I am curious about the idea that resurrection is beyond science. If we say Jesus was raised bodily from the dead, we are speaking biologically rather than metaphorically or mythically or symbolically. We are making a scientific claim that is absolutely within the realm of biology.
Just how did that happen? Did Jesus’ cells regenerate? What would have happened to his brain function after three days without oxygen? I’m not being factious here. I am taking this quite seriously. Even if it was a unique event, though I am unsure as to the criteria we would use to credit the Christian story and while simultaneously discrediting the other resurrection stories, even then we are still making a claim about a physical body, and that puts it clearly in the realm of science.
Given that all we know about biology makes the resurrection of the dead after three days physically impossible, the only answer I can come up with is this, “It was a miraculous act of God.” But all that really says is, “Given the nature of human biology, I don’t know how it could happen, but since I want to believe it happened I will take refuge in God.” God doesn’t answer the question, but only allows us to stop asking it.
I guess this is what you mean by it all boiling down to “individual decision.” I think I understand that idea, but, since you and I clearly decide differently, I wonder by what criteria we each make our respective decisions. My criteria are a blend of reason, science, and the fact that my formative years were steeped in denial of Jesus as anything but a Jew like myself. I am willing to question this last element of my conditioned thinking, but I am having a hard time with the first two.
When you opt to speak in theological language, however, I am right there with you. The story of the resurrection is a narrative affirming that the Powers then and now can not defeat the way of God, the way of nonviolent confrontation in the pursuit of justice, compassion, humility, love, and peace. This is deep magic, requiring an alchemical transformation of the human ego from fear to love. And that to me is what religion is: not science but alchemy. Not the literal transformation of lead into gold which, like the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus violate the laws of physics, but the psycho-spiritual transformation of the alienated and fearful ego into the integrated, loving, and courageous Self.
As for the resurrection being a delusion, hoax, or mistake, I did not mean to imply this at all. I find these options offensive, reductionist, and shallow. This is like people who say to me, as one who does not believe Jesus is the Christ, “Then you must believe he was a liar.” How shallow that thinking is. Either Jesus is a literalist or a liar? Are these really the only options people of faith are offered? When these people read “I and the Father are one,” they read it as if Jesus were a mathematician rather than a prophet and a poet. That is so sad, and speaks poorly of their religious education.
What I intended to ask you was this, Why do we need the resurrection to hallow anything? Why aren’t the life, teaching, and forgiveness-filled death of Jesus enough? Why isn’t the mythic understanding of the resurrection, the notion that the Way of the Jesus transcends the death of Jesus and any who follow him, enough?
I realize this is taking us very far off topic, and you may choose to ignore all this and get back to our text, but I find your answers so interesting that I just want to hear more.