Resurrection of Christ
RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
1. In the New Testament
Faith in the resurrection of jesus of Nazareth as the divinely caused aftermath of his ministry and crucifixion that established him as Jewish Messiah and reigning Lord
of the universe permeates the thought of the NT. Apart from the resurrection-faith, there would have been no Christian community, no NT, and scarcely any historical memory of Jesus of Nazareth. The NT contains a variety of literary formulations of this resurrection-faith: discourses, termed "kerygmatic speeches" (Acts 2.14–36;3.12–26; 4.8–12; 5.29–32; 10.34–43; 13.16–41) that assert and substantiate the resurrection-claim; confessional formulae (Phil 2.11; Rom 10.8b–9; 1 Cor 12.3; Rom8.34; 1 Thes 1.9–10; Rom 1.1–5) expressing the Christian community's conviction of the resurrection; a tradition of the original apostolic witness (1 Cor 15.3–5) not only testifying to the resurrection but explaining its religious significance; Christological hymns (Phil 2.6–11; Col1.15–20; Eph 1.20–22; 1 Tm 3.16; 1 Pt 1.18–22; Heb1.3–4) inspired by the resurrection-faith; prophecies of death and resurrection (Mk 8.31; 9.31; 10.32–34 and parallel places) ascribed to Jesus himself; and finally narratives concerning the resurrection that form the conclusion of each gospel (Mk 16.1–8, 9–20; Lk 24.1–53; Mt 28.1–28; Jn 20.1–29; 21.1–23).
The resurrection narratives with which each Gospel closes contain material not present in the kerygmatic speeches, confessional formulae, traditional apostolic testimony, Christological hymns, and Gospel prophecies. This narrative material invariably follows the same pattern—a visit of women to the tomb of Jesus followed by accounts of appearances of the risen Christ. The accounts of the women's visit differ considerably in detail, and the appearance stories in each Gospel are entirely different from the same type of stories in the other three Gospels.
The differences between the resurrection narratives and other formulations of the resurrection-faith in the NT have presented a persistent challenge to NT scholarship. Vatican Council II encouraged biblical scholars to pursue their research for the purpose of bringing the religious meaning of the Scriptures into ever sharper focus (Dei Verbum 23). With this objective in view, contemporary NT scholarship has undertaken a critical reassessment of the NT material bearing on the resurrection of Christ. This article concerns itself first with Paul's use of the apostolic tradition in 1 Cor 15.1–8 and second with the kerygmatic speeches in Acts. Consideration of this material supplies the actual NT foundation for the understanding of the resurrection narratives. Finally, the article makes an assessment of the resurrection narratives themselves.
First Cor 15.1–8 and the resurrection narratives.
From the standpoint of the chronology of NT literature, 1 Cor 15.1–8 is the earliest written statement concerning the apostolic testimony to the resurrection of Christ. Writing about 54 to 56 a.d., St. Paul uses the apostolic tradition to address himself to the question of the resurrection of the dead, in which some Corinthian Christians had lost faith (1 Cor 15.12). He reminds them that the resurrection-faith that created their community did not involve the acceptance of a marvelous display of divine power simply in favor of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth by means of which a personal glorious afterlife was granted him. What was proclaimed to them and what they accepted was that Christ "died for our sins according to the Scriptures," i.e., Christ accepted the death of the cross as God's will for the remission of sins of which all peoples throughout human history are guilty, as the OT makes clear (1 Cor 15.1–3); and that Christ "was raised… according to the Scriptures," an event that occurred and was made known in time ("on the third day"), 1 Cor 15.4, i.e., the manifestation of the resurrection of Christ had for its purpose God's communicating to people like themselves that in Christ's death and resurrection he was carrying to completion his plan to save humanity from the disastrous effects of sin, of which death is the chief (1 Cor 15.54–57). To deny the resurrection of the dead as the beginning of an everlasting afterlife in the full integrity of the person is to remove all religious significance from God's act in raising Christ and to render Christian faith in his person meaningless: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself has not been raised" (1 Cor 15.13), i.e., if the dead are not restored to a life with God as the final result of the remission of their sins, neither was Christ himself restored to a life with God, for it was the prevalence of sin itself that caused his death. If Christ did not overcome the sins that caused his death, he did not overcome death and consequently was not raised.
But according to the apostolic testimony, Christ was in reality raised from the dead (1 Cor 15.20), the divine sign that he did overcome sin and death. That God in fact raised him from the dead was manifested to Cephas and to the Twelve (1 Cor 15.5). To this testimony of the original apostles, the Twelve, Paul adds a list of others who had a similar experience of the risen Christ through which they understood his overcoming of sin and death: the five hundred brethren (1 Cor 15.6); James, the administrator of the Jerusalem community; and "all the apostles," probably a different group from the Twelve, who because of their experience of the risen Christ were mandated apostles by the Twelve. Paul concludes by adding himself to the list of apostolic witnesses to Christ's resurrection and its religious significance, a fact of which, no doubt, he had already informed the Corinthians when he established their community.
Scholars disagree as to whether 1 Cor 15.3–5 alludes to, or shows that, Paul was aware of the tradition of the empty tomb. His text certainly makes no clear allusion to this tradition. The fact that the Jewish conception of the human person required both body and spirit and that on this basis the Apostle would naturally have assumed an empty tomb, does not constitute an argument for a reference in 1 Cor 15.4 ("he was buried") to the specific tradition of the empty tomb in the resurrection narratives. It seems to be a necessary inference that in Paul's understanding, the apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Christ did not incorporate the datum of the empty tomb.
Although in 1 Cor 15.5–8 Paul insists that the resurrection-faith is based upon the testimony of witnesses to the risen Christ, he makes no reference to accounts of the experiences of the witnesses. The Greek verb ōphthē used successively in each verse of the passage to designate a particular, personal, and special encounter with the risen Christ by Cephas, the Twelve, the five hundred brethren, James, all the apostles, and Paul can be translated as "was seen by" or "appeared." Even if with the majority of NT scholars one prefers "appeared," one cannot deduce the nature of the appearances from this verb. The most that can be concluded from it is that the experience of the risen Christ to which the verb makes reference had both objective and subjective elements, i.e., the verb implies more than a mere internal visionary experience, but does not necessarily imply the same kind of objective presence of Christ that was the recipients' experience of the objective presence of the historical Jesus. From the fact that the experiences of the risen Christ were apparently different in nature from their experience of the historical Jesus, it does not follow that they were any less intense and meaningful than the encounter with the Jesus of the ministry. The effect upon Paul of his experience of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9.1–9; 22.6–11; 26.12–18)—the intensity of his apostolic life (1 Cor 9.1–27) and his steadfastness in the face of extreme hardship (2 Cor 11.22–29)—shows that the encounter with the risen Christ could be more intense and meaningful than even a daily relationship with the Jesus of the ministry.
The lack of reference to accounts of the appearances of the risen Christ in 1 Cor 15.5–8 indicates that the original apostolic proclamation of the resurrection did not include a narrative form recapitulating these appearances. Since in the final analysis the apostolic preaching of the resurrection rested on the authority of God (cf. 1 Cor 15.15), the recital of appearances of the risen Christ would add nothing substantial to the assertion of his resurrection. Such recitals would have diverted attention away from the risen Christ to the Twelve and the phenomenon of their experiences of him.
Kerygmatic speeches in Acts and the resurrection narratives. Luke's Gospel and Acts contain the perimeters of the NT resurrection-faith without any attempt on the author's part to fuse them. Luke's Gospel ends with the narrative form of the women's visit to the tomb followed by appearance narratives (Lk 24.1–53). Although Acts 1.3 speaks in strong terms of the appearances of the risen Christ to the Twelve, the kerygmatic speeches (cf. the listing above) make no mention of actual appearances. Nor do they make any reference to the empty tomb.
The material of the kerygmatic speeches coheres with the Pauline formulation of the apostolic proclamation in 1 Cor 15.3–5. Each of the speeches contains the same central assertion: "God raised Jesus" (Acts 2.32;3.15; 4.10; 5.30; 10.40; 13.30). In 1 Cor 15.4 the formulation in the passive mood ("was raised on the third day…") is the Jewish way of avoiding the use of the divine name while clearly attributing the action to God. Thus in the kerygmatic formulations of both Paul and Luke, the resurrection of Christ is placed outside the sphere of human observation and investigation. Its reality is declared to be knowable only if one accepts it as a communication of God, its author.
In Acts, Luke chooses the Greek term martyres, witnesses, to characterize the role of the Twelve toward the risen Christ. In the Greek world the term martys, witness, carried both the sense of "eyewitness," or of one who could testify to a fact from personal experience, as well as the meaning of expert testimony in the case where testimony concerned truths not empirically verifiable and requiring special knowledge or education. Utilizing this twofold meaning of martys, Luke depicts the Twelve as witnesses to the risen Christ from divinely given personal experience of him and from divinely endowed insight into the religious meaning of his resurrection (Acts2.32–36; 3.15–23; 5.32; 10.40–43; 13.31). In 1 Cor 15.3–8 Paul combines ōphthē, "appeared," with use of the dative case for the persons to whom the manifestation of the risen Christ was made. Thus he clearly has the idea, though not the language, of witnesses to the risen Christ. When in 1 Cor 15.3 he observes, "I handed on to you what I also received" concerning Christ's death for sin and his resurrection, both according to the Scriptures, he is referring to the divinely endowed insight of Cephas and the Twelve as a group into the religious meaning of Christ's resurrection. In substance, the concept of the apostolic preaching in the Lucan speeches and in Paul's formulation of it in 1 Cor 15 are in harmony. Whereas Paul, aiming in 1 Cor 15.1–8 to focus attention on the personal relationship created by Christ's death and resurrection between Christ and every human being, contents himself with a sweeping reference to the OT Scriptures as manifesting God's will fulfilled in Christ, Luke, whose purpose in Acts is to describe the apostolic address to nonbelievers, cites the OT Scriptures explicitly (e.g., Ps 16.8–11 in Acts 2.25–28; Ps 110.1 in Acts 2.34–35; Dt 18.15–16 in Acts 3.22–23).
Conclusion. According to 1 Cor 15.1–8 and Luke's presentation of the kerygmatic speeches in Acts, the resurrection-faith of the NT Christian communities originated from the authoritative assertion of the Twelve, of Paul, and of other apostles that they had been the recipients of a divinely caused experience of the risen Christ. The salient thrust of their testimony was that the risen Christ reigned in the realm of God, a vantage point from which he demanded the faith and adherence of humanity. The orientation of the apostolic preaching was toward the otherworldly status and power of the risen Christ. It did not direct attention to the actual experiences of the witnesses who were the recipients of God's self-communication concerning his action toward the crucified, dead, and buried Jesus of Nazareth.
