How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:12–20, NIV 1984).
My Musings – There are some who claim to be Christians, who would strip the Scriptures of the supernatural, claiming that they either did not happen, or that they were not meant to be taken literally. This not only goes against 2000 years (just considering the New Testament) of universal acceptance that these things did literally happen, but also contradicts substantial eyewitness testimony and hundreds of prophecies that were all fulfilled down to the minutest detail.
In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for “argument to absurdity”) or apagogical arguments, is the form of argument that attempts to establish a claim by showing that the opposite scenario would lead to absurdity or contradiction. (Wikipedia). This is the type of argument that Paul is making here. One cannot claim to be a Christian on the one hand, and deny the cornerstone of Christianity — Christ, the God-man, died for our sins and miraculously rose from the dead. Such an argument is absurd. It may be politically correct and compatible with the culture, but both cannot be true. To be very specific, such an argument is the spirit of anti-Christ.
My Advice – “I don’t know how to take this. I don’t see why he moves me. He’s a man, he’s just a man.” (“I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, from Jesus Christ, Superstar). If He was just a man, nothing else in the New Testament makes any sense. It is a “false [witness] about God.” If He did not do the things that are recorded (literally), then that is all He was, just a man. But not just a man. A liar or a lunatic. And “our preaching is useless and so is [our] faith.” That would be “how to take this.” There is no way that someone like that, some religion like that should move us at all.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!” We must make our choice. But if we choose to believe that the miraculous did not happen, or are not to be taken literally, then “we are to be pitied more than all men.”
2 thoughts on “A Pitiful Faith”
Jesus declares “I Am” 7 times in the Gospels. He is God. And he is man. A mystery, yes. But I believe!
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Thanks for your comments, Tim.