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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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In Regards to the Salvation of Children

Do infants and children who die before reaching the age of accountability die and go to Heaven and if so what is the age of accountability? This question has been debated amongst the Universal Church often resulting in violent conflict for centuries. The premise on the surface seems to be based on the issue of baptism but in reality crosses into doctrines, dogmas and traditions of Salvation, the relevance of Sacraments and ordinances and issues of faith being a personal relationship, one of election, or a matter that is given by the Church through the Authority of God, Christ and Holy Spirit. In regards to the matter of sacraments, ordinances, issues of faith and such much has to come down to an issue of Church and State and the role if any The church plays in Salvation, redemption, and if election is predetermined by God or a matter of one’s own will. The sacrament of infant baptism is never explicitly stated in the Bible tracing its roots out of fear of infant condemnation to around the 200 AD in North Africa. However, it developed into an instrument of control by the Catholic Church and Roman Empire under Constantine and remained so until the reformation of the 15th century unifying Church and State and curbing heretics and rebellion (Lutzer 1998).

First, what is the age of accountability or when is one accountable or aware of one’s actions? Piaget’s theory of concrete operational thought states, “Children, of the ages of 6-11, are able to think logically and not bound by the limits of egocentricism. Additionally the ability to infer links and establish relationships also develops during this period.”  Vygotsky bridged the gap between potential, need and knowledge by confirming that social interaction, instruction, and are essential in the proper cognitive development of children through the need for teachers and older peers to avoid confusion who often are mimicked or imitated (Berger 2011) .” This ability for concrete learning is best exercises at age 6 as younger child are often confused by concept that interest older children. In regards to morality, Lawrence Kohlberg theorized that children of the ages of 6-11 are able to understand conventional morality. Conventional morality functions much like operational thought and is relative to logic and observable patterns. Additionally, patterns of morality are imitated and taught like stated in Vygotsky learning theory (Berger 2011). “Under the Old Testament, the Jews recognized that children could not be held personally accountable to the Law of Moses. They set the arbitrary age of twelve as the year when a child assumed adult status in religious matters (Theopedia 2009).” Likewise, Kohlberg’s next stage of Moral Development entails the ability to differentiate moral issue for oneself, the use of abstract ideas, logic and concrete operation and the ability to question, “What is or what should Be” and is not common until adolescence or adulthood (Berger 2011). Scriptural support for the Salvation of children and the innocent is evident in such passages as he one who sins is the one who will die. “The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged (Ez 18:20) NIV.” Additionally, Jesus Speaks of the Salvation of Child in Matthew 18:3 When He states: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” In Matthew 19:14 Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” “Finally Paul writes, ‘For apart from the law sin was dead I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died (Romans 7:8-9).’  The only time in a person’s life when he or she is spiritually alive in the absence of law is before he or she is a responsible, accountable adult (Miller 2003).”

 

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

References

Berger, Kathleen Strassen. The Developing Person Through the Life Span. Edited by 8th. New York: Worth Publishers, 2011.

Lutzer, Eric. The Doctrines That Divide. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.

Miller, David. The Age of Accountability. 2003. https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1202 (accessed 02 11, 2016).

Theopedia. 11 24, 2009. http://www.theopedia.com/age-of-accountability (accessed 02 11, 2016).

 

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resurrection

“He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve (1 Cor. 15: 5 NIV 1984).”

An Apology for the Resurrection of Jesus

Essay set 2

 

Trenton Clark Rindoks

PHIL 240-B01

Liberty University

Professor Beau Walker

Abstract

There are many skeptical arguments against the resurrection of Jesus. The minimal approach is deigned to debunk these arguments using the least amount of historical evidence and staying away from church doctrine and the views of the various denominations. Some skeptics claim the resurrection of Christ is nothing more than a fable or legend arising from influence of the mystery cults of Rome and the various pagan religions previous to the writing of the Bible and the presence of the historical Jesus. Finally, can one prove Christ rose from the dead if so how can this be done in an adequate manner? The following three essays will examine the above topics in detail starting with the minimal approach to apologetics, then addressing the issue of how to debunk the claims of the resurrection as a mere legend. Finally a case for the resurrection of Christ will be presented in detail.

“He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve (1 Cor. 15: 5 NIV 1984).”