Nonetheless, Paul's use of ōphthē and Luke's use of martys to convey the connection between the apostolic assertion of the resurrection and the experience on which the assertion was based imply a relationship between the original preachers of the resurrection-event and the person of the risen Christ. This terminology of Paul and Luke has traditionally led theologians to conclude that a real experience of the risen Christ was the root cause of the apostolic testimony to his resurrection. The experience itself was the creative force that produced the resurrection-faith, first in the apostles, next through them in others who became the Christian community. In recent years, some exegetes and theologians have proposed a different interpretation of the NT data: that it was the teaching of the historical Jesus that produced the resurrection-faith, either by way of theological reflection upon his historical teaching and person together with a factor of divine revelation somehow associated with the theological reflection, or simply by way of theological reflection upon the memory of Jesus of Nazareth and his religious significance. This interpretation of the NT data, while in some respects worthy of further discussion, is not as yet sufficiently well founded or developed to be given serious consideration here. Its principal value is that it points to the usefulness of taking seriously the question of the interaction between the resurrection-faith of the apostles and their experience of the historical Jesus. It remains to be seen whether this particular avenue of research will succeed in contributing to the understanding of the origin of the resurrection-faith in the NT.
Resurrection narratives. It is already clear that these narratives, as well as their component parts, did not originate for the purpose of creating a faith-community centered on the risen Christ. As is the case with the four Gospels as a whole, the resurrection narratives are addressed to Christian communities whose faith in Jesus Christ is established, and, in the particular instance of his resurrection, on the ground of the apostolic testimony. The evangelists composed the four Gospels in order to support the faith of Christians. In general they have the same objective in the resurrection narratives.
The Women's Visit to the Tomb of Jesus. The visit is narrated in Mk 16.1–8; Lk 24.1–10; Mt 28.1–8; Jn 20.1–2. The differences of detail in each evangelist's presentation of the women's visit to Jesus' tomb are remarkable. In Mk 16.1 they proceed to the tomb "to anoint him"; in Lk 24.1 they bring "spices" or "aromatic oils," but for what particular purpose is not stated; in Mt 28.1 they come to "view" or possibly "to observe" the tomb; in Jn 20.1 Mary Magdalene simply "comes" to the tomb. In Mk 16.3 the women are concerned about the difficulty of rolling back the heavy stone sealing the tomb, a detail not included in the other three accounts. In Mk 16.4 and Lk 24.2, when they find the tomb open, they enter it; but in Jn 20.1–2 Mary Magdalene, making the same discovery, does not enter it. In Mt 28.1–4 the women's entrance to the tomb is blocked by an angel, who subsequently, however, invites them to determine for themselves that it is empty (Mt 28.6).
The dress of the angels varies from one Gospel to another. Mk 16.5 describes a young man dressed simply in white—a figure unconvincingly explained by some NT scholars as a representative of the risen Christ or of a Christian neophyte; Lk 24.4 speaks of two angels in shining garments, while Mt 28.3 depicts a figure whose facial features are like lightning and whose clothing is snowwhite; Jn 20.12 laconically notes the presence of two angels dressed simply in white.
The function of the angels varies in the four Gospel accounts of the women's visit to the tomb. In Mk 16.6 and Mt 28.6 the angel informs the women of the empty tomb, whereas in Lk 24.3 and Jn 20.11–13 the women make the discovery themselves. In Mk 16.7 and Mt 28.7 the angel instructs the women to inform Jesus' disciples of his resurrection and that they will see him in Galilee; in Lk 24.6–7 the women are reminded of Jesus' prophecies of his crucifixion and resurrection on the third day as if these prophecies in Lk 9.22; 9.43–44; 18.31–34 were directed to the women. In Jn 20.13 the angels make no response to Mary Magdalene's plaint that Jesus' body had been stolen from the tomb.
The women's reaction to the angelic message at the tomb varies from Gospel to Gospel: in Mk 16.8 they flee from the tomb in fear and astonishment and "say nothing to anyone"; in Lk 24.9–10 they report their experience at the tomb to the apostles; in Mt 28.8 they leave the tomb in a holy fear but with joy and set out to report to Jesus' disciples; in Jn 20. 13–14 Mary Magdalene poses no question to the angels concerning the whereabouts of Jesus' body, her main concern.
The variations among the evangelists in their depiction of the women's visit to Jesus' tomb, remarkable as they are in themselves, become even more astonishing in the light of the fact that Luke and Matthew availed themselves of the Gospel of Mark as a source and guideline for the composition of their own Gospels (a literary relationship among the synoptic evangelists that the majority of contemporary NT scholars consider to be established). On this supposition, it follows that neither Luke nor Matthew viewed their variations from Mark as anything other than instructive for the faith of the Christian community.
The single constant in the four Gospel accounts of the women's visit to the tomb is their discovery that it was open and empty. In John's Gospel, Mary Magdalene eventually verifies the emptiness of the tomb, her original inference (Jn 20.1–2), by personal inspection (Jn 20.11–13). Contemporary NT scholars continue to debate the historical veracity of the tradition of the open-empty tomb. Unlike the resurrection of Christ and the apostolic experience of the person of the risen Christ, the tradition of the open-empty tomb is a direct object of historical assessment.
Since the tradition was not put forward by the apostolic preaching as a basis for the resurrection-faith, its origin cannot be accounted for out of such a purpose. In all four Gospels the open-empty tomb is linked with the accounts of Jesus' burial. Although it was Roman practice to leave the corpse of the crucified to decompose on the cross or to be devoured by animals, the Roman authority, having regard for Jewish sensibilities concerning the respect due a human corpse (cf. Dt 21.22–23), permitted immediate burial of crucified Jews. Jn 19.31 has certain (unnamed) leaders of the Jews requesting Pilate to have the crurifragium, the breaking of the legs, performed upon Jesus and the two men crucified with him, so as to hasten their deaths and permit their burial before the Sabbath (in Jn, also the feast of the Passover). It was perhaps as a member of this delegation from the Sanhedrin that Joseph of Arimathea sought and received from Pilate charge of Jesus' corpse. At least in Judea it lay within the jurisdiction of the Roman procurator to grant the corpse of the crucified Jew to relatives or friends for the purpose of interment.
Joseph was not a relative or friend of Jesus (in Mk 15.43 he is a "prominent counsellor"; in Lk 23.50 he is a "counsellor, a good and just man"; in Mt 27.57 he is a disciple of Jesus; in Jn 19.38 he is a secret disciple). On what precise grounds he won custody of the corpse from the procurator can only be conjectured, for the evangelists supply no information on this point. In the case of one executed for a political offense, as was Jesus on suspicion of sedition, the procurator ordinarily refused such a request when it was made by one who was not a relative of the deceased. Perhaps the fact that Pilate acceded to Joseph's petition is one of the reasons why the evangelists emphasize Pilate's judgment that Jesus was innocent of sedition (Mk 15.12–15; Lk 23.13–16; Mt 27.18–19, 23–24; Jn 19.4–6). Since the Jews considered the burial of their dead, even of those executed in connection with violations of the OT Law, to be a sacred duty, it is not surprising that Joseph, as a member of the Sanhedrin, a man of stature and, as a Jew, a man of religious concern, (Mk 15.43) assumed a responsibility that Jesus' relatives and friends were unwilling or unable to undertake. Those adjudicated to be violators of the OT Law, as was the case with Jesus (Mk 14.62–64 and parallels) and the two robbers crucified with him (Lv 19.13), were normally interred in a burial ground reserved for them and located at some distance from the city where executions took place. Among the Jews, burials on the Sabbath were strictly forbidden: Joseph's choice of his own tomb (Mt 27.59–60) provided a site close enough to Golgotha that permitted interment before the Sabbath. The two robbers may have been buried with Pilate's consent by relatives or friends also near Golgotha.
The Gospel depiction of Jesus' burial is in accord with both Roman and Jewish practice concerning the final disposition of the corpse of a crucified Jew. The opinion that the burial took place in the burial ground reserved for criminals, advanced by a minority of NT scholars, lacks substantiation in the evidence. Further, on this hypothesis the women's presence as witnesses to the burial in Joseph's tomb (Mk 15.47; Lk 23.55; Mt 27.61) becomes difficult to explain, since women's testimony was not considered of value either in Jewish or Roman culture. Their testimony was simply inadequate to supplant the supposed fact of burial in a common graveyard in favor of an honorable interment in Joseph's tomb.
From a historical point of view, there is no reason to dispute the accuracy of the statements in the Synoptic Gospels attributing to the women knowledge of the location of Jesus' tomb (Mk 16.1; Lk 24.1; Mt 28.1; cf. also Jn 20.1) with which each evangelist begins his account of the women's visit. The differences among the evangelists on the women's motives for visiting the tomb may well be due in part to an actual difference of motives among them and in part to the discrepancies of detail among witnesses with which historians are familiar. It was established Jewish custom to honor the tombs of the dead. Since Jesus had in fact received honorable burial, but without any marks of affection or respect from his followers, it is not unnatural that these women, who had witnessed the humiliation of the cross (Mk 15.40; Lk 23.49; Mt 27.55–56; Jn 19.25), were determined somehow to compensate for this deficiency, whether by placing aromatic materials at the tomb or, should it have turned out to be possible, around the enshrouded corpse of Jesus. Each evangelist's mention of the women's motives serves to concentrate attention upon the unexpected drama of their visit: their objectives could not be carried out, for the tomb was open and empty. Only Mt (28.2) offers the explanation that it was an angel who opened the tomb. The other evangelists leave the reader to share in the women's mystification at this turn of events (Mk 16.3–4; Lk 24.2; Jn 20.1–2).
In the Synoptic Gospels, the explanation for the open-empty tomb is made by an angel or angels: the crucified Jesus has been raised by God. The angelic announcement then looks backward to prophecies ascribed to Jesus (in Lk and Mt to the passion-resurrection prophecies; in Mk to the reunion in Galilee spoken of in 14.28) and forward to his appearances to his disciples (Mk 16.6–7; Lk 24.5–7; Mt 28.5–7). The tradition of the women's discovery of the open-empty tomb (upon which the resurrection narrative of the Fourth Gospel at first centers its entire attention, Jn 20.1–13) is interpreted in the Synoptic Gospels by use of the apostolic proclamation that the crucified Jesus was buried and raised by God (cf. 1 Cor 15.4). The Twelve, the original proclaimers of this divine act, are replaced by angels: whether the proclamation be apostolic or angelic, it is the message of God. On this note Mark's Gospel, whether by design or by accident, originally concluded (Mk 16.1–8). The evangelist's stress on the women's silence (Mk 16.8; "… they said nothing to anyone …") need not be understood in a sense so absolute as to exclude "the disciples and Peter" (Mk 16.7). Neither Luke (24.9) nor Matthew (28.8) took Mk 16.8 to mean that the women did not report their experience at the tomb to the disciples and Peter. For Mark the women are witnesses to the burial of Jesus and to the open-empty tomb, but they are not among the original apostolic witnesses to Christ's resurrection, a function reserved to the disciples and Peter (cf. Mk 13.9–11).
Luke's inclusion of a reaction of skepticism in response to the women's report (Lk 24.9, 11, 22–24) may be in part theologically motivated (to exclude the discovery of the open-empty tomb as a basis for the apostolic proclamation of Christ's resurrection) and in part a literary technique to introduce the reader to the lengthy account of the appearance of the risen Christ to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. Jn 20.3–10 presents a favorable reaction to Magdalene's report: in consequence of it Peter and the beloved disciple visit the tomb and are impressed by the fact that the cloths that had enshrouded Jesus' corpse are lying neatly in place. Lk 24.12 (a passage that contemporary textual critics incline to accept as authentic) reflects the same tradition, but told of Peter alone. Matthew's Gospel does not include a reaction of Jesus' disciples to the report intended by the women (Mt 28.8).
