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Featured What did Paul mean when he claims to have seen the risen Christ?

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by adrian009, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    In St Paul’s first Epistle to the Greek Church of Corinth, he claims to have seen the risen Christ with his own eyes:

    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
    For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


    Did St Paul really see the risen Christ as some of the other apostles had? If not, how else could we explain his words recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:4-9?
     
    #1 adrian009, Jun 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
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  2. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    The apostles saw him risen before he ascended to heaven.
    Paul thought he saw the risen Jesus in a vision on the road to Damascus, which is why he believed after the encounter.
    John would have also seen the risen Christ in symbolic form in the Revelation of John.
     
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I like how the risen Christ is experienced in a number of ways, not just literally. Paul’s experiences on the road to Damascus would have happened several years after the post resurrection appearances and ascension so is unlikely to have been similar to the resurrection experience of the apostles...that is of course unless the apostles post resurrection experiences were of a mystical nature too.
     
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  4. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    We only have Pauls own account of this and as much of his other writings it is a mess, you would assume that such event would be pretty important and memorable. :)

    Paul explanation of how he made Jesus.

    Act 9:3-8
    (3) As Saul traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.
    (4) He dropped to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
    (5) He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The voice said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
    (6) Now get up, go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
    (7) Meanwhile, the men who were traveling with Saul were standing speechless, for they heard the voice but didn't see anyone.
    (8) When Saul got up off the ground, he couldn't see anything, even though his eyes were open. So his companions took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.


    Later on in Acts Paul have to explain the story again.

    Act 22:6-11
    (6) "But while I was on my way and approaching Damascus about noon, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.
    (7) I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?'
    (8) "I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?'" He told me, 'I am Jesus from Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'
    (9) The men who were with me saw the light but didn't understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
    (10) "Then I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' "The Lord told me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are destined to do.'
    (11) Since I could not see because of the brightness of the light, the men who were with me took me by the hand and led me into Damascus.


    So suddenly they saw him, but couldn't understand him :D

    Later on in Acts Paul give it another try.

    Act 26:12-18
    (12) "That is how I happened to be traveling to Damascus with authority based on a commission from the high priests.
    (13) On the road at noon, O King, I saw a light from heaven that was brighter than the sun. It flashed around me and those who were traveling with me.
    (14) "All of us fell to the ground, and I heard a voice asking me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me? It is hurting you to keep on kicking against the cattle prods.'
    (15) " I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "The Lord answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
    (16) But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for the very purpose of appointing you to be my servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you.
    (17) I will continue to rescue you from your people and from the gentiles to whom I am sending you.
    (18) You will help them understand and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan's control to God, so that their sins will be forgiven and they will receive a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'


    Suddenly a lot more dialog, which weren't important in the first explanations apparently... also notice that he say that "All of us fell to the ground.." but in the first one it is clearly written... "Meanwhile, the men who were traveling with Saul were standing speechless".

    It is not a wonder that the overall story is the same, but seems strange how it changes constantly, one would assume that it was a pretty important one.

    In regards to "recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:22" im not sure why you think that is strange? All of them knew about Adam. But maybe I misunderstood what your meant?
     
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  5. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member
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    It would appear to me, like John who saw the four and twenty elders, Paul was caught up to Heaven and had conversations with Jesus. II Corinthians 12:2.

    Another example:
    1 Cor 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

    I know he didn't receive that on the road to Damascus.

    And again:

    Gal 1: 11 Beloved ones, let me say emphatically that the gospel entrusted to me was not given to me by any man. 12 No one taught me this revelation, for it was given to me directly by the unveiling of Jesus the Anointed One.
     
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  6. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I meant 1 Corinthians 15:4-9 not 22. Sorry about that? I’ve edited it.

    Its fascinating how such a pivotal story that concerns the resurrection of Christ evolves and changes. Then Paul says:

    And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
    1 Corinthians 15:14

    So Paul’s story appears to evolve from a completely mystical event to something that literally happened.
     
  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. I completely accept Paul had a series of mystical encounters with the ‘risen’ Christ where the truth about Jesus (the Gospel) was made clear. He went from persecuting Christians to being among their greatest champions. So how do you see 1 Corinthians 15:4-9 in relation to Paul’s mysticism and encountering Jesus?
     
