Space Time & the Resurrection Pt 1

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I have decided to read through T F Torrance’s Space Time and the Resurrection. It is his sequel to Space Time and the Incarnation. I would like to have started with the first book but I am not able to find where my copy is. Nevertheless, I will start with the sequel.

Torrance is attempting to reach into the mind of the ancient Catholic church and recover its way of thinking and knowing. He found it difficult to come to terms with the idea that modern scholars often believed they understood the Greek of the New Testament better than the early Greek Father’s themselves. I have found myself to be confronted with the very same question as I study the Greek. Such is the richness of the Patristics that I have difficulty in reconciling the modern world-view with the ancient world-view. In fact, the truth of the matter is, we cannot. To enter into their world requires a total change of mind in the way we normally think and allow the Object of our study to speak for Himself. We approach on bended knee and in a position of total humility as we try to engage with the Scriptures.

When we attempt to interpret this event, we must approach empty-handed. The main point we must keep in mind when we attempt any form of study is to not go the way of modern natural theology. In this field, the rules are set and then the Object of study is conformed to these established rules. They establish rules concerning who God is, what He can and cannot do and what He must and must not be. This modern approach of imposing on the object of study these pre-established rules bears no consistency with the Nicene approach to the study of Scripture. In Nicene theology it is the Object who determines His own rules as to how He is to be understood, who He is and what He can do. When we are confronted with the Object, everything we previously thought about the whole created order is brought under His scrutiny and into question. Our thinking is more than likely wrong and may have to be reviewed. Theological matters cannot be separated from the Object of theology. God cannot be defined apart from Jesus Christ and then somehow press Him into what we believe God is. We approach God with the view that we place our trust in His hands to inform us on all His ways and works as He revealed Himself in the Person and work of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

In regard to the resurrected Jesus Christ. However much weight we place on His divinity, we must place as much emphasis on His humanity. Jesus Christ became as human as we are, was subject to death, and died. When we see graphic footage of those killed in warfare, this is the reality of death that Jesus experienced. He was as dead as the death of any human being along with its path of suffering towards it. It was from the body of death that we have the resurrected Jesus Christ. We cannot minimise what He went through. As we have no insight into death we cannot speculate at the level in which death impacted the whole of Jesus’ being. Jesus really died! The time between His last breath as a human being and the first breath of His resurrected humanity entailed the resurrection of the very same body that died. The time in between is not open to us and therefore is not open to speculation.

We take the event of the resurrection very seriously as a God event where God reveals Himself entirely to us. Jesus Christ is the very same God who is the Creator and Source of all things visible and invisible. Jesus Christ shows us how close God is to us in every aspect of our human life where He takes in all that we are so that we can become all that He is. If this is the truth, how can God be described as aloof and inert? If God is this close to us, how can we look away from this Light of life and into the darkness to find the only truth there is? If God is as close to us as Jesus Christ where He engages with us at the most intimate level, how can we detach God from the universe and try to describe Him as un-knowable? These are serious questions we are confronted with in theological study. If we dare to pose these questions to mainstream evangelicals, we are more likely to face hostility as we question the ground of theological enquiry. In some cases this detached and dualistic ground is assumed as the rule. This creates a language that is exclusive to human beings, based on their own imaginations, that can only make infantile guesses as to who God is.

It is very reasonable to expect that God has an intelligibility that is entirely compatible with human understanding. God created us all and created into us the capacity to understand Him, but only on His terms. He is more than able to make Himself understood in cognitive ways where divine revelation and our ability to perceive through our human intelligible minds are in union with one another.