Thursday, March 01, 2007

Would you like some Christianity with that Heresy?

I checked out the Discovery Channel site that talks about the upcoming Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary. Off to the right, I noticed a little tab squeezed between the "Filmmakers and Experts" and "Press Conference" tabs that said "Theological Considerations". Of course I am a curious one working on a Masters in Theology, so I clicked on it. For the most part there was nothing too bad untill I came to the part on the Ascension. It Read
Ascension: It is also a matter of Christian faith that after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven. Some Christians believe that this was a spiritual ascension, i.e., his mortal remains were left behind. Other Christians believe that he ascended with his body to heaven. If Jesus’ mortal remains have been found, this would contradict the idea of a physical ascension but not the idea of a spiritual ascension. The latter is consistent with Christian theology.

You would think that after 2000 some heresies would stop showing their ugly faces.

Hmm I guess I'll take them as they come:

1. I know no Christians that believe in a purely "spiritual ascension". If they do believe this, they are not Christ but Gnostic or Dosetic or Nestorian or Arian or any number of heresies that deny the incarnation and do not have a theology of a created good.
2. The Gnostics believed in something similar.
3. So did the Docetics.
4. If Christ only Ascended spiritually it would make the resurrection of the body pointless.
5. If Christ only Ascended spiritually if would make the incarnation and the Hypostatic union needless.
6. If Christ only ascended spiritually and his physical remains were sill here on Earth then why aren't there any first class relics of Christ's body?!?!
7. A purely spiritual ascension is inconsistent with ANY and EVERY orthodox Christian theology; however, it is very consistent with nearly all heresies.


Chris Rosebrough said...

I've written a comprehensive rebuttal to the films claims. Please read it and decide for youself whether this film's claims are true or just hype.

You can read it at

Steven Carr said...

Paul calls the converts to Jesus-worship in Corinth people 'as people ‘not lacking in any spiritual gift’, and that they have been given the grace of God.

High praise indeed!

Why then did these converts to Jesus-worship scoff at the idea that God would choose to raise a corpse from the dead?

The way Paul writes to them makes it clear they accepted the Genesis story of God creating Adam from dead matter, but they flatly disbelieved that God would raise a corpse.

Why did they scoff? And why had they converted to Jesus-worship?

And why would Paul reassure them that they would become a 'life-giving spirit'?

We shall share the likeness of Jesus, who became a life-giving spirit, rather than having the dust of our corpses reformed into a living being

Paul writes ''So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.'

Paul asks his Roman readers 'Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24).

Perhaps Paul shared that view that you needed to be rescued from the physical body.

Christopher said...

"Perhaps Paul shared that view that you needed to be rescued from the physical body."

Paul emphatically did not share this view. This was one of the first heresies of Christianity and it looms even now as gnosticism.

The essential point is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. That is, the tomb was empty, the body- in a mysterious way- is raised. This is the story of the Gospel and St Paul bears witness to it:
"But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.
...For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins."
1 Cor 15:12-17 NAB
"But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day."
-Luke 24:1-7

A "spiritual" raising does not make sense in this manner. The body itself is gone. There are no putrid remains.
Resurrection refers strictly to the reality of a formerly dead body given new, glorified life. To interpret otherwise is to ignore the very texts.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...