Human beings have always been curious about the meaning of life. Christianity has answered these questions in the name of Jesus Christ, the son of God. However, there are those who answered the questions without any reference to God. These are the people who dismissed the resurrection of Christ as a myth. In this paper I will show that the resurrection of Jesus is a fact.
Death is an integral part of life. For in life there is death. “The events of Jesus’ life based on the gospel narratives show us that resurrection is the culmination of the Christ event and hence recapitulates the whole cosmos: suffering and death anticipate new life” (Delio 77). Death is not a sad and meaningless part of life rather; death is an integral part of God. Death brings with it a new life. When Jesus died on the cross, he gave up his life and handed it to God. His death was the self-emptying of God his father. Without death there is no new life. Everything on the planet that has life eventually dies, and everything that dies has life. Even on a practical level, death in the natural world results in the sustenance of life. By dying, Christ conquered life. His sacrificial death was a necessity for a greater life for us. “Death is the harmony of our wild,creatednature with the wild love of God” (Delio 79).
There is the argument about matter and spirit. Before death, a body exists in the form of matter. People often wonder what the form of a resurrected body is. Saint Paul once said that resurrected bodies exist in a spiritual body. “The discovery of relativity and the mysterious nature of matter and energy have led scientists to conclude that matter is not composed of basic building blocks but of complicated webs of relations” (Delio 82).This holistic approach to life means that human beings are just one part of a bigger system. Integral systems tell us that we are part of an interconnected system so much that our own lives are not our own. Therefore, there is no such thing as object, body or matter but only energy and space. “Christ’s resurrection is a new form of interrelatedness in which many other created fields in the universe are joined by a new energy of relatedness” (Delio 85) When Jesus appears before the disciples his words sets their words on fire. His new energy is transferable into the soul of believers.
When Paul refers to the resurrection he uses the words “He was raised”. The only other person who could have raised Jesus is God. By speaking metaphorically, Paul insinuates that God raised Jesus. “Theword “God,” however, points to a transcendent mystery of infinite intelligibility, truth, goodness, and beauty. The reality of God is literally unimaginable” (Loewe 102). God gave his only son to save our lives because he loved us. It was for his transcendent love that God gave his only son to die for our sins. It is in the death and resurrection of Jesus that God proves his love for man kind. God created all that is in the universe out of love for mankind and put mankind in-charge. To emphasize and even demonstrate his love for us, he sent his only son to die on the cross for us. The “resurrection of Jesus make sense as the power ofGod’s love” (Delio 81). The resurrection of Christ is the sign of God’s merciful love upon our sins. Saint Paul reminds us that without the resurrection of Jesus, then our faith is useless. Without the resurrection of Christ we would not know of God’s love for us.
Those who argue against the resurrection story claim that the gospel differs in detail from the way the story of resurrection is narrated. These critics claim that the differing details in the narration of the resurrection event point out there must have been inventions somewhere. For example, the gospel has different narrations of the scenario at the tomb. In Mark, the stone is already rolled when the women arrive. However in Matthew, there is an earthquake as an angel ascends from heaven and rolls over the stone. Critics find the differences in the narration to mean that the story is fabricated and biased. Using this tomb narration, these critics claim that the story of resurrection is a myth told to appease Christians and not a historical event.
The other argument in support that the resurrection story is a myth is the claim that those who saw Jesus saw their own things. The critics argue that the witnesses to the risen Christ might have been hallucinating. The critics believe that the disciples of Jesus were just fanatics and upon realizing their leader was dead, they began to hallucinate. Other critics say that in their mourning, the witnesses could have seen someone else who resembled Jesus and mistaken him for Jesus.
Modern science has described the universe in terms of cosmic regularity where miracles are not possible. According to scientists, there only reality is within nature and the others are just fanatic beliefs by Christians. Scientists claim that there is no scientific proof to back up miracles therefore miracles are an impossible concept.
Christians believed that God raised Jesus. “It follows that, for them at least, belief in Jesus’ eschatological transformation does not necessarily entail the disappearance of his corpse from the tomb. From this perspective, belief in Jesus’ resurrection would not be affected one way or another if his bones were to be discovered tomorrow” (Loewe 132). Seeing how Christians believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, the story of the empty tomb does not play a big role in the belief of his resurrection. It is more of a supporting fact to the main fact that God resurrected His Son. Whether the story of the tomb holds up or doesn’t, it does not serve to refute the existence of God. Also, “scholars do not propose that the empty tomb tradition accounts for the rise of belief in Jesus’ resurrection” (Loewe 132).
The appearance of Jesus before his disciples was not a hallucination. Different people cannot hallucinate about the same thing. It is not possible. Every witness had a surprise reaction to Jesus. “The cumulative effect of these stories is to suggest that the disciples’ coming to believe in Jesus new life was more gradual process than instant recognition” (Thomas 121). By definition, hallucinations are not shared experiences and visions do not appear to crowds. Hallucinations are limited to the individual experiencing them. “Easter stories suggest that those whom Jesus appeared to were touched and changed” (Thomas122).
Miracles do happen. They cannot be proven like in science but neither can they be falsified by science. The resurrection of Jesus was a miracle that changed people. It is by the same miracles that we are saved as Christians. According to WilliMarxsen, “miracle is the birth of faith” (Thomas 118) God is an all powerful God who is capable of anything. He is capable of designing the universe and he is capable of performing miracles.“The resurrection is an act of God’s power brings Jesus form the dead” (Thomas 119).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact and not a myth. Death is an integral part of life that leads to new life. The death and resurrection of Christ gave us a new life. While scientists might argue the ability of a resurrected body to exist in matter, the integral system contradicts this argument. There is no such thing as matter or body or object. We are all part of an interconnected system where only energy and space exists. The energy of Jesus is evident when he appears to his disciples and sets their hearts on fire. God is an all powerful God who is capable of miracles including resurrecting his own son. His transcendent love for us is evident in the fact that he gave his only son to die for the sins of mankind. The difference in the tomb story narrative is allowed since it is possible in literature for reporters to edit stories in different ways while maintaining what is important. Even without the tomb story to back up the resurrection, the existence of an all loving and powerful God alone is proof of the resurrection.
Delio, Ilia. The Emergent Christ: Exploring the Meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe. (Orbis Books, 2011), p 77-85
Loewe, William P. The College Student’s Introduction to Christology.(Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1996), p 102 & 132
Thomas, P R. Who Is Jesus?: An Introduction to Christology. (Michael Glazier, 2016), p 119- 122