THE DIVINE RESOLUTION VI:
Creation and Resurrection
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. — John 17:4.
The crucifixion of Jesus was not merely an exemplary or substitutionary act. Rather, “Jesus’ death was the powerful deed in God’s apocalyptic war, the deed by which God . . . freed us from the malevolent grasp of the present age.”1 Jesus’ death was the apocalyptic event that inaugurated the termination of the old, self-existent God. It inaugurated the end of the old covenant of command, possession and grand domestication. And it inaugurated the death of the old Creation, permeated by physical, biological and moral evil and by death itself.
Then what is the significance of the empty tomb — the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? Is his resurrection merely an example of what we can anticipate after our own death? Is it simply a proleptic (anticipatory) act that foreshadows the ultimate resurrection of the human race? Or is the resurrection of far greater significance than either of these explanations? The fact is that “the future of Christ as the corporate man (anthropos) of the new creation . . . [is] the dawn of God’s new creation . . . [and] makes absolutely certain . . . the future of the world.”2
The resurrected Christ is the new and human God, who co-exists with all “others.” As he himself declared, “ . . . [L]o, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). The resurrected Christ is the new Covenant, defined as mutual love, relationality and eternal, noncontingent life. The resurrected Christ is the new Creation, beyond all evil — beyond destruction, disease, disability and death.
If the Risen One is none other than the new God, the new Covenant and the new Creation, how can mankind and the created order participate in these new realities? Do we need to identify with a specific power structure, join a particular church, or attend an accepted religious communion? Do we need to participate in traditional sacraments — such as baptism, confirmation or the Eucharist? Do we need to accept specific creeds or conciliar propositions? Should we denounce, reject and exclude all who differ with us? Must we submit and pledge obedience to certain hierarchical claimants? Will our own faith, hope and love suffice to “religion” (re-ligate) us to God, his Covenant and his Creation? Do we have to receive the gift of tongues to make this happen? Do we have to engage in some other pious activity? The answer to all of these propositions is “No!” None of these is appropriate to salvation. All are diversions from God’s redemptive presence.
This is because Jesus Christ alone is the supreme and only Corporate Person. As he himself declares, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, . . . which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power . . . ” (Colossians 2:10). Because he is the Corporate Person, Jesus Christ is our Faith, our Hope and our Love. He is our Salvation, our Peace and our eternal Sabbath rest. He is our King, our Priest and our Prophet. “ . . . For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” (Matthew 6:13, italics supplied).
O that we might accept Jesus Christ as the true Corporate Person! O that we might celebrate his all-encompassing “fillment,” his finished work!
Who [then] shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from [or re-unite us to] the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:35, 37-39.
Let us therefore “[r]ejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). For “behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me . . . He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:12, 20).