new life? new world

The resurrection, in some sense, is not just another instance of the class of ‘miracles’ – not even a ‘super-miracle’ in being just a particularly big miracle; but is instead a window into the future.

The resurrection does not just (like any other genuine case of a miracle) show that naturalism is false – as world-shattering as that is for our society. It’s not just that there’s some supernatural stuff up in here (somewhere). The resurrection shows that the universe is Jesus-shaped. Or, something like that; perhaps better, the resurrection taken in its proper context demonstrates at Jesus is at the heart of God’s plans for the universe. If the resurrection happened, it is no inconsequential trifle.

I take this general thought, extrapolating a little, from a very interesting summary paper [available here] recently published by New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado. (I’m reading around various topics for general interest, but also with an eye towards a debate being planned for later in the year.)

” … Jesus’ resurrection is presented as a unique event, categorically distinguished even from other miraculous demonstrations of divine power. This includes particularly the accounts of dead people being miraculously restored to life, e.g., Lazarus (Jn 11.1-44), Jairus’ daughter (Mk 5.21-24, 35-43), and the widow of Nain’s son (Lk. 7.11-17). In
contrast to the figures in such narratives, Jesus is not pictured as brought back to mortal life, but as catapulted forward into eschatological life, becoming thereby the first to experience this new eschatological embodiment. The claim of the witnesses in the NT is not that Jesus has been restored to them as he was before but that he has been raised to new and glorified life.” [emphasis added]  … “It is not another example in a series of essentially similar events already known, but instead a novum. It is not simply another miracle, or even a grander miracle, but instead sui generis, an exercise of divine power and purpose that comprises a unique manifestation of eschatological reality”


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