Monday, April 5, 2010

New Life


Is it any more difficult to believe that God can create life out of death then life out of nothing? When compared to miracle of creation, the resurrection does not look so implausible, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”. (Homily on 2 Cor 5:11-15, John Chrysostom ca 350 AD)


Our thinking is in more ways than we realize the result of a set of accumulated conclusions that we keep stored in our minds. Unfortunately, these pre-existing convictions are often arrived at sub-consciously & without careful thought or analysis. This faulty process of thinking is what philosophers call “a priori.” A priori thinking works in us as we make observations about a topic and then extend implications of our conclusions to the rest of our thinking. Often however, our a priori conclusions run into an opposing reality, and then we are left perplexed about the contradiction in our minds. It is at this point that our A priori conclusions can really do damage. Many, rather than rethinking their assumptions, simply default to their a priori convictions and write off reality as being erroneous. This is the case with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It s to this dilemma that Chrysostom refers in the above quote. His attack against wrong a priori thinking goes something like: it is obvious that there is design in the creation; hence, their must be a designer behind it; moreover, the designer must have always been, and from his everliving being formed the creation out of nothing; thus, the miracle of creation has behind it an unlimited being who can bring life out of nothingness. When looking at God’s ability to bring life out of nothingness and then comparing it to bringing life out of death, the second seems fairly easy.

In short, if God is responsible for the creation then anything is totally possible for him to accomplish. This leaves the “a priori” skeptic with the insurmountable task of explaining how things came into being without a designer and creator who has the ability to create out of nothing. As of yet there are no answers from the skeptics that can even come close to dealing with that reality. Long before the challenges of modern day science Chrysostom knew this to be so, and thus he points to the obvious, and reshapes his hearer’s “a priori” thinking by the light of God’s truth. When compared to miracle of creation, the resurrection does not look so implausible, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”

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