The Process of Resurrection

imageDuring the past several days, I have noticed several comments with the phrases “resurrection process” or the “process of resurrection.” Why do we think the resurrection was a process?

We are all familiar, at least in principle, with the way a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. It is a process. We can make a time-lapsed movie of it and see each and every step. Some will say they see a miracle unfolding. Others will say it is nothing of the kind; it is a perfectly explainable biological process.

If you were to take the first frame and the last frame from the movie of the process, splice them together and pretend that nothing happened in between then you could pronounce and demonstrate with a very short, two-frame movie that a miracle transformation had taken place without a process.

The resurrection, if we are to believe in it, was a miracle. And if we are to take our knowledge from scripture alone, there was a before and after, a first frame so to speak and a last frame. There was nothing in between that we know about. So, why do we think there was a process? Why do we think, for instance, the body dematerialized such that a cloth might fall through it or that that the body might releases some form of energetic byproduct during the resurrection? Why do we think, as Mark Antonacci suggests that Jesus might have passed through a traversable Lorentzian wormhole in space-time or as Frank Tipler suggests that the process of resurrection might have been a form of electroweak quantum tunneling and the images on the Shroud the consequence of a Sphaleron field?

imageThomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica tried to explain that angels in going from one place to another did not pass through the place in between. Nor did they consume time doing so.

By this sort of local movement an angel may, at will, be present successively in several places and thus may be said to pass through the space between the first and the last place of the series. Or an angel may cease to apply its powers in the first place and begin to apply them in the last, not passing through the space between.

Since there is succession, that is, before-and-after, in the application of an angel’s powers, now here and now there, it must be said that an angel’s local movement occurs in time, and is not instantaneous. This time, however, is not measurable in our minutes or seconds; these units of time are applicable only to bodily movement.

For angels, at least in how they traveled, there is only a first frame and a last frame, so to speak.

Thomas was much into angels and was brilliant at logical speculation. We can leave it at that. We don’t need to agree with the saint. Nonetheless, this notion of his provides a useful metaphor for pondering supernatural action. There is in his imaginings a change of state and no measure of time.

Might the resurrection have been that way? What about other miracles? When Jesus healed the blind man was there a moment in time when the man’s eyesight was partially restored? When Jesus turned water into wine were there moments in time, no matter how brief, when the wine was still mostly water and when – perhaps fractions of nanoseconds later – the water was mostly wine?

Might the resurrection have been just a miracle with a before and after and no in between process?

The problem, for us in the shroud world, is we need something to get that image on the cloth.  Or do we?

16 thoughts on “The Process of Resurrection”

  1. I think resurrection of Jesus is a miracle and also a process.

    If it a miracle, then the body of Jesus should not change and it had to be the same bodies like Lazarus and the other two who were raised by Jesus from the dead. However unlike those three bodies, Jesus did not have the same body after the resurrection.

    According to Gospels Jesus acted differently after the resurrection. Jesus appeared and disappeared. What was the reason for that?

    So far no one has given an acceptable explanation how the image was formed.

    Then if Shroud of Turin is Authentic, then what was the reason for the image formation?

    If resurrection is a miracle then we may not get an image on the Shroud. So then some sort of process should have taken place during the resurrection.

    1. The Shroud with it’s image is a gift from God to us as a reminderof what the “Son” went through for us. We humans with our conscious mind stuck in the material have poor memories. Jesus was on earth 2,000 years ago. For some to read that he resurrected after his death, they would say “Oh, that’s nice – prove it” This may be a little reminder for the “hard to believe’ group. Other than that, I don’t know what to say, ask him when your opportunity arrives. In my mind it is a sign of the miracle for us to behold.

    2. Dear Sampath
      You wrote:
      «If resurrection is a miracle then we may not get an image on the Shroud. So then some sort of process should have taken place during the resurrection.»