An Apology for the Resurrection of Jesus

Essay Set 2

Essay 1/The Minimal Approach

Introduction

The minimal approach is deigned to debunk the arguments of skeptics against the Resurrection of Christ using the least amount of historical evidence and staying away from church doctrine and the views of the various denominations. Habermas and Licona explain the minimal approach as follows: “The minimal approach considers those historical data that are so strongly attested that virtually all scholars who study the subject grant them as facts, even the majority of non-believing scholars. Therefore, one cannot object to Jesus’ resurrection because he rejects the Bible, since in our argument nothing hinges on the trustworthiness of the Bible (Habermas and Licona 2004).” The minimal approach outlines 5 basic facts known as the 4+1 method these facts are: (1) Jesus died from crucifixion. (2) After his death Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by the twelve disciples and others in corporal form. (3)We have testimony from an enemy of Christianity of a corporal appearance of Christ after his crucifixion occurred and (4) another from a skeptic who based on their beliefs would not readily convert to Christianity or acknowledge such an occurrence. (5) The tomb was empty (Habermas and Licona 2004).

Jesus’s Death by Crucifixion

Besides the wealth of information within the Bible which is derived from over 5,000 manuscripts from the 1-4th century and earlier Hebrew oral tradition we have historical sources outside the Bible which record the crucifixion of Christ.” Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, ‘the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ. ‘There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, ‘Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats….He was [the] Christ…he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.’ One version reads, ‘At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders (Got Questions.org-Bible Questions Answered 2002-2014).’” Other historians such as Tacitus, Thallus, and Mara Bar Serapion mention Christ death as well as it is detail in the Babylonian Talmud

Some skeptics may wish to argue that Jesus actually survived the crucifixion but an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has proven this could not be the case.  First before crucifixion convicted was repeatedly whipped. “The scourging…was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death.” Secondly,” the nails in wrist would crush the sensorimotor median nerve causing pain compared to by one of the doctor’s in the study as ‘crushing the funny bone with a pair of pliers.’” Also, when the victim attempted to breath he would have to pull up on his body and thus rip the nails into the flesh and bones of the feet. In the relaxed or down position one would have difficulty exhaling experiencing pain and eventually suffocate. Finally, if the process was taking too long a club was used to speed up asphyxia (Habermas and Licona 2004). However in the case Christ as documented in Gospel of Peter such tactics were not employed to delay suffering. We however do no from Biblical accounts a spear was used to check for death as described in John 19:34-35. The blood and water flowing from Jesus can be explained medically as a rupture to the sac surrounding the heart and a rupture to the right side of the heart itself both which would be fatal if Jesus survived the crucifixion (Habermas and Licona 2004).

Jesus seen by the 12 and Others

One of the earliest sources detailing the appearance of Jesus to the disciples and others is 1Corinthians 15:5-8: “and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (1 Cor. 15:5-8 NIV 1984).” The letter to the Corinthians from which 1 Corinthians is derived from was written in 56 AD in comparison to Luke which some scholars consider the oldest gospel written in 60 AD (Towns and Gutiierrez 2012).  However the sources from which Paul cites are creeds and oral traditions from the time of Christ and right after his death (Habermas and Licona 2004). The Gospels each mention Jesus appearing after the crucifixion although the details vary slightly from Gospel to Gospel. However the consistency in Thomas doubting and be asked to touch the flesh of Jesus the mention that Jesus ate and drank prove this as a corporal or natural not spiritual encounter.  Also, to those who wish to claim such an occurrence was a mass hallucination a hallucination is similar to a dream and would not be able to be seen by many in a similar fashion (Habermas and Licona 2004).

 

Testimony of Paul

When considering the appearance of Jesus to Paul one should remember a few facts. First it happened after the Accession and more importantly Paul at previous to his conversion was a member of the Pharisee, a Roman citizen, and a persecutor of Christians who viewed their very existence a threat to Judaism. Some skeptics claim that Paul invented the claim of his conversion to become a leader in the Christian Community but when one looks at the status of the early church this would seem an unlikely move. Why would one wish to face imprisonment possible execution, loss of status and join an organization considered to be outcasts? Saul (Paul) was rising in influence among the Pharisee and as a Roman citizen could have easily entered into life of public service if he sought prestige (Habermas and Licona 2004). Another Argument made with the conversion of Paul is that this encounter unlike that of the disciples was purely spiritual in nature however those who were traveling with Paul also experienced the blinding light and heard the voice but were not able to discern the content. Paul also frequently in his writings refers to Christ as resurrected in Body and even when he refers to us losing our body and being replaced by a spirit he is referring to our conduct not form when one looks at the Greek translation of Body and Spirit used by Paul in his writings (Habermas and Licona 2004). The most significant fact of Paul’s conversion is as a former enemy of Christ he came to believe and became a champion and founding father of Christianity who died for his believes. This in itself proves the power and truth of the conversion and corporal encounter with Christ.

