One of the ironies of the Licona controversy is the way it’s deflected attention away from the fundamental issue. Much has been said about inerrancy and hermeneutics. Genre. Comparative literature. ETS and ICBI documents.
What’s striking is how little has been said about the incident itself. About the resurrected saints. That’s been nearly eclipsed from the current debate.
If some readers find that inherently implausible, if they mock that scene as a “zombie apocalypse,” then what they’re rejecting is not simply the historicity of this pericope, but the underlying principle.
Do we believe in the resurrection of the body? Or do we think this life is all there is? Do we really believe in God’s omnipotence?
Now for some folks, especially the younger generation, death is often an abstraction. It’s something they see on the news. They may not be at that age where they’ve had to bury someone they loved.
Detachment from death is also fostered by a transient society in which relatives frequently live hundred or thousands of miles away. You may not see aunts and uncles or grandparents very often. So their death doesn’t have the same impact. They really weren’t a part of your life. You weren’t in the room when they died. It’s just something your told on the phone. Or email.
Likewise, childhood friends or high school buddies may move away. After you graduate, you never see each other again.
But if you attend an open casket service, or a graveside service, especially for someone dear to you, that’s different. If the crematorium hands you a sack of dust and ashes which used to be your loved one, that’s different.
We’re often insulated, not only from death, but from dying. From the process of dying. From watching a loved one lose ground. Become enfeebled or feebleminded. Fearful. Vulnerable. Losing control.
Nowadays the dying rarely die at home. They die in the hospital, or hospice, or nursing home. They often die alone. Lonely. Abandoned. At the mercy of underpaid strangers.
Does the last enemy have the final say?