have of Jesus resurrection everyone who first hears the news that Jesus has risen from the dead does not really believe it.

On one hand this disbelief brings plausibility to the accounts of Jesus resurrection. These are realistic reactions from the ordinary people it is hard to image people fabricating these accounts. It is difficult to see these accounts as fables, or made up stories with such embarrassingly honest accounts of disbelief and close mindedness.

On the other hand is raises a real question. What opened their minds to the truth that Jesus did rise from the dead? Well God did, but how?

It is natural to want to point to passages that speak of Jesus appearing to individuals and groups but in contrast to this Luke’s account of the women coming to the tomb does not include Jesus appearing. Instead the women are asked to believe that Jesus is alive based on what Jesus has said previously:

Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee,
‘The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful people and be crucified, and on the third day be raised up’.Luke 24:6-7

In other words if you believe Jesus spoke the truth when he walked this earth then you will believe that Jesus was physically resurrected and is alive now.

Simple yet profound.

Perhaps we have given to much ground to scientific rationalism by always wanting to prove the resurrection on their terms. Maybe sometimes we should just ask: Do you believe that Jesus spoke the truth prior to his death?

Just wondering what you think?


Mike Turner said...

Proof by History

My big question for those who appeal to scientific rationalism is whether or not they have actually used their logic skills to interpret the historical sources of the resurrection.

History seeks to establish truth based upon the available sources we have for a particular event or person.

'When it comes to history, we can only speak of probability, not 100 percent certainty.'
G.R.Habermas & M.R.Licona 'The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus', p31

The Resurrection of Jesus is a well attested claim made in many different sources (Paul, Oral Traditions, Written Traditions including- the gopsels, Apostolic Fathers)

'In historical inquiry, the historian combs through data, considers all the possibilities, and seeks to determine which scenario best explains the data.'
ibid. p32

So the question is:
Have you examined the evidence from an historical point of view?

If the conclusion from the evidence is that Jesus did rise, then the next question is:

What about Jesus' other claims,Who do you think Jesus is?


Roger said...

Mike thanks for your comments and I support your practice of thoughtful and well reasoned historical inquiry and I agree with your observations about scientific rationalism. Reasoned historical inquiry has been very important in establishing the truth of the resurrection particularly if the question is: Is there historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead? I think my statements about plausibility acknowledge this. (Habermas-now that's heavy reading!)

However, this question and it’s associated battles have been very dominant when it comes to the resurrection narratives. Sometimes I think I have been guilty of overburdening the text with these debates. Hence my comment about scientific rationalism.

What has intrigued me about this passage is that I have no doubt that the risen Jesus could have appeared to the women but he didn’t. Instead what was offered as evidence of his resurrection to those who disbelieved, or what opened their minds to it’s truth was Jesus spoken words which included the foretelling of his resurrection. The question of who Jesus (the Son of Man) is, is primary in the text. When I get the chance I want to comment on the “who” question in another blog.