James, Brother of Christ

James was a devote Jew who denied his brothers identity as the messiah even up to his death. Like Paul, James was visit by Jesus postmortem and faced many issues many considering becoming a Christian. The least of which would be considered an outcast of society the most serious would be to be cursed by God and the damnation of one’s soul. Also, like all the followers of Jesus by spreading the Gospel James could face possible persecution and death. Hardly a fate one would consider without experiencing a serious spiritual experience.

Seen by Others

Paul records that Jesus was seen by 500 others. In addition to these we have Biblical accounts of Jesus appearing to the women at the tomb. This is extremely significant as women were considered second-class citizens in Roman and Jewish society.  Under Jewish Law the testimony of Women could not be considered as valid evidence. If such is the case why would the writers of the Christian text include women as sources of the sighting of Jesus? Such use would be considered untrustworthy and be cause for embarrassment.  The use of women as sources adds validity to the Resurrection as defined by the criterion of embarrassment.

The Empty Tomb

The lack of Jesus’s body in the tomb has generated many theories among skeptics for centuries. The most common is that the disciples’ stole the body and contrived a conspiracy theory to propagated Christianity. This theory was first reported by Jewish authorities when the tomb was discovered empty after Christ had risen and is reported in the Bible in Matthew 28:12-15. If this was the case as pointed out by Charles Colson an accomplice in the Watergate Scandal: “Watergate involved a conspiracy to cover up, perpetuated by the closest aides of the President of The United Sates-the most powerful men in America- who were intensely loyal to the president. But one of them, John Dean, turned state’s evidence that is, testified against Nixon to save his own skin in only two weeks. The fact is all around the President was facing embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody’s life was at stake. But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants were facing beating stoning or execution (Habermas and Licona 2004).” With such possible consequences it is doubtful any conspiracy would have taken place.

Another theory often argued is that the disciples simple went to the wrong tomb or the body was never buried or moved. We have historical documentation that Joseph of Arimathea buried the body in his personal tomb. Also, Jewish burial even if Jesus’ body was later moved to the criminals’ plot would have been documented by Law. Thus the chance that the went to the wrong tomb is a weak proposition at best

Conclusion

The minimal Approach is designed to debunk claims by skeptics using the least amount of historical evidence and staying away from church doctrine and the views of the various denominations. This effective approach is designed to stay away from controversial issues often employed when more traditional methods are employed. Although it may not be sufficient enough to change the mind of all non-believers it should be a sufficient starting point for most evangelists or theologians to begin a dialog on the resurrection and the need for salvation. After this has been firmly established one may then proceed with other measures such as personal testimonies acts of kindness and outreach. As a final caution one should remember we do not win others to Christ but merely plant seeds only the Holy Spirit can bring about a conversion experience within an individual.

Bibliography

Got Questions.org-Bible Questions Answered. 2002-2014. http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html#ixzz3CatHGNiV (accessed 09 06, 2014).

Habermas, Gary R, and Michael R Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2004.

NIV. Swindoll, Charles R. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publish House, 1984.

Towns, Elmer L, and Ben Gutiierrez. The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B&H, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essay 2/Addressing concerns of the Legend of Christ’s Resurrection

Introduction

Some skeptics claim that the resurrection of Christ as detailed in the Bible is nothing more than a retelling of a historical account using mythical details from cultures that influenced the Jewish people particular the Mystery Cults of Rome. However as probable as this may seem w will examine the unlikelihood that such an occurrence happened.

Mystery Cults Examined

The resurrection accounts of the Mystery cults actually date to times after the resurrection of Christ with the exception of the Cult of Osiris.  If there was any influence on resurrection and religion it would that the Mystery cults were influenced by Christianity. Prior to Christianity the cult of Cybele considered the efficiency of their bloodbaths to extend life by twenty years but after the rise of Christianity and into the third Century AD tis was extended to eternity (Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace 2006). The myths concerning Osiris are also sketchy. In some accounts Isis assembles but 13 of his 14 parts and he descends to become the God of the underworld. In others he becomes the Sun. Still unlike Christ he is not made completely whole but is reborn in a partial body in a sort of zombie or mummified state (Habermas and Licona 2004). The earliest known Mystery Cult resurrection story is that of Mithra and it dates to around 150 AD and it also is a modification from the earlier pagan story of its origin (Habermas and Licona 2004). Still other Mystery Cults were simply a merger of pagan deities from various cultures that were custom modified to meet the needs of their followers and as such would prove to unreliable sources to any intellectual.

