The (deservedly) immortal Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford Univerity called those of us that yearned to be learned “swine!”. This might mean brutish, possibly contemptible, certainly ignorant. But, a badge of honor, as it turns out, because Dr. Pappas knew we had merit based on the desire to change for the better. We sought enlightenment.
There! I’ve set the stage…
But, and just so you know, I started drafting this post on Sunday while it was, potentially, apropos. But, I wanted my thoughts around Bill Pope to run a certain course. And, so they have. Then of course, many of you know I struggle, and mightily so, with the Jesus element. Although the example, as established by those two men, both now otherworldly, continue to abound.
Thusly, I had these words that I intended to post. But, none of them seem sufficient in the face of the enormity of the events of which that day (Easter Sunday) is a commemoration. I probably don’t have to tell you that Jesus was killed, in the worst possible way, for the stupidest possible reasons, by, as Chesterton has pointed out, elsewhere, and paraphrased here, an unholy coalition of all that was more or less the best in both government and religion at the time.
Travesty is an insufficient descriptor. Or, opportunity. Because, yet another stage was, therefore, set.
In the midst of this, a thought: Love is the visible attribute of an invisible God.
So… If you are a Christian then you are of the opinion that the Lord is Risen! So, rejoice, ye swine, for something greater than we had ever hoped is at hand. No grave could hold Him. No earth could keep Him down. Hell itself was merely a brief sojourn; and, He didn’t come back alone. (According to the Bible and Gale Jackson) After forty days of gathering darkness, and the great falling blow of Good Friday, we may finally stand up tall again with our splendid and appalling King. He brings not peace, but a sword; He brings us to a fight, but it is a good fight and, well worth the trouble.
I’m not a Christian, mind. you. But, I WANT to believe this can happen – or, has occurred.
Many of you raised your glass Sunday (but why not each and every day?), wherever you were, in honor of the One who conquered death and gave us life in abundance. Take the Bread and the Wine, if you are able. Be in fellowship. Love your families, your friends, your colleagues, and even your loathsome, miserable enemies. You may fling them to the ground, when the time comes, but on this day of days it is best to hope for better outcomes, and more noble.
This might lead us to take the position that it’s apparently faith, not proof, that makes Christians believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the central tenet of the religion.
Well… Possibly until now.
I offer this because it’s being reported that Oxford University professor Richard Swinburne (I don’t know if he is or was a swine, but close enough!), a leading philosopher of religion, has seemingly done the impossible. He is using logic and mathematics to create a formula that he says shows a ninety seven percent (97%) certainty that Jesus Christ was resurrected by God the Father. This information reported by The Age and Catholic News (However, I pulled it off MSNBC, again). NOTE: Meanwhile, nothing particularly original here, as I’m confident you’ve read about this elsewhere (on this very Blog, to be sure),
Nonetheless, as a reminder, this stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:
- The probability of God’s existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn’t.
- The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
- The evidence for God’s existence is an argument for the resurrection.
- The chance of Christ’s resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
- Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.
“New Testament scholars say the only evidences are witnesses in the four gospels. That’s only five percent of the evidence,” Swinburne said in a lecture he gave at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. “We can’t judge the question of the resurrection unless we ask first whether there’s reason to suppose there is a God. Secondly, if we have reason to suppose he would become incarnate, and thirdly, if he did, whether he would live the sort of life Jesus did.” He says that even Jesus’ life is not enough proof. However, the resurrection is “God’s signature,” which shows “his approval of Jesus’ teaching.”
I’ve called the good fellow, to verify his sincerity, but he has yet to return my call.
By way of reference, the calculations that Swinburne says prove the resurrection are detailed in his book, The Resurrection of God Incarnate. Download it to your Kindle, or iPad, I have. Do it!!!
In closing, as I round out my point… We know why God took Jesus (providing you follow the Bible, and Gale Jackson). However, we are still asking ourselves why God felt He needed Bill and Bryce more than we did. Unless the simple answer is the establishment of a compelling example, driven home, if you will, with an awful and dramatic flourish. Our attention is caught. Now we have that scienter in our lives.
This means we need to be ready.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork