Thursday 2 July 2015

Why is Jesus Christ necessary to the resurrection of Men? (Why is God the Father not sufficient?)

The question can also be phrased as: why cannot Men be resurrected by God the Father; because the necessity of The Son seems to imply that The Father could not achieve the resurrection of Man.

The Father resurrected The Son, but (it seems) could not resurrect Men; or, at least, could not resurrect Men to a desirable state - for this, the work of The Son was needed.

(Here we Christians may perceive the abhorrence of some 'pure monotheists' for Christianity; the significant limitation that Christianity places-upon the power of God the Father in saying that Jesus Christ was necessary to the resurrection and salvation of man.)


It may be seen as follows:

The Father was able to resurrect The Son - because the Son was divine, as well as being a Man. This entails that The Father can resurrect the divine, but cannot resurrect the mortal.

(The problem for God the Father was therefore: how to resurrect mortal Men?)

The Son is able to resurrect Man, because he is Man (as well as divine) and has himself been resurrected. Christ has been mortal, he has died as a mortal, and Christ has been resurrected; therefore Christ can resurrect mortals.

Jesus Christ needed to be incarnated and die as a mortal, in order that he could be resurrected by The Father - and this event of Christ's resurrection by The Father  (long planned and foreseen) would create the new possibility of Christ being empowered to resurrect Men.


The main objection to the above scheme is probably the limitation placed upon God the Father - but some such limitation is intrinsic to Christianity, due to the Christian insistence on the necessity of Christ.

It is a matter of focus. There is some indication in the New Testament that the resurrection was the focus of early Christian teaching - was indeed the Good News of the Gospels.

I get a sense of there being an analogy implied, indeed stated, between the fact of Christ's death and resurrection, and the new possibility that Men who died can now be resurrected.

Therefore the main explanation for the divine Christ having died at all, was that by his going-through death; and a real death - including the helplessness and despair induced by being sundered from The Father. So that Christ entered death knowing that he could only be saved from death by the action of his Father.

All this is a precise analogy for how Men must enter death, and be saved from death; but we Men are saved from death and resurrected by The Son, not The Father - the Father cannot do this; but Jesus can, and will. 



Thordaddy said...

Dr. Charlton....

Let us say you were bound to paint a masterpiece... And not "bound" as in a higher external force, but as a spontaneously erupting disposition. What would you conceive as truly limiting in the painting of your INEVITABLE masterpiece? I say repetition, replication and redundancy are those "things" that would signal limitation to the most talented artist.

It doesn't seem to me that a willingness to do anything... Er, repeat, replicate and create redundancy is truly a sign of an unlimited and most omnipotent nature as compared to He who only wills Perfection and thus not mandated to repeat Himself at the behest of those subordinate to His true authority.

So when one asks why The Father did not simply save man... Resurrect man... Perfect man AGAIN... IT IS BECAUSE He entertains no limitations to His Perfection. He does not paint a masterpiece with repeated, replicated and redundant strokes when such limiting action is so absolutely unnecessary. He created a Son crucified by his brothers and destined to save those very same brothers. He created a Son who suffered the most irrational act of self-annihilation as a testament to the degeneracy of every act of self-annihilation. That Son was the revelation of Perfection itself in nonrepeated, nonreplicated and nonredundant form. Nothing in the Christ singularity can implicitly or explicitly suggest a limitation on God the Father. The Perfect God > The radically autonomous god BECAUSE the former does not repeat Himself.

Anonymous said...

How about Elijah and Enoch?
1Jesus is not completely necessary for salvation, but practically immensely useful
2 Father can 'claim' / resurrect by himself

Bruce Charlton said...

@ThD - These kinds of discussion are about each person finding an explanation he can understand and find convincing.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Anon - What about them? Or, are you suggesting they were resurrected? My understanding is that they did not die.

Adam G. said...

Is it certain that it was the Father resurrected the Son? I've heard it claimed that the Son resurrected Himself.

scory said...

There is also this - that the Son had to exercise his agency and volunteer, without reservation, to undergo the atonement for the sake of the fallen. Now it is it not unknown for men and women to undergo great suffering and death for the sake of their loved ones and comrades. But Jesus suffered and died for those who hate and despise him as well as those who love and revere him. He died for the very ones who cried out for his crucifixion. I think this is implicit in your post but I just wanted to write it out.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam - It depends what makes sense to you. To me, since Jesus really-was really-dead, he could not resurrect himself.

Bruce Charlton said...

@scory. Oh yes indeed. But I wanted to cut the argument down to a minimum focus on the resurrection, to see what kind of implications emerged.

Anonymous said...

God *can* do anything he wants, because he is God. He *chose* to do it this particular way, because he wanted to. In the same way that he could have created a world where evil was not possible, but chose not to.

Bruce Charlton said...

@dl - That is to make an inexplicable mystery of something central - which is always a valid response to any question. After all, people cannot always be trying to fill in all the gaps in understanding. However, this is something that nags at me - and I don't think it is unreasonable for any individual to try and formulate an understanding of this key aspect of Christianity.

scory said...

In Mormon doctrine God will not violate his own law. Sometimes it is stated that he cannot. I see God as the stable center upon which all else is aligned. He imposes order and organization. His enemies work to undo order and bring a return to chaos. What you write here is in line with this, I think. There is an ordered, sane way for things to be accomplished and this proceeds from God. What He has ordained must and will come to pass in precisely the way He wills it. That we don't understand in full is not in the least surprising. That we, in this mortal life, are not likely to fully understand is also, I think, a given. But the task we have is to try and often this can be interesting and enjoyable.

Keep up the good work, Brother Charlton.

Bruce Charlton said...

@scory - Thank you!