Thursday, April 21, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Why are you convinced or not convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead in history?


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

I am convinced because he lives in me. Sometimes I or others feel that. But this might be too subjective for some ones.

I am convinced, because nobody was able until today to substantially prove the opposite. There were so many Jews (e.g. Saul from Tarsus) that did not want this to be true, yet the only thing they could do was oppress the believers. They were not able to deny the resurrection. Nobody would have believed in such a thing given the oppression and the temporal nearness of the event in those days. I am sure, that one could say similar things about other beliefs, but for me, it is special for Christianity.

Greg said...

Thanks. I see you aiming at coming up with some subjective and some objective reasons for being convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead in history.

What did you mean by prove the opposite? Something like: it can't be disproved, even today, so that helps us in being convinced that it happened?

Greg said...

Please try to post your comment again. For some reason it didn't appear here, though I received it via e-mail.

Ragnar Mogård Bergem said...

It was kinda long, and I don't have it any more. It would be great if you could post it here for me. Just copy and paste it in.

Greg said...

Ragnar Mogård Bergem said...

It depends on where you start. I don't mean to do presuppositional apologetics here, but I would say that the conclusions from the material we have is certainly guided by out starting points.

If you want to do som naturalistic, positivistic history, you will find sufficient evidence to disbelieve the ressurection. But given a more open metaphysics the material seems more convincing.

My take on it is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I think the consequences of believing the ressurection are so wast that it makes more sense to evaluate the ressurection in terms of what worldview it creates. The ressurection provides a new view on humanity, hope, evil, creation, the future and a whole bunch of issues.

We should certainly discuss what the materials concerning the event. But the question that really is interesting to me is this one:

Is a worldview based on the ressurection a viable worldview?

I believe the answer is yes. And saying "He is risen" makes perfect sense. Not only because of what that is claiming about the resurrection in it self, but what it is claiming about the world.

By the light from the ressurected Christ, we see things more clearly.

Greg said...


Greg said...

I agree. Starting points cannot be dismissed out of hand.

I think you make a very relevant observation concerning how the resurrection fits into a wider worldview. It cannot and does not stand alone, but must be integrated into a broader historical and theological perspective that relates to a bigger picture of life and death.

When one does so, this helps to contribute to the affirmation of the truth of Christ being raised as convincing.

Greg said...

As we pass through the confines of death on this bleak Friday, may we open our eyes to reality of resurrection life as we look forward to illumination this Sunday.

Happy Easter

Sisyphos said...


tough question.
I havent been writing about this yet, but thinking.
1. I know that N. T. Wrigth claims that Jesus' resurection meant something outstanding even in the ancient context but to me it makes more sense to put them in line with all the other miraculous stories in Scripture and other contexts. What did they mean? Either people tried to make sth up, trying to misguide others, or they wrote in such a way that others understood them.
Another thing: why should all those miraculous things have happened back then and nowadays God seems to have drawn away?
Well, I know there is an explanation: God acts differently. God acts through the Spirit and so on. Possbile, yes possible, but it seems to me more probable (I am saying more probable) that it is just mythical and mystical.
In general - the world has to many holes and leaks - in my opinion.
Which world view do I have? Well, we dont want to be reductionistic in labelling our selves do we?
I dont know. In process.
But honestly: maybe, maybe not, but maybe: thank you for hope. Otherwise this world would sometimes be hard to live in. Whether this means inconsequence in my thinking or weakness in my personality. Well, I don't know.

Greg said...

Thanks. I think one of Wright's points is that resurrection was unexpected and therefore a shocking event. True, it was a miracle standing in the flow of others, but it was extraordinary even on those accounts. To suggest that resurrection was mythical or mystical does not fit the testimony, which nevertheless does not come to us as a guarantee.

Granted that your worldview may be in process in one sense, I would wager that it is not in another. To be 'in process' is an option for some beliefs and actions, yet in any holistic sense it is mythical and mystical - we come down somewhere, make choices, trust, are committed, etc. Having a world view is already there and embedded in process.

Rhett & Valerie said...

I remember having a conversation with my youth pastor as a sophomore in high school, pinching my arm, and saying, "You mean, my BODY is going to be resurrected, after I DIE?" I was totally stunned. It changed everything.

Two of the main reasons for me are the biblical witness (which I trust), and the witness of the Christian martyrs, who confidently laid down their lives, trusting that they would one day actually take them back up again.


Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, to have some form of resurrected embodiment is a radical picture of the ultimate after life. Puts the body in perspective in the present.

These are good reasons and I especially like your mention of the martyrs.

carter said...

Somewhat off-topic, but it is ironic to me that the priests/pharisees understood what jesus was saying about rising from the dead. They went to Pilate to make sure that the tomb was sealed so that none of jesus' followers could steal the body to claim he was risen. They didn't BELIEVE it but they understood it.

The only thing that "convinces" me is that nobody (no pun intended) could produce the body. Otherwise, I think that all of the arguments seem to hinge upon one's presuppositions.

Greg said...

Thanks. That's true. The opponents of Jesus within the Jewish tradition didn't just ignore or brush off his comment about rising again - it wasn't a complete off the radar.

Not being able to produce the body is relevant. should the stories about Jesus being raised exist, it indeed seems strange that if he was crucified and laid in a tomb, that it would have been easy enough to stop all the talk of resurrection by producing the body.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Sorry, I am one week late, but here comes my answer.

"Prove the opposite?" Disprove something that happened in history today is a very hard task. If it is feasible at all! How to know whether Cesar told everything correctly... For some or most parts of his "De bello gallico" for example no other "eyewitness" or something like it exists. So we have to trust him with the due suspicion. But whom do we trust for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do we want to trust (-> presuppositions...)? Is there anything to trust in? How to prove something here???

But it could heave been proven in my eyes in the early days, right after it happened. And is was not disproved (i.e. Jesus did not raise) but the continuation and the oppression and those two combined (compare Valerie's martyrs) proves as far as I am concerned that Jesus raised from the dead.

Greg said...

Wolterstorff, Plantinga, and others argue for the rationality of belief, even without evidence. Your line of thought seems to be saying, unless there is evidence against it, there can be reasons to believe. Yet, you add that if you were there the evidence would have been available.