Mt 28.4 interweaves the story of the guarding of Jesus' tomb (Mt 27.62–66) with the women's visit. This evangelist's portrayal of the women's visit is set in the context of apocalyptic, a literary technique that emphasized the revelatory aspect of an event and intimated its special importance for the future. Apocalyptic features in Matthew's portrayal of the women's visit are the earthquake, the descent of the angel of the Lord, the OT representative of Yahweh (Mt 28.2), the lightning-like appearance of the angel's facial features (Mt 28.3), and the paralysis of the guards (Mt 28.4). The address of the apocalyptic angel to the women, appointing them emissaries to Jesus' disciples (Mt 28.5–7), places greater emphasis on their function as witnesses than is the case in the other three Gospels. Perhaps Matthew intended to contrast the women's acceptance of the resurrection-proclamation and its rejection by certain leaders of the Jewish community.
The guarding of the tomb (requested by a Jewish leadership unaware of Jesus' passion-resurrection prophecies, and not until the day after his burial), the defeat of the guards by the apocalyptic angel (a pre-Matthean or Matthean figure depicted to interpret the open-empty tomb), and therefore the payment of the guards to secure their silence (Mt 28.11–15) cannot be understood as historical data. Since this material, however, is taken seriously in Mt, the possibility suggests itself that neither the Christian story of the guarding of the tomb, nor the Jewish story of the disciples' theft of the corpse, nor the Christian story of the payment of the guards were originally historical assertions but forms of theological debate, probably (but not necessarily) over the religious significance of the open-empty tomb. But what precisely such a theological debate might have centered upon is not presently ascertainable.
The Christophanies. Appearances of the risen Christ are described in Mk 16.7; Lk 24.13–53; Mt 28.9–10; 16–20; Jn 20.11–18; 19–29; 21.1–23.
(a) Mk 16.7. Some contemporary NT scholars interpret the "seeing" of the risen Christ by the disciples and Peter (Mk 16.7a) as a reference to the parousia to occur in Galilee. The text, however, refers the reader to Mk 14.28: "But after I am raised I will go before you into Galilee." When Mk 16.7 observes, "… there," i.e., in Galilee, "you will see him as he told you," the reference is simply to Christ now risen from the dead. Parousiapassages speak of "seeing" the Son of Man (Mk 14.62;13.26), i.e., the risen Christ, in the role of judge. Before the judgment at the parousia is to take place, the disciples' function is to preach the risen Christ who demands faith now (Mk 13.9–11), a situation that is to be evaluated when he appears as the Son of Man of Dn 7.13–14 for the final judgment (Mk 13.26). Mk 16.7 speaks of the disciples and Peter seeing the risen Christ as the prelude to their mission of Mk 13.9–11. The language of Mk 16.7 has at least one christophany in view, as is also the case with each person or groups of persons mentioned in 1 Cor 15.5–8 and in the kerygmatic speeches in Acts. It is not possible to determine whether or not Mark intended to record a christophany as the conclusion to his Gospel. However peculiar it may seem that his Gospel does in fact conclude without a christophany, this omission accords with the form of the apostolic proclamation in 1 Cor 15.5–8 and in the kerygmatic speeches in Acts, where it is sufficient for the audience to know that christophanies have occurred. It has also to be kept in mind that Mark's readers could easily have been in possession of a tradition of one or several christophanies to which the evangelist simply chose to allude.
(b) Lk 24.13–32. The Appearance to the Disciples on the Way to Emmaus is a narrative quite skillfully written. It is linked to the women's visit to the tomb (the two disciples discount the women's report on the ground that no one has seen Jesus alive, Lk 24.22–24) and to the appearance to Peter from which the Eleven and others have learned of Jesus' resurrection (Lk 24.33–34). Paradoxically, the disciples who refuse the women's report because Jesus has not been seen alive do not recognize him (Lk 24.16). Their surprise that the traveler who now accompanies them is apparently unaware of the importance of the crucifixion and death of Jesus of Nazareth (Lk 24.18–21) is matched by the traveler's surprise that they have not understood the tragedy of this prophet in terms of the OT Scriptures (Lk 24.25–27). The disciples' sadness (Lk 24.17) begins to dissipate as a result of their confrontation with the Scriptures under the guidance of the traveler (Lk 24.28–29). The meal to which they had been looking forward in his company terminates when bread is broken and given them by the traveler: the mysteriousness of non-recognition becomes the mysteriousness of recognition; but with recognition he vanishes from their sight (Lk 24.30–31). Their report in Jerusalem is over-shadowed by the announcement of the Eleven and others that "the Lord has really been raised and has appeared to Simon" (Lk 24.34).
In this narrative of Luke the experience of the two disciples surpasses that of the women, who do not see the risen Christ but have a vision of angels affirming "that he was alive" (Lk 24.23). But it falls short of the experience of Simon to whom "the Lord … appeared" (Lk 24.34). Luke uses the verb ōphthē of the appearance, as does Paul in 1 Cor 15.5–8 of all the appearances he mentions. In Paul this verb supposes that Christ appears as one who has received a glorious afterlife from which he reigns over the Christian community. The two disciples discover at Emmaus that Jesus of Nazareth (Lk 24.19) is indeed alive. But Peter discovers that he is alive and raised by God as "the Lord." The two disciples recognize him; Peter understands also his identity.
The Emmaus narrative has to be understood within the limitation placed upon it by Luke. The two disciples only begin to perceive that the suffering of Jesus possesses religious meaning when the traveler explains the Scriptures to them (Lk 24.25–27). Even when they did not recognize him, his explanation cast the suffering of Jesus of Nazareth in a new and impressive light (Lk 24.32). Their recognition of him at "the breaking of the bread" (Lk 24.30–31, 35) is certainly a Eucharistic allusion, but it does not imply the fullness of understanding. Rather the fullness of understanding is a requirement for a share in the Eucharistic meal. It is this understanding they begin to acquire from the declaration of the disciples at Jerusalem that "the Lord … has appeared to Simon."
As NT scholars have shown, Luke composed the Emmaus narrative from at least two sources. He also reworked these sources to highlight the historical ministry of Jesus (Lk 24.19), the passion-resurrection prophecies (Lk 24.20, 21b), the Christian use of the OT Scriptures (Lk 24.25–27), the Eucharist (Lk 24.35), and the apostolic proclamation of the resurrection of Christ (Lk 24.34). Thus his Emmaus narrative presents a compendium of factors that are essential to the formation of Christian faith. Luke was more interested in the religious significance of the Emmaus appearance than in the phenomenon of the appearance itself.
(c) Lk 24.36–53. The Appearance to the Eleven is a narrative composed of three distinct parts: the appearance of the risen Christ (Lk 24.36–43); the mission mandate (Lk 24.44–49); and the departure of Christ (Lk 24.50–53). To maintain the literary continuity of his resurrection narrative as a whole, Luke places this appearance-story in the context of the report of the Emmaus disciples (Lk 24.36). The story is concerned with the disciples' recognition of Christ as corporeally risen and objectively present before them: it is not his spirit or a phantom that they see (cf. Acts 23.9), as the marks of his wounds attest (Lk 24.39a); nor are they undergoing a subjective vision, for they can touch him if they wish (Lk 24.39b). Jesus eating broiled fish before them (Lk 24.41–43) is obviously intended by Luke to indicate his bodily resurrection, but how this implication follows is unclear unless one supposes that as the host he shared the fish with them (cf. Acts 10.41). Since the story as a whole is introduced by mention of the disciples' panic and fright, a strange reaction in view of their knowledge of two appearances of Jesus, it becomes all the more clear that Luke wishes to emphasize the corporeal and objective reality of these appearances of the risen Christ, especially because he has had to acknowledge the Emmaus disciples' passage from non-recognition to recognition.
The mission mandate is a compressed summary of the kerygmatic speeches in Acts, followed by mention of the gift of the Holy Spirit enabling the disciples to perform the mission (Lk 24.49; cf. Acts 1.5 for the meaning of the "promise of the Father"). The departure scene seems to be introduced with the priestly blessing of the risen Christ (cf. Heb 8.1; Sir 50.19–21). Whether there is explicit mention of an ascension in Lk 24.51 ("he was taken up to heaven") depends upon the authenticity of this clause in the Greek text. The reading has the support of good MSS, of Acts 1.2, and Lk 24.52a ("they fell down to do him reverence"), which is consistent with it.
(d) Mt 28.9–10. The Appearance to the Women seems, from a literary standpoint, a poorly placed christophany. Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" (Mt 28.1) have been instructed by the angel to inform the disciples of Jesus' resurrection and of a meeting with them in Galilee. As they are on their way to fulfill this commission, Jesus appears to them. Two observations may be made on the literary location of this brief narrative. In both Luke and John the appearance of Christ to the Eleven (or Twelve), Jesus' chosen disciples, is preceded by a chris-tophany to others that prepares the Eleven for the experience of the risen Christ: the Emmaus disciples in Luke, who report to the Eleven and Mary Magdalene in John, who also makes a report (Jn 20.18). It seems then that Matthew's literary location of the appearance to the women follows a tradition that christophanies were first experienced by those outside the group constituting Jesus' chosen disciples and reported to them. Second, the instruction of the risen Christ to the women speaks of "my brethren" (Mt 28.10), not of the "disciples" as in Mt 28.7. "Brethren" is the common Christian term in the NT for a fraternal relationship. Consequently, the message of the risen Christ from the women to the disciples implies his forgiveness of their desertion of him. As in Luke and John, a prior christophany in Matthew prepares for the appearance of the risen Christ to his chosen disciples.
(e) Mt 28.16–20. This Appearance to the Eleven in Mt presents the most solemn christophany in the resurrection-narratives. It takes place on an undesignated mountain in Galilee (a favorite place for significant events in Mt: Jesus' temptation, 4.8; the Sermon on the Mount, 5.1; Jesus' prayer after the feeding of the five thousand and before the sea-walking, 14.23; Jesus' healing of a multitude of sick, 15.29; and the Transfiguration, 17.1). What precise symbolism, if any, the evangelist attached to the mountain is undetermined. Strangely, at the appearance of Christ the Eleven worship him but some "doubted." The majority of NT scholars no longer interpret this doubt by translating "had doubted" (impermissible in view of the aorist tense of the Greek verb). Some consider it to be a reference to earlier doubts among the Eleven; but if such was the evangelist's viewpoint, it is difficult to understand why he did not indicate that the doubts were now dissipated. A plausible explanation is that Matthew makes use of the tradition of doubt among Jesus' disciples concerning his resurrection to criticize the doubts of the Christian community of his own time, a point that may also be made in Mk 16.14.
The words of the risen Christ portray a structure of the Christian community that combines divine and human authority: the full authority of the risen Christ residing in the realm of God is shared in history by the Eleven. In turn they are to share it by making disciples in all nations. These disciples are to be united to the triune God through Baptism; and, beginning with the Eleven, whatever Jesus has taught (as recorded in Mt) is to be carried out by the Eleven and by the disciples in all the nations. In this very mission, the risen Christ will be mysteriously present as long as human history endures. The text of this mandate in Mt 28.18–20 is related to Dn7.13–14 and probably also to Ps 110.1. The exact conceptual relationship between these OT passages and this passage in Mt remains, however, uncertain.
