Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Explaining the Illogical: The Case for Faith in a Physical Resurrection

One of the things I like most about Mormonism is the almost extreme reliance on “explaining” rather than “convincing”. I don’t go into any of the discussions in which I participate in the Bloggernacle trying to “convince” anyone; I really don’t. I have no expectation that my words will be so eloquent that a reader will be compelled by my genius to acknowledge that Mormonism really is the kingdom of God on earth. (That was intentional hyperbole.) All I want to do is explain my own beliefs and perspectives - and often point out the double standard we often face in these types of discussions.

Honestly, that’s all. It’s not my job to try to “convert” or “convince” anyone; I understand clearly that there are smarter people than I who can create more intellectually powerful justifications than I. If intellectualism is the standard, then Christianity as a whole is doomed, since much of what it teaches is illogical and impossible to defend intellectually.

Frankly, that is true of all Christianity, but I believe it is true more for Mormons than it is for those who believe strictly in a spiritual state in the afterlife. The ultimate, illogical claim of Christ was not that he, as the Son of God and God incarnate, could forgive sins. After all, the Jews whom he taught believed in a method of forgiveness by God already. The most illogical claim of all was that his actual, physical body rose from the tomb, joined his immortal spirit and transformed into a tangible, immortal soul - and that, in this as with everything, He was and remains the express image of His Father and the example of what we also may become. His most illogical statement might very well have been, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24: 39) After all, the Jews whom he taught had no previous experience whatsoever with such a claim. To them, it was impossible - largely because it was outside the law and, therefore, illogical. The extension of that statement expressed by John, the Beloved, in his Intercessory Prayer to include all who would accept Jesus AND His Father was not accepted by the Jews then, and it simply is unfathomable to most Christians now.

Further proof of this is the denial of it by Christianity for centuries. Creedal statements and ministers have attacked the physicality of the resurrection that provides for us a way to become like God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, in direct and unequivocal terms - even though other statements like the Westminster Confession of Faith are worded in such a way as to allow for a physical resurrection similar to Mormon doctrine. However, by denying this possibility these statements unintentionally, I believe, undermine the very foundation of the "Good News" that constitutes the need for faith inherent in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul based his great sermon on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 on the reality of that event - that it was and is fundamentally different than anything that had occurred previously in the history of the world, but that it was only the first such event in a LONG line of future, similar events for all God's children.

Denying that uniqueness by making the ultimate result of Jesus' resurrection for us "just another continuation of spiritual life" - disconnected from becoming like God - in all practical terms erases completely the uniqueness of our Christian faith - and that is a serious result, indeed.

1 comment:

Gwennaëlle said...

"That was intentional hyperbole."

Really? I always thought you were one of those fanatic Mormon who would take pride if their children would blew themselves in a crowded place.

Yeah I am joking but I can see it happening in a few centuries.