My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Monday, October 29, 2007

1 Corinthians 15

The truth about resurrection

Don't forget the first thing we know. Jesus died, was buried, and was raised. He then appeared to the Apostles, and finally to me, the least of the Apostles, chosen purely by grace.

So don't think there is no resurrection, cos then Jesus wasn't either. Our faith is pointless without resurrection. We are still slaves to sin then, and why would be baptise for the dead? But instead, Jesus' resurrection is a promise of ours at the end of time when Jesus wins and gives all authority to God, including death being absolutely submissive to God.

The heavenly body will be completely different. You don't plant a plant to grow, you plant a seed. Our current bodies are like seeds which are unlike the body God will grow for us. Our physical body is mortal, but our spiritual body will be made to last forever. They are different. Mortality has died. Death has lost its power. Our spiritual bodies, unlike our physical ones, will be able to enter the Kingdom.

Key verse:
14. if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

My thoughts:
My goodness there is so much in this chapter!

Okay, so we need to be absolutely clear that Christ's death and resurrection is absolutely central to our faith. So often Christians try to defend their faith from a standpoint which isn't centred on the cross and empty tomb, and I don't think that that ultimately satisfies. If Christ was not truly raised, then we should not expect anything in our faith to make sense.

The first few verses are very important for recognising the earliest and most basic beliefs of the Church. Paul here is reciting what is, in essence, a creed. It tells of Jesus' death, resurrection and appearances. He is reciting something which he learnt elsewhere. There is significant indications that the content of this creed are very early; perhaps within 5 years of the events it speaks of. This would be an unparalleled historical documentation of the ancient world. Some believe that Jesus' resurrection was a legendary addition to history, but for legendary material to develop within 5 years is unheard of.

So Jehovah's Witnesses like to point to verses 24-28 to show Jesus' inferiority of Jahweh, and he gives all authority to God. For me, it's a bit of a straw man, because I don't think anyone is seriously contending that Jesus doesn't have some sort of submissive role to the Father. Trinitarians would happily agree that Jesus only does what he sees his Father doing. We don't have a problem with the Son glorifying the Father.

What's all this baptising for the dead anyway? That's a bit weird. Can you save those who are dead by doing some baptism ritual on their behalf? I wouldn't've thought so, though something perhaps along those lines is referenced here. I doubt if anyone is really sure what Paul was talking about here.

So Paul here is addressing the fact that some Corinthians were trying to say that there is no resurrection. They might've used arguments about the idea that human bodies get damaged, so how could such a body be resurrected into the Kingdom if they were not perfect? Paul is very clear that it is a different body that we receive. The language he uses makes his comments come very close to dualism, the idea that matter is evil, but spirit is good. I think a better way to view it is that the current and temporal is imperfect, but the eternal will be perfect.


Anonymous Deane said...

Some believe that Jesus' resurrection was a legendary addition to history, but for legendary material to develop within 5 years is unheard of.

ROFL. Are you sure you're not just parroting an apologetic legend?

Some legends develop within a day. Vision accounts are sometimes related immediately after the vision.

4:21 pm

Blogger Pete W said...

Oh Deane, you do like to jest!

Your very sentence implies that visions must be legendary! You must realise that by legendary, I don't mean amazing, I mean made up.

I will take your point though. I think untrue 'historical' events are either made up right at the time, or many years later. I think our scriptures as I am writing about now clearly dispel the possibility of the core content being made years later. I haven't commented on the extent to which they show that it wasn't made up in the first place.

5:50 pm


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