Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?

(George Brooks) #21


I’m challenging the entire metaphysics of the “Nicene Logic”:

Why should what a person believes affect the cosmic logistics of where his or her soul ends up for eternity?

There are dragonflies that, in the larval form, spend years underwater … living a splendid predatory life.

Then they find their bodies compelled to “go to the light”! They start to climb a plant up out of the water and into the dry air. They eventually shed their old skin, and they become adult dragonflies - - capable of flight.

Wouldn’t it be quite strange if having a stray thought - - in the mind of the young dragonfly - - prevented all of this from happening?

(Christy Hemphill) #22

But the crucifixion is meaningless without the resurrection. 1 Cor 15:14-17 “1 Corinthians 15:14-17
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

The whole “first fruit of the Resurrection” thing is a big deal.


Exactly. It’s not just about “immortality.” Did you actually read my post?


That’s exactly right. Because if Jesus was crucified and not resurrected, not only is he not the Messiah, but the Age to Come has not arrived, and we are still stuck, either as Jews under condemnation of Law or as gentiles with no hope whatsoever.

Yes, because “all things become new,” Jesus is the new Adam who accomplishes the fulfillment of the Creation blessing by overcoming the curse, and we are invited into that.

(George Brooks) #25

@fmiddel, it wasn’t that long a post. Of course I read it. And my point is that
the whole idea that something as organically a part of life and death, existence
and non-existence, would be premised on what a person thought was real
seems rather odd.

So, yes, the Egyptians were of another religion. But I doubt they thought that
a Canaanite would undergo any other process.

And while Mormons might not be seen as “true Christians”, their metaphysics
only adjusts what level of Paradise someone goes to.

And Unitarian Universalists certainly started out as “true Christians”, and they
don’t think something different happens to a person just because they think Jesus
was not a God, or not resurrected.


Okay, so I’m really confused and originally had no idea what you were talking about.

Is it possible that you are conflating definitions so that “Christian” comes to mean “one who ultimately achieves immortality” and that the definer of who is Christian is the one who holds the “correct belief (or set of beliefs) in (or of) Jesus (including his resurrection),” so that the “means of immortality” becomes (through logical extension) “holding the right belief about resurrection”?

Because if that’s what you think I’m saying, it’s not at all what I’m saying. Not even close. I’d like to say more but I’m not sure I should until we have clarified some kind of mutual understanding as to what the conversation is even about…

(Wookin Panub) #27

Please note the inconsistency among theistic evolutionists in this forum. They can reject Genesis, because it is unscientific, But they embrace an unscientific resurrection. Note that they are using the bible to prove their argument rather than science. Where is the science?

My friend, my camp is consistent. We embrace the unscientific book of Genesis and the unscientific resurrection. Thank you for this thread which only reveals one of MANY holes in theistic evolution. :slight_smile:

(RiderOnTheClouds) #28

No they argue that the purpose of genesis was not to teach science.

(Christy Hemphill) #29

Well, that is entirely to be expected.

“Theistic evolutionist” doesn’t even imply Christian, just theism. Lots of people believe in God without Christ or the Bible. There is nothing about participation on this forum that means you have to subscribe to any set of beliefs.

Where is the science? Science doesn’t have anything to say about resurrections. Why would we look to it when we are talking about miracles?

How about you actually make an on-topic statement about what you think and defend it instead of coming in and throwing around wild generalizations that don’t even make sense trying to pick fights.


I know, that’s why I believe that God is both made of rock and has wings (presumably with feathers). Why? Because the Bible says so! And certainly God can do whatever he want! Who am I to limit what he can do! And so the logical conclusion is that whatever he can do is exactly what he did do–according to how I interpret the text!

I mean, what other logical conclusion can I come to? Anything else would be logically inconsistent.


(David Heddle) #31

I would say you are inconsistent, that is you are not looking at these two things consistently.

I can’t speak for any theistic evolutionist other than myself, so I don’t know if there would be agreement here.

First of all I do not reject Genesis (may it never be) but let’s take that to mean I reject your interpretation. I don’t reject the YEC position because it is supernatural (The OEC is also supernatural) so, entirely consistently, I don’t reject the resurrection because it is supernatural. I’m quite OK with the supernatural.

