Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Centrality of the Resurrection

I have lately heard many people emphasize the importance of the resurrection in their theology. They have said that if Christ did not rise from the tomb, their whole faith would be lost.

Honestly, I don't really understand this.

Is the resurrection central to Christianity? Of course. Is it a defining variable? I'm not so sure.

It's distinctive, but how different is Christianity from ancient, pre-Christ Judaism? In specific practices and culture, it's of course different. And people could argue a focus on the law. However, a focus on the law was really within certain Jewish traditions. And there's plenty of Christian traditions that focus on the law just as much.

In my studies, I have seen a rich and vital faith in ancient (and modern) Judaism that really connects with God, seeing God transforming lives. God is involved in the present, changing lives now.

However, that is often not as emphasized in a lot of modern Judaism. There is a big trend of seeing God less involved. That is a power of Christ--Christ came to bring life. Not just in the future, but now.

When we forget about the now, we only focus on life in the future (i.e. eternity). And if there is no resurrection, then of course we should be afraid of our life after death. However, when we see our faith and experience with God transcending more than just death, then we can value many more things than just the resurrection.

Would the absence of the resurrection make my faith different? Probably, and likely in ways I don't even realize. However, my faith is also not rooted in historial facts. It's rooted in faith. Belief that God exists and transcends not only death, but life itself. I have experienced that. And if someday I find out the resurrection did not historically occur, I think (and hope) I would still have a vibrant faith in God...

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