I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
How could God who’s everywhere become one man?
Universals lead to particulars cf a lifetime of 33 years, a teaching ministry of 3 years and a passion of 3 days climaxing in 3 hours.
- Contemporary for galactic and subatomic realms show some sorts of connection between the macroscopic and the microscopic
- Thomas Merton expresses this in a famous analogy: As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the ray of God's light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man.
- Chaos theory: The emergence of God at one point, to show us his face and his love, is in harmony with scientific truth, as much as the emergence of a beautiful rainbow on a stormy day.
What does it mean that Christ died for us?
- substitutional view where Jesus is seen to die in our place. Example of a law court where judge goes to back of court to pay fine of poor mother of three imprisoned for theft.
- sacrificial view of atonement the blood of Christ provides the sinless victim who alone can expiate sin. Christ loved [us], giving himself up for us as an offering and a sweet smelling sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5v2). Cf eucharist.
- exemplarist view that Christ’s example of love effects atonement just in revealing God’s love. When a tree is felled you see the beautiful rings within its trunk.
- triumphant view of Christ who leads believers in his victory procession: Thanks be to God who always gives us in Christ a part in his triumphal procession (2 Cor 2v14).
Where’s the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?
Christianity is the only religion refusing to talk of its Founder as a past figure. Buddha and Mohammed have graves but Jesus…
- The change in the disciples from Gospel accounts to Acts: fearful men and women end up confronting authorities
- The strangely matter of fact and reserved accounts of the resurrection in NT. The disciples don’t recognise Jesus. Would that have been relayed if the resn were invention?
- Would the role of women as witnesses, controversial in those days, be included in a constructed tale?
- The Christian church changing its weekly holy day from the Jewish Sabbath to Sunday, that being the day of Christ’s rising. What a change for pious Jews!
Why should we believe in judgement of the living and the dead?
- God’s investment in the human race. He is due to get a return on that - history has this purpose: to prepare a holy people for God’s possession. The church is this, a bride being prepared without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5v27)
- Ultimate righting of wrongs vindicating God’s justice. In Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov two brothers argue about the evil in the world focussing on the suffering of children and whether there is ultimate justice. Jesus’ suffering shows us the judge of the world isn’t aloof.
- How can judgement be possible? As sure as a computer memory contains a million records, so the memory of God! Christian tradition distinguishes an individual judgement at the moment of death and a general judgement which at the Lord’s return. After death scripture speaks of two ultimate destinies, heaven and hell.
- Mercy As the video of my life is prepared for showing on judgement day Christ has power to edit out the unacceptable points if I give them to him.
- Hope To believe in Jesus Christ who will come to judge the living and the dead is to face the future with an infectious hope. If faith shows you that the whole world is in God’s hands so is its future. All will come right in the end!