Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus - W.L. Craig

William Lane Craig (1949)
Image wikimedia
"Craig's work as a New Testament historian focuses on a defense of central Christian doctrines, specifically Jesus' resurrection from the dead. In books such as The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus, he reviews the historical debate and provides a critical analysis of David Hume's arguments against testimony of miracles, examines New Testament material dealing with the resurrection, and concludes that the resurrection is the most plausible explanation of the historical data. Craig uses the Shroud of Turin as part of his case. "

"He has also written a number of popular introductions to Christian apologetics including Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics which was described by Evangelical apologist Robert M. Bowman, Jr. (writing with Kenneth D. Boa) as "one of the best recent textbook introductions to the subject of apologetics." Catholic Cardinal Avery Dulles has described his Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (with J.P. Moreland, 2003) as "monumental," but pointed out that Catholics will not necessarily agree with it."
Read the entire article from wikipedia

This online article gives a sample of his work on the theme of the resurrection of Christ.

Craig's CV 

Publication list (long)

Resurrection of Christ - that little oversight

This year Easter is celebrated in the Western Church at the same time as Jews are celebrating Pesach.  Eastern Church follows another calendar and has Easter during the next full Moon one month later.

Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed has two compact but crucial statements about Christian faith on the resurrection of the dead

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures 

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

To expand a little, not only has God raised His only begotten Son from death but Christians look for the resurrection of dead of all humans and eternal life or condemnation.

Apostolic Creed 
Apostolic Creed specifies the resurrection of the body

The resurrection of the body: And the life everlasting.

Hard to believe
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish!

Foolish yes, dear Paul, but they keep asking.

There are two significant reasons why Christians of our day have difficulty in believing in bodily resurrection of the dead. 

1. Weak and contradictory evidence in the Bible

2. Scientific knowledge says that dead people do not rise again after burial of three days or three hundred years.

That little oversight
One of the principal apostolic witnesses that Jesus has risen from the death, St. Paul, writes highly significant sentences in the famous Chapter 15 in First Corinthians.

It kind of changes everything but is frequently forgotten in our discussions on resurrection of the body

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. 
The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 
it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; 
it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 
it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
1 Cor 15:42-44 NIV 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Save this Earth! - Pink Floyd

On the Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd album
Image wikimedia

Pink Floyd's groundbreaking 1973 album On the Dark Side of the Moon has been given its place of honor in the US Library of Congress Registry.

Here is a lovely youTube video about God's creation playing to the music of Pink Floyd "Coming Back to Life".

God Himself has been made the rulers of Earth 
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image,in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26
So it definitely is up to us and in our power to save this Earth - from ourselves.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Text of the Bible and our faith

Attempt to make the Pope infallible has failed miserably and has caused much damage to Papacy.

Attempt to make the Bible inerrant has caused extreme damage to evangelical Christianity around the world. Chicago 1978 declaration is a symptom of very deep wound rotting under the disguise of faith and truth.

For Pope errs and Bible is full of mistakes.

This is how Holy Ghost wanted things to be because that's how they are.

For a number of reasons Holy Spirit has not given the Church a perfect Bishop nor such an inerrant book of divine revelation as Muslims believe to have in the Qur'an.

What could be a reason for this lack of solid textual foundation?

Foundation of our faith
Our faith should not rely on an illusion of a rock-solid Bible or infallible Pope. Nor should it be powered by out intellectual satisfaction that everything written in the Bible or is said ex cathedra fits the rationale we have created how things should be.

We do not see, we believe
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." Heb 11:1-2

And our faith relies not on an old book but on the power of Resurrection, on Jesus, the Word of God Himself:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
Heb 12:1-3

Ecumenical Church has no Bible dogma but references
The Ecumenical Church never issued a statement about the nature and authority of the Bible. Instead, early Church refers to the Scriptures in most crucial issues

"he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures"
Nicene Creed

Text and us as a mirror of our personality
Our attitude towards written text reflects surprisingly strongly also our fundamental attitude towards other persons. Our ability to understand indirect messages or to read between lines, our sense of humour or lack thereof, our intelligence and many mental structures. 

The role of faith as a power mixer
"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
Heb 4:2 KJV

The expression in italics is somewhat difficult to translate - for example NIV has
For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
Heb 4:2 NIV 

  καὶ γάρ ἐσμεν εὐηγγελισμένοι, καθάπερ κἀκεῖνοι· ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ ὠφέλησεν ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀκοῆς ἐκείνους μὴ συγκεκραμένους τῇ πίστει τοῖς ἀκούσασιν 

συγκεράννυμι  sygnkerannumi 
to commingle, that is, (figuratively) to combine or assimilate: - mix with, temper together.

Infallible Pope and inerrant Bible

Also we Christians are humans, after all, and need security in this rapidly changing world where everything seems to be in a swirl if not in turmoil.

So we have very secure solid foundations for our faith - or at least so some Christians hope!

Papal infallibility
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church".

This doctrine was defined dogmatically in the First Vatican Council of 1869–1870, but had been defended before that, appearing already in medieval tradition and becoming the majority opinion at the time of the Counter-Reformation.

Dei Verbum
The Catechism now states that "the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."

There was a controversy during the Council on whether the Roman Catholic Church taught biblical infallibility or biblical inerrancy. Some have interpreted Dei Verbum as teaching the infallibility position, while others note that the conciliar document often quotes previous documents such as Providentissimus Deus and Divino Afflante Spiritu that clearly teach inerrancy. 

Dei Verbum has sometimes been compared to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which expounds similar teachings, characteristic of many evangelical Protestants.

Biblical inerrancy
1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.
The Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated in October 1978 by more than 200 evangelical leaders at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), held in Chicago. The statement was designed to defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against a perceived trend toward liberal conceptions of Scripture. The undersigners came from a variety of evangelical Christian denominations, and include James Montgomery Boice, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and R. C. Sproul.

Leading inerrantists regard the Chicago Statement as a very thorough statement of what they mean by "inerrancy". The statement elaborates on various details in Articles formed as couplets of "WE AFFIRM ..." and "WE DENY ...". Under the statement inerrancy applies only to the original manuscripts (which no longer exist, but can be inferred on the basis of extant copies), not to the copies or translations themselves. In the statement, inerrancy does not refer to a blind literal interpretation, but allows for figurative, poetic and phenomenological language, so long as it was the author's intent to present a passage as literal or symbolic.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy has been compared to the Vatican Council Decree Dei Verbum, which expounds similar teachings for Roman Catholics