      This time I don’t agree with you.
      No matter what can be said about how the Image formed on the cloth the FACT is that whatever the «agent» responsible for the chemical changes that produced discoloration of the linen fibers THIS HAPPENED ONLY ONCE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND and with one Man whose name was Jesus Christ.

      Till now even the most sophisticated essays for duplicating the IMAGE OF THE SHROUD have not achieved a reliable result, I mean for example Professor Luigi Garlaschelli’s image, Professor Fanti’s (this one obtained by a process of corona discharge was quite grotesque…) and so on.

      I’m convinced that the so called process of image formation acted through the laws of nature which were established by GOD the creator of the Universe, no matter if it was a «naturalistic» process like a Maillard reaction, emitted radiation or some kind of supernatural event.

      The fact is that whatever happened in that tomb with Jesus dead Body left an imprint on the Shroud and what else can it be but a MIRACLE?
      This imprint on the Shroud is by itself a miracle and was produced as a by-product of the biggest miracle, the Resurrection of Christ.

      We’ll never know what the Resurrection is from a scientific point of view because miracles are beyiond the realm of science but we do know that the Image of the Man of the Shroud is a miracle granted by God to mankind.
      Well these are just my thoughts.

      GOD bless you
      Antero de Frias Moreira
      (Centro Português de Sindonologia)

      1. Dear Mr. Frias Moreira

        Thank you for your comments. Yes resurrection is a miracle. However unlike in other miracles, Jesus left us his battered image on his burial cloth for the future generations to believe.

        But unlike other miracles performed by Jesus, during the resurrection some sort of process had occured and this extra ordinary process created the image on the linen cloth. That is why no one can give a reasonable explaination about the formation of Negative Image. (during the first century or 14th century no one knew how to paint a negative image of a full size person or even did not have technology to uniformly scorch full image of a person)

        Image formation can not be explain by today’s scientific knowledge. So for any laymen resurrection image formation also a miracle.

        God Bless You


  2. So, if I understand the non-process (meaning that the process does not exist) in my way of thinking- it either is or it isn’t – or maybe, it isn’t or it is. So possibly speaking in (forgive me God) God’s almighty all powerful ‘mind’ the instant that he wanted the wine to be there – it was there.

  3. It is not obligatory to believe every miracle story recorded in the gospels, although the healings are probably true. The evangelists were concerned to proclaim Jesus as Lord, not writing history as we now know and understand it. The Cana miracle of turning water into wine is only recorded in Luke, a gentile, probably Greek. A contemporary engineer and resourceful inventor, Heron of Alexandria had created a device giving the illusion of turning water into wine. It is a temping thought that Luke had heard of it, borrowed it, or ascribed it to Jesus. The guarantor of Luke’s gospel in the late 2nd century was said, somewhat ambiguously, to be Paul, although there is no Papias fragment concerning Luke.

    Collins has a very long definition on the meaning of the word “process”. Simply put a “process” is a series of actions that produce change, and involves time. Probably describing the resurrection as a process is therefore likely incorrect as Dan indicates. The only essential known requirements for resurrection seem to be that one has to be dead at the outset, and afterwards the same person has to be alive in a particular sense, but resuscitation does not count. However there is only one known case of resurrection and how it came about is a true mystery.

    I shrink from the idea that the Shroud image was in some way a byproduct of the resurrection. If it was a miracle, it was so in its own right, Meantime I prefer to think a naturalistic explanation by some as yet unknown “process” was the likely cause.

    1. No. The miracle of the water changed into wine at the wedding feast in Cana was recorded by the Evangelist, St. John, 2:1-11. John was an Apostle and close follower of Jesus who wrote his Gospel long after the Synoptic Gospel writers. Accordingly John set out to recount many of the stories that he had witnessed first hand, and that the other Evangelists had left out. John (the “Beloved Disciple”) was, above all, intent on demonstrating the Divinity of Christ – IOW, the certainty that Jesus Christ was Who He had said He was – the Son of God made Man!

