Resurrection debate – John Twisleton’s fourth reply 18.3.08
If Steven thinks I can give no evidence of a resurrection, I am at a loss to continue after my last ten point broadside! All I can say is that resurrection for John Twisleton is different from resurrection for Stephen Carr.
For Steven resurrection is God raising corpses and he will not allow of this without cast iron corroboration.
We live mindful of a great many events in history which left no photographic record. (Interesting that there is, even here, literally a shred of evidence for the resurrection in the scorch mark on the shroud of Turin). The standard of evidence Stephen demands overall would question Caesar crossing the Rubicon. I sense even if he had been sitting by the tomb of Jesus as it burst open, he would question.
I am grateful for Steven’s reminder that the finding of the empty tomb is a tradition Paul is surprisingly reticent but I do not see any incompatibility with Paul’s overall witness here. The twenty-four references I listed in Paul’s writings attest Jesus Christ was and is raised and so are consistent with his being dead and buried. The teaching on baptism in Romans 6 affirms Christ’s burial and raising as something that continues to impact.
Look at the wider context, Stephen! Look at this Jesus, as the whole New Testament describes him, and the hostility he invoked that brought him to a tomb! Could this be God “dying from what is ours so we can live from what is his” (St Augustine)?
Look, as you imply, at Pentecost, but see the clear link between the momentum of the Spirit, as recorded in the book of Acts and the metaphysical event that followed Good Friday!
Thomas said, “Unless I see…I will not believe” (John 20:25) but you are saying “even if I see…I will not believe!”
I would deal with your difficulty over the anonymity of St. Mark’s gospel but your line of argument has already dismissed the failure of two centuries of critical scholarship to underline the historicity of the resurrection so I am less inclined to take things that way.
You compare the credulity of millions of Mormons to the faith of billions of Christians. Did you notice the scholarly reaction of universities across the world to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in its dismissal of the canonical gospels? You would get a similar hostility from historians to the book of Mormon but not to the gospel accounts you try to sideline, ironically by using St. Paul.
Lesser points you raise: “The disciples went back to fishing after seeing the resurrection” There is a spiritual truth here, maybe for you even, because it was the anointing in the Holy Spirit upon those same disciples that seems to have underlined to them the significance of Easter making it a truth to be told down twenty centuries. It is possible, as the disciples demonstrated, to see truth without registering its significance at a personal level
I fall into agreement with you over Paul’s insistence on the role of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the resurrection eg. when he insists “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3b). The same apostle nevertheless insisted that this revelation was rooted in the historical evidence that makes Christianity Christianity when he wrote: “I hand it on to you as of first importance what I in turn have received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
I think for you to agree with Paul and I would involve your suspending judgement on the truth of the resurrection as ‘corpse raising’ with cast iron corroboration and to welcome what billions have come to see it as - the ‘opening up of the kingdom of heaven to all believers’ (Te Deum).