Bible Alive Jesus Christ 004: "Historical Facts & Resurrection Faith"


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Learn seven key points about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Know the theories that deny the resurrection. Find out about other interpretations of the Resurrection—was it a historical fact like any other? Where does the resurrection “fit” and what does it mean? What does it mean to encounter the Risen Christ? What two extremes are we to avoid? Learn about the credibility of the Resurrection and the three ways it changed the nature of the universe.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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  • ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can't speak they can't DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. Jeremiah 10 they nail thier IDOL down like a scarecrow it can't move cant speak can't move must be carired these are nothing but the WORK of CON men. spalms 115 graven images have eyes but cant see have ears but cant hear have noses but cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on thier own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man. ‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM thier WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.
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Bible Alive Jesus Christ 004: "Historical Facts & Resurrection Faith"

  1. 1. Bible Alive: Jesus Christ Class Four: Historical Facts & Resurrection-Faith
  2. 2. The following presentation would be impossible without these resources
  3. 3. And most of all… By Father Roch A. Kereszty o. cist. Thank you Father Roch!
  4. 4. Setting the Tone • No Way there is by which to go Unto the Light wherein God dwells: Thou must thyself become the Light Or God is hidden from thee else. —Angelus Selesius
  5. 5. Setting the Tone • One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it. —St. John of the Cross
  6. 6. Setting the Tone • You, O eternal Trinity, are a bottomless sea Into which the more I plunge the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek You still. Of You it is never possible to say ‘enough.’ The soul that is sated in Your depths desires you yet unceasingly, For it hungers ever after You.... —St. Catherine of Sienna
  7. 7. Let us Pray Good Father By your Word Jesus Give us in the Spirit ears that hear and hearts that wonder in humble awe Shatter the idol of our intellects And grant us eyes of faith That we, as true mystics, might in your Love Be Love as being Sons and Daughters For your Glory. Amen.
  8. 8. Summarizing Last Class • We explored the “rock bottom” facts which lead us beyond history into Christology proper, since they raise the meaning and significance of the “Jesus event” • We saw the extra-biblical documents that record the execution of Jesus. • We learned the pre-Pauline formula of 1 Corinthians 15:3b-5 and its ramifications. • We discovered the meaning of the “empty-tomb” narratives.
  9. 9. Establishing the Historical Facts • What facts connected with the origin of resurrection faith can be established by the historian? • Kereszty answers: We arrive at seven points, seven historical facts connected to faith in Jesus’ resurrection.
  10. 10. Seven Historical Facts • 1. Jesus was executed by crucifixion by Pontius Pilate. This ultimate embarrassment, this greatest of scandals, shook the faith of the disciples. • 2. Yet shockingly, soon after his death, the same disciples announce Jesus’ bodily resurrection. They do not merely affirm that his teaching, his personal influence, or that his “cause” continues. These disciples believe and proclaim Jesus is raised bodily, and that he exists as a transformed spiritual body, and that he personally lives IN God and among AND within his disciples.
  11. 11. Seven Historical Facts • 3. The resurrection proclamation is based on eyewitness testimony. Peter and the disciples, together with Paul (a converted enemy of the nascent Church) claim to have seen Jesus ALIVE after his crucifixion. • 4. The tomb of Jesus was found empty; established as a historical fact. Had the story of the ancient tomb been a legend developed later on, it would not have mentioned women finding it, but a male witness. Moreover, even the enemies of Jesus speak of the empty tomb from a time at least earlier than the composition of Mark, which is accepted as being the first of the canonical gospels to be written—they claimed that Jesus’ corpse was stolen, hence its emptiness. As P. Althaus says, “the resurrection kerygma could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a SINGLE day, for a SINGLE hour, if the existence of the empty tomb had not been established as a FACT for all concerned.” If you could produce a corpse, a skeleton, then the message gets discredited immediately.
  12. 12. Seven Historical Facts • 5. Faith in the resurrection radically transformed the outlook and lives of the disciples. They now understood the tragic failure of their messianic expectations in a new light: in Jesus they found the fullness of God’s Plan to save the world, a plan that had been foretold long ago in the sacred scriptures. This group, once scattered in despair, now reassembles, and, in spite of a growing storm of persecution announces the resurrection with courage and a serene self-confidence. • 6. Many eyewitnesses to the Risen Christ, in particular Peter, Paul, and James “the brother of the Lord,” suffer martyrdom for their faith. • 7. Extra biblical sources reveal that as a result of apostolic faith and preaching, millions accept the Christian faith, including faith in the resurrection of Christ. This happens DESPITE the Greek aversion to the idea of bodily resurrection and the widespread moral corruption of the masses.
