Belief–The Only Valid Frame of Reference for the Resurrection of Christ

“The risen Jesus Christ cannot be discerned within the frame of the old conditions of life which by his resurrection he has transcended, and cannot be understood except within the context of the transformation which it has brought about. . . . The evidence for the resurrection can be handled and tested, appropriately, only within the orbit of its impact.”[1]

“We are not concerned here simply with what is often called ‘the hermeneutical circle’, but with the kind of circle which is posited by an ultimate fact which in the nature of the case cannot be brought within the same circle as other facts, but which stakes out the very grounds upon which experience and knowledge of it are possible.”[2]

In other words, the nature of the resurrection is such that it is the reversal of the fall and its curse, namely death. In Christ’s resurrection, the recreation/new creation has begun. Therefore, to subject Christ’s resurrection to the old order of the fallen creation, in which death and “non-resurrection” are typical and therefore incorrectly seen as normal, is to subject the existence of Christ’s resurrection to an order of existence in which it does not belong. But to avoid this error first requires belief in the resurrection, because faith allows one to see Christ’s resurrection with the proper “lenses.” As such, faith is the only frame of reference in which the resurrection will be believed and understood. This is not to say faith is itself the evidence; but without faith the evidence cannot be seen.

As Anselm of Canterbury said,

“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

We accept the evidence for Christ’s resurrection

“precisely not on the ground that such evidence would establish the resurrection of anyone, but on the ground that it is the uniqueness of Jesus which makes it credible.”[3]

Notes

[1] Torrance, Thomas F., Space, Time, and Resurrection (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), 37.

[2] Ibid., 38.

[3] Quick, O. C., Doctrines of the Creed: Their Basis in Scripture and Their Meaning to Day (Simon & Schuster, 2007), 150.

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