Monday, December 28, 2009

Resurrection, epistomology and faith

You could write a whole essay on this but I want to just flesh this out rather briefly.

Arguments for or against the resurrection of Jesus are always composed of three elements:
(1) historical
(2) philosophical (aka theological, epistemological, etc.)
(3) personal (belief vs. unbelief).

Anyone who argues otherwise is either lying or strangely naïve.
Take as an example Bart Ehrman… he looks at “just the evidence” and says “history cannot say there are miracles”. However this is based on an atheistic view of history so that issues (2) and (3) determine how you think “history” must work.

A real apologetic for the resurrection is more than just some of the evangelical arguments for the evidence. There are facts but they are never "brute facts." All three elements are intertwined.
For 1: just because it is shown to be “reasonable” that Jesus rose from the dead does mean you have to believe it was life changing or demands faith. Historical arguments while strong and necessary for the resurrection are not the sum total to the resurrection and the demand that we believe in Jesus. Even if someone believes in a historical resurrection of Jesus you still have to wrestle with "so what?"

For 2: You cannot have ‘historical evidence’ (#1) for the resurrection (so-called ‘brute facts’) and a personal faith in the resurrection (#2) without it being determinative for your theology and epistemology. The resurrection is not just a historical plausibility indeed it has to be the certain event from which we view history itself. Thus the resurrection is not merely established by bare proof, it is the proof itself of the Christian world which God has furnished. Part of the larger question needs to be: how do we come to 'know' things. You have to defend the the notion of a God who can reveal Himself. All knowledge is predicated on God's self-knowledge and ability to reveal Himself in and to His creation.

For 3: You cannot have the “personal” belief without the historical. This is never how Christians have believed in the resurrection. You cannot say that the events of the resurrection did not happen in history and it was not bodily—‘but I believe that Jesus is Lord’.

Acts 17:31 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

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