Monday, December 24, 2007

NT Wright on early Christian beliefs

In 'The Resurrection of the Son of God' , page 330, NT Wright writes 'I regard it as highly probable that this refers, not to people who believe that 'the resurrection' has already in some sense happened to all the righteous, but the people who, on the normal grounds comment to pagan antiquity and post-Enlightenment modernity, deny that any such a thing can happen.'

The 'this' in that sentence refers to the denial by recent Christian converts that God would choose to raise corpses.

Wow! Those Christian converts really saw through the claims of the apostles that God had raised a corpse. They simply denied it.

So why had they converted?

Clearly they had never been converted by any stories of corpses rising.

Wright also claims on page 330 that there is 'no reason' to suppose that these people 'denied any form of future life at all.'

Perhaps Wright should tell us why they refused to take part in baptism for the dead, if they believed that the dead were going to live on.

Even Wright claims on page 338 that baptism for the dead meant that people thought of the dead as 'still in some sense alive'.

So why did some people refuse to take part in baptism for the dead, when Wright produces his claim that there is 'no reason' to suppose that these people 'denied any form of future life at all.'? Surely their refusal to take part in baptism for the dead is a very good reason to suppose that they denied that the dead were still alive.

It is obvious that the converts to Christianity in Corinth believed that Jesus was still alive, but scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise flesh and blood bodies.

That led them to deny a future bodily resurrection, and any possibility of an after life for themselves, as they believed they only had an earthly body , and they knew exactly what happened to earthly bodies.

Jesus, of course, was a god, and so Christians could believe Jesus was still alive, and could make appearances, and still leave his body behind in the grave.

Paul corrects the Jesus-converts in Corinth by telling them that they will live on like Jesus did, because they will also become life-giving spirits like he did.


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