The Resurrection of Jesus — Part 6

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

This is the latest in a debate between Gerald R. Baron and myself on the subject of the resurrection of Jesus, and will only make proper sense to anyone who has been following it. In response to my previous article he posted this one. Because it’s going to take me some time to respond to that in full, in the meantime this is just a partial response, since he asked me whether he has understood my allegorical argument correctly, and there are a few points I need to make.

For the benefit of anyone who has not read Baron’s response, I’ll quote his understanding of my allegory argument: “I understand it to be that Jesus (assuming he lived) died a natural death and not from torture or crucifixion. If he was crucified he did not die from it, but essentially walked away. The allegory of his resurrection was created generations later by church leaders who wanted to formalize some myths that seemed to arise from the stories some of his adherents told. Further, there is great spiritual value in the allegory or resurrection relating to ideas of rebirth, new life, connections to deeper reality, etc., that make the question of an actual resurrection largely pointless”.

I’ll address my response to him directly.

Here you are mixing up questions about a Historical Jesus (did he exist, and if so how did he die?) and the allegory argument. Let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that Jesus did exist. You ask whether he died a natural death and was not crucified. That is how it was according to one line of thinking, that the person crucified was another Jesus, a rebellious Zealot figure, not the spiritual one with whom we are acquainted from the Gospels. The latter was arrested and brought before Pilate, but he let him go. Apparently the Catholic Church knows this, but keeps the documents well hidden in the Vatican library. I’ve gone into this version of events at some length in this earlier article. It’s also worth noting that in that context the Koran says that a different figure was substituted for Jesus.

Your second point — “if he was crucified he did not die from it, but essentially walked away” — also refers to the Historical Jesus, not the allegory. As I’ve argued in the previous articles, this appears to be what the Gospel of John is suggesting beneath the surface — there are several big hints.

On your third point regarding the later Church leaders, that is not at all what I mean. Death and resurrection as allegory was intended by the original authors of the Gospels, and the Church, either knowingly or unknowingly, failed to understand this, and chose to interpret it as a historical story.

On your final point, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the allegorical argument makes “the question of an actual resurrection largely pointless”. If Christian theology is in any way accurate, then the resurrection would of course be of enormous importance. If, however, the Church has got it wrong, and the physical resurrection didn’t actually happen, then this also has enormous implications. That is what I’ve been arguing. As you say, according to the allegorical argument “there is great spiritual value in the allegory or resurrection relating to ideas of rebirth, new life, connections to deeper reality”. So, if that is true, then belief in the physical resurrection is a distraction from, and an obstacle to, the challenge of personal spiritual development.

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I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here).

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Graham Pemberton

I am a singer/songwriter interested in spirituality, politics, psychology, science, and their interrelationships. grahampemberton.com spiritualityinpolitics.com