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Regis Nicoll Christian Blog and Commentary

The Mystery of the Resurrection

Lisa Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, doesn't "buy" the resurrection of Jesus, or of anyone else for that matter.

In a recent article for the magazine, Miller, a self-described skeptic, recounts her visit to a Jewish scholar (who believes in the resurrection of the dead) to ask how God does it. It's the same question Michael Shermer, editor-in-chief of Skeptic magazine, put to a Christian physician in a 2004 television special.

The question presupposes that, for the resurrection to be credible, it must be explicable in terms of known physical processes that are medically possible. Yet, if it were, it would be nothing but a slick manipulation of nature by someone who has acquired the knack. Either way, naturalism wins, confirming the presuppositions of the skeptic.

So it is no surprise that when the scholar demurred that the resurrection is a supernatural act of God, Miller's disbelief remained undisturbed.

"It seems fantastic"

Ms. Miller notes that between 2003 and 2007 belief in the resurrection of Jesus among Americans fell from 80 percent to 70 percent. She adds, with an apparent note of approval, "Thanks to the growth here of Eastern religions, reincarnation—the belief that after death a soul returns to earth in another body—is gaining adherents." (However, according to the data she cites, belief in reincarnation actually slipped from 27 to 21 percent in that same period.)

If Ms. Miller is as appreciative of reincarnation as that statement would suggest, one wonders why the ability of an unintelligent karmic force to transmogrify a human being into a beetle, buffalo or rose bud is any more credible than the ability of super-intelligent Being to raise a decayed corpse or cremated ashes into a reconstructed body. Religion professor Stephen Prothero offers, "It seems fantastic and irrational that we're going to have a body in heaven."

But is it any more fantastic than our present embodiment, whether from materialistic evolution, spiritualistic reincarnation, or theistic creation? Not really. All the same, Miller notes that even among Christians, belief in a bodily resurrection is giving way to belief in a symbolic resurrection—a "rising" representative of spiritual awakening, re-birth, or renewal, either personal or corporate. It is a belief that is against the currents of scripture and early Church teaching... Continue reading here.