(f) Jn 20.11–18. The Appearance to Mary Magdalene is a christophany in which the theme of nonrecognition occurs. But unlike Luke's Emmaus-narrative, it is given a practical explanation: Magdalene takes Jesus for the gardener because she assumes that he is dead and that his corpse has been taken from the tomb and buried elsewhere (Jn 20.11–15). Her recognition occurs when Jesus calls her by name (Jn 20.16). Since there has been a previous conversation, it is not simply the sound of Jesus' voice that causes the recognition but his knowledge of her. While in Luke the mysteriousness lies in the non-recognition, in John it lies in the recognition. Evidently, Magdalene assumes that the risen Christ is to resume his past relationship with his disciples (probably, the import of "Don't cling to me," Jn 20.17). Jesus corrects her assumption by instructing her to inform his disciples that he is ascending to his Father. By focusing attention on the ascension, the evangelist prepares the way for Jesus' gift of the Spirit to the Twelve. (g) Jn 20.19–29. The Appearance to the Disciples and to Thomas concludes the Fourth Gospel. In the narrative of the appearance to the disciples (Jn 20.19–23), their recognition of the risen Christ results from the perception of his wounds, at the sight of which the disciples rejoice (Jn 20.20). Their recognition and rejoicing are theologically based: in John the cross is the beginning of Jesus' glorification (Jn 13.31–32), and by means of it he will attract the world to himself (Jn 12.32). With his appearance to them, the disciples begin to understand the truth of his words and rejoice that he is about to achieve this goal. However, the achievement is to be brought about in history by themselves. Having understood the religious significance of the cross and resurrection, they are capable of receiving and exercising the mission mandate (Jn 20.21–23): they are given the Spirit so that they might exercise discernment and authority to forgive men's sins or to withold forgiveness in the name of Christ, a power that the evangelist leaves unspecified and therefore probably conceives broadly. The fact that he makes no mention of Jesus' departure suggests that he wishes to give particular prominence to the mission mandate.
The narrative of the appearance to the unbelieving Thomas (Jn 20.24–29) is a dramatic conclusion to the Gospel, which has been written in support of Christian faith: "… that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the …" (cf. Jn 20.30–31). The drama results from his absence when the christophany occurred. He refuses the disciples' testimony to the christophany and its religious significance, taking the position that unless he has the opportunity to judge for himself and on his own terms, he will not believe (Jn 20.24–25). The occurrence of the subsequent christophany with the disciples again behind locked doors (Jn 20.26; cf. Jn 20.19) does not mean that the risen Christ physically passed through locked doors, but that the physical construction of things does not preclude his objective presence. The reality and communicative force of Christ's presence are so compelling, that Thomas makes the supreme confession: "My Lord and my God" (Jn 20.28).
In the opinion of contemporary NT scholars, the story of the unbelieving Thomas was inspired by the tradition of the doubt among the Twelve (Lk 24.41; Mt 28.17; Mk 16.14) and the difficulties of some Christians in holding to the resurrection-faith at a time when the original witnesses to the risen Christ had died out. It was, of course, always known that actual witnesses were few in number and that the resurrection-faith arose out of the apostolic testimony. The story of the unbelieving Thomas dwells upon the latter fact: that it was through the apostolic word, accepted as the word of God (cf. 1 Thes 2.13), that the Christian community originated. Although the original witnesses are no longer with the community, the power of their word remains with it. The blessing or macarism (a Jewish way of speaking of one's good fortune in having accepted God's word, cf. Lk 1.45; 10.23) that concludes the story (Jn 20.29) does not contrast those who believed as the result of a christophany with those who believed without having experienced a christophany. The blessing is an instruction that both groups of believers are equally fortunate. The resurrection-faith lies at the heart of the Christian community, and both groups enjoy the same understanding of it. The double manner of its origin is the work of God.
(h) Jn 21.1–23. The narrative of the Appearance to the Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias is an addition to the Fourth Gospel, made (unlike Mk 16.9–20) before its publication, as its universal presence in the MS tradition shows. Generally speaking, its purpose is to reflect upon the roles played by Simon Peter and the beloved disciple of the Fourth Gospel (Jn 13.23; 19.26; 20.2) in the development of the Christian community. The supposition of the narrative is that both Simon Peter and the beloved disciple are dead. It is composed of two parts: an account of the appearance of the risen Christ on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias—a later name for the Sea of Galilee—(Jn 21.1–14); and an account of a conversation between Christ and Simon Peter on this occasion (Jn 21.15–23).
The appearance of Christ is set in the context of a fishing scene and in the framework of the disciples' nonrecognition of him. When he suggests where they should cast the net, they do not recognize him. But after a strikingly large catch (Jn 21.6), the beloved disciple realizes that the person on the shore is "the Lord" and so informs Simon Peter (Jn 21.7). Once on shore and breakfasting at Christ's invitation, the group of disciples recognize him (Jn 21.12). The principal point of the story is that the beloved disciple leads Simon Peter to the recognition of the risen Christ. NT scholars recognize a Eucharistic allusion in Jesus' giving of the bread and fish to the disciples (Jn 21.13), but perhaps the allusion occurs by way of reference to Jn 6.11, where Jesus performs the same action for the purpose of the feeding of the five thousand. After the feeding, an instruction of Jesus follows, ending in a confession by Simon Peter (Jn 6.68–69). An instruction of Jesus now follows that focuses on Simon Peter.
The instruction is a mission mandate directed to Peter alone as in Mt 16.18–19. Three times Jesus requires him to confess his devotion, now to the risen Christ (almost certainly an allusion to the insistent tradition of his triple denial); and three times Jesus commands him to care for those who believe in him—imaged as "lambs" and "sheep"—(Jn 21.15–17). Since the leading function here given Peter is conveyed in symbolic language, its exact nature and extent cannot be set out in neat, concrete terms. It is acknowledged that his performance of the role of shepherd given him led to his martyrdom (Jn 21.18–19). The role of the beloved disciple, on the other hand, was to serve Christ in another way, one that involved preaching and teaching, but not martyrdom. It is probable that the conversation between Jesus and Peter in Jn 21.21–23 has the purpose of presenting John the Apostle as one who, like Peter, but without Peter's specific mandate from Christ, exercised a pastoral ministry of preaching and teaching that is of enduring significance for the Christian community and to which the Fourth Gospel stands as the lasting witness.
Concluding observations. The resurrection narratives contain no allegations or claims that in themselves constitute an object of historical research. From beginning to end the narratives are theological statement. Behind them lies an assumption of divine action in history. But this assumption is neither systematic nor unsystematic philosophical or theological speculation. It is an assumption unrelated to any religious thought, whether philosophical or theological, including the thought of the OT Scriptures and of Judaism itself, that preceded it. The assumption is specific: that God raised Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, died, and was buried as a seditionist under Pontius Pilate and manifested him to be reigning in his own realm as the salvific Lord of creation. The assumption itself is historically undemonstrable: only its context, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth on grounds of sedition, is an object of historical evaluation. Although the assumption itself was not the net result of religious speculation of any kind and was not presented in terms of the historically demonstrable, it was not without its own historical context: the assertions of specific people to be the divine appointees to witness to the risen Christ and to his religious reign. Except on the assumption of the divine action in history testified to by specific people as divinely appointed witnesses, a testimony that is presumed to be accepted, the resurrection narratives carry neither conviction nor intelligible meaning.
Once the presupposition of the resurrection narratives is accepted, however, they acquire meaning that is both forceful and challenging. The sequel to the burial of Jesus of Nazareth in accordance with the customs of the time is the natural mystery of the open-empty tomb. But the resurrection narratives do not permit this natural mystery to hold the field of thought. It is elevated to the plane of the resurrection itself by angelic messengers: a natural explanation for this natural mystery is denied from the outset. Even in John's Gospel, the empty tomb is not a cause for weeping (Jn 20.13). The resurrection narratives show no interest in supplying data that leave no room for doubt about the empty tomb. They reflect a point of view that it was more important to provide a theological explanation for this phenomenon, than to supply historical information guaranteeing the emptiness of the tomb. The fact that a theological explanation was invariably offered shows at least that it was the Christian conviction that the tomb was found to be empty.
The variety of the christophanies reveals the same theological preoccupation as the variety of the accounts of the empty tomb: a phenomenon occurred that also required interpretation. In the instance of the christophanies, the phenomenon was the personal manifestation of the risen Christ to chosen witnesses. The content of the christophanies as they exist in the resurrection narratives seems to be due in part to the function carried out in their lifetimes by at least some of the recipients and in part to the catechetical needs of the Christian community. There is no need to assume that the risen Christ parceled out specific directions to a variety of people who then compared notes. St. Paul asserts that after his experience of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he felt no need to consult with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal 1.15–17). That some form of communication took place between the risen Christ and the chosen witnesses is plausible and is indicated by Luke (Acts 1.3; 10.41). But such communication could bear only upon the immediate future and would in itself require interpretation in the course of time. The fact that the resurrection narratives offer a variety of interpretations of christophanies indicates that the appearances of the risen Christ took place, but in such a way as to require interpretation.
The literary classification of the christophanies remains unsettled. They have been categorized according to their setting (Jerusalem or Galilee), according to their content (recognition or mission), and according to their purpose (personal or apostolic).
Bibliography: p. benoit, Passion et Résurrection du Seigneur (Paris 1966). j. blinzler, "Die Grablegung Christi," in e. dhanis, ed., Resurrexit: Actes du Symposium International sur la Résurrection de Jésus (Rome 1974) 56–107. e. l. bode, The First Easter Morning (Rome 1970). r. e. brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York 1973); The Gospel according to John, XIII–XXI (New York 1970). c. h. dodd, "The Appearance of the Risen Christ: A Study in Form-Criticism of the Gospels," More New Testament Studies (Grand Rapids, MI 1968). r. h. fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives (New York 1971). j. p. galvin, "Resurrection as Theologia crucis Jesu : The Foundational Christology of Rudolf Pesch," Theological Studies 38 (1977) 513–524. x. lÉon-dufour, Résurrection de Jésus et méssage pascal (Paris 1971). w. marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Philadelphia, PA 1970). c. f. d. moule, ed., The Significance of the Message of the Resurrection for Faith in Jesus Christ (Naperville, IL 1968). b. rigaux, Dieu l'a ressuscité: Exégèse et théologie biblique (Gembloux, Belgium 1973). l. schenke, Auferstehungsverkündigung und leeres Grab (Stuttgart 1968). p. seidensticker, Die Auferstehung Jesu in der Botschafft der Evangelisten (Stuttgart 1967). h. strathmann, "Martys," g. kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4:474–508. p. de surgy, p. grelot, et al., La Résurrection du Christ et l'exégèse moderne (Paris 1969).
