Space, Time and Resurrection

Thomas Torrance was a scholar, a professor and a church leader in the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

Christians typically see the importance of the resurrection of Jesus as centered on it providing evidence that he is Messiah and Son of God, and establishing the efficacy of his saving work on the cross.

But Torrance goes much further.  He explores the actual meaning of the resurrection.  Just as the fact that a man was nailed on a cross 2,000 years ago doesn’t explain the meaning of the cross, and therefore is not sufficient alone to call a gospel message.  The resurrection of a man 2,000 years ago is not sufficient as a gospel message.  We must know the meaning and purpose behind the resurrection for belief in it to be saving.

As Torrance asserts in pages 35-39;

“The resurrection of Jesus as act of God is a decisive event, a final judgement, which affects the entire state of human existence, the whole situation in which we have our being, and as such affects every human being.  It is this concentration of universal significance in the resurrection of Jesus that is so very important for the whole of the Christian message.


The New Testament does not teach a doctrine of individual resurrection first … In the resurrection of Jesus an objective and vicarious act has been carried out in our human nature in which we are already implicated.  The saving power of the resurrection is applied to us through the preaching of the Gospel.  He who responds to that message by faith discovers that he has already been involved in the resurrection, and is already included in the objective reality of Jesus Christ risen from the dead.

He died and rose again in such a way as never to die again, for his resurrection involved a radical change, not only in a triumph over death and corruption but in a transforming recreation of the humanity which he had assumed from Mary in his incarnation.  The risen Jesus was the same as he who was born of Mary and crucified under Pontius Pilate, yet he was not the same, for with his resurrection from the grave something had taken place akin to the original creation, and indeed transcending it.


It was not just a miracle within the creation, but a deed so decisively new that it affected the whole of creation and the whole of the future.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ has creative and constitutive character, and in as such cannot but transform our understanding of the whole relation of God to the universe of things visible and invisible, present and future.  If the distinctive language used of the resurrection of Jesus is also used to speak of another incidents or events, it is only because the resurrection has so transformed the whole picture that they have to be seen as falling within the field of its impact.”

Furthermore; “The resurrection of Jesus Christ did not take place for Himself alone, but for us whom he had assumed into a unity of nature with Himself, so that in a profound sense we have already been raised up before God in Him; to what was objectively taken place in Him there is corresponding subjective counterpart in us which as such belongs to the whole integrated reality of the resurrection event.”



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