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   Studies in Contrasts - Volume 1 (2 of 13)

Volume 1

  1. Should a Christian Be Afraid of God?
  2. The Resurrection: A Matter of Reason or a Matter of Faith?
  3. Can We Learn from the Cults?
  4. Should We Be Waiting or Working As We Anticipate Christ's Return?
  5. Did Christ Come to Live or to Die for Us?
  6. Is Man Like God or Unlike God?
  7. Should a Christian Be Self-Controlled or Spirit-Controlled?
  8. Isn't the Holy Spirit All I Need to Understand the Bible?
  9. Can We Come to God Just As We Are?
  10. Is It Ever Right to Judge Others?
  11. Are We the Result of Our Parents' Choices?
  12. Does God Hold Us Responsible for Other People's Sin?
  13. Self-Esteem: Is It Right or Wrong?


The Resurrection: A Matter of Reason or a Matter of Faith?

Many well-educated Christian leaders set forth in great detail the historical and logical evidence for Christ's resurrection, believing that it has great value. But other Christian scholars, equally convinced that Jesus conquered death, see little value in this evidence. They insist that we must accept the biblical teaching about Christ's resurrection by faith alone. Which view is correct? Can both be right?

THE RESURRECTION: A MATTER OF REASON

  1. Christ's resurrection is a well-supported, historical event reported by contemporaries of Christ and is preserved as a matter of historical record in thousands of good manuscript copies (see Luke 1:1-4; 1 Cor. 15:3-8).
  2. The changed lives of the apostles is a powerful evidence of their belief that Jesus truly conquered death (Acts 2:14-40; 3:11 - 4;21; CP. John 18:15-18, 25-27).
  3. The church was founded in the first century on the message of the resurrection (Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-15; 4:8-0).
  4. Sunday, the day of our Lord's resurrection, replaced the Jewish Sabbath as the day of worship well before A.D. 100 (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).
  5. Paul used logic to argue that the resurrection of Christ from the dead is essential to Christianity. He said that without it the gospel message would be a lie, he would be a liar, and Christians would be deceived and without hope (1 Cor. 15:12-19).

THE RESURRECTION: A MATTER OF FAITH

  1. Historical events by their very nature cannot be laboratory-tested and therefore cannot be viewed as scientifically provable.
  2. The resurrection of a dead person is so contrary to scientific laws that believing in it, no matter how great the historical evidence, requires a step of faith.
  3. The nature of faith, which God demands as the condition for salvation, requires trusting the evidence and the Word of God about that which cannot be seen (Rom. 8:24, 25; Heb. 11:1).

Resolution

We can take courage in the solid evidence that supports the historicity of Christ's resurrection; yet belief in it calls for the exercise of faith--a reasonable faith to be sure, but faith nonetheless.

Reflection

We can give solid reasons for our belief in the resurrection--sound historical evidence and logical arguments. They possess real value. They show us that God does not expect us to take a blind, irrational leap of faith. However, we must realize that all this evidence and logic does not provide scientific proof. The non-Christian is not forced to believe in the resurrection in the same way that he must believe in something that is proven through laboratory evidence. We do not face a problem of choosing between belief or reason. Nor is it a matter of using reason as far as it will take us and then taking a leap of faith. Rather, it is using our minds and exercising faith at the same time. F.F. Bruce points out that believing in the resurrected Christ, though involving our thought processes, is at heart a moral decision. Certainty comes when the Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit (Rom. 8:16, 17).

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