Friday, July 31, 2009

Resurrection etc

Mark Goodacre here talks about Paul's beliefs concerning resurrection and afterlife. In NT Pod 6, Mark reads Dodd, Wright, and Josephus for us (in 9 minutes) - to help us determine the content of the first century beliefs.

What are the things that must be distinguished? Here is another blog that I found recently where the subjects were recently mentioned - but with a failure to 'distinguish those things that are different'. These issues come up frequently of course.

I think resurrection, resuscitation, immortality, restoration, the life of the world to come, 'afterlife' and probably a few other things too are things that are different.

If you have been with me on this blog, we have just read Job - and it might be summarized as a parable of restoration and recovery putting a simplified reading of Deuteronomy 28 on trial and reframing it into a whole new perspective. It is a promise and parable that teaches what Nicodemus didn't know about (being born again - John 3). Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15) is a promise also - but recovery and restoration (e.g. Romans 11) are aspects of our present reality (Romans 8) that we are invited into (e.g. the approach and enter theme in the letter to the Hebrews) whether through the Anointing of the Old or the New Covenant.

The work is hard - like death, our death. It is present. It makes one glad as Eliot notes in his Journey of the Magi.

I really need to spin this out - there is so much packed into the hope expressed in Job. We must by faith - not believe a set of doctrines - or know everything about the beliefs of an earlier era - but rather - 'make ourselves present' as Elihu 'commands', to the One who can deal with our troubles - ultimately, our troubles are another of God's faces.

Paul is explicit in how to do this - by the death of Jesus. Hebrews likewise on approaching the throne of grace and entering the Holy of Holies. Job and the Psalms and the Song show us that same hope and experience of presence in this life. Given such knowledge in forgiveness - believing 'about' things becomes a secondary issue.

For those who might read who are not 'believers' - the experience could be put into correspondence with several psychological studies - so one can have a 100% human explanation. Personally, I don't find explanation convincing - whether it pretends to be theological or purely human. In the final analysis - life etc is provably not explicable.

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