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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The meaning of the Resurrection

Edward Feser: The meaning of the Resurrection

As with Christ’s Passion, people are always trying to attach to His Resurrection various counterfeit meanings. But it is, in this case, harder to do it with a straight face. Were you present at the crucifixion, you would have seen what on the surface required no supernatural explanation – a man nailed to a cross, as so many had been before by the Romans. Were you present at Christ’s tomb on that first Easter Sunday, you would have seen a corpse returned to life. “Keep hope alive!” “Jesus is still with us in our hearts!”“You can’t keep a good man down!” and all the other banalities liberal pastors will waste their congregations’ time with today rather fail to convey this central fact about the Resurrection. It was a divine suspension of the natural order, a miracle, or it was nothing. “If Christ is not raised,” St. Paul tells the Christian, “your faith is worthless.” And by “raised” he meant raised – reanimated, brought back from the dead – not eaten by wild dogs but remembered fondly, or whatever it is the John Dominic Crossans of the world want to put in place of what Christianity has always claimed. The Christian faith has, historically, laid everything on that line: Accept the Resurrection, and you must accept what Jesus Christ taught; reject it, and you must reject Him too as a fraud.

Thus, while the Resurrection is an affront to naturalism, it is not primarily that...
The Resurrected Christ will not be dialogued with. He will be worshipped, and obeyed, or He will simply be rejected as one would reject the ravings of a Jim Jones or David Koresh. Politely rejected, perhaps, at least this side of the grave; we can concede to the dialoguers their good manners. But rejected, and in no uncertain terms. “Let your Yes be Yes and your No, No.” Unless you are prepared to call Him your Risen Lord, seek no religious meaning in His life and teachings. Nor in His death; for the Passion is what it is only in light of the Resurrection. If we who did not know Him in the flesh worship at the foot of His cross, it is because we have worshipped first at His empty tomb.


cathy said...

Wow, Ilion, this is wonderful.

And the clarity of that last line --

If we who did not know Him in the flesh worship at the foot of His cross, it is because we have worshipped first at His empty tomb.

So great.

Thank you.

cathy said...

I went to Feser's site, and read the Passion post, and then the full Resurrection one.

I have to tell you, for someone not schooled in the philosophies, your abbreviated version is more powerful, and better highlights the beauty of Feser's writing.

Thank you -- again!

Ilíon said...

Cool! I'm an editor.

At first, I was only going to post the intro here -- I made this OP before I'd even read the entire essay. Then, when I'd read it all, I knew that I just had to also include the conclusion of it.

Ilíon said...

This is really strange ...

My previous comment didn't display when one was reading the thread, unless one was in "enter a comment" mode.

So, I deleted it ... and *then* it displayed ... but *not* when one was in "enter a comment" mode. And I resubmitted it, so there seem to be two distinct half copies of it.

Who knows what this one will do.

Ilíon said...

And the previous post is behaving the same way.

cathy said...

That's so odd -- yesterday I did a comment at Nick's blog, and it disappeared, so I re-did it and then the first reappeared, so there were two. Later there was only one again. (And I think it was something to do with different modes.)

Come to think of it, someone commented at April's that their original comment had not shown up.

Aren't the three blogs all on different --well, I don't think "programs" is the right word, but I don't know what they should be called.

Ilíon said...

Nicholas and I both are using the 'Blogger' service. April is using 'WordPress.'