I'm writing the ‘Resurrection Man’ talk for our Intro course today and wondering if we can ‘literally’ believe this stuff? It depends of course on what we mean by the word. Certainly not the ‘literally’ of Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Redknapp. These great phrases were all uttered during recent televised football commentaries.
“He literally turns into a greyhound.”
“He’s literally left Ben Haim for dead there.”
“Centre forwards have the ability to make time stand still. And when Chopra got the ball, it literally did just that.”
“He had to cut back inside onto his left, because he literally hasn’t got a right foot”
Redknapp maybe literally murdering the English language, making it say things that just can’t possibly be true, but can the same be said for the gospel accounts? Is it possible that they really meant for us to accept and believe the remarkable things they said?
The gospels all show a bodily resurrection of Jesus the carpenter, just over 48 hours after He was certified dead on a Roman cross in front of watching crowds.
This is surely the most outrageous & fantastic of all the claims that Christians make.
Not a spiritual resurrection, nor a mystical one. Not just a resuscitation, there can be no other plain meaning but a bodily, historical, flesh & blood raising from the dead!
This idea of a literal resurrection remained true for Paul in the years that followed. He didn’t try & back away from it in the face of Greek learning. In true Redknapp style, he risked hyperbole by claiming, 'If Christ hasn’t been raised our preaching is useless, so is our faith.'This blog & your response to it are pure emotion, full of feeling, but ultimately empty, if Jesus is not literally alive today.
Paul goes on, ‘If we only have hope for this life we are to be pitied’.
You can feel sorry for me, shake your head in pity at a man who has wasted his life running after a fiction. You can believe Dawkins that I am deluded to follow a fairy tale – if Jesus didn’t literally rise from the dead.
The stakes for those of us who call ourselves Christians literally couldn’t be higher. The question for those who are not so sure, literally could not be more important.