  13. 13. What Does this Mean? • Given all of this we must face the question: How can these facts be explained? THE KEY TO THIS CLASS—no matter how many interpretations of these seven facts that there are, the ONLY INTERPRETATION(S) that we MUST accept is THAT interpretation(s) which explain(s) all the facts without denying or distorting any of them.
  14. 14. The Three Theories That Deny Any Form of the Resurrection 1. The Resurrection is a Fraud 2. The Evolution Hypothesis 3. The Psychological Explanation These theories are called “negative explanations” because they deny the resurrection as really happening.
  15. 15. Negative Explanation One: Fraud • The earliest negative explanation of what really happened is as old as Christianity itself: the resurrection was a fraud. Mt 28:11-15 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. • According to this theory, the disciples simply stole Jesus’ body. To deceive the people the disciples invented the story of the resurrection. • Variation: some have denied that Jesus actually died; he simply lost consciousness. The disciples nursed Jesus back to health in the home of a trusted friend. Pilate was amazed that Jesus died in mere hours after all.
  16. 16. Martyrdom of Paul Martyrdom of Peter
  17. 17. Problems with the Fraud Theory • The weakness of the first version of the fraud theory—what motive could make the disciples face the grief-filled lives of death for a sham? • Again, we cannot deny or distort the fact of the martyr apostles. Their martyrdom guarantees their good faith. • Granted, while it is true that people become martyrs for false causes that they have been convinced are true, who VOLUNTARILLY accepts dying for what he knows to be a hoax?
  18. 18. Problems with the Fraud Theory • The weakness with the second version of the same fraud hypothesis is that it distorts the first fact, that Jesus suffered death by crucifixion under Pilate in that it excludes the professional expertise of the executioners. • We have records of criminals condemned to death on a cross dying under the brutality of the flaggelum. Both would regard bad faith on the part of the disciples, not the faith witnesses in the martyrdom of believers. • Kereszty claims that no historian accepts either theory because of this.
  19. 19. Negative Explanation Two: The Evolution Hypothesis • The next “negative explanation” of the historical facts of faith in the resurrection of Jesus is called “the evolution hypothesis.” • At first blush it appears more plausible than the “Fraud Hypothesis”—belief in the Resurrection evolved as a myth along the lines of the mystery religions, as a strange mixture of the dying and rising gods in Egypto- Hellenistic religions (e.g., Osiris, Dionysius, Mithras, and Adonis) blended to the apocalyptic resurrection scenarios of first century Judaism. • But why?? It was invented to answer the existential question of death and dying.
  20. 20. Problems with the Evolution Hypothesis  Upon closer examination, Jesus’ resurrection is different substantially from the mythical stories. No one has known the bodily resurrection of someone who they had known before they died.  The mythic heroes who “die” and “rose” are fictive heroes FAR removed from the time of their religions. The development of myth requires a LONG period of time. (E.g., the immediate disciples of the Buddha NEVER claimed that their master was a temporal manifestation of the “universal Buddha nature.” Several hundred years had to pass before Buddha’s divinity was proclaimed by Mahayana Buddhism.) On the contrary, we have seen that from the earliest time Jesus’ resurrection was proclaimed all the way back to immediately after his death and burial. And those who knew him best proclaimed him raised. There is no parallel to it.
  21. 21. Negative Explanation Three: The Psychological Explanation • The Psychological Explanation, in short, says that the disciples experienced an hallucination— i.e., they convinced themselves that Jesus could not have definitively died. • First stated by D. F. Strauss (d. 1874), this theory, which is proliferated in many different versions, is a very popular one among scholars who will not admit to the possibility of any supernatural intervention in history. It means this: Jesus is not really raised; the disciples did not really see him raised. They imagined him raised. They had a subject-induced experience.
  22. 22. Explaining the Psychological Explanation • One way that this has been expressed is that the appearances were similar to what someone goes through in a near-death experience, or, upon experiencing a traumatic death of a beloved family member, one sees, post-mortum, their loved one alive. • This would mean that the disciples were psychologically imbalanced persons whose lifelong mission, and the establishment of a worldwide community of believers, was based on a hallucination.
  23. 23. Problems with the Psychological Explanation  Kereszty wants us to ask (p. 53), Can a sick tree bear healthy fruit? The various psychogenic theories assume that the disciples’ lifelong missionary activity that established a worldwide Church, and their martyrdoms, were generated by nothing more than a few instances of subjective vision based on subconscious forces in the experiencing subjects. Would this be true, the disciples’ were victims of “benign” hallucinations.  Considering the effects of their example and preaching, the radical change from a life of corruption and centripetal greed into one of generosity in so many, and indeed a universal moral revolution toward never before reached levels of forgiveness and unselfish love, could all this have come from the victims of delusion?
  24. 24. Problems with the Psychological Explanation  What about Paul? Was he psychologically disturbed?  Paul had been a dangerous enemy of the Jesus movement, hardly a disciple of the earthly Jesus.  One cannot reduce to a psychological process of bereavement Paul’s vision of Christ and his ensuing conversion.  An analysis of Paul’s writings shows no sign of mental illness/psychological disturbance.
  25. 25. Problems with the Psychological Explanation  The greatest weakness of the psychological explanation is the historical fact of the empty tomb. One cannot escape the testimony of the women-disciples; although insufficient evidence in itself, when combined with the multiple attestation of the recorded resurrection appearances of the Risen One it shows the resurrection could hardly be described exclusively as something subjective.  The resurrection proclaimed was bodily, an objective reality. If we accept the factuality of the empty tomb, we cannot reject as “apologectic concern” the sensory perception of and bodily character of Jesus as a human being in the resurrection accounts of the Gospels and Acts.
  26. 26. Thus far we’ve learned… • …That the three hypotheses just shown all explicitly deny the resurrection. • None of these interpretations can account for all seven facts without distorting or ignoring some of them. • If we deny that Jesus has been raised, we encounter an insoluble puzzle.
  27. 27. Other Contemporary Explanations of the Resurrection 1. The Neo-Orthodox Theory 2. Rudolf Bultmann’s Theory 3. Willie Marxsen’s Theory All of these, in some way, accept the claim of the NT that Jesus has been raised, yet they disagree sharply on just what that claim really means. Therefore, these theories are called “positive explanations” because they accept the resurrection as really happening in some way.
  28. 28. Contemporary Explanation One: The Neo-Orthodox Theory • The Neo-Orthodox is also “the naïve theory of the resurrection.” • It holds that it is a provable fact—Jesus’ appearance had to be ‘objective’ so that it can be verified by everyone’s sense experience.  Thus the resurrection can be adequately proven like any other historical fact or event through the consensus of verifiable eye witnesses.
  29. 29. How the Neo-Orthodox Theory Came About • Apologetics—the practice and part of theology which attempts to demonstrate the reasonableness of the Christian faith and to refute objections against it. • Christians have always done apologetics. • The Reformation—because the Reformers questioned the use of “fallen” reason to defend and justify the faith against its critics, apologetics became more explicitly Catholic. In turn various Christian groups, whether consistently or not, defended their doctrinal positions based on rational argument and logical demonstration. • The 19th century—various Christian groups perceived science and rationalistic philosophies as enemies to truth. Christians reacted—Catholic apologetics argued for the necessity of revelation, the existence of a supernatural order, and the essential need for a teaching Church whereas some American Protestants, reacting against Darwinian evolution, historical criticism, and ecumenical movements, rationalized the faith into a bare set of “fundamentals.”
  30. 30. How the Neo-Orthodox Theory Came About • Catholic apologetics in the 20th century—at least until the Second Vatican Council—worked to present Christ’s divinity on the foundation of the claims he made and the miracles he wrought in support of those claims which were both discoverable in the New Testament. • HEAVY IRONY—Christian apologists were now using the same methods that had been employed by the Rationalists against the Christian faith. • These “neo-orthodox” apologists were not simply working out a defense of the faith; they were “proving” its truth by history and logic.
  31. 31. How the Neo-Orthodox Theory Came About • For Catholic “Neo-Orthodox” Apologists, the argument went like this (source, Richard McBrien): 1. Jesus claimed to be divine and proved his claim by his miracles and especially by the miracle of the Resurrection. 2. These claims and miracles are reported in the Bible, which is an historically reliable source. 3. Therefore, Jesus is divine. 4. Next: Jesus founded a Church and conferred on its leaders and their successors full authority to teach and to rule. 5. This, too, is attested in the Bible, which is an historically reliable source. 6. Therefore, the Church is a divinely established institution with full authority to teach and to govern its members.
