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Resurrection at Nain (Part I)

June 7th, 2009 No comments

A Resurrection at Nain

(An Excerpt from Chapter V)

Part I of III

This excerpt contains the first full treatment of a resurrection account from the book, How to Live Forever. The authorship and reliability of source texts have been examined and verified in the first four chapters. For purposes of this essay, assume that Paul’s companion, Luke, authored the third gospel in the late 50’s AD based upon interviews with eyewitnesses indigenous to Judea; and particularly those residing in Jerusalem, the center of the earliest church. The occasion for this opportunity was provided by Luke’s role as intermediary between the elders of the Jerusalem church and the apostle Paul, during the latter’s two year incarceration at Caesarea Maritima. This essay will be provided in three parts, each demonstrating a necessary facet of authenticity. Beginning with part I:

Jean Jouvenet: The Resurrection of Lazarus

Jean Jouvenet: The Resurrection of Lazarus

And to any thoughtful person would anything appear more incredible, than, if we were not in the body, and some one were to say that it was possible that from a small drop of human seed bones and sinews and flesh be formed into a shape such as we see? For let this now be said hypothetically: if you yourselves were not such as you now are, and born of such parents [and causes], and one were to show you human seed and a picture of a man, and were to say with confidence that from such a substance such a being could be produced, would you believe before you saw the actual production? No one will dare to deny [that such a statement would surpass belief]. In the same way, then, you are now incredulous because you have never seen a dead man rise again. But as at first you would not have believed it possible that such persons could be produced from the small drop, and yet now you see them thus produced, so also judge ye that it is not impossible that the bodies of men, after they have been dissolved, and like seeds resolved into earth, should in God’s appointed time rise again and put on incorruption. -Justin’s First Apology to the Romans, xix

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Reconciling the Eyewitness accounts

May 9th, 2009 2 comments

Chronology for the Passion of the Christ

1. The Jewish Calendar

The festivals of Judaism at the time of Christ were celebrated in accordance with the Jewish lunar calendar. This lunar calendar consisted of twelve lunar months, each containing twenty-nine or thirty days[a], and each commencing and ending with the phase of “new” moon. Our modern calendar, based upon the Roman model, requires that twelve months contain 365 days. A year based upon the Jewish calendar averaged 354 days. In order to account for the time difference between twelve lunar cycles and a year containing 365 days, an additional month was added to the Jewish calendar roughly seven times every nineteen years. This way each month and festival would continue to occur in the appropriate season, (i.e. spring, summer, harvest, planting, etc). Any attempt to reconcile a chronology of events dating to the time of Christ must account for differences between the various calendars.Alexander in the Temple

2. The Jewish Day

The Jewish day begins at sunset rather than midnight, in accordance with the principle:

5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day. - Genesis 1:5

So, to a Jew of Jesus’ day, Saturday would begin at roughly 7:00 P.M. (sunset) on what we call Friday night. All that evening and night would be the early part of Saturday, and the daylight portion of Saturday would continue until sunset on Saturday night. As soon as the sun sets on Saturday night, Sunday would begin. Read more…

Prologue: I Want To Live

December 24th, 2008 4 comments

Prologue: I Want To Live


It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment…

We are all going to die. We become aware of our mortality at a tender age, and we are taught by society to accept this eventuality as the price of life. Well adjusted individuals reconcile themselves to death as a part of their reality.kalvaria_-_banska_stiavnica4

But instinctively we know that death is our enemy. And no healthy person wants to die.

So we wax philosophic and derive comfort from the axiom that “death is a part of life… (heavy sigh)” – Which it is not. Death is the cessation of life; this precious life being the gift of God.

Many of us believe that if the way we live our life has meaning, Death will seem less bitter at the end. This attitude is both admirable and constructive. The death which follows is still not good. But by all means put the best face on it.

So we live our lives the best that we can, and try to keep our minds off of the sudden stop at the end. We work hard to fill our lives with things, or to pass down to our children. Some may party and chase women or men to fill empty hours with meaning. Or if we are noble, we fill our lives with service. Even so, there is not much that we wouldn’t do to avoid death. But what CAN we do?

Medical science may someday be able to prolong or restore life. Or maybe not. I’m not certain that we even understand the force that we call life. What substance inhabits living tissue which causes it to differ from the dead? I sincerely hope that there are medical professionals who are hot on the trail. But I don’t expect a breakthrough this week. And the fate of men who live a thousand years from now is scant comfort to me.

Literature is replete with examples of man somehow achieving immortality. Mary Shelley introduces us to a world in which science has unlocked the mystery of life. Vampire stories reveal a race of once-men who will live forever, (although usually at the expense of their immortal souls.) Even Shangra La’s promise of a few hundred years seems hopeful to those of us doomed to a life of three score and ten. These stories illustrate our hopes and desires. But they are just stories.

In the real world, where can we turn? A plethora of religions claims to provide insight to an afterlife. An Afterlife! What a wonderful idea if it exists! If dying is just a doorway to a new and possibly better existence, then Death has lost its sting. All that is necessary then is to determine which belief system is correct, and to adhere to that faith. A correct choice guarantees an afterlife in a far better state. Of course a wrong choice might have dire consequences.

A prevalent view today is that all paths lead to God, that one religion is as good as another as long as you are sincere and a “good” person. If you are certain of this view, you may stop reading now. You have nothing left to learn, and your ascent to a positive afterlife is guaranteed no matter what you believe. In the afterlife you may chide me about my vain and fruitless search for the one true path to God. I have noticed though, that those who adhere to this doctrine don’t really believe in anything with certainty. They appear to be just hoping for the best.

These include the “modernists” who first explain away historical written records of the supernatural in terms of the limited understanding of primitive writers, and then use the “lack” of the miraculous to “prove” the lack of the Divine. As well as the “New Agers” who believe that it is arrogant and boorish to claim that your path is any better than the one that they just thought up. Like Aristotle they have no need to test their hypotheses. If it seems right in their head it must be right. It never occurs to them that a true God might just set His own perfect standard for reasons not totally comprehensible to we the finite.

And the testimony of the various religions contradicts this view as well. Many diverse religions claim exclusive access to God. Obviously some are mistaken.

So how do we “test” our hypothesis? How do we make certain that we are on the path to God without having already died? (Which may be too late?) The answer is simple: Just find a man who has overcome Death, and follow His leadership.

To find this man we must commit ourselves to the historical record. Who remembers the splendor of the Tutankhamen exhibits which toured the USA in the late 1970’s? King Tut was an important historical figure. These exhibits from his tomb indicate that Death overcame him. Likewise, a little research provides insight into the deaths of Gaius Julius Caesar, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, Richard Coeur de Lion, Saladin, Zhu Yuanzhang and most other historical figures. History usually tells us how a famous person died. The written record also indicates that they tend to remain dead.

Categories: The Big Question