Ah! The empty tomb. Where was the body? Resurrection? It’s so implausible! But the counter-explanations are also implausible, and the faith of the early Christians bloomed as they reckoned with this unexpected turn of events. Messiah-wannabes came along both before and after Jesus — and died — without creating a movement that gathered steam after their deaths. Although it is a tough slog, in The Resurrection of the Son of God, one of the foremost New Testament historians in the world, N. T. Wright, examines the question of whether early Christian faith could have taken the shape it took if the gospel accounts were legends gathered at a later time as opposed to being contemporary and eyewitness accounts. Of course, it’s something people have to consider and decide for themselves.
When I (reluctantly) considered Christianity, I had a lot of skepticism built up over the years and needed to know there was some intelligent work being done on the kinds of issues that loom in skeptical minds. And then I needed to think about whether I was willing–supposing all my questions and doubts were answered satisfactorily or at least plausibly–to become a Christian. For a long time, part of me recoiled almost viscerally. It was just not me. I hadn’t been brought up that way. I didn’t have the raw material in my personality for it. I didn’t want to be come “that sort”. And then I gradually had to soften that stance. We come to a part of the story for which I don’t have many words, at some point in my reading, thinking and research, I slid past some sort of tipping point. I can identify with C. S. Lewis’s account of his gradual conversion leading to an outing with his brother:
When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.
At any rate, I am deeply grateful for how all that played out, and glad to celebrate the resurrection and to grapple again with what it all means.
We had a wonderful Easter celebration in church and later a feast with D17: ham, creamed spinach, challah bread, pineapple hot dish, and mashed potatoes.
Here is my favorite Easter hymn!