Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The LORD has done great things for us" (Ps. 126:3a)

Today we mark Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter. Hopefully, at least as it pertains to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, your So what? factor is not waning. In service of the end of living in the light Christ's glorious Resurrection, we need to drink from deep wells. I discovered one such well last summer, Cardinal Schönborn's "contemporary Christology," God Sent His Son.

Let's take a sip:
Since the Reformation, Protestant, but also Catholic, dogmatics have so strongly emphasized the meaning of Jesus' death for salvation that it often seems as if the Resurrection were "just a corroborative appendage to the expiatory death of Christ that justifies us" [here His Eminence quotes a 1966 book by J. Kremer]. Yet a one-sided view of Jesus' death as penal satisfaction reduces its significance for salvation to either a merely good moral example or a forensic justification in which God revokes a judicial sentence on sinful mankind and promises them his salvation
The Resurrection of Christ (center piece of triptych), by Peter Paul Rubens, 1611-12

What, then, is the soteriological significance of Jesus' Resurrection? Christ's rising is the beginning of the universal resurrection. Cardinal Schönborn demonstrates this, draws water into the deep well of his Christology from the living stream of apostolic preaching:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power (1 Cor. 15:20-24)
I want to extend the passage beyond the four verses used by the Cardinal:

"For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for 'he subjected everything under his feet.' But when it says that everything has been subjected, it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will [also] be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:25-28).

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