Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Logic of Christianity 10: Full Circle Logic: The Resurrection

The LOGIC OF THE UNIVERSE IS CIRCULAR. This is not the same as saying that the universe uses “circular reasoning” (also known as “circular logic”), which is what logicians call a “logical fallacy.” A logical fallacy is an incorrect form of logic. Circular reasoning takes two opposing-but-incapable-of-being-absolutely-proved assertions, negates one, and then proves the one by citing the negative of the other. For example, the argument that “atheism is correct because there is no god” is circular reasoning, a logical fallacy. The argument that “women are smarter than men because men are dumber” is circular reasoning. The argument that “broccoli tastes better than peas because peas taste worse” is circular reasoning.
When I suggest that the logic of the universe is circular, I mean that everything in the operation of the universe employs circularity/cycles. I offer empirical evidence: Virtually everything that operates in the physical world is circular. I point out in my blog post, “Hidden Mickeyisms 1: Cosmic Circles and Mickey Mouse”: “We understand a ‘circle round the sun’ [from Epcot’s fireworks theme song] to refer to a year, 365 days. . . . Not only does the earth circle the sun, but other planets do, as well. The ‘thousand circles’ may refer to a millennium, but each millennium is exponentially compounded by the thousand circles of other planets. How many millennia has the earth existed? And isn’t every decade, century, and millennium also a circle of sorts? The number of circles in the universe is again exponentially compounded. For that matter, while the earth is circling the sun once, it is also rotating in a circle on its axis 365 times. These are 365 additional circles to factor in. And once, every 28 days, the earth’s relationship to its moon creates another circle—a month . . . . Remember also that the sun is only one of billions of stars, all of which have their own circling planets, and those planets, their moons. . . . Don’t forget that these stars all seem to be circling within their own galaxies. The Milky Way is only one circular galaxy, with countless circles occurring within. . . . Now, consider the atom with its nucleus, and circling protons and neutrons, and . . . every planet, moon, star, asteroid, and meteor is comprised of countless atoms. . . . Each circle has a beginning, middle, and end. And, once each circle completes one entelechy (one circle), it begins a new entelechy (a new circle). . . . Of course, Aristotle is not content to consider . . . only astrophysical circles. He is primarily interested in geophysical and biological entelechies. The circle of a drop of rain falling from the sky, running from a stream of water into a creek, then into a river, then into the sea, after which it evaporates into the atmosphere and helps form a cloud, until it becomes too heavy and eventually condenses and becomes a drop of rain again is an entelechy, a circle. A kernel of corn is planted in the earth. It puts forth roots, then a blade, which becomes a stalk. The stalk develops leaves, tassels, and ears—composed of husks, silks, and cobs. The cobs develop rows and rows of kernels. Once these kernels of corn have matured, these kernels are ready to begin new entelechies, new circles. . . . There is the biological ‘Circle of Life,’ as Disney’s Lion King names it. That circle includes not only the circle of biological reproduction and maturation of every single animal, followed by another reproduction and maturation, etc. It also includes the circle of the food chain, the circular nature of the respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems of each biological organism, and so on.”
On the front cover of my book, Revelation: The Human Drama (Lehigh University Press, 2001), is the image of a circular snake (Ouroboros) with its tail being swallowed by its head, signifying that a circle starts at the head and proceeds to end at the tail, which, in turn begins again at the head. In the center of this circular snake is an image of Eve picking the forbidden fruit. The point of the image is that the entire human drama is a circle. When Revelation refers to the “Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” it is referring to the CIRCULARITY OF THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, even the circularity of the history of the universe (from creation to destruction to new creation). Logically, in terms of the circle of the history of mankind, Genesis begins with Adam and Eve, living an immortal (or, at least, a non-dying) life. Their free-will is tested with the first hortatory negative—“Thou shalt not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”—combined with the threat of “Death” should they violate this rule. They, with their free will, respond by eating and the dying process begins. Immediately, a new (inferior) circle begins. This INFERIOR CIRCLE is the biological, birth-maturation-reproduction (followed by death) circle—the same biological circle that is found in all biological forms. We notice that the biological circle has begun, according to Genesis, in the respect that the reproductive impulse is present in Adam and Eve immediately following the eating of the forbidden fruit—for the first time, they notice their own nakedness. To this day, the biological circle for humans is invoked for consolation purposes at funerals: “S/he lives on through his/her children!” But, this biological circle is a substitute for what was originally presented as the beginning of an ETERNAL LIFE CIRCLE. The immortal beings (Adam and Eve) became mortal (through a lapse of faith). The full-circle logic of the eternal life circle would be the reclaiming of immortality through the exercise of absolute faith (the single failure to exercise of which Adam and Eve were guilty). Hence, Revelation presents its Conquerors as those individuals who had so much faith in Jesus that they were willing to be martyred. Just as Adam had lost faith in God’s word to him and received Death in the bargain, these Conquerors were willing to accept Death as a martyr as the ultimate proof that they believed in God and Jesus, and received Eternal Life in the bargain.