[c. p. ceroke]
2. Theology of
The meaning of the Resurrection has never been so fully understood as during apostolic times. The Resurrection was the source and the object of faith; the theology of the time was a theology of the paschal mystery. It is not the purpose of the present section to follow the evolution of the early ideas and to determine what is peculiar to each author of the New Testament but, in keeping with the demands of theology, to endeavor by a proper arrangement of the Scripture texts to grasp the very mystery of the Resurrection. The elements of synthesis furnished by Scripture are grouped under two main heads.
RISEN CHRIST, UNIVERSAL SAVIOR
Some texts concern Christ constituted universal savior by the Resurrection (objective Redemption). They show in the Resurrection the fulfillment of eschatological salvation and determine the relations between the Resurrection and the death of Christ, between the Resurrection and the incarnation.
Resurrection and the Final Coming of the Kingdom. Jesus had announced the kingdom of god, that is, the final advent of the dominion of God. He had taken the title of son of man, which, in the evocation of Daniel chapter 7 and the connections that Jesus established between this title and "the Day," appears to be an eschatological title: it characterizes Jesus as the perfecter of the world (Mt 10.23; 19.28; 25.31; 26.64; Mk 8.38; 13.26; Lk 11.29–32; 12.8–9, 40; 17.24, 26–30; 18.8; 21.36). It is certain that, according to the Synoptic tradition, the coming of the kingdom is connected with "the coming" of Jesus [see K. H. Schelkle, Die Passion Jesu in der Verkündigung des NT (Heidelberg 1949) 199]. It would take place when the Son of Man "would come" with power [R. Schnackenburg, God's Rule and Kingdom, tr. J. Murray (New York 1963) 177]. Between the kingdom and the Son of Man in His coming there exists a real identity, so much so that the two terms, kingdom and Son of Man, can be interchanged (cf. Mk 8.39 and Mt 16.28; Lk 18.29 and Mt 19.28; Mt 25.34 and 41). The power and the glory whose sudden appearance in the world constitutes the eschatological coming of God are proper to Jesus in His "coming." This final coming of the kingdom, which is also that of the Son of Man, is already contained in germ in the miracles (Lk 10.18, 23–24; 11.20), and it is certain that Jesus spoke of it as being very near (Mt 10.23; Mk 8.38–39; 13.30; Lk 12.54–56; 22.16–18).
In saying "But first he [the Son of Man] must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation" (Lk 17.25), He links the final coming (verse 24) with His death, not as to something merely presupposed but by an internal bond (see Mk 10.37–38; Lk 19.12, 15). The announcement of the death and the Resurrection of the Son of Man (Mk 8.31; 9.9–12, 30; 10.32–34) pertains to the preaching of the eschatological kingdom: it means that it is through death and then in a Resurrection that Jesus will enter into the glory of the kingdom (Luke 24.26, 46). Jesus thus fulfills the prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 on the heavenly coming of the Son of Man through that of the Suffering Servant.
The account of the Last Supper (see Lk 22.14–20) is the summit and point of crystallization of the Synoptic thought on the kingdom: here this appears imminent (verses 16–18, 29–30), like a meal, but one that will be a pasch and a completed pasch (v.16), a repast in the joy of a new world (Mk 14.25). In this narrative, kingdom and Eucharist are placed in the same perspective and thus receive mutual clarification one from the other. In the light of the Eucharist, which is image and mysterious realization of the kingdom, one discovers that the nourishment of the eschatological banquet is none other than Christ in His oblation for the multitude. Here, then, again the kingdom is linked with the Person of Jesus and His death pertains to the mystery of this kingdom.
Before His Passion, Jesus said: "… hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right of the Power and coming upon the clouds of heaven" (Mt 26.64). The reference to Daniel chapter 7 is evident, where the advent of the Son of Man means the advent of an eternal empire. The Son of Man "comes" henceforth through death, into the glory (Lk 24.26) and the omnipotence (Mt 28.18) that in the eyes of the early Church are synonyms for the coming of the kingdom (cf. Mk 10.37 and Mt 20.21; Mk 8.38 and 8.39; 1 Thes 2.12).
Unique Coming. Scripture does not say explicitly that the kingdom has come in the Resurrection. But it is certain that the coming was considered very near, linked with death and identical with the coming of Jesus in glory and power. It is also certain that primitive thought knew only one coming of the kingdom, in the one and final "coming" of Christ. The later transformation of "the coming" into a "return" and the notion of successive parousias is not in keeping with early thought and beclouds it. Theology has the right to conclude that the coming of the kingdom in which is the eschatological fullness of salvation is identical with the mystery of the Resurrection.
For Saint John, more explicitly than for the Synoptics, the Hour of Christ is at the same time that of His Passion and that of His final consummation (Jn 12.31–32; cf.5.25 and 17.1–3).
It is significant that after the Resurrection the Apostles no longer announced the kingdom to come, but the risen Christ. The Resurrection is considered as the advent of salvation; it forms the principal object (Acts 2.22–36;4.8–12), indeed the only object (4.33), of the message of salvation. It is no longer the preparation for eschatological events (Acts 17.31; 1 Thes 1.10), but the termination of history (Acts 13.32–33), the final accomplishment (Acts 13.34) of every promise of salvation (Acts 13.32;26.6, 22–23) from that made to Abraham (Acts 3.25–26) to that made to David (Acts 2.31). The coming of the Son of Man is henceforth a reality (Acts 7.55–56). Jesus has become the Messiah-Lord (Acts 2.36), elevated to the throne of David (Acts 2.30–31), at the right hand of God (Acts 2.33–34). All salvation is in Him (Acts 4.11–12).
Kyrios and Pleroma. The characteristic title of the risen Christ is that of Kyrios (Lord). It was given to Christ with the same meaning it had when applied to God (Phil2.9; Jn 20.28) in the fullness of His sovereignty. It is the Resurrection that has established Jesus in this Lordship (Acts 2.24–36; Mt 28.18; Rom 10.9; Phil 2.9–11). In view of the realism the Semites attached to the name, the granting of the sovereign Name means that the Resurrection was not merely a vivification but rather a divinization, the total assumption of the man Jesus in God and in His attributes [see Saint Ambrose, De excessu fratris sui Satyri 2.91, Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 73:299; Summa theologiae 3a, 55.2]. Such an affirmation contains an unfathomable mystery that justifies the most surprising assertions of the New Testament on the risen Christ's manner of being and acting.
It seems also that Saint Paul was thinking of the Resurrection and not of the Incarnation in the beginning when he said that "it has pleased God the Father to make dwell in him the fullness" (Col 1.19), to make it dwell there "bodily" (Col 2.9), that is, it seems, in the body of the risen Christ [see L. Cerfaux, Christ in the Theology of St. Paul, tr. G. Webb and A. Walker (New York 1959) 427]. The term fullness (πλήρωμα, pleroma), borrowed here from popularized Stoicism [see J. Dupont, Gnosis (Bruges 1949) 453–76], designates the whole plenitude of being and of creative and saving power that is in God and, through God, in the world [see Theodori episcopi mopsuesteni in ep. b. Pauli commentarii, ed. H. B. Swete (Cambridge 1880 1:275–76]. This divine and cosmic totality God was pleased to concentrate in Christ in raising Him from the dead [see P. Benoit, "Corps, tête et plérôme dans les ép. de la captivité," Revue biblique 63 (1956) 31–44]. In this plenitude, Christ has become the summit and term of creation, but also the root where all begins (1 Cor 8.6; Col 1.16). For all men the end and salvation consist in participating in this plenitude (Col 2.9; Eph 1.23; 4.10, 13, 15).
This Lordship and plenitude make the Resurrection the eschatological event. It has already been seen that the power and the glory of the Lordship (Rom 1.4; 2 Thes2.14) are eschatological attributes (1 Thes 2.12; 2 Thes2.14). The divinization by the granting of the Name and the universal acclamation of the Resurrected (Phil2.9–11) express the Parousia triumph of Christ. The text of Isaiah 45.23 used in Phil 2.10 to describe the paschal exaltation describes in Rom 14.11 the last judgment. The submission of the cosmic powers obtained in the glorification of Christ (Eph 1.20–21) is, according to 1 Cor 15.24–25, the effect of the final triumph. Thus it is established that the Resurrection constitutes the advent of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus had announced as near.
Scripture, however, recognizes multiple effects, ranged in time, of the unique Parousia—coming with Easter; in the Church (Jn 14.18–20); coming manifested by the destruction of Jerusalem, of the adversary who is already at work in Paul's time (2 Thes 2.6–8); etc. The theologian concludes from this that the final mystery, already realized in all its power in the sole Person of Christ, ought henceforth to be communicated to the Church and imposed on the world.
Spirit-Flesh Antithesis. The difference between the new being of Christ and His earthly being is expressed in the antithesis Spirit and flesh. The Spirit is the heavenly reality (Jn 3.3–5; 1 Cor 2.12; 1 Pt 1.12); in it resides the sanctity and power of God (Lk 1.35; Acts 1.8; 10.38; Rom 15.13, 19; 1 Thes 1.5); it is the vivifying "glory" of God, while carnal man deprived of the Spirit is said to be "deprived of the glory of God" (Rom 3.23). Glory, strength, Spirit are associated in many texts (see 1 Cor 15.43–45) and constitute one and the same reality. All that which defines God [power, life, holiness, spirituality (Jn 4.24), love] is proper to the Spirit: it is the expression of the divine transcendence and, for man, the gift of the Spirit is eschatological salvation (Rom 8.11, 23; Eph1.13–14). The flesh, on the contrary, denotes man in an existence closed to God, deprived of the Spirit, a stranger to the kingdom (1 Cor 15.50).
Christ, then, who had lived according to the flesh (Rom 1.3) and "died by the flesh" and by its weakness, God has raised up by the power that is the Spirit (2 Cor 13.4; 1 Pt 3.18; Rom 8.11), by His glory (Rom 6.4) that is the Spirit. The divine resuscitating action is the total effusion of the Spirit, into which Christ was entirely transformed to the point of becoming Himself "a vivifying spirit" (1 Cor 15.45), in some way identified with the Spirit: "Now the Lord is the spirit" (2 Cor 3.17). Not that Christ, in the eyes of Saint Paul, would henceforth be an ethereal impersonal substance, as a liberal exegesis has claimed. It is the same Christ, previously asleep in death, who has "been awakened" (cf. Greek of Rom 4.25) and who "arose again" (ἀνάστασις). But the Spirit has communicated to Christ His own manner of divine being, and that is a profound mystery. In the context of 2 Cor 3.17, the Spirit was opposed to a written document (γράμμα), that is, to the ancient economy, devoid of vivifying substances (2 Cor 3.6); Christ who "is the spirit" is presented because of this as the concentration of all the vivifying, sanctifying, celestial reality that is the Spirit and of whom the rest, according to Col 2.17, was but a shadow projected by the body. Here is found the reaffirmation of the assumption of Christ in God, that "the plenitude" is in Him, that He has become the total and final reality; but with a more immediate reference to the salvation of men, for the Spirit is communication (2 Cor 13.13) and sanctification (2 Thes 2.13; 1 Cor 6.11). In this Christ-spirit, the vivifying action is essential to His being; he is the "vivifying spirit" (1 Cor 15.45), the communicative fullness (2 Cor 3.18). The unique effusion of the Spirit, concentrated on Christ, ought to reach all men, as the Resurrection of Christ was for them (2 Cor 5.15).
