Bright Saturday (2017)

“Before the dawn Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  They heard the angelic voice: ‘Why do you seek among the dead as a man the one who is everlasting light?  Behold the clothes in the grave!  Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen!  He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.”  (Hours of Pascha)

The myrrhbearing women do not find Christ or Christ’s body in the tomb – the tomb is empty.  By itself it proves nothing – the women assume grave robbers have stolen the corpse of Jesus.

The women are not told to return to the tomb and make it a shrine – there are no relics there.  They are to tell the disciples to find Jesus, but not at the tomb, but rather in Gallilee.  The Apostles are told to go into all the world with the message of the resurrection – they aren’t told that meditating at the tomb of Jesus will make them holy.  They weren’t to turn the resurrection into religion, rather they were to show the world how they were transformed by the news of Christ’s resurrection.  Christ is eternal light not a resuscitated corpse that we can parade about in religious ceremony.  Our goal as Christians is not to make a pilgrimage to the holy sepulcher – we are given no such commandment.  Nor is the goal set annually to Pascha night.  Our goal is to live the resurrection so that everyone will come to embrace Christ our Savior. The myrrhbearing women may have had to go to the tomb to learn of the resurrection, but they are told they’ve come to the wrong place if they are looking for Christ.  He is not at the holy sepulcher, He is Lord of the Sabbath and of the universe.  He is known in the proclamation of the Scriptures and in the eating of the Eucharist.  He is Lord of the Sabbath and the universe.

Bright Friday (2017)

“Through death You transformed what is mortal, and through burial You transformed what is corruptible; for in a manner befitting God You made incorrupt and immortal the nature which You had assumed, since Your flesh did not see corruption and in a wondrous manner Your soul was not abandoned in hell.” (Pascha Nocturnes)

In the incarnation, God the Son, took on sinful, fallen human flesh.  He transfigures that flesh – transforming what was mortal and corruptible, making even the flesh incorruptible and immortal.

According to Genesis 2 when God created humans, God formed the dust of the earth into a body and then breathed life into that dust.  In the resurrection, God is no longer outside of creation, but has become creation, and from within renews human nature.  God in Christ takes on our fallen human nature, suffers death, and then transforms and transfigures the human nature and the human body which He has taken on in the incarnation.  No longer from the outside does God shape us and give us life, but now from within God transforms His creation.  Not from heaven, but from Hades does God transform us and give us eternal life depriving Hades of holding on to us, and restoring mortal human nature to life – ending humanity’s separation from God.

Christ as God enters into the place of the dead and saves not just souls, but the entirety of what it is to be human including our bodies.

 

Bright Thursday (2017)

“We celebrated the death of death and the overthrow of hell, the beginning of another life which is eternal, and in exultation we sing the praises of its source.  He alone is blessed and most glorious, the God of our fathers.”    (Pascha Matins)

Christ, the incarnate God, is the source of eternal life. By His death, He destroys death – Death cannot hold the Christ and is forced to surrender to God all those whom Death had held captive.  Christ is our liberator from death; salvation is liberation from bondage to Death.  The Gospel message which Christianity proclaimed to the world from the beginning: “Christ is risen from the dead!”  The implication is shocking: Christ defeats death, which is our enemy.  Christianity came to understand that all the suffering, sorrow, grief, impermanence, morbidity and mortality of this world results from our separation from God.  God in Christ is the Good Shepherd seeking us His lost sheep, separated from Him, battered by sin and hunted down by death.  Christ carries us to His safe haven, making a path to the resurrection through the grave and through Hades itself.  We will follow our Lord in faith and with love.

Bright Wednesday (2017)

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“You came forth from a painless birth, O my Maker, and Your side was pierced.  By this, You, the New Adam, accomplished the restoration of Eve.  You fell into a sleep both surpassing and renewing nature and as the omnipotent One, You raised up life from sleep and corruption.”  (Pascha Nocturnes)

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Eve, according to Genesis 2, was taken by God from the side of Adam.  In the poetic theology of Orthodoxy, from Christ’s side at His crucifixion flowed the blood and water of the renewed creation, which brought redemption for Eve.  Eve is recreated from the side of the New Adam.  As Adam of old was put to sleep before Eve was taken from his side, so Christ is put to sleep on the cross and from His side, renewed/ resurrected humanity comes forth. God rested on the original Sabbath Day, rejoicing in the goodness of His creation.  After Christ “fell asleep” on the cross, God again rested on the Sabbath Day, but this time as a human, the incarnate God.  Rest, had become sleep, had become death.  Then, Jesus Christ raised from the dead resurrected Adam and renewed creation.

