Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gary Habermas and the facts about the resurrection

There is a Christian apologist called Gary Habermas.

In his book, 'The Risen Jesus & Future Hope', Habermas claims that there are many facts that are undisputed about the resurrection of Jesus.

Of course, many of his supposed facts are hotly disputed.

I noticed that he left one totally undisputed fact out. It is a fact because the earliest Christian writer Paul is writing about the beliefs of early Christians.

Letters written by early Christians claiming certain beliefs about Jesus are proof of what early Christians really did believe.

Just as letters written by Moonies today are proof that Moonies really do believe that the Reverend Moon is the Messiah.

Paul claimed that many early Christian converts to Jesus-worship believed the Old Testament scriptures , yet still scoffed at the idea of a corpse rising.

Why would Habermas leave out the well-documented belief of many early Christians that corpses stay in the ground and that the dead are lost?


Blogger Custard said...

And where does Paul scoff at the idea of Jesus' corpse rising? (Or Eutychus's, for that matter?)

Romans 1:4 perhaps? 1 Corinthians 15:20?

You really do need to read some Wright.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Paul calls the Corinthians idiots for imagining that the resurrection involves a corpse rising from the grave.

They denied the resurrection, because they could not believed that God would choose to raise a corpse (Why would Christians believe that?)

Paul thinks this is as idiotic as somebody claiming that you can't make omelletes, because you can;t put those broken eggs back together.

If somebody claimed that , you would say 'You idiot! You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'.

Just as Paul thinks the Corinthians are idiots for not realising that what goes into the ground dies.

2:19 AM  
Blogger NVCL Small Group said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Mr. Carr,

In response to your statement that "Paul calls the Corinthians idots for imaging that the resurrection involves a corpse rising from the grave," Can you please list the verse(s) from Paul (or is it something in Luke?) that lead you to this conclusion?


7:52 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

1 Corinthians 15

35But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body

Paul raises the sort of question people were asking, and declares the question foolish.

He then tells them that what goes into the ground dies.

The Corinthians already knew that corpses were dead, so Paul is emphasising that corpses really are dead.

The corpse is not the body that is sown.

It is just a seed. It is just there to tell God what to create.

If you plant wheat seeds, God will create wheat plants. God gives the seed a new body.

You do not see the seed come back again.

What you see (according to Paul), is the seed dying, and God creating a new thing.

Paul thinks it as foolish to discuss how a corpse can come back, as to discuss how you would get the wheat seeds back above the ground again.

Compare the answer given to the question in 2 Baruch 49 'In what shape will those live who live in Thy day?'.

The answer given is 'For the earth shall then assuredly restore the dead, [Which it now receives, in order to preserve them]. It shall make no change in their form, But as it has received, so shall it restore them.'

Paul dismisses the same question as idiocy and proceeds to describe how totally different the new body is, just like birds are different to fish.

People who believed in corpses rising, like the author of 2 Baruch, did not call such questions idiotic.

Instead, they took them seriously.

But why does Habermas leave out the well-documented belief of early Christian converts that God would not choose to raise corpses?

10:33 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Thanks. I have a few more questions:

- Am I correct in understanding your original points to be: many early Christians disbelieved in a resurrection of the dead, on grounds that resuscitating a corpse is implausible (or would you say anti-Tanakh here?); Paul agreed but rebuked their disbelief by clarifying the definition of resurrection to mean taking an dead body (seed) and producing from it a different living body (sprout); Habermas omits this exchange from his list of undisputed facts of early Christian belief.

- When you initially wrote about the "well-documented belief of many early Christians that corpses stay in the ground and that the dead are lost," do you have some more specific data? How many is many?

- Do you interpret 1 Cor 15:35 to mean Paul's audience was asking:
-- In what manner will dead be raised?, or
-- How is possible that a dead person could be raised at all?, or
-- Something else?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

You are correct in what you say.

How many is 'many'?

We don't know how many Christians there were altogether.

We know that there were enough for Paul to write about them.

These Christians believed that Jesus was alive, but they could not get their head around the concept of God choosing to raise a corpse, and so rejected resurrection for people other than Jesus.

The other Christians also believed that Jesus was still alive, and presumably thought that other dead people had an afterlife, as they were taking part in baptisms for the dead.

We don't know if these other Christians thought that corpses got up and walked.

Our only clue is that Paul does not point to their beliefs as being correct.

10:16 PM  

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