According to Saint John, the gift of the Spirit depends on the exaltation of Jesus (Jn 7.39; 16.7); for, on the one hand, the Spirit is the reality from on high (Jn 3.3,5), and, on the other, it is the corporal humanity of Jesus that is the means of communion with celestial reality (the body is the rock from which springs forth the water of the Spirit, Jn 7.37–39; the bread of heavenly life, Jn 6.51; the temple of the New Testament, Jn 2.21). It was necessary that Jesus, even in the body, be exalted in the Father that from His immolated and celestial body there might spring forth the waters of the Spirit (see Jn 7.37–39; 19.34 and 20.22). On Easter, He gave the Spirit (Jn 20.22).
Relationship between the death and Resurrection. The glory of Christ is linked with His death by a necessary bond: it is the end of a movement accomplished in His death. Saint Luke speaks of a departure (Lk9.31), of a taking up (Lk 9.51) to God; the Resurrection is the purpose of the death (Lk 24.26; Jn 10.17). For Saint John, the death is a passage (Jn 13.1, 3; 14.12; 16.5, 10,28), a lifting up above the earth (Jn 3.14; 12.32), an ascension into heaven (Jn 3.13; 6.63; Rv 12.5). This ascension is not local, it is a transformation. Saint John mentions the points of departure and arrival: Jesus passed "from this world to the Father" (Jn 13.1). During His earthly existence, Jesus became adapted to this world, deprived of His glory (Jn 17.5), and, because of this, far removed from the Father. By His death, He entered into the bosom of His Father (Jn 13.32), into His glorious sanctity (Jn 17.1, 5, 19). The redeeming death is essentially divine exaltation of Jesus.
Justification. Saint Paul points out that the earthly existence of Jesus was in relation to sin. For this was an existence according to the flesh (Rom 1.3); and the flesh, closed to the spirit (Gal 5.17) and therefore to the vivifying holiness of God, is for this reason "a flesh of sin" (Rom 8.3) and of death (Rom 7.24). Although of a divine condition, Christ had been a man like others (Phil 2.7), subject to slavery (Phil 2.7), to that of the Law (Gal 4.4), in a flesh like to that of sin (Rom 8.3). "Made sin for us" (2 Cor 5.21) because of His flesh, He needed the holiness of the Spirit in which man is "justified" (1 Tm 3.16). His death was a death to the flesh, to sin (Rom 6.10), and to the Law (see Gal 2.19), because through it He entered into the holiness and power of the Spirit (Rom 1.4). The redeeming act constitutes a process of justification in Christ as well as of divinization (Rom 6.10).
Sacrifice. Considered as a sacrifice, Redemption appears as a giving by Christ of Himself (Eph 5.2). The Epistle to the Hebrews sees this giving as a movement that carries Christ from the earthly sphere (Heb 9.11–12) through the veil of His flesh (10.20) into the divine sanctuary. His entrance into the sanctuary and His sitting at the right hand of God (12.2) expresses a divinizing transformation that the Epistle calls "the consummation" (Heb 2.10; 5.9). According to Jn 17.19, the sacrifice is a "sanctification," which transfers the victim from a profane existence into divine holiness. The glorification, then, pertains to the sacrifice: it is its result, the acceptance in God of the victim offered in death. It ought to be concluded that death for Christ constituted the entrance into total communion with God.
Summary. Consequently, the death is essentially related to the glorification, without which it would have no redemptive meaning, nor be a sacrifice; for a giving does not exist if it is not accepted, and a movement without a term is inconceivable. One understands, therefore, 1 Cor 15.17, "If Christ has not risen … you are still in your sins."
Salvation was a personal drama with Christ. The effect of His death, the total object of His merit, was His Resurrection. It was He who, thanks to His death, was "saved from death" (Heb 5.7). For others, the death of Christ is advantageous because of the glory to which it leads (Heb 2.9; 5.9).
Redemptive merit is not understood according to the law of do ut des, but (cf. Saint Thomas, De ver. 29.7) as the physical and moral disposition to receive the gift of God. The death was total submission (Phil 2.8; Rom5.19), complete disponibility for the divine plenitude; the purpose of the sufferings was to prepare this receptivity (Heb 2.10; 5.8). Thus the merit is in the death (Phil 2.9; Heb 2.9), and the Resurrection is the divine gift that corresponds to this receptivity. That is why, even in Saint John (Jn 12.28; 13.32; 17.1), the Resurrection is almost always the work of the Father.
The redemptive act was not a gift offered to God to appease Him. Since He is love, God took the initiative in saving (Jn 3.16; Eph 1.9). It is Jesus who welcomed the gift of God. Even if the sacrifice was a giving, it was a giving of self, that is, acceptance of the dominion of God. For sin means opposition to God, the refusal of His saving justice (Rom 10.3); the sinner is characterized by his withdrawal (Lk 15.4–20) and by the absence of God's glory in him (Rom 3.23) [see S. Lyonnet, De peccato et redemptione, v.1, De notione peccati (Rome 1957) 81–82, 90]. Christ satisfied divine justice, offended by the refusal to receive it, when He allowed Himself to be filled with it to the point of "becoming justice" (1 Cor 1.30). Expiation does not consist of compensatory suffering; according to Scripture, it is God who expiates, that is, wipes out sin [see L. Moraldi, Espiazione sacrificale e riti espiatori nell'ambiente biblico e nell AT (Rome 1956) 265–66]. The Spirit of the Resurrection is the expiation of the sins of the world; He frees the flesh of sin (Jn 1.29 and 20.22–23).
In a theological system where Redemption is understood as a gift of infinite value made by Christ in compensation for offenses, the death is not necessary; it is even declared useless, since every action of Christ is of infinite value. If, because of scriptural evidence, one attributes salvation to death, it is not so much to death itself as to the circumstances that preceded it (suffering, etc.). In paschal theology, the death appears necessary, in keeping with Sacred Scripture; for salvation is God who gives Himself, and it is by death that Christ opened Himself to this infinite gift.
Relationship between the Resurrection and Incarnation. To say that the death was an entrance into total communion with God is to affirm that the Incarnation began in Christ a history whose termination was the Resurrection. The glory pertains to the definition of the Incarnation (Jn 1.14); now, although Christ experienced passing glorification on earth (Jn 2.11; 11.4), only the Hour brought Him the glory that was His (Jn 17.1–5). The definition of the Incarnation given in Jn 10.36 comprises two elements: the consecration by which Jesus is in God, and the mission that brought Him among men.
Now according to Jn 17.19, it is by death that Christ is consecrated in God; for, if by an initial consecration He is already in heaven, one with the Father (Jn 3.13;10.30, 38), He must, nevertheless, still go to the Father (Jn 14.12) and ascend into heaven (Jn 6.63). On earth He is not then in His full truth, which is to be: "the Son in the bosom of the Father" (Jn 1.18).
As regards the mission: it is simultaneously to the world and to the death in which He is lifted up that, according to Jn 3.14–16, Christ is delivered up. His coming includes a departure: "I go away and I come" (Jn 14.28). He goes away in order to come.
In the same manner, the effects of salvation, proper to the Incarnation, are produced only in glory: by the Incarnation Jesus is the light that gives life to the faithful (Jn 8.12), but in His exaltation (Jn 3.14–15; 8.28;17.1–3); by the Incarnation, He is the living font, bread from heaven, resurrection of the dead, but in His exaltation (cf. Jn 4.14 and 7.37–39; 6.33 and 6.63–64; 11.25 and 17.1–3). Scripture recognizes therefore a development of the mystery of the Incarnation in Christ.
Saint Paul says in turn that Christ "was constituted Son of God in power by the resurrection" (Rom 1.4); the resurrecting act of the Father is a divine generation (Acts 13.33). The Epistle to the Hebrews calls Christ Son of God, high priest according to the order of Melchizedek; it sees Him in His "consummation" (glorification). The affirmations of the Epistle to the Hebrews about the Incarnation concern in general Christ glorified (cf. Heb5.5–6 and 5.9–10; 6.20).
It is therefore in the history of the Incarnation that Redemption was achieved: salvation is communion with God, by divine Incarnation, realized in its plenitude in the Resurrection. It would be the duty of theology to define this real progress of the Incarnation, in such a way that the truth of the divinity of Christ on earth would in no way be weakened.
Resurrection and Death Eternal Realities. Although because of its circumstances (empty tomb, apparitions, etc.) the Resurrection was included in history (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, ed. A. Schönmetzer, 3436; cf. 1 Cor 15.4), it is in itself an eschatological fact that remains ever present. For it is an action of divine plenitude [the granting of the Name (Phil 2.9), of the pleroma (Col 1.19; 2.9)]; it is the final consummation (Heb 2.10; 5.9), and therefore eternal. The texts that show in the Resurrection the blossoming of the divine filiation permit the theologian to understand Acts of the Apostles 13.33 in the deepest sense: "He has raised up Jesus, as it is written … 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."' The Resurrection proceeds from the mystery of the eternal generation. Thus it is made clear that every follower who is united in Christ is "raised up with" Him (Col 2.12–13; Eph 2.5–6). For he is united to Him the moment the Father engenders Him; he becomes a new creature (2 Cor 4.16; 5.17; Col 3.10), he is born (Ti 3.5), because Christ, to whom he is united, is placed at the original point of His newness, in the filial beginning that is the Resurrection.
To this permanent vivification by God there corresponds a simultaneous permanence of the death. For Saint John, the term for "the exaltation above the earth" is the cross (Jn 12.32–33; 3.14); this is the eternal place of glorification [W. Thüsing, Die Erhöhung und Verherrlichung Jesu im Johannesevangelium (Münster 1960) 31–33]. It is then in death that Christ is glorified. The Hour when Christ's destiny is accomplished is simultaneously death and glorification. The death is the moment of plenitude when "all is consummated" (Jn 19.30). In Jn 19.31–37 the image of the eternal Christ is presented. He is pierced through (v.37; 20.27), the lamb of which no bone is broken—for He is upright in death (Rv 5.6)—nevertheless, a lamb forever immolated (ibid. ). From His side flow together the blood of immolation and the water, symbol of the Spirit of glory (Jn 7.37–39). It is thus that He will be eternally seen (Jn 19.37; Rv 1.7; 5.6). Never has Christ been healed of His mortal wounds (Jn 20.20,27); the faithful steep their garments in His blood (Rv7.14), receive the sprinkling of His blood (Heb 12.24; 1 Pt 1.2). In the narrative of the Last Supper, the heavenly banquet, celebrated in the joy of a new wine, is illustrated by the Eucharist, where the immolated Christ is offered as food. Heb 8.1–5 supposes an eternal sacrifice. According to Saint Paul, whoever enters into communion with Christ dies with Him (Rom 6.3) and also "rises with" Him. All this proves that death is integrated into the glory of Christ.
The perdurance of the death is explained by the connection of the death to the Resurrection. The death is meritorious of glory, disponibility in relation to the divine plenitude; it is a gift made to God at the moment that this giving becomes a reality, that is, in God's glorifying acceptance of it; it is the end of Christ's carnal state through its transformation into the spiritual state. That is why it does not precede, in time, glorification but coincides with it (first of all with the glorification of His soul, into which His body is then drawn). Now the glorification is a permanent actuality; it therefore maintains Christ in the redemptive death with which it coincides, in His disponibility for glory, at the summit of His giving.