I reject your interpretation of Genesis because if the earth was created (supernaturally) 10^4 ya, scientific testing on it should confirm the fact, not refute it, lest God be a God of confusion. Likewise if there was a scientific test for resurrection (maybe there is?) we could apply it to Jesus and it would result in a positive test result. Unfortunately we have the result of one miracle (creation) at our disposal for testing, but not the result of the other.

There is no inconsistency.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #32

I believe in the physical Resurrection. (I was convinced by NT Wright’s argument, as I mentioned a few weeks ago in another thread.) And, as you can see in all the responses here, this has always been the doctrine of the historic Church, for now nearly 2000 years. People feel pretty strongly about it, with good reason.

Still, as one who once dallied at the edges of agnosticism, I am reluctant to advocate excommunicating those who may find they can’t bring themselves to believe in a literal bodily resurrection, but who nevertheless find the Christian moral vision compelling, who love the Church, who want to be a disciple of Jesus, etc.

For example, during my nearly-agnostic phase, I read the book The Meaning of Jesus: Two visions, by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright, which is a sort of dialogue between these very different Christian thinkers on a variety of agreed-upon subjects (a good read, by the way), and I admit I found myself at times judging Borg’s less miraculous positions as more compelling than Wright’s more traditional positions. (The Virgin Birth was a particularly lackluster chapter for Wright, who as I recall basically said, “Once you believe in a God who can do anything, the Virgin Birth isn’t so challenging!” Is that really your best defense, Tom??)

Anyway, Borg is part of the much-maligned liberal Jesus Seminar, and he does not believe in a bodily resurrection. Now, would I want the Church at large to adopt his positions? No, of course not. But if I were him, would I appreciate being ejected from the Church I loved? No, not for this issue — so perhaps by the Golden Rule, it might be best if I did not do that to him.

As he wrote in the blog I just quoted,

For [the majority of conservative Christians], the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus even as a human being, and the physical-bodily resurrection are not adiaphora. They are non-negotiable. And often accompanied by non-negotiable teachings about an inerrant Bible, Genesis versus modern science, a future literal second coming of Jesus, “traditional” marriage, and so forth.

In summary: I believe in a literal, bodily Resurrection, and I believe it is a core component of the historical Christian faith. But I just wanted to say that if someone wanted to give his life to Jesus, follow Him as His disciple, and even worship Him as God without believing in a bodily resurrection, I would never turn such a one away from the Church. Far be it from me to do so. But this is just my opinion, and I seem to be in the minority.

(Edward Miller) #33

There must be a resurrection of the dead. That was the purpose of Jesus’ resurrection on the third day. That is why we celebrate this event in history not only this every year but every Sunday. The Apostles’ Creed even states this. Without the resurrection, there is absolutely no hope.

(Luca) #34

I personally don’t think you can have consistency in scripture if you deny a literal resurrection.
And no @Wookin_Panub it’s not the same thing as the genesis discussion.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #35

I don’t disagree with you, Edward, personally. I’m just saying that if there was someone who was drawn to follow Jesus in community with me but who somehow couldn’t bring himself to believe in a bodily resurrection, I wouldn’t want to turn such a one away. I would debate with them — vigorously, even. But I would not turn them away from the communion table.

(Edward Miller) #36

Perhaps you could bring these persons to Jesus and the resurrection in time. God bless

(Edward Miller) #37

There had to be a sacrifice to bring us resurrection and eternal life. What do you think Lord Protector Cromwell-Williams would say. He would believe in the resurrection. That goes for everyone on this planet.

(Edward Miller) #38

But Jesus is God the Son, and there was a resurrection in the physical body.


What I really find weird in this question is: If you don’t believe in the resurrection, why being a christian instead of a jew or even a philosophical theist or deist? Do you somehow believe in the divine nature of Christ without believing in the resurrection? How to make sense of that? Of course, you could always be a “cultural christian” like Freeman Dyson, but you don’t even have to believe in God for that (Martin Rees is an good example of that).

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #40

You might find the link to Marcus Borg’s blog of interest. This is precisely what he believes, and he’ll do a better job describing his position than I would.