Bright Tuesday (2017)

“This is the day of resurrection.  Let us be illumined, O people, Pascha, the Pascha of the Lord.  For from death to life and from earth to heaven has Christ our God led us, as we sing the song of victory.”  (Pascha Matins)

In the book of Exodus, the Passover took the Jews out of  slavery in Egypt and put them on the road to the Promised Land.  Now, Christ who is the new Passover, leads us victoriously, not merely from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, but from earth to heaven and from death to life.  Our slavery to sin and death is brought to an end and we are brought to eternal life, where sickness, sighing and sorrow have fled away.  The Exodus of the Old Testament were a foreshadowing and a type of what was to come with Christ.

The Jews were commanded to commemorate the Passover each year, not to keep looking to the past, but as a prophecy, promise and reminder of what the Lord was going to do.  Those Christians who want to do a Seder to remember the Old Covenant Passover are looking in the wrong historical direction!  The Passover prepares God’s people for what God was going to do and is doing for all humanity in His Christ.  The Passover is not mostly about what God did for Jewish ancestors thousands of years ago.  Rather it is preparation for the future, for all that God is doing and is about to do for the salvation of all the world.    Even for us Christians, the resurrection – Pascha – is not looking backwards to what God did, but rather always looks forward to what God is doing now to move us to the eschaton, His heavenly Kingdom.

“… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-14, emphasis not in the original text)

Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!

Bright Monday (2017)

“Pascha of beauty, the Pascha of the Lord!  A Pascha worthy of all honor has dawned for us.  Pascha!  Let us embrace each other joyously.  O Pascha, ransom from affliction!  For today as from a bridal chamber Christ has shown forth from the tomb and filled the women with joy saying: Proclaim the glad tidings to the apostles.”  (Pascha Matins)

Though the death of Christ stunned His disciples, causing them to flee into hiding because they feared for their own lives, His death turned out to be the source of the greatest joy for us humans.  Christ emerged from the tomb not as a zombie or the walking dead but as a glorious groom on His wedding day.  The resurrected Christ though having a physical body no longer seems to have been limited by His body but rather moved in and out of the physical world.  In the resurrected life, we are united to God, experiencing the divine life.  We now can proclaim the joyous good news to all the world: Christ is risen!

Paschal Greetings: Christ is Risen!

Dearly Beloved,

On this day of Pascha, I offer to you the radiant words of  St. Paul, who we honor as the Apostle to the Nations:

“Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

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Thirty-seven years ago, I submitted to being ordained an Orthodox priest in order to follow in St. Paul’s footsteps: to hand over to you what I received: our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. My hope was and is to remain focused on Christ, faithful to the Gospel, practicing Orthodox Christianity in such a way as to be a faithful witness to Christ. At Pascha, we celebrate the culmination of our spiritual lives and our Lenten efforts as we encounter the risen Lord and experience Christ who is the Good News. Lent and Pascha are not about eating or not eating meat and dairy products.  They are about our living relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and our commitment to His Body, the Church, in which we find salvation. Pascha is God’s own acceptance of death in order to give us eternal life. The Christian Faith and the Paschal Feasts are summed up well by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who inspired me to choose Orthodoxy as the way to know God:

“Death is . . . man’s rejection of life in God. It is the rejection of God for the sake of man’s life in and for himself, the result of man’s alienation from God in whom alone is life and the life of man. Death, therefore, must be destroyed as the spiritual reality of man’s separation from God – hence, the gospel, the Good News. Christ has destroyed death by trampling it with his own death. . . . Under the guise of death, Divine Love itself enters Sheol, overcoming the separation and solitude. Dispelling the darkness of hades, Christ’s death is a divine and radiant act of love, and in his death, therefore, the spiritual reality of death is abolished.  Finally, the Christian gospel announces that with Christ’s resurrection a new life – a life which has no death in it – is given to all those who believe in him and are united with him.” (THE LITURGY OF DEATH, pp 45-46)

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In the Paschal Liturgy, we celebrate everything I believe and want to share with you. In the darkness, in the middle of the night, we are illumined by the resplendent Light which is Christ. Jesus sought out the gloom of Hades to find those hidden by the shadow of death. We came out in the pitch darkness of the night to see Christ and all those who are alive in Him. The glorious joy of the resurrection enlightens our hearts and shines light wherever there is darkness.

Christ is risen!  Indeed, He is risen!