Fullness of Incarnation. The paschal mystery is in every sense the fullness of the Incarnation. Even in His corporal humanity, Christ is entirely begotten by the Father; He is relation to the Father, situated as He is at the height of His offering; He is transformed into the Spirit in which the divine attributes are expressed, and even in His humanity He is the font of the Spirit (Jn 7.37–39). Because the death and Resurrection are the affirmation of the divine filiation, it is there that Jesus is beloved of the Father (Jn 10.17); it is there (Acts 13.33) or in the anticipation of the paschal mystery (baptism, Transfiguration) that He is proclaimed the beloved Son. It seems that the death was virtually included in the Incarnation from the beginning; according to Phil 2.7–8, it was the ultimate expression of the initial despoilment. For since this despoilment meant submission to God, it pertained to the Incarnation. At its end, but also, it seems, at its beginning, the Incarnation is a mystery of death and glory.
SALVATION COMMUNICATED TO MEN
In addition to the texts concerning Christ as constituted universal savior by the Resurrection (objective Redemption, treated above), there are other texts concerning the integration of men into this principle of salvation (subjective Redemption). Salvation is realized in Christ alone, with whom it is identified (1 Cor 1.30); men will not be saved except by communion with Christ in this salvation. These texts show that the paschal Christ has become communicable to men, that the Church is the Body of Christ in the paschal mystery, that salvation is attained by means of communion with the paschal mystery, that the eschatological realities are the plenitude of communion with the paschal mystery, and that all creation takes part in the paschal mystery.
Christ Glorious in condition of communicating Himself. The Resurrection that brought about salvation in Christ also puts this salvation at the disposal of men. While remaining an individual being, Jesus henceforth is continually communicating Himself. In the Synoptic Gospels, He appears in His glorious coming as a "corporative personality," in the strongest sense of the term; He contains in Himself the kingdom (cf. Mt 26.64 and Dn chapter 7). The narrative of the Last Supper shows this kingdom united in a paschal repast, of which the Eucharistic communion is the Sacrament on earth. Less explicit, the Acts of the Apostles says, however, that Christ is risen for men and sent to men (Acts 3.26; 26.23), that He has become the author of life (Acts 3.15) and cornerstone of the house (Acts 4.11). According to Saint Paul, Christ was raised up for men (2 Cor 5.15), "for our justification" (Rom 4.25), which seems to mean that the resuscitative action of God was destined to effect men's salvation. Formerly limited by His body to one race, Jesus became a universal being, capable of uniting the multitude in Himself (Gal 3.28; Col 3.11), a new Adam, father of eschatological humanity (1 Cor 15.45–49). His Lordship is ordered to the Church (Eph 1.22). The title Head comes to Christ through the Resurrection (Col 1.18) and refers to an organic bond with the Church. The Spirit is communion; transforming Christ, it makes Him "a life-giving spirit" (1 Cor 15.45), of which the essence is to give life.
According to Saint John, Christ "comes" hereafter to His disciples; He draws them to Himself in His exaltation (Jn 12.32). Formerly a solitary grain, now a full ear of wheat (Jn 12.24), He becomes the temple of the new people (Jn 2.19–21). He is open to the faithful by His very being, just as the being of the Father is open to the Son (Jn 14.20). His transcendence, which is expressed in the formula "I Am" is salutary in itself. Ordinarily this divine name was coupled with a predicate that emphasized its soteriological character: "I Am the resurrection (Jn 11.25), the bread of life (Jn 6.35), the true vine (Jn 15.1)…x." But it is in the lifting up that this (Jn 8.28) and its salutary character are affirmed. It is then that Jesus is the bread eaten (Jn 6.51, 63–64) and that the vine bears those fruits in which the glory of God takes concrete form (cf. Jn 15.5 and 8; 12.24–28). Henceforth His disciples are His brothers, sons of His Father (Jn 20.17). The glorious Christ is savior by His very being.
Church, Body of Christ Dead and Risen Again.
The resuscitating action of God that makes Christ communicable is thus creative of the Church. The latter is like the space in which Christ exists and lives; it is filled with Him (Eph 1.23; Col 2.9; 3.11), so much so that it is identified with His risen humanity and is called the "body of Christ." The interpretation that sees in 1 Cor 12.12–13 (cf. Rom 6.3; Gal 3.27–28); 1 Cor 6.15–17; 10.16–17; and also Eph 1.23; 5.28–32 a union identifying the faithful with the physical and "spiritual" body of Christ appears exegetically certain and is in accord with patristic thinking, especially when it considers the Church, as does Saint Paul [1 Cor 10.16–17; 11.25: "this cup is the New Establishment (see Jer 31.31; Is 42.6; 49.8)] in the perspective of the Eucharist. It is the Spirit (Rom 8.9–10; 1 Cor 12.13) of the Resurrection that integrates the faithful with the Body of Christ, in one communion of being (Rom 6.5; 12.5; Gal 3.27–28) and of life (Rom 6.11, 23), which Saint Paul ordinarily designates by the phrase "in Christ" or "Christ in us." Having become one Body with Christ, they are also "one spirit" (1 Cor 6.17) with Him who is "spirit," benefiting by the effusion of the Spirit that has resuscitated Him. They are sons of Abraham through incorporation in his Offspring, inheriting His blessing actualized in the Resurrection (Acts3.25–26), which is the Spirit (Gal 3.14). Thus salvation realized in Christ becomes in turn personal for them.
This incorporation is also an association with the salvation present in its actuality in Christ. The believer is seized by the resuscitating action of God (Eph 2.5; Col2.13). He is overcome by it in communion with the very death of Christ (Rom 6.3–4; Col 2.12). He communes with the redeeming act that historically is placed in the time of Pontius Pilate and that he encounters in its actuality in Christ glorified. While distinguishing between objective and subjective Redemption, paschal theology considers the latter as a communion with the former.
Christian existence is thus located in the mystery of the Redemption (Rom 6.3–11; 8.17; 2 Cor 4.10–12; Gal2.19–20; Phil 3.10; 2 Tm 2.11); the Church is the Body of Christ in the redemptive mystery.
Man saved is a new creature (2 Cor 5.17; Eph 2.15;4.24) created in the Resurrection of Christ. This means that he belongs to a new genus: a child of God (Gal3.26–27) in Christ made "the Son of God by the Resurrection" (Rom 1.4), dead to the flesh (Rom 8.9) and freed from sin (Rom 8.1), because he has been given life in the Spirit (Rom 8.2). This also means that he is a brand-new creature, in a fresh newness of being, his newness being the opposite to his old self (Rom 6.4–6; 7.6). Christian by birth in the Spirit (Ti 3.5), who is absolute newness and plenitude, he does not swerve from what he is by his birth, as he is under the action of God, who raised up Christ; he advances in this newness (2 Cor 4.16) unto the day when he arrives at adulthood by total birth, in the Resurrection of Christ.
The ethical situation of the believer is also new. Incorporated in the risen Christ, he is freed from the earthly Law and subjected to the source of the risen life, the Spirit (Rom 7.1–6); this is the moral law of the New Testament (Rom 8.2; Saint Thomas Aquinas, In epist. ad Rom. 8 lect. 1; Summa theologiae 1a2ae, 106.1). While containing both the Mosaic and the natural law, this law is different: contrary to the Mosaic Law, imposed from outside, it is immanent in the faithful (Rom 5.5); contrary to the law of nature, it is transcendent, being the holiness of God; contrary to both one and the other, it is a law of evolution, of a physical supernatural transformation, for it is a law of resurrection in the death of the flesh (Rom 6.2–5; Col 3.1–4). The moral effort roused by the Spirit of the Resurrection (Rom 8.13; Gal 5.16) seeks to extend through "the earthly members" the mysterious transformation realized in Baptism (Col 3.1–5) and prepares the final resurrection (Rom 6.2–8). Before being an obligation, this law is a salutary gift; it is therefore beatifying in itself. Since it is the Holy Spirit, it is the love and power of God; that is why moral effort is not the affirmation of man but his gift of self and acquiescence with the resuscitating action of God. Charity is the adequate expression of this law; it expresses communion with Christ in one Body, death to selfish flesh, the life of the Spirit of love. It is "the new commandment," i.e., eschatological, "the law of Christ," who, in death to Himself, has been given to God for the multitude in the love of the Spirit.
Means of communion with paschal mystery. To give to men the salvation that exists in Him, Christ has created means of communion with the paschal mystery.
The Apostles are created as such in the paschal mystery (Jn 17.19; 20.21–22; Gal 1.1); they are sent forth from the time Christ is glorified (Mt 28.18–19; Lk 24.46–47), and filled with the Spirit (Acts 1.8; Jn 20.22; cf. 7.37–39), they proclaim the risen Christ (Acts 1.22;2.32; 4.33) and His death (1 Cor 1.23). While Christ, preeminent Apostle (Heb 3.1), is no longer connaturally present in the world (cf. Acts 10.41), precisely from the moment of His essential sending through His Resurrection (Acts 3.26; 26.23), the Apostles become by their word and their person the organs of His presence in the world and of His contact in the death and Resurrection (2 Cor 4.6–12; 13.4). Through them, men enter into communion with Christ dead and risen again (Rom 10.8–10; 2 Cor 2.15–16; Col 1.25–29).
All the Sacraments draw their strength from the paschal mystery [Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 61; Acta Apostolicae Sedis 56 (1964) 116–17]. The two Sacraments of which Scripture speaks more explicitly, Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, sanctify insofar as they are means of communion with Christ in His paschal mystery. By Baptism man submits to the action of the Spirit (1 Cor 6.11), of whom the water is the symbol (Is 32.15; 44.3–4; Jn 3.5; Ti 3.5). This Spirit is given in union with Christ (cf. Jn 9.7 and 7.37–39) in one Body (Rom 6.3, 5; Gal 3.27; 1 Cor 12.13) and by participation in His Resurrection in one same death (Rom 6.3–11; Col2.11–13; the sprinkling of His blood, spoken of in 1 Pt1.2 and Heb 10.22 is related to Baptism).
The Eucharist is, from all evidence, paschal communion. The faithful eat the body of Christ and turn into it (1 Cor 10.16–17). This body is immolated (1 Cor 11.24–26; Jn 6.52) but also glorified in the Spirit (a spiritual food, 1 Cor 10.3–4; Jn 6.63–64), every sacrificial repast supposing the preliminary "sanctification" of the victim. Since Christ, because of His glorification, continues in an enduring way in the supreme moment of His sacrifice (for His death coincides with this always actual glorification and is eternalized by it), the Eucharistic celebration is the very sacrifice of Christ, the unique sacrifice, made sacramentally present to the Church. Thus the Church, which communicates with the body of Christ, becomes itself the Body of Christ in His sacrifice.
These Sacraments, and especially the Eucharist, which, as Sacrament of the kingdom, throws light on all Christian reality, place before the theologian the question of whether all the Sacraments do not act except as means of communion in the paschal mystery. The remission of sin, for example, is achieved, according to Scripture, not by the application of the merits of Christ (with application understood in a juridic sense), but by communion with Him in His death and Resurrection.