  32. 32. How the Neo-Orthodox Theory Came About • For Protestant Fundamentalist Apologists, the argument went like this (Source, Ravi Zacharias): 1. Truth as a category does exist. 2. It is possible in a majority of claims (i.e., philosophical and historical statements) to verify the truthfulness of those affirmations. 3. There are also existential realities from which one cannot run which drive one to find the answers to the existential struggles one must live with. Everything is on the line—it is crucial to find the answers! 4. This raises the question of the Bible and what it proposes. 5. One sees in the Bible (Ravi Zacharias claims) 66 books, by nearly 40 different authors, composed over 1500 years—these are works on history, philosophical thought, theological thought, etc. 6. Unlike any other source of proposed truth, the Bible makes a series of assertions (historical, philosophical, existential, etc.) that are unfailingly accurate. and demonstrably so. This is especially true of its “prophetic schema,” seen all the way to its fulfilled predictions of Christ. 7. When one compares the enormous and consistent prediction-fulfillment correspondence between centuries-old prophecies and Jesus Christ in whom these are fulfilled, immediately one sees the supernatural. 8. Therefore, one can trust the Bible and Jesus Christ whom it proposes.
  33. 33. But… Who Saw the Risen Jesus? • Acts 9:3-7 Now as [Saul] journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. • Mt 28:16-17 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.
  34. 34. Problems with the Neo-Orthodox Theory  The Bible evidence prevents the rationalistic and naïve view of the naïve theory because Jesus was seen only by selected eyewitnesses, whose sense perception was aided by faith and who could refuse to believe.  The testimonies of Paul and even the more empirically descriptive narratives of the Gospels and Acts indicate that Christ is a new eschatological reality: the risen Christ is present IN this world but he is not OF this world.  He is only seen by eyewitnesses SELECTED by God whose sense perception was aided by faith AND who could refuse to believe. All rationalistic approaches will therefore FAIL.
  35. 35. Reaction to the Neo-Orthodox Position on the Resurrection • Many 20th century theologians and exegetes reacted violently to this naïve and materialistic interpretation of the resurrection. • By way of the exegetes, they judged it contrary to the real meaning of the biblical texts and by way of the theologians, they judged it incomprehensible to modern man. • Some Protestant scholars said that this flew in the face of sola fide, “by faith alone!” So they intended to keep their faith in the resurrection, but provided WIDELY different interpretations of just what actually happened.
  36. 36. Rudolf Bultmann’s Theory • Rudolf Bultmann (d. 1976) said that the Resurrection is the meaning of Jesus’ death. It is faith in the saving efficacy of the cross. • For Bultmann, the resurrection is NOT an event distinguishable from the Cross; they are ONE event. • The historical event that is verifiable by the historian (historie) is the crucifixion of Jesus. The resurrection is merely the MEANING (gechshicte) of his death. • What is this resurrection? Bultman says, resurrection is faith. Faith in what? Faith “in the saving efficacy of the cross.”
  37. 37. Bultmann Explained • According to Bultmann, we come to resurrection (i.e., belief in the saving efficacy of the Cross) through the kerygma of the Church in which God’s word addresses us. • What does this word tell us? Die and rise. • Receiving the kerygma one MUST DECIDE. Choosing authentic existence means we are to die with Christ to our existence in this world (which is characterized by our inauthenticity in our clinging to earthly securities) and to rise with Christ to a new life here and now (which is a new existential self- understanding, a radical openness and freedom for God’s future). • Bultmann claimed that it was fine to define his thought as “Jesus is risen in the kerygma” PROVIDED the kerygma itself is an eschatological event and one should state that Jesus is really present in the kerygma—his word in the kerygma reaches the listener.
  38. 38. Issues with Bultmann’s Theory? The main difficulty: Christ does not seem to have a distinct personal existence. • For Bultmann, the Resurrection is not bodily. Bodily resurrection did not happen because it COULD NOT happen, according to Bultmann who held that God does not suspend the necessary cause-and- effect processes of nature. A manifestation of God’s power in nature and history interfering with the web of natural causes is nonsense to the modern person. • The Gospel stories that describe such an interference are mythology in need of a critical re-interpretation for modern people who have “seen the light bulb.” • Bultmann held that even if Jesus really was raised bodily, this would be irrelevant to Christian faith. The believer believes in the word of God that authenticates itself in the very act of faith. To rely on a miraculous proof of an empty tomb or on a sense-experience of a Risen Jesus destroys the purity of soli fides.
