Lord, I'm learning this week how to journey to the Cross, through the Cross with You, to Life on the other side in Your Resurrection. To not only believe what I know to be true, but to OWN it and LIVE it. Help me to see the truth in your Word for me, and lead me on how to absorb it and act as you lead me to today. Amen. Today's Reading is from 1 Corinthians 15:12-14: But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, 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.
Have you heard of the Law of Syllogism? Basically, it is a mathematical law or law of logic that states that if p leads to q, and if q leads to r, then p leads to r. In other words, if I say that if it snows today (p) that I will use my gloves (q), and that if I use my gloves (q) that my fingers will get itchy (r), then I can also say that if it snows today (p), my fingers will get itchy (r).
Let me add another piece of information to our discussion today - an impacting statement that Delton made during his message on Sunday -- that Jesus was reacting in Matthew to not only what Peter had said to him ("'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!'"), but to the eternal implications of this trajectory if what Peter declared were true. We, as humans, cannot fathom the massive scope of God's plans and how our "twist" or understanding can do harm on an eternal scale.
Okay, so we have (1) Paul's letter to the Corinthians, (2) Delton's insight into the eternal implications of a simple statement by Peter, and (3) the Law of Syllogism.
I want to look at each part separately.
First, in this passage in 1 Corinthians, Paul is pointing out the "God View" of resurrection. Evidently, contemporary Greek beliefs held that the body could not be resurrected - only the soul - and that was being absorbed into the teaching of the Greek Christian Churches. Others were arguing that the resurrection of Christ never could actually have happened in a physical sense. In the verses above, Paul bluntly states that if this is true, that the entire foundation of the Christian faith is called into question and found to be false as well.
On Sunday, Delton went on to explain that Peter couldn't understand the implications of his statements on an eternal scale -- he couldn't comprehend the enormity of the situation if Jesus really did not follow His path to the cross. If Jesus did not follow that path, then none of us would be saved -- we would all be lost to sin.
Finally, the Law of Syllogism - at the time that Paul had written his letter to the Corinthians, Syllogistic Logic would have been commonplace. Aristotle identified this form of logic back in the 4th century B.C. With Corinth being the Greek cultural hub it was at the time of Paul's writing, I presume that the questioning of the "resurrection of the body" had become commonplace in the contemporary Corinthian culture, and - most likely, absorbed into the mainstream culture of the Corinthian Christian Church. In today's reading, Paul was actually using Syllogistic Logic to take a general premise (that resurrection of the body cannot happen) and showing how it affects specific premises and conclusions that the Corinthian Church professed and built their faith upon (specifically, that Christ had risen from the dead). He is showing them that one small human idea or statement can have profound consequences on the eternal scope of our being. In order to fully understand what Paul was saying, I needed to take Paul's statements in Corinthians and follow through (IF p THEN q; If q THEN r; THEREFORE, IF p THEN r) to see the logic in the conclusions.
IF resurrection of the body is not possible, THEN Christ's Resurrection is not possible. IF Christ's Resurrection is not possible, THEN our preaching based on that Resurrection is false. THEREFORE, IF the resurrection of the body is not possible, THEN our preaching is false.
IF resurrection of the body is not possible, THEN Christ's Resurrection is not possible. IF Christ's Resurrection is not possible, THEN our faith based on that Resurrection is false. THEREFORE, IF the resurrection of the body is not possible, THEN our faith is false.
I actually intended to go further with applying the statements, because in Verse 15 Paul says that we are all guilty of lying because we have confessed that Christ has risen from the dead. So we are liars if resurrection is not possible. And in verse 17, he says that if resurrection of the body is not possible, then our faith is futile, all who die or have died are lost, and we are still very lost to sin. He says that all hope is lost. Wow.
But I couldn't continue - I actually got angry. These statements are all very logically derived BUT they ALL stem from the "truth" that the resurrection of the body cannot happen. These statements require that we check what we KNOW to be true through the small lens of a cultural question or idea. In fact, the statement that the resurrection of the body is not possible is the only element in question by the Corinthians - they DID believe in Christ's resurrection. They confessed it, preached it, believed that they were forgiven for their sins because of it, that they received a new life, and that they lived full of HOPE. Yet, this one "small" idea was about to derail the eternal scope of all they KNEW to be true.
Why is it that human quandaries always seems to stem from little things we question and that we then allow to call into question what we KNOW to be true, when in reality all things should be sifted through the lens of what we KNOW to be true, rather than vice versa?!?
I am really hoping that it made the Corinthians just as angry, and that Paul was able to make his point.
So what is the point for me today? I started thinking about various cultural "truths" that circulate around now. Things like : - the definition of marriage - the expectation and norm of sharing a bed/home before marriage - the idea of Christ being only one of many paths to heaven - that belief in a God is being spiritual enough - that the ultimate goal in life is happiness and success
I'm not trying to start a debate on any of these topics, but these topics have really caused contemporary Christians to question what they KNOW to be true. To try to view what they DO KNOW through a small lens of a human idea or thought. When, in reality, they should be viewed from the opposite direction - from the eternal scope of what we KNOW.
What do I KNOW? That BECAUSE of Christ's Resurrection, I have hope. I can tell others of this hope. I have been freed from sin. My faith is not pointless. It is because of this that I do believe in the resurrection of the body.
I think I need to rehearse, absorb and act out of this statement of what I KNOW more often.
Some of the questions I will be asking myself today -- What "small" things do I allow to derail me from what I KNOW to be true? What idea or question has the power to affect the eternal scope of my life and those around me? What is God calling me to see from His perspective rather than my own small one?
Thanks for journeying with me today.