The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is fundamentally supported in Christianity by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and in this way no one could be raised from the dead unless Christ was raised from the dead.  A large percentage of theologians thus believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important doctrine in all of Christianity that is most vital to the faith, and in this regard a vast majority of literature concerning the resurrection of Christ is apologetic in nature and seeks to secure the Christian faith despite opposing views. The following writing is produced to explain the purpose, value, and nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for securing the hope of salvation of Christian believers in a theological investigation, but the purpose of the paper is not to dwell on ancient Christology but instead to investigate the thinking done by contemporary theologians concerning the concept of resurrection.
Purpose of Christ’s Resurrection
Swinburne entertains the idea that the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually has a cosmic significance, and in this regard he links this cosmic significance with God the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world thus initiating redemption both physically and spiritually.  The idea is that the purpose in Christ having died and having risen from the dead is that the redemption of mankind would begin through this process. Clearly, the use of substitution in Swinburne’s views would attest to vicarious atonement as being the purpose of the crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection as the life saving consequence of what Christ had done.
Torrance, in this same spirit of redemption, shows that the resurrection of Jesus is the restoring and recreating of mankind and without the resurrection of Jesus Christ occurring in history, atonement would be empty.  An empty atonement would mean that Christ had no purpose for being put to death, but fortunately the resurrection that brings this atonement fulfills the purpose for Christ crucified. Torrance thus can be seen as pointing to the resurrection of Jesus Christ as acting like the fulfillment of the promise of salvation that the cross of Christ was collecting upon, and through this resurrection that fulfills the promise thus atonement is delivered.
Madigan on the other hand points out that by God raising Christ from the dead, God defeated death and destroyed powers and principalities that had been opposed to God, and in this regard the case that Madigan describes in Paul’s thinking is that the battle in eschatology between good and evil had already been won by God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Madigan thus sees God as victorious against evil as if good and evil had been at war whereas Torrance in contrast would write about the resurrection of Christ more from a purpose of drawing from the event much theology to show God’s covenant and faithfulness. The question of the purpose of the resurrection can find its answer in either Madigan’s view of God having a victory by the resurrection or in the view of Torrance that shows God as being faithful through the resurrection.
Bounds, like Torrance, dwells on God’s faithfulness as he argues that we have God’s word that he will raise us again, and for Bounds the people that would mock this hope cannot even explain the principles of nature concerning their own creation and thus Bounds argues that these same people should not expect to get a explanation for the resurrection of the believer either.  One should be careful to take note that the consequence of what Bounds is writing is that people that seek an explanation for the resurrection of Christ should not except to get an explanation because of their inability to explain things that are seemingly more fundamental in nature and immediate to the human experience. Bounds basic case is that God made a covenant and that those that would question or not believe this covenant are sort of looking for an explanation for a complicated matter concerning God’s redemptive process when really these same people cannot even understand the simplicity of their own design, so for Bounds a person could conclude that the resurrection of Christ is a doctrine that has its purpose for understanding among the mature.
For Saint Gregory of Nyssa the resurrection combined with proper cleansing (baptism) would give a person passage into the inner mysteries, and in this regard the inner most part of God as understood by the curtain in the inner most part of God’s temple would be entered by those, “covered by the resurrection.”  Saint Gregory like Bounds shows maturity in the faith associated with the resurrection, but more to the point than Bounds is what Saint Gregory points to namely the idea that the acceptance of the resurrection brings about the maturity of the believer as baptism because the entrance into this resurrection rite. A valuable purpose thus of the resurrection for Saint Gregory is that it really brings a person closer to God in order that a person may experience the mysteries that God has to offer.
For Mohler however the resurrection had more to do with evangelism rather than hidden mysteries. Mohler thus makes the case that in the flood of Noah many spirits existed that had been imprisoned as a result of their disobedience for being, “outside the body”, and he thus makes the case that in a similar way Christ had his Spirit pass out of his body upon death such that his spirit was able to be heard, felt and accepted by many of those spirits outside of the body of Christ.  For Mohler the purpose of the crucifixion of Christ was that it allowed for Christ to really reach out to those that would otherwise be dammed in death, and thus Mohler would see Christ arising from the dead as God reaching out to others for their redemption whereas Saint Gregory in contrast would have seen the resurrection as an opportunity for people to reach out to God and know the inner parts of God.