 

Plato

Some skeptics who wish to disprove that Christ appeared in natural form will claim Paul was influenced by the writings of Plato. Plato believed that all consciousness, Ideas, and things that exist are in Heaven first and then are discovered first that all people and things have souls. One must remember logically at first glance this argument would make sense.  Before the Roman occupation the Greeks occupied Israel so Hellenistic thought would be prevalent in the culture. Also, as Paul was educated he would have studied classical literature. However, the Jews also, believed in the soul or spirit prior to Plato. If Plato had any influence on Judaic or Christian thought it would more than likely be in how the underworld is organized but this too is also a weak argument as the Jews had a preexisting idea of the underworld or Sheol.

Conclusion

Although some skeptics claim the resurrection of Jesus Christ is nothing more than legend fabricated to propagate the Church by using preexistence concepts of myth and legends from pagan and the Mystery Cults that were previous and existed at the time of the writing of the Bible. A careful review of historical data can prove otherwise. Also when one compares the actual stories themselves there is an extreme contrast in detail between the living Christ, the cycle based pagan Gods or Gods of the underworld. Some Critics have also made claims of extreme legends such as Jesus being an extraterrestrial being. Although it is possible life exist outside this planet the mathematical likelihood is improbable. The mathematical possibility for life to exist on a life sustain planet is 1:1025. The number of planets in the universe is 1025.  Thus it is very unlikely we would have life on any of the other 1030 planets in the universe (Habermas and Licona 2004).

Bibliography

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Habermas, Gary R, and Michael R Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2004.

Komoszewski, J. Ed, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B Wallace. Reinventing Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006.

 

 

 

Essay 3/A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

Introduction

In this essay we will examine whether or not the resurrection can be proven and can such evidence be used to further any further apologetic arguments. It is my belief that the minimal approach provides significant evidence that the resurrection occurred however this leaves one main issue unexplained. If Christ was resurrected then there must be a God to perform such a miracle and if so how can this be proven? Also, how can one define a miracle?

Proof of God

The easiest way to proof God exists is to use the Al-Ghazali Argument which simply stated is as follows: (1) whatever begins to exist has a cause. (2) The universe Began to exist. (3) Therefore the universe has a cause (Craig 2010). From there one can build to a more complex argument such as The Leibniz Argument which simply stated is as follows: (1)God is the only necessary being. (2) There are an infinite number of finite worlds that God could actualize but God is obligated to create only the best possible world. (3) God created the best possible world.

If this does not proof sufficient one may turn to mathematics as proof although a negative plus a positive could yield a positive result nothing added to itself or either a negative or positive integer will yield a result. Thus something cannot spring from nonexistence. Matter can spring forth from antimatter but not from nothing there must be a starting point for creation to start even if one simply wishes to call I Intelligent Design. If one then wishes to push the issue of Good and evil a quick response is that God did not create evil but evil is a creation of man and if God was to wipe out all existence of evil who would be left or at the very least what would become of free will (Habermas and Licona 2004)?

Miracles

Philosopher Richard Swinburne suggests the following criteria for a miracle: (1) It has never happen before or since; (2) the event definitely cannot be accounted for by the current laws of nature; and (3) and no foreseen revisions of the laws of nature can explain the event (Habermas and Licona 2004). Following the above guidelines the resurrection of Jesus fits into the category of a miracle. A body could hardly come back to life, rise from the dead and interact with people short of in a science fiction film.

Further use of the resurrection in apologetics

After establishing a case for the resurrection of Christ one can go a step further and begin a path of ministry. One then may wish to begin a Christian based friendship to establish a rapport and share the love a Jesus and the teachings of Christianity. The next step would be to share a testimony of faith and invite one to become involved one’s church or Christian community.

Another application to apologetics is to authenticate other scriptural writings and to prove the Bible the inerrant work of God. After this is proven one could proceed to teach various tenants of faith, theology and introduce denominational beliefs. One may be wary of the latter as this may scare of some new believers sometimes it is best to keep things simple at first.

A final application is the strengthening of one’s own faith and mindset. With a greater knowledge in the historical aspect of the resurrection one can be more certain of one’s own fate and in times of struggle be certain Christ is there. Also, when one goes through times of temptation and struggle this can be communicated to others who are hurting and serve as encouragement. This benefits both believers and non-believers as even Christians can fall from faith from time to time.

Word Count # 3432

Bibliography

Craig, William Lane. On Guard. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010.

Got Questions.org-Bible Questions Answered. 2002-2014. http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html#ixzz3CatHGNiV (accessed 09 06, 2014).

Habermas, Gary R, and Michael R Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2004.

Komoszewski, J. Ed, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B Wallace. Reinventing Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006.

NIV. Swindoll, Charles R. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publish House, 1984.

Towns, Elmer L, and Ben Gutiierrez. The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B&H, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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