Friday, February 6, 2009

The Resurrection Paradigm

Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? Acts 26:8

Thomas Kuhn famously used the terminology “paradigm shift” in his influential 1962 work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The Kuhnian “paradigm shift” described a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science.

Subsequently, the descriptive terminology which Kuhn so aptly applied to the scientific endeavor has been seized upon by many (in varied fields) to describe the change in thinking and/or outcomes when a new paradigm is adopted (i.e., when the paradigm “shifts”).

The facticity of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead requires an epistemic shift (i.e., a “paradigm shift” in thinking) from His followers.

For Christ’s followers, since His resurrection, death can no longer be considered “final.” Death, (loss of being) the existentialist’s “ultimate concern,” evaporates under the blistering light of the resurrection offered by the Son of God.

Resurrection erases death. Resurrection cancels death. Resurrection reverses death.

Death is not final because of any Hellenistic idea of an “immortal soul,” rather, death is not final for Christ’s followers because He (Christ, the Christian God) has guaranteed them a resurrection from death like His own.

The epistemic paradigm shift required of Jesus’ followers by the facticity of His resurrection has myriad implications, some of which can lead to confusion if not examined closely.

Consider two groups of persons. Group one believes (generally) that the event of physical death marks “the end.” Group two believes that the event of physical death is (merely) an intermediate step necessarily antecedent to resurrection. It should be obvious that group one and group two are operating under radically different epistemic paradigms.

The major differences between members of group one and members of group two (because of their differing paradigms) will be evidenced by what members of group one value, when compared with members of group two. Logically, members of group one will tend to value “things” that can be consumed over a relatively short time horizon. Members of group two, not constrained by the loss of being entailed in death, will tend to exhibit a predilection towards unperishables.

Also, logically, members of group one must be willing to expend any amount of resource to preserve their own lives (the cessation of which they consider “the end”), while members of group two are liberated (Hebrews 2:14-15) from the constraint of death, and thus enabled to allocate their resources differently.

The epistemic paradigm shift required of Christ’s followers by the facticity of His resurrection is so thorough that it can be considered a shift to “another logic.” In this logic, because death is not “the end,” all values held prior to the shift become open to radical reassessment and re-valuation.

What’s more, while members of group one and members of group two experience a common humanity, the radical divergence in their thought patterns (because of their differing epistemic paradigms) can often make members of one group seem irrational to members of the other group (and vice versa).

Since the resurrection paradigm is embraced voluntarily, remnants of the old paradigm (prior to the “shift”) often remain in members of group two. These “glitches” in intellectual programming can cause members of group two to seem schizophrenic. They make choices which, under the resurrection paradigm, are utterly illogical.

Only a detailed examination (a mental virus-scan) can identify and quarantine these intellectual glitches (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Free your mind! Break out of your matrix! Embrace the resurrection paradigm!

Monday, February 2, 2009

He's Not My President

I have almost zero respect for Robert Schuller, but during the Bill Clinton fiasco, specifically immediately after disclosure that Billy Boy had lied to the American public (what idiots did not know he had lied?), Schuller appeared on LK Live and Mr. King remarked something to this effect, "But he's still the President, right?" to which Schuller replied, "He's not my President!"

My Schuller meter spiked, if only for a moment.

As I thought upon that quote in relation to the prior post "My President is Black" (which made an excellent point), I mused upon the history of kings and potentates in relation to God's chosen people, especially his prophets. Occasionally, a magistrate will be a convenient friend to sheep and prophets, such as Pharaoh to Moses and Joseph, Nebudchenezzar to Daniel, or Artaxerxes to Nehemiah and Israel. But in all those cases, royal favor is incidental and fleeting. The vast majority of instances in which the Bible views the sovereign in relation to God's people reveal that he is much more often the enemy than the friend, even when he rules directly over them. Consider the names Pharaoh, Ahab, Herod, Felix, Caesar, etc., etc. Most especially adversarial to such sovereigns were the prophets, who not only affirmed God's sovereign placement of kings, even evil kings, upon their thrones, but who consistently denounced their wickedness. This makes me wonder about contemporary "prophets," such as Billy Graham and Rick Warren, who find throne rooms so comfortable even when the policies and personal lives of Presidents are immoral, violent, adulterous, vulgar, unethical, and murderous. Perhaps it's just my rebellious nature, but I hope it's some prophetic indignation in me, that makes me distrust civil power even when it is benevolent towards me, and disdain and denounce it when it is ungodly.

It seems to me that all politicians' hands, like Pilate's, are always bloody, and that they are always scrubbing away at the stain, defending themselves publicly, and saying, "I am free from the blood."

I know we should "pray for kings and all that are in authority," and I should do that more often; I also know that the kingdom of God is "not of this world," so I am forever caught in the trap of loving and praying for my enemies.

As for Barack Obama (I'm already sick of his socialist rhetoric), within the first week of his Presidency, his swift moves to pro-abortion and pro stem-cell Presidential orders makes me an uncomfortable bedfellow with Mr. Schuller regarding our new President, and so I say,

He's not my President.