Monday, April 1, 2013

Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸσ ἐγήγερται...

The title of this post comes from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15 verse 20, "But now Christ has been raised from the dead..." where Paul points out how the Christian faith stands or falls on the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

Apparently some among the early followers of the Way in Corinth were denying the possibility of resurection of the dead. Paul spends a good paragraph meticulously pointing out the logical consequences that flow from this premise, namely that Christianity itself is worthless and Christians are ἐλεεινότεροι πάντων ἀνθρώπων, of all men most to be pitied if Jesus was not, in fact, raised from the dead in the first place. The point is so important that he makes it twice in slightly different terms: if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Jesus hasn't been raised. If Jesus hasn't been raised, then your faith is κενὸν – empty, worthless, void of purpose. We might as well all be Epicureans. You can be a Christian if and only if (and I don't use that specific logical term lightly) you accept the fact of Jesus having been raised from the dead (the passive voice of that verb is a discussion for another time). If you don't accept the resurrection of the dead as a real possibility, you cannot consistently be a Christian because you destroy the whole foundation of your faith; and likewise if you accept the fact of Jesus' resurrection, you have no logically consistent choice but to accept Him for who He claimed to be.

"Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸσ ἐγήγερται..." And here Paul pulls a proof from contradiction out of the syllogisms of the preceding section: But since Christ has, in fact, been raised, we see that the premise that there is no resurrection of the dead leads to a false conclusion, and thus the premise itself must be false (to paraphrase slightly). As many people over the ages have investigated, found, and proclaimed, the Resurrection is one of the best-attested facts of history. "But since Christ has been raised, your faith is not worthless. It's not pointless. And that's just a taste of what's going to come." (Again paraphrasing.)

A hui hou everyone, and happy Easter! Remember He has been raised indeed.

1 comment:

  1. This is something you might find interesting: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-d-tabor/christianity-before-paul_b_2200409.html

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