(40) . . . he rose again from the dead

The heart center of Christianity is the resurrection of Christ. There is a road to every important point of Christian faith and life from the resurrection. Every other doctrine depends upon this for its foundation. Without the resurrection the whole Christian structure falls apart and tumbles in ruins. Everything in the Creed before “he rose from the dead” simply leads up to this. And everything that follows it follows from it. I cannot overemphasize the place of the resurrection in my faith. Without this I would have nothing significant to say. For me the resurrection explains and grounds everything Christian. It explains why Christianity is quite different from every other religion. It even explains me.

A new age had begun. An entirely new kind of being had appeared in this perishing world. Jesus had been thoroughly part of our doomed, creaturely human race. But while in our flesh, he had succeeded in being willingly, lovingly, and entirely at one with God. What the Creator had desired for every man had been realized in history at least once. The rnan Jesus could be trusted forever with all the powers of God. The Almighty therefore brought him back out of the power of death to live eternally and to wield all power in heaven and on earth. The risen Lord could move equally well in the realm of the Creator and in the realm of the creatures. Locked doors, long distances, and fixed times were no longer barriers to him.

This new kind of being made possible the rescue of God’s creaturely treasures even out of past history and the abode of the dead. It also made possible the beginning and building of a new world both here and hereafter. The risen Lord could make his way even into the lives of perishing and perverse people. He could relive in them something of his victorious life. They would share in his resurrection and eternal life. Since the risen Lord had bridged the gap between the creatures and the Creator and could move in both directions, he could do something about bringing estranged sinners together with the Holy God. When the Lord joined sinful men to God, as the spokes of a wheel join the rim to the hub, also and at the same time he joined men to one another through himself. This created the Christian church, which consists of those men who are at one with God and one another through the work of the risen Christ. And who can tell of all the blessings which the church has brought to mankind? The resurrection of Jesus thus brought about the most important change ever in the human situation. A new age had dawned with the resurrection and a whole new world could begin.