Paul argued in 1 Corinthians 15:
Now if Christ is preached that He rose from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen. If Christ has not risen, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain. Yes, and we would then be found false witnesses of God, because we have testified that God raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
I can see why Paul draws this conclusion, but I don’t understand this as a good argument for the resurrection of the dead. Does our joy in Christ prove that the joy will last? I am not sure that this makes sense.
I can see the argument that my joy in Christ might be “counterfeit” like it is often said of Mormons. Does consciousness of death without conscious of resurrection even qualify as “joy in Christ”?
It’s not an apologetic for the resurrection.
Kullervo beat me to it.
I understand that he is not here trying to provide a rational reason for believing in the resurrection. But he seems to be arguing for the necessity of the resurrection in the context of joy in Christ. I.e. if Christ was not resurrected, there is no cause for joy. This seems to imply that belief in the resurrection is necessary part of the theological formula of the Gospel. This is what I am wondering about.
I think Paul’s premise is that death came to human beings because of Adam’s sin: “22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” So it’s not just a matter of being joyful that our sins are forgiven. Our joy comes from Christ having overcome not only sin, but sin AND death: “25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
The resurrection is the reason we can really know that we have been redeemed from our sins. Christ being raised from the dead is what undoes Adam’s sin by which we all die.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Without the resurrection, we’re just fooling ourselves and our faith is pathetic. The forgiveness of sin means nothing if death still reigns. If sin is truly forgiven, if we are truly redeemed from sin, then it must also be the case that death is overcome. They go together.
I suppose that makes sense. I guess I don’t personally connect death and sin, which may be why I missed that point.
Sometimes I think Paul might be a genius.
Thanks for these responses. I think I get what he was saying better now.
“…in every expression of truth or of true love there exists the possibility of deception which corresponds to it exactly…Precisely because existence will test you, tests your love or whether there is love in you, for this very reason…it presents you with truth and deception as two equal possibilities in contrast to each other, so that there must be a revelation of what is in you since you judge, that is, since in judging you choose.
…existence must be so arranged that you do not with the aid of certainty in knowledge slink out of revealing yourself in judging, or in the way you judge. When deception and truth are presented as two equal possibilities in contrast to each other, the decision is whether there is love or mistrust in you.”
Mr. Kierkegaard weighs in.