The COSMIC CIRCLE OF THE LOGIC OF ETERNAL LIFE begins with the very first man, Adam. He is created in the image of God. That is to say, he possesses free will, communicates using symbols/words that he himself creates, is capable of making not only his own symbols-words-grammar, but also his own tools and his own tools for making other tools, etc. He is also in the image of God in the sense that he is IMMORTAL. Then, in his exercise of free will, he CHOOSES to doubt God. Upon choosing to eat that which God had warned him not to eat, he becomes mortal, and within his inferior circle (biological reproductive circle), he begins to procreate as a FALLEN MAN. His offspring, being the product of his inferior biological reproductive circle, is born into the same FALLEN STATE as Adam and Eve (the biological product of the Original Sin). A very few individuals (Enoch, Elijah, and possibly Moses) prove that, by following God’s explicit commands verbatim throughout their lives, that it is possible—through living perfect lives—to regain immortality (at least, for themselves) through translation (Enoch) or fiery chariots (Elijah), etc. Then, Jesus as a human being accomplishes the same feat as Elijah, and is rewarded with TRANSFIGURATION. Unlike Elijah who had achieved immortality on his own, Jesus gives back his own personal prize. He accepts the penalty of death by crucifixion to satisfy the judgments and sentences that were pending for all mankind that had not, like Elijah, earned eternal life, for themselves. So, with the RESURRECTION OF JESUS, we come FULL CIRCLE—bringing mankind (THE SEED OF ADAM) back to IMMORTALITY. The tail of the snake Ouroboros has, once again, reached its head. Adam was immortal, at first, and now, Adam and his seed have had the immortality restored. The Alpha is the same as the Omega. The First is the same as the Last. The Beginning is the same as the End.
[As an aside, I now return full circle to my very first blog post in this series, “The Logic of Christianity 1: The Shroud, the Pope, and the Faith Continuum.” The Shroud of Turin, whether or not it is ACTUALLY the burial shroud of Jesus, at the very least, REPRESENTS the burial shroud of Jesus. And, as has been proposed by some of the archaeological scholars who have examined it, may show signs of a photographic light image on the shroud (which would be the equivalent of film). The light that may have produced this photographic effect could have been produced by a resurrecting Jesus. Once again, whether this postulation is considered 99% credible or only .00001% credible, even the hint of faith in the possibility that it is true is still “faith.”]
I will leave to others the responsibility of marshalling the evidence that Jesus’ resurrection actually occurred. Many have done excellent work, in that respect. But since this is a blog series on the “Logic of Christianity,” I will be content with presenting the logic of the resurrection. The Toulminian logic looks like this: WARRANT: The logic of the universe is circular, not linear. DATA: If mankind began in an immortal state, and then was reduced forever to mortality, that would be linear movement, not circular. CLAIM: Therefore, the concept of an immortal beginning with a mortal ending is illogical. REBUTTAL: Unless there is no hint in the biblical account that recorded the First Man’s early immortal state and fall to mortality that there would be a return to the immortal state. BACKING: But, there is a hint of a future return to immortality: Genesis 3:15, just nine verses after the account of the eating of the Forbidden Fruit, hints at the circular logic: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Is Genesis 3:15 suggesting that the inferior act of [the Serpent] taking away man’s immortality will be supplanted by the superior act of bruising the Serpent’s head [understand: killing the killer of mankind?] by one of woman’s seed. QUALIFIER: “Definitely”-- Therefore, the concept of an immortal beginning with a mortal ending is DEFINITELY illogical.
While the earliest foreshadowing of the route this ETERNAL LIFE CIRCLE will take is found in the words of Genesis 3:15, Genesis 5:22-24 records the account of Enoch who “was not for God took him”—an indication that the writer of Genesis believed in immortality, at least, for some. There is the further hint in Deuteronomy 34 that the mysterious disappearance of Moses’ corpse at the end of his life was pregnant with possibilities of immortality. Job 19:25-26 indicates that resurrection was expected by non-Israelites, since Job was a descendent of Esau, not Jacob (Israel): “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Abraham appears to believe that God will resurrect Isaac after he sacrifices him. He tells his servants in Genesis 22:5: “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Hebrews 11:18-19 interprets this hint: “Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him . . . .” Three Old Testament individuals were actually resurrected (albeit, to mortal bodies, not immortal bodies, even as, in the New Testament, Lazarus, the daughter of Jairus, and the son of the widow of Nain were raised by Jesus, and Peter and Paul each raised individuals—to mortal bodies). Daniel 12:2, however, makes the explicit promise of a future resurrection to immortality: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus’ resurrection accomplishes the first such resurrection to immortality and, thus, ushers in FULL CIRCLE LOGIC.

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