Man engages himself by faith in the paschal mystery that is offered to him by means of the Apostles and the Sacraments. The object of faith is not in the first place a complex of doctrines but rather God, who has raised up Jesus for men (Rom 4.24; 10.9; Col 2.12; 1 Pt 1.21), and the risen Christ, in whom is revealed (Jn 17.1–3; Col1.15) this God who saves. As regards the doctrinal complex, it is developed by reflection on the paschal mystery in which it is contained [cf. O. Cullmann, Les Premières confessions de foi chrétiennes (Paris 1948)]. The believer confesses that "Jesus is Kyrios" (Rom 10.9; 1 Cor 12.3; Phil 2.11). Christ, in His Resurrection, is so truly the essential object of faith that if the Resurrection had not taken place faith would be without content and efficacy (1 Cor 15.14); its efficacy stems from its content, and the latter is the Resurrection that justifies men (Rom4.24–25). The believer says yes to God, who reveals Himself by resuscitating Christ for men, and thus submits to the action of God, who raises him up with Christ (Col2.12) in the death of the flesh (Phil 3.8–11). Faith is itself the effect of this glory (cf. Jn 3.14–16 and 12.32) that justifies men (Rom 4.25), making believers of them.
This assent to salvation is continued by moral effort. The ultimate means of receiving strength from the Resurrection are, according to Saint Paul, weakness (2 Cor 12.9), suffering (2 Cor 4.10–12), and death (2 Tm 2.11). The faithful die with Christ (2 Tm 2.11), "leaving the world for God" (Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Pros Romaious 2.2, cf. 6.1; The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, ed. R. J. Deferrari et al., 109, 110).
Full realization in the Church of paschal mystery.
At the Parousia, the Church will participate in the fullness of salvation realized in the Resurrection of Christ (2 Thes2.14). The difference between Easter and the Parousia is not to be found in Christ, to whose power the latter adds nothing, but in the Church, for which Easter was a beginning and a hope, and the Parousia the full realization. All eschatological events are to be found ontologically in the mystery of the Resurrection.
Resurrection of the Faithful. Constituting the inevitable consequence of the resuscitating action of God in Christ is the resurrection of the faithful. The glory of Christ has such necessary ecclesial dimensions that to deny the resurrection of the faithful would be to deny that of Christ (1 Cor 15.13). The glorification of the faithful does not demand a new display of power: they are risen by incorporation in christ (Rom 6.5), "together with" Him (2 Tm 2.11). For the resuscitating intervention of God is unique and applies to Christ. In Baptism, the faithful have been "resuscitated with" by an initial gift of the Spirit that calls for the complete gift, the Redemption of the body (Rom 8.11, 23; Eph 1.13–14). Now they are subjected according to their whole being to the "power [that effects] the resurrection of Christ" (Phil3.10), absorbed in the eschatological mystery.
With the resurrection of the faithful, the action of God in Christ has attained its effects. For the end of this action is the salvation of the Church (Rom 4.25; 2 Cor5.15; Eph 1.18–23). This salvation, then, is henceforth complete: the filiation is perfect (Rom 8.19, 23); formerly hindered by the body (1 Cor 15.50), the sons have entered into their heritage; the Church realizes in perfection its definition as the Body of Christ, the repository of His riches (Eph 1.23; cf. 4.13). By His victory over "the last enemy," death, Christ has imposed His dominion on the entire world (1 Cor 15.25–26).
Cosmic Unity. The other effects of the Parousia are obtained by this resuscitating action that bestows final salvation on the faithful. The material universe is freed from "corruption," thanks to the "revelation of the sons of God," for its Fall was in man, and its Redemption consists in enjoyment of the "liberty of the glory of the children of God" (Rom 8.19–22). The harmful Powers have been overcome (1 Cor 15.24), for it was in men and their universe incompletely saved that these Powers were able to set themselves against the Lordship of Christ. In Christ, cosmic unity (Col 1.20) and submission of the Powers (Eph 1.21–22) were already realized; they remained incomplete, however, because the resurrection of the Church was not achieved. The Church is, with Christ, the crucible of the eschatological transformation of the word; the Parousia that determines the destiny of the world is the paschal mystery totally communicated to the Church.
Judgment. It seems that the last judgment should be included in this ultimate saving intervention of God. This judgment had been announced as an event to be realized at the coming of Christ (Mt 3.11–12). Several texts suggest or affirm that it was pronounced in the coming of Christ, which is nothing else than His glorification. In Mt 26.64, Jesus announces His glorification while evoking Daniel chapter 7 and Psalms 109 (110).1, where the judgment of God is described; Acts of the Apostles (10.41–42; 17.31) brings the Resurrection of Jesus and the final judgment together; for John (12.31) Jesus' Hour is that of His exaltation and last judgment. In fact, according to Scripture, the justice of god is His holiness and saving power (in the New Testament it is, in the final analysis, the Holy Spirit Himself who is holiness and saving power); it does not operate according to legal procedure but by creating justice, that is, by creating salvation in men. In the Resurrection, all the justifying power of God has burst forth, so that "justified in the Spirit" (1 Tm 3.16), Christ Himself becomes the justice of God (1 Cor 1.30). Henceforth the justice of God is also exerted over other men: it makes them just in their union with Christ (Rom 3.21–26; 8.1). It is exerted at the present time (Rom 3.21), but the fullness of this salvation is reserved for the end (Gal 5.5). It is exerted by vivification, as in Christ; the believer is always judged by passing from death to life (Jn 5.24). That is why Saint John does not separate justifying power from the vivifying power of Christ (5.21–29). According to Saint Paul, the justice of the Day effects final salvation (Gal 5.5) that, as is known, is identical with the Resurrection. To account for these elements (the last judgment realized in the glorification of Christ, the vivifying effect of justice, the saving character of the Day for the faithful), theology does not look upon the judgment of the faithful as if it were a human trial; theology situates it in the justifying action of God, who raises up the dead together with Christ (see judgment, divine).
Punishment and Reward. Those who have "rebelled against justice" (Rom 10.3) are condemned by this justice of salvation—by being excluded from justice, from the Spirit, and from the kingdom (cf. Gal 6.8; 1 Cor 15.50). This condemnation is not merely privation; the Lord has subdued all with His power (1 Cor 15.25; 2 Thes1.8–9), leading the world toward its end, the risen Christ (cf. Col 1.16, 20). It is in His redeeming Lordship, in the power of His saving Resurrection (Summa theologiae 3a, 56.1 ad 3), as Son of Man (Jn 5.27) who has no power of condemnation (Jn 3.17; 12.47), that Christ raises up those "who have done evil" (Jn 5.29). For them the effect of the supreme action of salvation will be a resurrection of damnation (Jn 5.29; cf. Dn 12.2): opposed to the salvation of which they will nevertheless be created by the resuscitating power of Christ, they will exist in total contradiction to their own being. Thus hell would appear to be an effect of the salvific power of the risen Christ and of the refusal set against this power.
The theology of heaven ought to be developed beginning with the notion of the kingdom. The latter is a personal reality to Christ, who did not enter there as into a place; His entry into heaven is identical with His glorification. Men's heaven is in Christ glorified. They enter into it through the paschal communion. Thus the kingdom appears in the narrative of the Last Supper: a paschal banquet of the faithful with Christ (Lk 22.15). This explains why Saint Paul and Saint John do not distinguish the Ascension of Christ from His glorification; why men could not enter heaven before Christ's glorification (Heb 11.40), but do enter it as soon as they participate in His glory (Lk 23.43; cf. Saint Ambrose, Expositio in Lucam 10; Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 32.4:500). They are "in heaven" insofar as, living "in Christ," they have "risen with him" (Eph 2.6). Already in the Church, particularly in the Eucharistic celebration, they participate in this banquet of the immolated and glorified body that without a veil they will celebrate in the heavenly kingdom (cf. Enchiridion symbolorum 1649; Ignatius of Antioch, Pros Romaious 7.3).
Resurrection of Christ and creation of the world.
In its eschatological form, the world is then created by the action of God who raises up Christ. Being all fullness Himself (Col 1.19), Christ "fills" the Church to the highest degree (Eph 1.23; Col 2.9) and beyond it the universe (Eph 4.10). This dominion over the world is exerted over the being of things, His Lordship being that of God Himself (Phil 2.9). Saint Paul expressly recognizes in Christ a creative causality (1 Cor 8.6). This is not exerted only on the world at its term, but also in its progress toward its term. "The beloved Son … image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation, in whom and for whom all is created" (Col 1.14–16), is not the Word in His preexistence but Christ in His glory. If it is true that "all fullness" of being and of power has come to abide in Him (Col 1.19), nothing then could exist except in dependence on Christ. This causality does not include any chronological priority over creation; the glorified Christ is, on the contrary, the final term of the world. The theologian ought to understand the creative action of God in Christ after the manner of a call, of an attraction to final plenitude. We have recognized in the Resurrection the mystery of the Incarnation in its achievement. Dependent on Christ's glory, creation depends on the mystery of the Incarnation; it is in His divine glorious birth, where He is entirely assumed into the mystery of the Word, that Christ is the primordial source of the world. We also know that the glory of Christ is essentially redemptive, that the cosmic Lordship is affirmed in death. It seems, then, that the mystery of creation is to be found in that of Redemption.
Conclusion. The study of the Resurrection has taught us that salvation is none other than God who communicates Himself. He communicates Himself in Jesus by the Incarnation and when this Incarnation has arrived at its plenitude through the death. This salvation realized in Christ is extended to men in their union with Christ. Man's work is to consent, with Christ in His death, to the saving gift of God.
Mystery of communion, the Resurrection is also a ferment of unity for Christian thought. Source and center of the theology of apostolic times, it very soon lost its central place because there was not seen in it the eschatological event, the plenitude of salvation; furthermore the death of Christ began to be considered as a payment of debt and not as an entrance into communion; it was isolated from the Resurrection and had imputed to it alone a redemptive role. The role attributed to the Resurrection reduced it henceforth to prolonging the mediatory existence of Christ, to being an exemplary cause of justification and the motive of credibility of faith [cf. D. M. Stanley, Ad. historiam exegeseos Rom. 4.25, Verbum Domini 29 (1951) 261, 258, 274]. To Saint Thomas belongs, nevertheless, the credit for seeing in the Resurrection the instrumental efficient cause of the resurrection of souls and bodies (In epist. ad Rom. 4 lect. 3; Summa theologiae 3a, 56.1–2). The misunderstanding of the central reality was no doubt the cause of the parceling out of theological thought, and it will no doubt be one of the benefits of the theology of the Resurrection to restore this thought to unity. "There are many things," says Saint Thomas, "to be meditated on in Him [Christ] but especially the Resurrection; everything is ordered to it, particularly the whole economy of the Christian religion" (In epist. 2 ad Tim. 2 lect. 2).
See Also: eschatology, articles on; jesus christ, articles on; mystical body of christ; passion of christ, ii (theology of); redemption; resurrection of the dead; sacrifice of the cross; satisfaction of christ; soteriology.
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[f. x. durrwell]