Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's At Stake in Christ's Resurrection? (revisited)

I've asked before on this blog, "What at stake in Christ's resurrection?" Here's another swing at it, but this time simply by quoting a series of questions Barth asks, and then quoting in brief the beginning of his answer. He pretty much puts the stakes this way: How could we come to know and so follow Jesus as Lord if he were not living one who reveals himself in the power of the Holy Spirit? But putting it so briefly doesn't do justice to how high the stake really are. So here goes:
"And it is only right that we should think of this first when we ask why the existence of Jesus Christ is so inaccessible to us. Is this the fulfilment of the covenant? Is this the Reconciler and Mediator between God and us men, the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of the world? Is this His revelation? What place is there in this lowliness for the true Son of God, and the true Son of Man? Was He not there only for a moment, and then no longer there; shown to us, but now--with all the appearance of finality--withdrawn; a short and beautiful dream on which we can only look back with deep disillusionment in our long and bitter waking moments? And what became, and becomes, of us if it is true that that exalted One was humiliated and shamed and put to death in our place, that the Son of God and Man asked finally in our name why God had forsaken Him? Is it that the incarnation of the Word, and therefore the existence of the Son of God as one of us, only makes clear what apart from Him we cannot do more than suspect--that we are all rejected and lost? Does it merely seal the impossibility of the human situation? And if it does mean anything more, if in His lowliness He is still the exalted One, the Lord and Deliverer, if His name still encloses the salvation of the world and our salvation, how can this be true for us when His death on the cross was His final work and Word? How can we know Him as the true Son of God and Man? How can we know His being for us in this concealment ? How can we cleave to Him or even believe that He is this, when this was His
end, and the door was slammed behind Him and bolted from within?

"The Christian community and the individual Christian believe that He was and is the Son of God and as such for us, and cling to this fact. If we assume that it is given to us to be Christians, we can and must say that we know Him even in this concealment He is our Lord and Hero, the Shepherd of the whole world and our Deliverer, even in this lowliness He has acted as the true Son of God even in His suffering of death on the cross And we are made alive and justified and sanctified and exalted to the status of the children of God and made heirs of eternal life in His execution. For it was in His humiliation that there took place the fulfilment of the covenant, the reconciliation of the world with God. It is in Him that we have our peace, and from Him our confidence and hope for ourselves and all men. Let us assume that we can believe this in our hearts and confess it with our lips. Where the Holy Spirit intervenes and is at work between Him and us as the Spirit of Jesus Christ, as the self-activation and self-revelation of the living Jesus Christ, we can believe and confess it in face of that hard antithesis Christ the Crucified is a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (I Cor. 1:23f), but to those who are called He is the power of God and the wisdom of God."

- Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, IV/2, pp. 349-50.

This comes from a section I am currently ruminating on while dissertating, so ...
Any thoughts?
_

9 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jesus of Nazereth cannot be a "moral model" and a "savior" when he died as a criminal, subversive traitor, an "alien", or some other such "forsakenness". His life was a theologized life, which brought about the tradition of the Christian tradition.

Moral models, represent "ideals" that people should emulate, but the practical life of a certain moral model is not a universal. Moral models point beyond themselves to something bigger than their representation (life).

So, Jesus resurrection is a working out thsoe ideals within a specific individual or community. This is the Christian theologizing of Jesus resurrection in the political realm (but universalizing this specific model is dangerous).

JohnLDrury said...

I would agree that Jesus would not be a moral model (among the other things that he is for us) without the resurrection. However, I would point out that resurrection is something that happens to him by God, not something we do for him by our theologizing.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

And "God" in the political realm is "leadership", right? Human social structures...

This is the "Jesus Project"'s purpose, isnt it?

JohnLDrury said...

God is not human political leaders (fuhrers). God is God, and Jesus is Lord.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Nothing would get done unless human leaders "co-created" with God, as "dominion theology" or "reconstruction theology", or "replacement theology" says...

Evolution does not describe "god". God is "created", projected or formulated by our imaginations. That does not mean god does not exist, as we can concieve of god, so the concept must come from somewhere.

The interventional god of scripture is not the god of evolutionary science or natural law. The natural law god was one of deism, which nowadays is outdated and defined in more dynamic ways of string theory or quantum theory or biological systems theory.The forms or ways of understanding or describing god are as many as there are scientific theories....

JohnLDrury said...

I believe God is whoever raised Jesus from the dead.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

which were the scribes...

Harper said...

Succinctly put, John.

-- Christopher

Anonymous said...

Angie, with all due respect, if you think scribes raised Jesus from the dead, then, by implication, you do not believe that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. But belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection is the sine qua non of Christian faith. Therefore, you are not a Christian. But you can go on believing in the scribes if you like. I guess that would make a Scriptian or some such.