ExoTheology & Space-Age Interpretations of the Bible

(religious implications of an inhabited universe)

If creation is credible, resurrection is credible as well

In “The Mystery of the Resurrection,” Regis Nicoll critiques the view (in this case, of Lisa Miller, a journalist) that the resurrection of Jesus (or of anyone) is incredible. In the end, Nicoll emphasizes, if one cannot accept the miracle of creation, in the first place, one will have a hard time as well acceptin the possibility of resurrection (i.e., re-creation).

After pointing out that Miller seems to find reincarnation more plausible, Nicoll gives this great response:

If Ms. Miller is as appreciative of reincarnation as that statement would suggest, one wonders why the ability of an unintelligent karmic force to transmogrify a human being into a beetle, buffalo or rose bud is any more credible than the ability of super-intelligent Being to raise a decayed corpse or cremated ashes into a reconstructed body.  [emphasis mine]

He then goes on to point out that, even though Christians as a whole are tending to believe less in a physical / literal resurection and more in a spiritual / symbolic one, that tendency is contra to the long-term traditions of biblical interpretation (since the time of the early church), pointing to the examples of Job’s, Daniel’s, King David’s, the prophet Ezekiel’s, and of course Jesus’s belief in a real resurrection, and to the examples of accounts of actual resurrections (Elijah raising the Shunammite’s son; Jesus raising Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and the widow’s son; Paul raising Eutychus, and Peter raising Dorcas).

Recognizing and admitting that these resurrections were not permanent, were not resurrections to an immortal life — these bodies were raised “with the same abilities and limitations as they had before” — Nicoll emphasizes that Jesus’ resurrection is something “wholly different.” It is

The resurrection is the reconstitution and reanimation of remains that have decayed beyond all recognition and, sometimes, widely dispersed in the ecosphere. As Tatian, the second century Christian apologist wrote, “Even though fire may destroy all traces of my flesh… I am laid up in the storehouses of a wealthy Lord.”  [emphasis mine]

Nicoll ends by re-emphasizing that the miracle of resurrection is really no different from the miracle of creation in the first place. If one cannot accept the latter, it’s not suprising that the former would seem incredible as well.

The resurrection is one of Christendom’s deepest mysteries and, yet, no different in kind than the mystery of creation—whereby, man was formed from the dust of the earth, and the earth, ex nihilo, by the utterance of God. Consequently, folks who are put off by the resurrection of the dead will likely find the creation of the living a difficult pill as well. [emphasis mine]

It suggests that the real objection to the resurrection mystery is not so much over the process, but over what the process implies. Someone who is able to reassemble, refurbish, and reinvigorate our remains is Someone who can assert cosmic authority over us and make demands of us. And that is Someone some people would rather not think about, for now.

Really nice article.


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