  39. 39. Willi Marxsen’s Theory • Willi Marxsen (d. 1993)—the center of his Christology is not the saving efficacy of the cross of Christ; but rather the activity and message of the earthly Jesus is efficacious. • After the crucifixion, the disciples had some type of ‘experience’ of Jesus. They interpret this experience in a “two-fold way.”
  40. 40. Willi Marxsen’s “Two-Fold” Way 1. According to Marxsen, the first and most ancient way the first Christians “experienced Jesus” was functional—the disciples continued “the cause of Jesus.” What’s the cause? The coming kingdom of God. So just as the kingdom was coming in the preaching of Jesus so now in the preaching of the disciples the kingdom is coming. 2. And the second way or interpretation, which came significantly AFTER the first, was that which became central to traditional Christianity, and that is that Jesus was raised from the dead. Marxsen notes that this later interpretation may have been necessary at the time of the disciples and even through much of Church history, but this is no longer possible for modern people. Modern Christianity, in order to be RELEVENT, must return to the FIRST, functional interpretation. The “appearances of Jesus” mean that his cause continues as an eschatological event in the preaching of the Church.
  41. 41. Issues with Marxsen’s Theory? – Marxsen comes to a conclusion VERY similar to Bultmann—Resurrection means that Jesus is present in the kerygma of his witnesses. – But for Marxsen, the presence of Jesus in the kerygma does not mean the saving efficacy of his death for the believer but the eschatological validity of the message of the earthly Jesus.
  42. 42. Any Good to Bultmann & Marxsen? • What is good about these scholars? THERE ARE GOODS! • Don’t we have to appreciate their efforts to reduce a rationalistic misappropriation of the resurrection that would reduce its great mystery to a mere historical fact that can be proved like any other? • Must we not sympathize with Bultmann and Marxsen for desiring to express belief in the resurrection in terms relatable to contemporary men and women? • Should we not commend them for desiring to safeguard what they believe to be the message of the New Testament? • Something to consider…
  43. 43. Problems with the Theories of Bultmann and Marxsen • Their interpretations distort—to varying degrees—the meaning of the biblical texts. There are difficulties with these positions: 1. They both ignore the evidence that the Gospels present of the empty tomb is inexorably tied to the faith proclamations of the resurrection. 2. Bultmann ignores that for Paul and the rest of the New Testament the risen and glorified body of Christ and his personal existence with God are ESSENTIAL parts to the kerygma and not additional mythological crust which can be discarded without destroying the heart of the New Testament message. 3. Bultmann reduces the appearance to the same faith event that happens when the Word reaches the believer through the kerygma. For him God only acts in human subjectivity. 4. Marxsen’s notion of the resurrection can be reduced to what anyone without faith would say about a great personality. Like Bultmann, the Gospel stories are a mere literary device.
  44. 44. Kereszty Responds to Bultmann & Marxsen o The death and resurrection are two parts of the saving event. Resurrection cannot be reduced to the cross of Christ. o Christ has been transformed into a new eschatological creation. o Resurrection cannot be reduced to the meaning of the Cross; amen, Jesus has been raised, he exists as a new man, as an eschatological man or final man, and new creation.
  45. 45. Kereszty Responds to Bultmann & Marxsen • Through his appearances, Christ, the beginning and foundation for the new eschatological creation, reveals himself to the world. He ALLOWS himself to be seen in our history by witnesses of his choosing. • Jesus’ new mode of existence allows him NOT ONLY TO appear to his disciples, but also to be within them and to share his life with them. He can make himself visible at will. They cannot see him except only to the extent that he ALLOWS himself to be seen. • Between his reality and the reality of our world there is a gap: there is an INFINITE qualitative difference.
  46. 46. Kereszty Responds to Bultmann & Marxsen • The empty tomb is a necessary complement. It points out that God has not rejected the world. • God will not annihilate, but transform the material world. On the one hand, the abrupt appearing and disappearing of the risen Jesus reveals a discontinuity between the new eschatological reality and our world. But on the other hand, the empty tomb proclaims that God has not rejected this world—the earthly body of Jesus, part and parcel of the old cosmos, has been transformed by the Holy Spirit to be the center of the new universe into which our own risen bodies will be joined.
  47. 47. The Resurrection in Fundamental Theology • What does it mean to encounter the Risen Christ? • Two extremes are to be avoided: 1. Extreme to the Right—The disciples and Paul saw Jesus as he actually was. We must reject this naïve fundamentalist realism. Any position that reduces the Resurrection appearances to total objectivity is incorrect. 2. Extreme to the Left—We must likewise reject the other extreme where the appearances were only a figment of their imagination, psychogenic vision, or a mere literary device used to express something different than the actuality of the bodily appearances of the risen Jesus Christ. Any position that reduces the appearances to only a subjective experience is incorrect.
  48. 48. Taking SERIOUSLY 1 Jn 3:2 • We must take VERY SERIOUS the implications of 1 Jn 3:2— Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. • Seeing the Lord “as he is” means seeing God “face to face.” Why? Because the divine glory of the risen Christ is no longer hidden in the earthly mortal human nature. • Jesus’ humanity—while not disappearing—has been transformed by the Holy Spirit and become completely transparent, so that his divinity shines through without any diminishment or obscuring. Such a face to face encounter has been reserved for the time of the eschatological revelation, when we are raised, when we become completely conformed to him.
  49. 49. Conclusions • Our conclusion from our analysis of the biblical texts are confirmed by an a priori systematic reflection: the appearance of the resurrected Christ is the appearance of THE eschatological reality in our world. • His true body refers him to our world; therefore it makes sense for us to perceive him with our senses. • But in his risen, glorified state, he transcends our world; it makes sense that we therefore recognize him only through eyes of faith.
  50. 50. The Wisdom of St. Thomas • Thus St. Thomas Aquinas’ (d. 1274) felicitous expression that the resurrection appearances were “Effective Signs” through which the Risen Christ revealed himself to his disciples. • The appearances were effective signs because they did communicate to the seers the reality of the risen Christ. • Nevertheless, they were ONLY signs adapted to the sense experience, imagination and understanding of the disciples rather than a face to face vision of God the Son in his glorified humanity, a vision beyond the capability of mortal human beings.
  51. 51. Effective, but ONLY SIGNS • The resurrection appearances of Jesus were true signs, but only signs of the various aspects of a transcendent eschatological reality that is not directly accessible in this world. Some appearances revealed the glorious state of the Son; others the identity of Christ’s risen body with his crucified body; others the glorious entry into God’s glory as described in the TWO ascension-scenes in Luke-Acts and also in the words of Jesus to Mary of Magdala in the garden in John. • But to consider the ascension as it happened in these accounts as an actual lift off with Jesus having a trajectory and velocity misses the point entirely. • These effective signs prepared the disciples for the act of faith to recognize Jesus. They also needed God’s grace to transform their hearts so they could recognize him.
  52. 52. So we must conclude that… • The Resurrection appearances were true signs BUT ONLY SIGNS of various aspects of a transcendent eschatological reality that was and is not directly accessible in this world. • The risen Lord is seen just as he is, face to face, only by those who themselves have been fully conformed to his eschatological form in heaven.
  53. 53. Credibility of the Resurrection • It was not an ordinary historical event. Now its point of departure (Jesus’ dead body) and its effects in our world (the belief of the disciples that Jesus is risen and has appeared to them, the empty tomb, the extraordinary success of their preaching, and their martyrdoms for their preaching) ARE historical events without qualifications. • The glorified and risen Christ stands beyond history and has entered God’s eternal realm. Even though he stands beyond history he is also present in history as its transcendent consummation that draws all humankind, and therefore the whole universe, to himself. • The short post-resurrection appearances are revealing signs of this permanent active presence in our history. • The appearances are historical events of a unique kind. They are not verifiable in principle by everyone, but only by chosen witnesses (Acts 10:41) to whom Jesus chose to reveal himself. • The historian needs the grace of faith to explain these appearances.
  54. 54. Resurrection—It Changed the World • Kereszty says that the resurrection event changed the nature of the world in three basic ways: 1. The qualitative leaps of evolution do not lead to the absurdity of an ultimate disaster (disasters like mass extinction, solar death, or the pessimistic cosmological models of “Big Chill” or “Big Crunch”), but to a consummation in God. Jesus Christ Risen is the “Omega Point” in the evolution of the Universe. 2. The deepest desires of the human person are not destined to be frustrated, but transformed and fulfilled in eternal life. 3. The human hope for salvation will appear through his redeemed body at home in a new spiritualized material universe. Questions & Assignment