Sunday, February 17, 2008

Newbigin on Resurrection, Worldview and Story

First up, here is Newbigin on the resurrection as a worldview defining event within our history and the Christian dogma as a story:

'It is obvious that the story of the empty tomb cannot be fitted into our contemporary worldview, or indeed into any worldview except one of which it is the starting point. That is, indeed, the whole point. What happened on that day is, according to the Christian tradition, only to be understood by analogy with what happened on the day the cosmos came into being. It is a boundary event, at the point where (as cosmologists tell us) the laws of physics cease to apply. It is the beginning of a new creation - mysterious to human reason as the creation itself. But, and this is the whole point, accepted in faith it becomes the starting point for a wholly new way of understanding our human experience, a way which - in the long run - makes more sense of human experience as a whole than does the reigning plausibility structure. That the crucified Jesus was raised from death to be the firstfruit of a new creation is -in a proper sense - dogma.' p11f

'The dogma, the thing given for our acceptance in faith, is not a set of timeless propositions: it is a story. Moreover, it is a story which is not yet finished, a story in which we are still awaiting the end when all becomes clear. Here, I think, is the point at which we may well feel that the the eighteenth-century defenders of the faith were most wide of the mark. The Christian religion which they sought to defend was a system of timeless metaphysical truths about God, nature, and man. The Bible was a source of information about such of these eternal truths as could not be discovered by direct observation of nature or by reflection on innate human ideas. Any valid defense of the Christian faith, I believe, must take a quite different route. The Christian faith, rooted in the Bible, is - I am convinced - primarily to be understood as an interpretation of the story - the human story set within the modern story of nature....The Christian faith is - as often said - a historical faith not just in the sense that it depends on a historical record, but also in the sense that it is essentially an interpretation of universal history. Its defense therefore, will be as much concerned with how we act with what we can say.' p12f

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