Pascha: The Resurrection (2017)

“Hell rules the race of mortal humans, but not eternally; for when You were placed in the grave, O powerful One, You tore asunder the bars of death by Your life-creating hand and proclaimed true deliverance to those sleeping there from the ages, since You, O Savior, have become the first-born of the dead.”  (Pascha Nocturnes)

God warned Adam that should he choose to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, he would die (Genesis 2).  God never said death was a permanent or an eternal punishment.  While Death claimed all humans, its power came to an end when Christ died and descended to the place of the dead.  Christ raises all the dead, bringing a permanent end to death’s reign over humanity.  This is the Good News Christianity proclaims to the entire world’s population.

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:7-9)

Despite the Good News and tragically many still choose death.  Some think war is the answer to human evils – that we can defeat evil, Satan, death by killing those who we believe are evil.  Some think death is the only way to escape the world and they choose it for themselves and sometimes for others.  Some are trapped in their own thinking and believe their own death or the death of some around them are the only way out of the box that imprisons them.  Orthodoxy sees death as an evil – separation from God.  Christ tramples down death by His own death and shows us the way to remain united to the Source of Life even through suffering and death.

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.”

“Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13)

Orthodox bless the graves of their deceased loved ones after Pascha because we do believe they are alive in Christ – they are blessed.  Christ made it clear that those who we consider dead and buried are alive in God when He said:

“And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” (Luke 20:37-38)

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob died long before Moses came along, yet God speaks about them not in the past tense – I was their God – but as being their God now because they are still alive in Him.

“This is the day of resurrection.  Let us be illumined by the feast.  Let us embrace each other.  Let us call “brothers” even those who hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection, and so let us cry:  Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” (Pascha Matins)

There is no more joyous day for humanity than Pascha.  We are baptized into Christ’s death and raised from the dead with Him to eternal life.  Consequently, we can embrace everyone for death has no more power over any of us.  Death cannot separate us from our God or from those we love.  Death remains the sign that something is wrong with this world.  In Christ we find our way to triumph over death and to remain united to the Giver of Life.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)

The Resurrection and the New Creation

“Theologically speaking, 1 Cor 15 is critically important because it is the earliest apologetic argumentation in the whole of the New Testament for the physical resurrection of Jesus. Writing in the middle fifties, Paul explicitly states what he himself had taught the Corinthians about the resurrection when he first evangelized them around 51 A.D. This would date Paul’s own testimony just twenty-one years after the resurrection. But there is more. Paul reminds his readers that what he had handed on to them in the year 51 was the ‘tradition’ he himself had received (15:3). The ‘tradition’, therefore, was even earlier and in all probability went back to the testimony of those like Peter and others mentioned in vv 6-7 who had seen Jesus in the flesh after his resurrection. This tradition, apologetically speaking, is the strongest possible argument for the physical resurrection of Jesus,  because at the time Paul preached it, and even at the time when he wrote 1 Corinthians, many of the original witnesses of the resurrected Christ were still alive. […]

No summary can do justice to Paul’s sweeping resurrection theology in 1 Cor 15, but two texts indicate the general direction of his thought: (1) ‘For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ’ (vv 22-23); and (2) ‘If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’;  the last Adam became a life-giving spirit’ (vv 44-45). In Paul’s mind, the resurrection of Jesus hails the beginning of a new humanity, just as the creation of Adam hailed the beginning of the old humanity. As ‘first fruits’ of the new humanity, Christ already has a new spiritual (pneumatikon) body (soma). The faithful, who are the fullness of the harvest of which Christ is the ‘first fruits’, live now with the ‘life-giving spirit’ of Christ (‘the last Adam became a life-giving spirit’). This life-giving spirit affects their inner selves now, conforming them to Christ; at the resurrection, it will affect their bodies as well. As Paul says in v 44: ‘It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.’” (Peter F. Ellis, Seven Pauline Letters, pp 103, 111-112)

 

 

After the New Testament: Proclaiming the Resurrection

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”

This blog continues our consideration of Brian Schmisek’s book, Resurrection of the Flesh or Resurrection from the Dead and the development of Christian theology about the resurrection. The previous blog is The Immortal Soul and the Resurrected Body.

517l9p5ZBPL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The New Testament adhering to the Old Testament anthropology rather than to Platonism speaks of the resurrection from the dead, not of the immortality of the soul.  The soul-body dualism enters into Christian thinking as Christianity takes its evangelical message beyond its Jewish origins into the world of Hellenic philosophy.  As new adherents are converted to the faith, they begin to ask new questions about how to understand the meaning of the resurrection within the worldview of Hellenism and the Platonic assumptions which were so prevalent in the ancient world.   Schmisek writes:

“we find that neither “resurrection of the flesh” (anastasis sarkos) nor “resurrection of the body” (anastasis sōmatos) appears in the New Testament. Church fathers introduced each of those terms. Instead, in the New Testament one finds the term “resurrection of the dead” (anastasis nekrōn). Or even as some would translate: resurrection “from/out of the dead ones” (ek [tōn] nekrōn).”  (Kindle Loc. 1260-63)

Schmisek rightly notes the New Testament does not use the phrases the resurrection of the flesh or of the body.   However, clearly in John’s Gospel in the story of the Apostle Thomas (John 20:19-31), the resurrected Jesus invites Thomas physically to touch His body and to explore His wounds with his fingers and hands.  The Orthodox Church has certainly noted this Gospel lesson as teaching the resurrection of the flesh.  In Luke’s Gospel (Luke 24:36-43), the risen Christ goes out of his way to show His disciples that He is not some ghostly apparition but that He has returned in bodily form and can be touched and is able to eat solid food.  So while the exact phrases about the resurrection of the flesh or of the body do not occur in the New Testament, the ideas for them are clearly there.  The Church Fathers simply applied phrases to describe what the Scriptures portray, they did not conjure up the idea of the resurrected flesh or body from thin air.

And, the Christian message was not frozen in the past.  The Christians weren’t even proclaiming that “Christ WAS risen…” but rather that “Christ IS risen…”  The Christians speaking in the present (in the present tense, as well as whatever contemporary time and place they found themselves in) continued to develop their understanding of the resurrection as well as the appropriate language (vocabularly) for preaching the Good News.   The proclamation that Christ is risen from the dead reflects the Old Testament understanding of the human being, the human body and the role of mortality.   It is not a proclamation of the immortality of the soul, nor does it accept a soul-body dualism.  The person who died is risen – a restoration of the person has occurred, and yet the Risen Christ manifests physical characteristics different than a “normal” human body.

“One sees the development that has taken place up to this point. Paul spoke of the resurrection in terms of “spiritual body.” The Apostolic Fathers stressed that Christ was in the flesh. Since he was in the flesh and rose in the flesh, Christians too will rise in the flesh. Tertullian began to read Paul as one who taught the resurrection of the flesh, even though the term appears nowhere in the Pauline corpus.

‘But when he calls Christ “the last Adam,” recognize from this that he works to establish with all the force of his teaching the resurrection of the flesh, not of the soul.’

It appears that an understanding of a fleshly resurrection arose because Gnostics and, perhaps, other non-Christians were denying the resurrection … ”  (Kindle Loc. 393-99)

In a dualistic world in which the body was deemed superfluous if not evil, Christians wanting to emphasize both the incarnation of God in Christ and the goodness of creation itself, began to emphasize more the resurrection of the flesh.  This message was understood as being consistent with the Gospel and necessary for refuting dualism.  So St. Augustine trying also to affirm the rational and reasonable claims of the resurrection writes:

“Therefore this earthly material, which becomes a corpse when the soul leaves it, will not at the resurrection be so restored that as a result those things which deteriorated and were turned into various things of different kinds and forms, although they do return to the body from which they deteriorated, must necessarily return to the same parts of the body where they originally were. Otherwise, if what is returned to the hair is that which repeated clippings removed, and if what is returned to the nails is that which frequent cuttings have pared away, then to those who think, the image becomes gross and indecent, and for that reason it seems to those who do not believe in the resurrection of the flesh to be hideous. But just as if a statue of some soluble metal were melted by fire, pulverized into dust, or mixed together into a mass, and a craftsman wanted to restore it from the same quantity of matter, it would make no difference with respect to its integrity what particle of matter is returned to which part of the statue, provided that the restored statue resumed the whole of the original. So God, the craftsman, shall restore wondrously and ineffably the flesh and with wonderful and ineffable swiftness from the whole of which it originally consisted. Nor will it be of any concern for its restoration whether hairs return to hairs, and nails to nails, or whether whatever of these that had perished be changed into flesh, and be assigned to other parts of the body, for the providence of the craftsman will take care lest anything be indecent.”    (Kindle Loc. 600-611)

Obviously even in the ancient world they wondered about how  “scientifically” the resurrection could restore a body that had decomposed to its various elements.  The resurrection needed to make sense to all and had to be defended in philosophical (read “scientific” for the ancients) terms.  In what manner the elements composing a body were related to the person (mind, soul, self) and how they would all be recomposed in the resurrection were thus essential questions being asked of Christians proclaiming the resurrection.  It wasn’t enough for the Christians to preach the Gospel, they had to be able to defend and explain the philosophical and scientific implications of the resurrection to people whose anthropology was different from the assumptions of the biblical texts.