Throughout all the above views one cannot stress the urgency enough that death is at the ‘doorstep’ of all mankind, and regardless of the purpose of the resurrection for gaining enlightenment or known God, the result is that the resurrection of Christ means salvation from the fate that all humans would likely experience. Warnock thus reminds his readers that, “We all begin to die the moment we are born. …When we are sick we sometimes say, ‘I feel half-dead.'”  In this regard, for Warnock, a person’s daily life can be an experience of sharing in the power of the resurrection of Christ.  Warnock thus shows perhaps the most valuable purpose in the doctrine of the resurrection, and that purpose is that Christ arose from the dead such that the resurrection can have a daily continual counteracting of death. The reason why Warnock could be seen to express the most valuable purpose of the resurrection is because a person is far better to have all the wealth of eternity now and for the rest of eternity rather than to have to await that wealth until physical death causes a person to enter that eternity, and thus why would a person await the final hour of physical existence to enter into God’s kingdom.
Value of the Resurrection of Christ
Unfortunately, some scholars have likely abandon the value that the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ had previously held. Brown however affirms the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:14 that teaches that if Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the Christian faith is all in vain, and for Brown he thus questions why both Protestants and Catholics would seek to abandon the use of resurrection language as he thus sees it.  What is suggested by Brown is that entire Christian faith groups are lowering their value of the doctrine of the resurrection such that their faith enters into being seen or understood by conservatives as all in vain.
In regard to the value of the resurrection of Christ, Dawson’s reading of Barth follows along with Brown’s thinking very well. For Dawson, he finds in the writing of Karl Barth a promotion of the Resurrection as the central doctrine of Christianity, and thus for Barth Easter became like a prism for the apostles and their communities to see Jesus Christ as fulfilling Revelation 4:8 that thus prophesies the return of Christ.  Clearly, Barth would place a very high view on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this value would be so high as to even link the return of Christ to the resurrection of Christ.
Vermes hopefully would not be seen by Brown as being the kind of theologian that would seek to lower the value of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Christian theology. Vermes unlike Dawson’s understanding of Karl Barth sees the resurrection of Jesus Christ not as the focal point of Christology but instead he sees the enthronement of Christ next to God in complete glorification more as the focal point.  The thinking of Vermes is almost like saying that Christ on the throne now would clearly appear more valuable than Christ having risen from the dead long ago in the past just as a miracle performed now would be worth more than a miracle performed thousands of years ago.
The way that Macpherson sees the value of miracles is by appraising them for their moral value. Macpherson’s basic case is thus that a miraculous occurrence must have a moral value or purpose that it serves otherwise any amount of evidence cannot be sufficient for proving that the miracle happened, and he applies this reasoning in justifying the moral value for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  A conclusion that can be drawn from Macpherson’s thinking is that if the resurrection of Jesus Christ had its own consequence as being the slamming of all of mankind into hell for eternity, then the event would not be a miracle despite how much proof that a person had to support the resurrection. If the resurrection of Christ is valued so highly above all other doctrines as a miracle as a result of its moral value, then devaluing it would almost appear to be the work of immorality.
One would think that increased knowledge about a miracle such as that of the resurrection would increase the value that people place on the doctrine of the resurrection because people would gain more insight of the goodness that had been caused by the resurrection as a result of being better informed. Regarding being better informed, Elledge comments that now more than ever before the development and origin of the claim that God raises the dead has more information available to scholars, and for Elledge this takes the form of study of the Old Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepihrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, and archaeology showing burial practices.  Clearly, one would think that with ‘mountains’ of knowledge about God raising the dead that the resurrection of Christ would be the crown of humanity today.
