It seems an appropriate time for the author to reflect on the resurrection, and it is certainly a time for this blog to consider it. In a previous blog I noted the reflection by another scholar on the existence of Jesus. If we can be certain of the historical existence of Jesus, we can’t be certain of the central article of the faith. What is the function of the rising from the dead in a post-modern world. living with an existential consciousness?
I have no doubt that understanding the resurrection experience is a key to understanding ourselves. I have always been deeply suspicious of the assumption that one is good because that will open the gates of heaven. One is good because it is the realisation one’s existential being, and one is bad for the same reason. One strives for faith and the life of a Christian because it fulfils, at least in some partial and incomplete way, the reason for one’s being. It is a sign of hope, not just in eternal life, but in the possibility of sometimes and somewhere being really oneself/
The notion of resurrection is beyond our grasp; and belief in the resurrection is, as the early creed cited by Paul says, ultimately based on the experience of the earliest Christians. But I believe it is important to see that at least a good deal of the mystery is there before we ask any religious questions at all; it is our material universe and our place in that universe which, for all the amazing progress made by our scientific endeavours, seems almost more mysterious to us than it would have done to Paul or Luke. Yet the disciples as Luke depicts them on the road to Emmaus can, through their meditation on the scriptures and their sharing in the eucharist, open themselves to an experience of God. That is what enables us, who have not seen, nonetheless to believe. Perhaps also it points us towards a hope that transcends anything we can say, whether in science or in religion.