“Augustine claimed that had Adam obeyed God, he would have inherited a spiritual body as a reward for that obedience: ‘however, the first man was from the earth, earthly. He was made into a living being, not into a life-giving spirit, for that was saved for him as a reward for obedience.’ Thus, at the resurrection human beings will not have the body of the first man before sin, because the first man did not have a spiritual body. Augustine cited 1 Corinthians 15:45 to prove that Adam was a living being, while Christ, possessing a spiritual body, was now a life-giving spirit. The spiritual body is a priori, not the body Adam possessed before the Fall. We are not at all to think that in the resurrection we shall have such a body as the first man had before sin; nor is that which is said, ‘As the earthly one, so also those who are earthly,’ to be understood as that which resulted by the commission of sin. For it must not be considered that prior to his sin he had a spiritual body, and that because of the sin it was changed into an animal body. For if this is thought to be the case, then the words of so great a doctor have been given scant attention, who says, ‘If there is an animal body there is also a spiritual, as it is written, The first man Adam was made a living being.’”   (Kindle Loc. 563-73)

The proclamation of the Gospel, that Jesus is risen from the dead, thus raised many significant philosophical and scientific questions which the Christians had to be able to answer to convince their fellow citizens of the truth of Jesus Christ.  Witnessing to the resurrection was one thing, but the Christians had to convince their pagan neighbors that the resurrection was possible, reasonable and rational.  So too, we Christians must be able to speak about the resurrection to people who embrace a modern, scientific understanding of a human, of the body, of the role of death.

“We live in a postmodern era; we know more about the world and how it works than the ancients did. Yet the theological task, like that of our ancient forebears in faith, is to express Christianity in terms the modern culture can understand and find meaningful. Clement did this when he likened resurrection to a phoenix rising from its ashes. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and the apologists did this when they cast Christianity in terms of Greek philosophy and thus wedded body-soul anthropology with Christian faith. Augustine did this when he expressed Christian faith in terms of neoplatonic philosophy. Aquinas did this when he recast Christian faith in light of Aristotelian philosophy and the science of the thirteenth century. This is the enduring theological task: to cast Christian faith in the language, terms, and culture of the day. … It is not sufficient merely to quote ancient formulas to modern people who do not share the philosophical presuppositions of the ancient world. We must tap into the fundamental beliefs of our forebears in faith and express that faith in language intelligible to our generation.”  (Kindle Loc. 2241-52)

Believing Christians today may be so awed by the miracle of the resurrection that they forget others can view these claims not from the point of view of divine intervention, but purely from the point of view of secular materialism or from some other philosophical point of view such as that of the Eastern religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.  These people will want to know how our claims make any sense from what is known about the world, or how they help us make sense of this world.  And if they can’t make sense of our claims about a resurrection they will not even give Christianity another thought, and might, as our Christian ancestors discovered, rather turn such claims into a topic of derision among the intellectually astute.

“Ultimately, questions about the appearance of the resurrected body do not contribute to the profundity of the resurrection; rather, they drag it into the mire of the ridiculous, as Jerome (d. 420AD) himself experienced:

And to those of us who ask whether the resurrection will exhibit from its former condition hair and teeth, the chest and the stomach, hands and feet, and other joints, then, no longer able to contain themselves and their jollity, they burst out laughing and adding insult to injury they ask if we shall need barbers, and cakes, and doctors, and cobblers, and whether we believe that the genitalia of which sex would rise, whether our [men’s] cheeks would rise rough, while women’s would be soft and whether the bodies would be differentiated based on sex. Because, if we surrender this point, they immediately proceed to female genitalia and everything else in and around the womb. They deny that singular members of the body rise, but the body, which is constituted from members, they say rises.”  (Kindle Loc. 2683-91)

Teaching a literal resurrection of the body can raise questions of ridicule as is recorded in the Gospels themselves.  So we read in Luke 20:27-38:

There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”

On the other hand, a metaphorical interpretation of the resurrection can cause people to doubt its truth and consider it pure worthless speculation.  A purely materialistic understanding of the resurrection will be confronted with the atheistic claims of  secular materialism.

Christianity has always known it must be bilingual – able to teach and proclaim the message of the Gospel AND to do it within the philosophical and scientific framework which governs the thinking of each different culture and generation.  The Church has shown itself able and willing to undertake this evangelical task and has handed on to us Orthodox today that continued task.