Bible Insights

Do You Believe that God Can Raise the Dead?

Jesus Rose from the Dead and So Did Many Others

In Acts chapter 26, the prisoner Paul makes his defense before King Agrippa. Basically Paul recaps key moments of his life and turns his testimony into a sermon.

This must make King Agrippa squirm, because he pushes back, asking if Paul expects him to become a Christian. For the record, Paul does.

However, I want to focus on something Paul says early on in his testimony to the court. Paul asks those present, “Why would anyone consider it incredible that God can raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8). What an interesting question.

If we believe in God and consider him as an all-powerful deity, we can certainly accept that he is able to bring dead people back to life. Most notably he does this for Jesus. And Jesus, who is one with God, raises several people from the dead too.

So do Paul, Elijah, and Elisha, who all raise the dead through God’s power.

God’s Resurrecting Power

Where is this resurrecting power of God today?

Is God still in the business of raising the dead?

God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Moses and James agree (Numbers 23:19 and James 1:17).

If God doesn’t change and once brought dead people back to life, there’s no reason to expect that he can’t raise the dead now. For some people in our world, resurrection from the dead is normal and still occurs.

Yet other people in our world, namely those in developed nations, dismiss the idea of supernatural resurrections. What’s the difference?

If we’re not seeing people rise from the dead, it might not be God’s fault but our lack of faith. Click To Tweet

We get a hint in Matthew 13:58, which says Jesus—even Jesus—was limited in what supernatural wonders he could perform, because of the people’s lack of faith.

So if we’re not seeing people rise from the dead, it might not be God’s doing, but our lack of faith.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Acts 26-28, and today’s post is on Acts 26:8.]

Read more about the book of Acts in Tongues of Fire: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church from the Book of Acts, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. [Originally published as Dear Theophilus Acts.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

6 replies on “Do You Believe that God Can Raise the Dead?”

1 Thessalonians 4: 11-17 speaks to the promise that whoever believes in Jesus will inherit eternal life. God’s plan is for Jesus to come back to life again and prove it once and for all. Think about it. If in God’s timing, a day is like a thousand years, then we are beginning the 3rd day, the third millennium.

Reincarnation is one way to explain resurrection. The people in Gospel times thought Elijah had come back to earth in the person of John the Baptist. Other people thought Alexander had come back to life to bring Victory to the People and roust out the Romans who were oppressing everyone with their taxation and their way of recording history.

The Greeks and most likely the Hebrews told history differently. They incorporated their history into stories and dramas. I learned this when I took a course at Simon Fraser University from the premier historian of Greek History in all of Canada, Professor Andre Gerolymatos. He was seconded to Bosnia during the Balkan Crisis to help settle disputes there. Wow that course was an eye-opener. The very first night he asked the class who was Pericles. Many people had heard of Pericles. Then he asked who Pericles’ famous mistress was? Nobody knew that. So for homework, we were told to go and find out.

After we had found out that her name was Aspasia and how and why the good citizens of Athens saw her as a harlot, and how Pericles tearfully defended her, we were begin to read Greek Literature. Sound familiar? Sound a little like the Gospel story. Gerolymatos also told the class that the Greeks and most likely other nations had a similar system, whereby should a Statesman cause a scandal, someone from the Demos, would come up to him and say…oh, I heard you have the plague and will probably die in 30 days of whatever. If the person went quietly and nobly without a big scene, he would be resurrected on the isle of the blessed with a new name and a new life in exile.

Does this isle of Exile sound familiar? What about Patmos?

Also think about Paul being in prison. Prison or house arrest is very much like exile. Who were Paul, Apollo and Cephas? Many people saw Cephas as Jo’s Cephas or Barnabas and then equated Barn abbas with Joseph and Zeus…the Father of Helen of Troy who was abducted by Paris–Alexander the incarnation of Apollos. Paul they saw as Hermes…the messenger.

Paul tries to get people thinking more along the line of God being with us the people of the earth who are created in the image and eternal likeness of God. Paul tells people that Cephas, Paul and Apollos are merely servants…who plant and water seeds of a new way of thinking founded on LOVE.

In the Symposium written by Plato depicting Athenian life 450 years before the CE, Socrates asks the question what is Love? Love was not something people saw as hopeful or useful. People saw Love as something to avoid at all costs because after all look what happened to Pericles when he fell in love with Aspasia, a foreign woman who was good at rhetoric and could discuss things with Socrates a very astute philosopher.

In the centuries following the first century, the Church becomes more Roman and more European. The great Schism between the Greek Fathers and the Roman Fathers happens. Then centuries later the Protestant Reformation causes more schisms and then the Roman Catholic counter reformation followed and even more divisions happened as Christianity saw it as their mission to purge the world of the idea that people could reincarnate without first repenting and proclaiming their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, to prove that Jesus was the perfect incarnation of God the most omnipotent and omniscience genderless human being that ever lived, modern Christology wiped out the idea of Reincarnation from Christian memory. So yes, lack of faith is part of the problem that is keeping people from believing resurrections are possible. This idolatrous notion about God being genderless, neither male nor female sublimating desire rather than seeing God as both male and female persons uniting to be fruitful and multiply and be friends with their neighbours is very much part of the problem. The other part of the problem is timing. The time has to be right. In addition, people of faith need to be prepared and they need to be clued in by people such as Peter Dehaan who know how to read the Bible and know what to look for. Love, desire, knowledge and imagination are powerful tools that God has given humanity, God’s only begotten who was and is created in God’s own image and eternal likeness.

So thank you Peter DeHaan for asking Where is the Resurrection power of God today?

What do you think? Please leave a comment!

%d bloggers like this: