Sunday, April 12, 2009

Faith and judgment - physical resurrection reframed

Miscellaneous things and why I believe the resurrection. My most incoherent post to date.

April DeConick is starting a series on How Jesus became God - this should be fun. At least with April, the fundamentalists won't have to debate if she is apostate as they do with James McGrath - they will take that for granted. I won't even consider the question. Is X apostate is one of those bad questions that should be unasked. Rather ask, is X loved by God? If you have a God who is love, then the answer is obvious. So make sure you act like that God of love and go on to other questions.

The Scriptures are filled with contradiction - one word speaks against another. A simple example from the New Testament: John 5:24 versus Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. Now I know one could spend a lifetime reconciling these or one could even reconcile them in a few words - there must be differing types of 'judgment'. But does such reconciliation help or is it even necessary? One can come to believe in one's own watering down of the text like maybe we believe this or that confession but in the meanwhile risk forgetting to love our neighbour or otherwise engage with God.

Here's the simplest circle - and I have heard it applied by both Islamic and Christian fundamentalists. The doctrine of inerrancy says: if two Scripture verses contradict each other, the contradiction is in my understanding, not in them. And so I must make up a story - this is called theology - which explains the violation of the law of inerrancy. Surely that is enough of that - eh? Is Christ and his resurrection just another talk show?

Science and faith. I came across a cute set of questions by someone calling himself Jason - he is without blog and otherwise unidentified:

If Jesus is in heaven now, are His atoms in heaven? If so, does the strong nuclear force exist in heaven? Is there any sense of talking about physical space for Jesus' physical body to reside in? Does His heart still beat(?) circulating blood that circulates oxygen from the lungs around the body? Is the top layer of His skin cells still dead, as they were when He was on earth?
These questions need summarizing: 'Is love real' is a shorter question. The short Pauline procedural answer is - if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will find out.

Then, I add, you will know about heaven, because you will have an unspeakable prepayment of the principal on your home. So the even shorter answer to these questions is 'yes'. The atoms become your atoms. His top level of skin your skin. His place, your space. His beating, your heart, His Spirit, your oxygen.

Now - to give some minimal coherence to this meandering - how does Paul read Deuteronomy 30:14 and transfer the referent there from the covenant with Israel to the faith of Christ crucified? And why did I write to fundamentalists and the off the wall skeptic trying to poke fun at them as I did? Same reason. There is something more here than blessings and curses (though they are fun to read), or just plain despair and condemnation - but we are good at condemnation and not good until we stop it.

On love - Ubi caritas, ibi deus est.

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