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The "Why" of Easter

Easter is a significant day in the Church Calendar because it was the day when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, thus forever changing not only the relationship between Homo and Deus, but affecting the potential future destiny of every member of Homo: It is by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we obtain salvation from sin now, and from eternal death later.  This is standard Christian belief based on interpretation of Scriptures, and so will not be further defended here.  What happened on Easter was so significant that the Apostles (by which I mean the Disciples of Jesus and Paul) took great pains to explain its implications, of which Paul's blunt diatribe to the Corinthians about those who doubted the Resurrection of the Dead is a worthy example.

Is Easter "The Day"?

At first blush, Easter looks good as a candidate to put up against Darwin Day.  For starters, it partially reversed some of the downsides that happened to Jesus Christ from the Incarnation, so it does address a form of  "biological evolution".  Here's Philippians 2:9-11, which follows the passage cited previously:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Our eternal fate is certainly different after the Resurrection, as Paul explains in the passage I cited previously from Second Corinthians.  Without it, there's no guarantee of a future resurrection.  It is seen as the authoritative defeat of death in verses 55 and 56.  In contrast, the current model of Darwin's theory of Evolution by Natural Selection emphasizes the fact that the genes of the survivors are more likely to be passed on to descendants than those who die before propagating them.  The concept of "survival" is seen as a means of "selection" that is natural, and which is a better (but not perfect) guarantee of passing those genes on to descendants.  Inferior genes are less likely to be passed on because it is more likely that death would eliminate those who had them before they could reproduce.  This is in contrast to Animal Husbandry, which is seen as "artificial" or "guided" selection.  "Intelligent Selection", so to speak. There is a certain circularity that is persuasive, since it is suggested that "superior" genes are "superior" because they aid in survival.  The spinning of "just so" stories that evolutionists indulge in is seen as justifiable science since they hold that they only need to show how a specific trait or behavior could have contributed to survival.  Without death, there is no way to determine which genes are inferior or superior, because "inferior" and "superior" are cast in terms of being less or more able to survive, which is another way of saying that death didn't occur before reproduction.  Death is the mechanism behind the evolutionary "pressure" to select between genes: no mechanism, no way to select, and thus no pressure to evolve.  The lack of evolutionary pressure is cited as the reason why certain species have shown no evidence of having evolved over millions of years.  The fact of Resurrection undercuts the key mechanism that drives evolution.

However, while not putting down the significance of the Resurrection (and Easter as a Holy Day celebrating that victory over death), one has to say that the outward and immediate 'benefits' are quite limited in scope.  There is a single reference to some saints being resurrected and appearing to many, but that happened "too early", on Good Friday, not Easter Sunday.  All but one of Jesus' post-resurrection miracles were demonstrations of what the resurrection body was like, and the exception was a deliberate replay of one done at the beginning of his ministry.  Again, not to show disrespect or take anything away from the significance of the Resurrection for Homo, but all those miracles have the air of Jesus tooling around in a brand new Jag, yelling "Hey guys!  GET A LOAD OF WHAT THIS BABY CAN DO!" just before he floors the gas pedal.  Yes, we will get a Jag ourselves, but we won't get the keys in this lifetime.  And no matter how good and wonderful and kind and gracious and loving and willing Jesus is, he can't loan us the keys to his Jag to give us a fore-taste of what to expect.  If all you can do is smell the exhaust and watch the tail lights disappear into that exhaust, you'll eventually get bored and start thinking of doing something more interesting and constructive, like going fishing.

Yes, the fact of Resurrection had an enormous impact on Jesus' followers, including us, but it was primarily conceptual and relational, not physical.  Jesus was able to take people's faith, or his own, and was able to work miracles with it, up to resusitating the dead.  They had seen it themselves, and had done it themselves.  From first hand experience they knew how this stuff worked.  They knew they needed God's power to do all these miracles, they knew how it was done, and they did do it.  How does an engineer prove that she knows what she claims to know?  By her ability to do it consistently and at a high level of quality.  That is competence, and the disciples had it in spades.  Why didn't they have any faith to resusitate Jesus?  Confusion?  Fear?  Or was it the very real fact that, at its base, they knew that all this stuff worked because their faith was in and on Jesus, and with Jesus gone, their faith was vain and useless?  Dead men work no miracles, especially men who admitted to blasphemy, for the disciple John claimed that he was within earshot of the admission. 

Simply put, they knew God would not permit the resusitation of a man who claimed to be Him, and so had no faith in their ability to resusitate Jesus. 

But Jesus was not resusitated.  He was resurrected.  Every resuscitation the disciples had witnessed was a restoration of the person to life, but effected no change in the body.  Jesus demonstrated after the resurrection abilities they never saw him do before that were tied to the resurrection body.  If that isn't evolution, then what is?

And there is this: every resuscitation they had witnessed had been effected via a living human being.  Every person able to effect a resuscitation alive at the time were present and accounted for on Easter morning.  Yet, a man executed for blasphemy (claiming to be God) was resurrected.  The caim that it was done against God's will is a claim that is, in itself, blasphemous.  Blind Man's Logic forced the disciples the realization that Jesus' claim to be God therefore had to be true.

The impact this had on the disciple's thinking had to be revolutionary.  Their lifestyle for the previous three years was that of moving about as a group, with occasional periods where they broke up into twos to serve as PR advance teams for Jesus.  Did they know Jesus?  Ya think?  These guys knew so much about Jesus, they could authoritatively answer questions from teenager boys about Jesus' body emissions that would make their mothers cringe.  These very Jewish men knew a man who was God to a level of detail that they could confidently boast "We know what makes God tick."

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