We want to ask, “What if the resurrection is a lie?” Asking this question will help each of us understand our faith, provide insight to why we follow Jesus, and open up ways of interacting with people who do not believe in the resurrection. April Synchroblog posts could also ask any of these related questions:Pondering any of these questions would be interesting; this time I'll briefly respond to:
• If the resurrection did not happen, how would the world be different?
• If Jesus did not rise, would you still follow His teachings and example? Why or why not?
• If the resurrection did not occur, what religion (if any) would you be part of? Why would you choose this religion?
• Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus did not rise, our faith is in vain, and we are still in our sins. Because of what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection, this is undoubtedly true, but if Jesus did not rise, what other options are there regarding our sin? How would you deal with it?
• If Jesus did not rise from the dead, but the Scriptures say He did, how would this affect your view of Scripture? How would you now read and understand these passages that talk about His resurrection?
• If Jesus did not rise, how would this affect your view of Jesus? Could He still be God incarnate?
• If the resurrection did not happen, how would the world be different? and
• What religion (if any) would I be part of and why?
The gospel is physical, tangible, audible, sensory - "sensible" - in Westminster terms, yet the Spirit gives true life. Everyone has known people whose bodies have seriously weakened and whose faculties have diminished, yet who are fully alive. From history and from our own experience we know institutions originally organized to be helpful often becomes agents of death, human relationships can be deadly, war and armed conflict are death-dealing...
If the resurrection did not happen, how would the world be different?
Throughout the Hebrew Bible we discover "types" of The Resurrection in events of liberation and deliverance. This typology includes God's definitive prototypes of redemption from death on the passover, of freedom from slavery through the exodus. The image of Pharaoh's army drowning in the water of the Red Sea doesn't thrill me, but the enemy does need to be vanquished and banished and the Apostle Paul calls death the last enemy. Hebrew bible typology also includes realities of new birth from the surging waters of first creation, from the flood that floated Noah's ark, of Divine faithfulness in covenant-making and covenant-keeping. We hear about many unforgettable Spirit-called and Spirit-inspired humans without whom the outcome of history would have been very different--you can refer to them as "types" of Jesus Christ! The jubilee passage in Leviticus 25 mandates Yahweh's people release or redeem, buy back, all held captive by indebtedness of any kind, including servitude to others; the 50th Jubilee Year also grants the land a full year without work. Especially in the Hebrew scriptures, we encounter land as promise, as gift, and as covenant partner with humanity. In short, the Hebrew bible provides hints of resurrection, of the ultimate covenant with life.
Because of these events, even if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of the prophets, had not enacted resurrection from the dead, I'd still be happy and privileged to trust and follow Yahweh. After all, the Hebrew Bible's record of Yahweh's deeds of unexpected deliverance reveals a God of power, love, mercy, and surprise like none other!
If the resurrection did not occur, what religion would I follow and why would I choose this path to help guide me?
If the resurrection hadn't happened and Yahweh weren't an option, what way of being and living might I follow? Despite knowing next to nothing about them, paganism and earth religions in general attract me because of their emphasis on the astronomical seasons, on the sacredness of creation, because of their focus on a lifestyle fully integrated with the history and gifts of this planet. I follow closely the recurring cycles of the church's liturgical year that in the Northern Hemisphere parallel nature's own seasons; the liturgical calendar has become "fully integrated" into the daily and seasonal rhythms of my own life. Alongside this practice at church and at home, I love acknowledging and observing summer and winter solstice, spring and autumn equinox and the cross-quarter festivals. Do these supply the earth or individuals with resurrection from death? Not really, since in them there's a recycling of the same or similar events (and some surprisingly unanticipated events now and then), yet they bring awareness of winter cold and somnolence not being a final word as spring ushers in fragile new life; in a recent blog I wrote how living close to the land for a while helped me learn to trust death. After a few years on planet earth we discover spring won't stay around forever, either, but literally grows and greens into summer. Just as in the long green and growing liturgical Ordinary Time/Time of the Church that also can be counted and numbered as "Sundays after Pentecost," the festival day celebrating the reign of the Spirit of Life, summer days and nights bring physical changes along with greater wisdom and maturity both in the earth and in human creatures moving into their summer years. Knowing that slowing down during the waning days of autumn will lead to apparent death when winter arrives is coupled with realizing a brand-new season of spring again will emerge from winter! Like Judaism and Christianity, nature religions are physical, tangible, audible, sensory - "sensible" - ways that appeal to and engage the whole person: body, mind, senses and spirit. Just as in the witness of the bible, in earth religions the land is promise, gift and full partner with humanity.
Thanks for this blogging opp!
Other April Synchroblog Participants:
- Marta – On Faith Seeking Understanding, Truth, and Theology
- Carol Kuniholm – Risen Indeed? The Hermeneutic Community
- Tim Nichols – How Would Life be Different if Jesus did not Rise?
- Glenn – Kingdom Come or Kingdom Now?
- Sonja Andrews – The Resurrection and the Life
- Josh Morgan – The Role of the Resurrection
- Abbie Watters – What if the Resurrection were a lie?
- Minnow – Resurrection Impact
- Leah – Resurrection – Or Not!
- Hey Sonnie – The Resurrection Hoax
- Liz Dyer – The Resurrection I Firmly Believe In
- Ellen Haroutunian – Is There a Christianity Without the Resurrection?
- Jeannette Altes – What if…
- Christine Sine – If the Resurrection did not happen, how would the world be different?
- KW Leslie – Supposing Jesus is Dead
- Kathy Escobar – Jenga Faith
- Jeremy Myers – What if Jesus Did not Rise?