      1. Thank you very much Kathleen for your correction, you are quite right, Jn 2:1-11. My only excuse is age and over-reliance on what seems to becoming an increasingly faulty memory. But I can confirm that L Sprague de Camp in his “The Ancient Engineers” describes Heron’s several devices, including “A combination of vessels and siphons (that) apparently turns water into wine …” on p.258. Heron’s ‘Mechanics’ was much referred to by medieval engineers.

        1. Thanks Dave, and no “excuse” needed… I’m not exactly old, but I still manage to make plenty of unintentional errors. ;-) I don’t doubt your information about the possibility of man-made devices capable of transforming water into wine, but when Jesus performed the miracle at Cana it is clear from St John’s account that He used nothing but His Word. Of course it is the symbolism in the miracle that is what counts.

        2. If you are believing in Jesus (ie Vigin birth and resurrection) then you have to believe all the miracles mentioned in the four Gospels. Otherwise you are like a lost sheep.

  4. Very nice piece Dan. I have always thought of resurrection as process but you have articulately conveyed an alternative. Thanks!

  5. Sampath:

    “If you are believing in Jesus (ie Vigin birth and resurrection) then you have to believe all the miracles mentioned in the four Gospels. Otherwise you are like a lost sheep.”

    I don’t agree, I think it is quite obvious that the Gospels are a mix of fact and fable, or literal description and figurative / metaphorical text. There is a lot of research to back that up, and it would seem that generally speaking it is Christians of a fundamentalist nature who would believe every miracle story in the Gospels is literally true.

    There are some who quite convincingly argue that the Virgin Birth is myth. I’m agnostic on the Virgin Birth. I think it could be myth, or literally true – or both. Because I believe in the resurrection, as a supernatural event, I believe it is logically consistent to consider that another miracle at the START of Christ’s life COULD have occurred.

    I think it’s a logical fallacy when Christians who believe in the resurrection (unless they believe it in some ‘metaphorical’ sense) say they cannot believe in the Virgin Birth because of its supernatural nature.

    Having said that the Virgin Birth stories have a lot of mythic qualities. But that doesn’t mean the whole story is myth – maybe it really did occur but was embellished within a mythic framework. I think the resurrection stories are similar, especially Matthew’s account which seems to be embellished with legendary elements.

    1. Thank you very much Thomas.

      My opinion about Holy Bible is quite different. I think Holy Bible was given to Christians by Constantine as a political solution to satisfy various Christian groups existed at that time. As an example, to satisfy Jewish Christians compilers included Old Testament, although Moses plagiarised the Creation story, the Flood story and also the Ten Commandments from other nations. Also to satisfy Pauline Christians they included Epistles of Paul. Surprisingly those who compiled the Bible did not use any records of majority of other Apostles. They did not include anything about Thomas especially what he did in India and neighbouring countries of India. In addition they burnt many books inherited by other Christian groups.

      Jesus never mentioned anything about the creation story and/or the great flood. Only thing Jesus mentioned from the creation story is that at the beginning Father made man and woman and when they united they become one. Also Jesus told that no one knows the end but only the Father.

      Most of the Epistles written by Paul contradict the new commandment of Jesus and the two Great Commandments mentioned by Jesus.

      So as a follower of Jesus either Old Testament or Epistles give me no help to understand the Kingdom of God. (or the Kingdom of Love). Only four Gospels tell about the Kingdom of God and how can we enter into it.

      As a follower of Jesus (not as a Christian or fundamentalist Christian) I believe all stories of Jesus from 4 Gospels. I have to believe those stories because I believe that Jesus really resurrected from death. Although there are many sceptics, my wisdom always tells me that Shroud of Turin is authentic. So the Shroud of Turin is the main and first Gospel for me. From 1st April 2010, the day I was introduced to the Shroud, I believe that Jesus really existed, died on the cross and resurrected. So to believe other Gospels and its stories are not a problem for me.

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