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!


Greg Alford said...

After reading a few of your articles posted here on Spurgeon's Cigar (man I love that title) I decided to add you to my list of Blogs I read.

Grace Always,

Hal Brunson said...

I had that glitch the first time I bought a BMW, and now I can't scratch my glitch:)

Awesome post, Herr Professor . . .

Anonymous said...

just ran across your blog on greg alford's. Like what I see,