« Home | The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part V » | The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part IV » | The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part III » | The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part II » | Resurrection Dogmatics: Restatement of Purpose » | The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part I » | Resurrection Oddities II » | Jesus the Rabbinic Sage? » | Biblical Studies Carnival VI » | Karl Barth and the Resurrection » 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 

The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part VI

Unfortunately, I do not think my last post was too well received. As Q pointed out in the comments section of the previous post the notion of the resurrection as Jesus' redemption is eccentric. Furthermore, there are no explicit statements in scripture to support this viewpoint (though see Acts 2:22-27). Because of this, both Q and Michael Bird suggested that I would have been better off by speaking in terms of the resurrection as Jesus justification and/or vindication. Now I certainly do not dispute that by raising Jesus from the dead, God vindicated Jesus (see especially this post) or that Jesus' resurrection is integral to our own justification (Rom. 4:23-24). This is a valid implication to draw from the resurrection event.

But resurrection as vindiction/justification and resurrection as redemption are for my purposes differentiable. What are we denoting when we say that Jesus was vindicated in his resurrection? To put it as simply as possible, we are affirming that Jesus, by God raising him from the dead, was declared to be in the right. The resurrection was the stamp of approval on Jesus and his ministry. However, this is not the same thing as Jesus' ultimate salvation and/or redemption. This happened when God loosed him from the pangs of death by redeeming and transforming his body. When I speak of Jesus' redemption this is my intended meaning. The problem is that the term(s) justification/vindication do not carry this meaning and so, in regards to the purpose of this series of posts, I cannot use justification/vindication language. We should not conflate these two terms (vindication and redemption) to force them to mean the same thing. They are parts of the whole of the entire process of salvation and so can be differentiated.

Yet as I mentioned, some say that I do not have explicit scriptural support for asserting that the resurrection denotes Jesus' bodily redemption. First, I would like to point out that the resurrection as Jesus' vindication has no explicit support from scripture either. The closest that we come to this is from 1 Tim 3:16 where it states that Jesus was "vindicated in the Spirit." Most exegetes believe (and I think rightly so) that this verse refers to the vindication of Jesus via the resurrection. But from a purely simplistic hermeneutical standpoint the text does not directly affirm this. Yet most of us (including myself) do interpret the text as such, namely, that it refers to Jesus' resurrection as his justification/vindication. We draw and infer this meaning from the text. But we must be honest and say that the text itself does not explicitly state this.

My point is that my case for the resurrection as the redemption of Jesus' body cannot be refuted simply because it lacks explicit scriptural proof. If this were the case then we would have to reject the resurrection as Jesus' vindication and doctrines like the Trinity that have to be inferred and deduced from the texts. But of course no one argues this because many of us affirm that taking subsequent steps to draw out things of theological importance and truth from the texts can and should be done (like in the case of the Trinity). And so when I read a passage like Acts 2:22-27 which says things such as "But God raised him up having loosed the pangs of death" and "nor did his flesh see corruption" or when I survey every aspect of the Adamic motif in Paul's thought, I feel justified in asserting that one meaning of the resurrection is that it indicates Jesus' redemption because this is what I believe to be a proper, theological conclusion to infer from these texts and themes.

Thus I stand by my belief that one of the essential implications of the resurrection is that it was the moment when God redeemed and glorified Jesus' body and that this can be distinguished from the resurrection as also, validly, signifying Jesus' vindication. But I fear some will not be able to get past the eccentricness of my position and so I feel I may be fighting a losing battle. Nevertheless, I hate not finishing something that I commenced so in the next and last post in this series I will conclude why I believe Jesus' resurrection provides the assurance for our own bodily resurrection in the future.

Hmmm … I hope I didn't cause any offence by using the word "eccentric". I was merely pointing out that theologians don't tend to use that term in association with Jesus' resurrection.

(At least, I don't think they do. I'm more interested in exegesis than theology proper, so I should be cautious about making blanket assertions.)

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you're flying off in an unorthodox direction. Your position, which you have clarified in this post, is perfectly orthodox and unobjectionable.

Post a Comment
Hit Counter
Free Web Counter />