Thomas Torrance has written the supreme book on the topic of the resurrection, Space, Time and Resurrection. I’ve provided here just a few quotes … from p. 221:
“What Jesus Christ is in his resurrection, he is in himself. The resurrection was not just an event that happened to Christ, for it corresponded to the kind of person he was in his own being.”
My paraphrase: it was impossible for Jesus to remain dead, because being resurrected was part of who he was. Resurrection was exponential of his identity. His very life was such that death could not overtake it, but must be overtaken and swallowed up by it. “I am resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). “I am … the life” (John 14:26). Just as the resurrection is an a posteriori argument for Christ’s deity, his deity is an a priori argument for his resurrection. Why was Jesus Christ raised? Because it was who he was – eternal, life-spilling-over God – to be so.
Here is a later passage from Torrance which reveals his meaning more fully (p. 236):
“The actual resurrection of Jesus from the tomb was recognized to be in entire accordance with his nature and person – but that was the stupendous thing about it. This was not just a miracle, not some wonderful event or portent, but something which in all its wonderfulness was not a whit different from the essential nature of the risen one in himself. And what is more, it corresponded to the claim of Jesus, as given in the Johannine literature, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ ‘I am the truth.’
He is himself the reality of the resurrection and the new life that breaks through and out of death. He is the creator-God among mankind, at work even in the midst of death and corruption and perdition and nothingness.
With this recognition of the utter consistency between the resurrection event and the essence of the resurrected one, came the full realization that the whole life of Jesus, together with his resurrection, was the manifestation among men and women and on earth and in time of the ultimate and original and final creative activity of God. That is why the resurrection is so baffling to thought and observation.”
N.T. Wright is one of the most important Christian churchmen and scholars in a generation. He has written much on the Resurrection and its revolutionary implications for our lives. The following is from Christianity Today;
“There is no agreement in the church today about what happens to people when they die. Yet the New Testament is crystal clear on the matter: In a classic passage, Paul speaks of “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). There is no room for doubt as to what he means: God’s people are promised a new type of bodily existence, the fulfillment and redemption of our present bodily life. The rest of the early Christian writings, where they address the subject, are completely in tune with this.
The traditional picture of people going to either heaven or hell as a one-stage, postmortem journey represents a serious distortion and diminution of the Christian hope. Bodily resurrection is not just one odd bit of that hope. It is the element that gives shape and meaning to the rest of the story of God’s ultimate purposes. If we squeeze it to the margins, as many have done by implication, or indeed, if we leave it out altogether, as some have done quite explicitly, we don’t just lose an extra feature, like buying a car that happens not to have electrically operated mirrors. We lose the central engine, which drives it and gives every other component its reason for working.”read rest of article in Christianity Today
From Michael Williams, author of one of my top 10 favorites, Far as the Curse is Found;
What is the gospel? It seems like such a simple question. After all, the gospel is at the heart of the Christian faith. The “gospel” is what Christians believe. It is the “gospel” that saves. Yet after years of asking my Freshman Bible classes this very question and receiving no quick reply, I realize that defining the gospel is sometimes confusing even for Christians. read rest of article
It’s not about the Easter bunny eggs which is a symbol of the empty tomb.
It is how Wright explains it in a few words. Jesus resurrection is announcing His Lordship to the entire world and a new creation, making his kingdom come on earth as in heaven!. Amen, brother Wright.
In ‘Surprise by Hope’ NT Wright –
Easter has a very this-worldly, present-age meaning. Jesus is raised, so he is the Messiah, and therefore he is the world’s true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God’s new creation has begun—and we, his followers, have a job to do! Jesus is raised so we must act as his heralds, announcing his lordship to the entire world, making his kingdom come on earth as in heaven! To be sure, as early as Paul the resurrection of Jesus is firmly linked to the final resurrection of all God’s people.
The challenge is in fact the challenge of new creation. To put it at its most basic: the resurrection of Jesus offers itself, to the student of history or science no less than the Christian or the theologian: not as an odd event within the world as it is but as the utterly characteristic, prototypical, and foundational event within the world as it has begun to be. It is not an absurd event within the old world but the symbol and starting point of the new world. The claim advanced in Christianity is of that magnitude: Jesus of Nazareth ushers in not simply a new religious possibility, not simply new ethic or a new way of salvation, but a new creation.
The last one hundred years has not looked kindly on Christendom. World War I had the outcome of destroying the Christian monarchies of Europe. Out of this war Communism took a giant leap, not for but against mankind. Millions of Christians, in Russia and Europe as a whole, died in its midst and in its wake.
But as G. K. Chesterton wrote in 1925 in The Everlasting Man, between the first and second world wars;
“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”
An article by N.T. Wright;
“We have declared, in the Nicene Creed, that to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end,” but neither mainline Catholic nor mainline Protestant theology has explored what exactly we mean by all that, and we have left a vacuum to be filled by various kinds of dualism. In particular, Western Christianity has allowed itself to embrace that dualism whereby the ultimate destiny of God’s people is heaven, seen as a place detached from earth, so that the aim of Christianity as a whole, and of conversion, justification, sanctification, and salvation, is seen in terms of leaving earth behind and going home to a place called heaven.
So powerful is this theme in a great deal of popular preaching, liturgy, and hymnography that it comes as a shock to many people to be told that this is simply not how the earliest Christians saw things. For the early Christians, the resurrection of Jesus launched God’s new creation upon the world, beginning to fulfill the prayer Jesus taught his followers, that God’s kingdom would come “on earth as in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), and anticipating the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17, 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1) promised by Isaiah and again in the New Testament.” read full article
This is a review of “Jesus is Coming — Plant a Tree” by N.T. Wright, an article posted on the same day here at WakeUPchurch.org By Doug Wilson. If Wright is glorious then Wilson’s filtering Wright is even more so.
“The next chapter from Wright is on eschatology and care for the creation, and is a mixed bag. The title of the chapter is “Jesus is Coming — Plant a Tree.” We will come back to that shortly.