Licona is able to explain clearly why people may not value the resurrection any more highly than before even when given in increase of insight. Licona thus references an atheist scholar like Ludemann to make the case that bias can cause a hindrance that causes a person to see only what they want to see, and thus Licona argues that atheists will generally have a naturalistic advantage in investigating the events of the resurrection of Christ whereas Christian scholars have a advantage in that they will work hardest to find confirming data regarding the resurrection.  The point is that the way that people view the world dictates the way that they will value a doctrine for its trustworthiness, and in this regard atheists would not value the resurrection of Christ with very high esteem.
Craig takes up the task of interacting with a non believer in order to see what values that both atheists and Christians hold in common. Thus for the Christian apologist William Lane Craig, five points of agreement exist between him and his non believing opponent Doctor Ludemann concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and these points are that the resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian religion, just telling people to believe in the resurrection is not adequate justification for the doctrine, examining witnesses like a trial attorney to construct what happened is the task of the historian, people that do not believe should honestly say so without persecution, and people that believe in the resurrection of Christ should admit to believing in God miraculously intervening in the natural world.  The point to be made is that what both parties agreed upon is a system of values concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but once the question of the actual value of the resurrection of Jesus Christ comes into debate, then agreement would end and a debate over the truth would begin.
The Nature of the Resurrection of Christ
Stapfer makes a special point to show that the resurrection body of Jesus Christ is much different than the body that he had prior to resurrection such that those that knew him could not recognize him, and he also makes a special point to show that Christ was most recognizable after resurrection when he broke the bread at the meal.  A person can speculate that the lack of corrective vision devices such as eye glasses and contacts would have caused a large number of people to simply not recognize the risen lord as a result of poor vision, and if the people of the ancient world did not wash themselves regularly as a custom, then the risen lord would have smelled different perhaps than Christ had smelled prior to his death and thus was hard to recognize. On the other hand Jesus could have been much different when he arose from the dead as opposed to when he had died, and much of this difference could have resulted from either the mutilation of his body at crucifixion or the transformation caused by God making him a new body that was indeed very much different from the old body. If God gave Jesus a much different body upon resurrection from the dead, then what would be assumed is that either God is in favor of changes or that perhaps the old body was less desirable than the new body and thus perhaps God made some improvements to the nature of Christ?
The bigger and more important question regarding the nature of the resurrection of Christ may actually have little to do with his body and more to do with God making a new type of time available to humans called eternity. Molnar describes Karl Barth as supporting the view that all aspects of theology are determined by the way that a person interprets the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in this regard Christ is the Lord of time such that he represents eternity by the past, present, and future being simultaneously understood by the resurrection of Christ and in this way all of the words and deeds of Jesus are understood in terms of the Easter history.  A point to be made is that the change that the resurrection of Christ would have caused is a change from knowledge and events flowing sequentially one way to a portal of time and knowledge as the past pointed to Christ, the future pointed to Christ, and the present is Christ while knowledge became like shadows that became fulfilled in him.
Some theologians do not see outside of themselves to grasp the new timeline in eternity that the resurrection of Jesus Christ put forth, but they may seek to find resolution to the problems of theology from within themselves instead. Lorenzen writes that, “We must … revisit the main pillars on which a theology of resurrection is built and ask what understanding of ontology the resurrection of Christ calls for.”  Lorenzen next makes the point that people should be very careful in defining what is meant by, “being” because it can became defined in terms of a person’s own interests and categories, and this in Lorenzen’s opinion is bad for theologians that try to define God and thus shape God to fit their own interests.  Lorenzen’s case is almost like saying that if a person is blind, then they must first adjust their vision before exploring eternity in order to prevent falling in a ditch, but if a person is blind, then it is more likely that they need help with making their way through eternity with others rather than correcting their own vision.
Unlike Lorenzen, Habermas would read into Justin Martyr that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so well documented as opposed to other systems of religion that other ways of understanding divinity cannot compete with Christianity. Habermas thus finds that in his reading of Justin Martyr that Justin, unlike scholars today, considered many parallels of different gods that arose in other religions, but what Habermas points out is that the details of the stories are very vague unlike the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that is very well documented.  A person could thus raise the question that, “if no other religious system can compete against Christ’s resurrection, then why be concerned about the individual self and false categorization of God as what Lorenzen appears to be?”
