In this week's episode of "Life, Love, & Light" podcasts, we investigate more "alternate theories" that have been raised by some modern and postmodern theologians and scholars who consider the resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ to have been brought on by "altered states of consciousness." Were these appearances merely visions induced by wishful thinking? Or personal hallucinations? Or mass hallucinations experienced at the same time and in the same place by all the disciples? Or a mass ecstasy? Did Peter experience a psychotic delusion that, by a chain reaction, resulted in a group fantasy? And was the Apostle Paul also the victim of "chain reaction hysteria"?
Why must we consider these objections? Because it is crucial that we understand the arguments and the flaws in these various theories so that when the bedrock foundation of resurrection belief is challenged, we are able to answer objections with clarity and conviction. And perhaps, when we ourselves question Christian faith in bodily resurrection, we need to be very clear and completely certain that the ancient Creed – “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting” – really does mean what it says.
Especially in a time of ongoing pandemic, a brutal war, and the inconceivable suffering and death of soldiers and civilians, as well as the desperation of millions of fleeing refugees, we need the reality of Christ’s resurrection to reassure us every hour of every day that nothing we undergo will be lost – all our sufferings are being taken up into Christ’s own sufferings on the cross. And all are being transformed and glorified in the fullness of Christ’s resurrection . . . and eventually, our own. Without that grounding in resurrection faith, we may lose hope. Thus we must continually deepen our faith in the truth of Christ's bodily resurrection so that we live in its redemptive reality and find our peace in its promise – even amidst the crises of our daily lives.
I dedicate these podcasts to all the brave Ukrainians who are fighting for their freedom and their country against tyranny and invasion. May the Risen Christ be with them!