Unlike Lorenzen that may seek within the self the answers to, ‘being’ before taking on the big theological questions such as the resurrection of Christ, Riggenbach points to external experience of the apostles concerning the resurrection of Christ as the foundation for their faith. For Riggenbach, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus was sustained from the beginning by the conviction that the Risen Lord had repeatedly appeared to his people and had presented himself to them alive.”  Riggenbach supports his claim by sighting Luke 24:13-34, 36-49, 50-51, John 20:11-23, 26-29, Mark 16:9-12, 14-18, Matthew 28:9, 16-20, and Acts 1:3-11 as the scriptural references to witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was such that exposure to it would have changed a person’s categories that they see God by without a person having to contemplate the subject of, ‘being’ in a matter of self investigation.
Regarding the subject of being however in the context of the subject of the resurrection, Wright has a considerable contribution to the matter. Wright considers the possibility between bodily death and bodily resurrection as being a time when the soul sleeps prior to the awakening of the resurrection, and he finds support in this idea from Daniel 12:2 as well as Paul that also takes up the matter.  Wright however expresses discontent with the way that the concept of the sleep of the soul is spoken about by postmodern thinkers in terms of this intermediate state.  Indeed postmodern thinkers could, would, and do capitalize on theological propositions that give grounds for investigations in ontology as could be seen by the previous discourse concerning the theology of Lorenzen, but the nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is such that it has more to do with personal external experience rather than internal investigation such that only the intermediate state that Wright considers is truly susceptible to, “post-modernization.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ has a powerful purpose in that it provides physical and spiritual redemption to those that are positively changed by it and without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, no atonement would exist. The resurrection can be seen to teach that God defeated death on the cross, or that God raised Christ as a result of faithfulness. The resurrection also teaches that people gain entry into the mysteries of God through the resurrection, or that Christ reaches out in evangelism in the resurrection in order to provide what is needed to the otherwise lost and hopeless. Regardless of what man or God chooses to do in terms of showing mysteries, doing evangelism, defeating death, showing faithfulness, or providing atonement, the quickness of death among humans and the daily diminishing of the human as a result of death gives the resurrection of Jesus Christ daily purpose in fulfilling the need for believers to transform the world by increasing the existence of God’s kingdom upon it.
The value of the resurrection of Jesus Christ may be the subject of debate among some scholars, but many would attest to the fact that it is the central point of Christianity. The enthronement of Christ may have more value than the resurrection of Christ, but the resurrection displays incredible moral value as a result of what good that it can be observed to have done namely the salvation of souls. Most importantly, more knowledge does not change a person’s values concerning the issue because presuppositions dictate the ways that new data gets interpreted, and thus convincing others about the value of the resurrection simply by providing more information can be a lost cause.
The body of Jesus Christ is not the most important topic regarding the nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but instead the most important topic is that the event opened the possibility of eternity to mankind. Ontology might skirt the eternal experience of the resurrection in favor of internal experience, but the lack of ability for other religious systems to compete with the resurrection of Christ shows that people need be less concerned with their internal investigation of ‘self’ and more concerned with the external investigation of the risen Lord.
The hope of salvation should be assured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a result of the purpose of God to raise Jesus from the dead,  the value that the doctrine has in Christian theology, and the nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words God raised Jesus from the dead so that people would be saved, the doctrine has such a high value that other contrary teachings will not trump it, and the nature of the resurrection is such that a person does not need to do a extensive meditation to arrive at the mysteries that will save their soul. Overall, salvation is thus possible because Jesus arose from the dead.
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 1 Corinthians 15:16-17
 1 Corinthians 15:20
 Swinburne, 1
 Torrance, 87
 Madigan, 26
 Bounds, 119-120
 Saint Gregory, 106
 Mohler, 80
 Warnock, 159
 Ibid., 160
 Brown, 69-70
 Dawson, 70
 Vermes, 136
 Macpherson, 107
 Elledge, 22
 Licona, 496
 Craig, 31-32
 Stapfer, 219-220
 Molnar, 7-8
 Lorenzen, 43
 Ibid., 43
 Habermas, 90
 Riggenbach, 32
 Ibid., 34
 Wright, 216
 Ibid., 216
 See John 3:16