  8. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member
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    Good question. Since at the writing of Corinthians, he had already spoken to the Apostles, I think it would be hard to determine on that particular scripture if it was "taught of Jesus" and simply relayed to him as he spoke to the Apostles in Jerusalem.
     
  9. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I think that this language is cryptic. First of all he says "raised on the third day according to the scriptures..." Which scriptures? Where is this in canon? All my life I have searched and found only a few references to three of anything. There is one law that says certain sacrifices must be burnt or eaten by day three, and that's it. There's no scripture I can find that says anything about Jesus being raised on the third day or any which say a man must be sacrificed. I've asked at least ten other people, and nobody can find anything. Repeatedly you find this claim in the gospels that Jesus explains from scripture he must be killed or that he must be raised, yet miraculously nobody else can find it. Did nobody leave any notes behind? What happened? Its cryptic that's what I think.

    I tend to notice the phrase in Acts "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting" is in reference to Paul's persecution of the church. It brings back to mind Paul's other famous phrase "The church which is his body." Paul says the church is the body of Christ. Ok, so if the church is Jesus' body then what happened to the man...to Jesus who was once a child? I don't think this should be ignored. I don't think we should pretend its accidental, and I don't think 'Spiritual body' is the same as being an individual. If it were then I think the result would be simply another fallen state and human state.

    This among other things in the NT explains well enough for me that believing in the resurrection is not a passive act. It is a choice to live as no one, that your individuality is the crap that will be shaved off, that you will become christ. When you die very little will survive but only that which has been transformed into Christ. Its tough words, perfectly suiting to martyrdom to someone willing to become selfless. Its not well suited to those in pursuit of pleasures in an afterlife. To them that would be the same as death not resurrection, so they consider it foolishness. They will say that I am denying the resurrection. I will say that they are. To those perishing it is foolishness. What value do they find in Christ if its not pleasure for themselves? I hope this helps explain to some that there is cryptic language involved when Paul and Jesus speak about resurrection.
     
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  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    So all Paul's quote mentions is "seeing" Jesus. He definitely did not see him the same as the apostles did before he ascended to heaven. His experience would be similar to Stephens.

    Define mystical? I would think that the vision he described would be like experiencing Jesus as if they had a Zoom meeting.
     
  11. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    It was, I believe, a vision or dream. The focus on things like physical rising from the dead I believe has come from those times as well as lack of reflection and a purely emotional attachment to Jesus.

    Just like the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor which Christ said was a vision and to tell no man, the resurrection is well within the same perimeters I believe.

    Although many possible alternative explanations can account for this occurrence , the one most popular view has been the one which says ‘my belief is superior to yours’ and ‘only I have the truth and no one else can be saved’ because Christ rose physically from the dead which in my opinion is prompted by ego as it is the ego which always is insistent it is better than others not humble spirituality.

    Jesus was the essence of humility yet this stance by His followers of exalting Him above all the other Prophets I believe is alien to everything Christ taught.

    To inherit the earth He said meekness was what was required not exalting oneself above the other.

    Christ appeared so that He May teach humility and love for all humanity and I believe worshipping His Personality is not what He intended and discredits Him more than anything as it is used for egotistical purposes and not to spread love.

    If I claimed Christ was the only true One because He rose from the dead physically I believe I would be spreading personality worship instead of the teachings of Jesus which were meekness, unity, love and friendship with all peoples and all faiths.
     
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  12. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Well its hard to define mystical but I’ve attended many zoom meetings during the lockdown. They aren’t exactly the kind of experience that would turn me into a religious martyr.
     
  13. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Paul.....Wishful thinking?
    But I think that Cephus and the other disciples did see Jesus soon after that last week, at Capernaum. No problem there.
     
  14. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Don't you hold the view that Jesus survived the crucifixion?
     
  15. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Well back then a Zoom like meeting wouldn't be natural, but supernatural. All that matters is that with both you know that an actual person is on the other side. The realisation that he actually saw Jesus resurrected caused him to believe, make him regret past actions and become a religious martyr.
     
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  16. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That is true.

    Whatever the experience it must have been powerful enough to cause Paul to dedicate his whole being to this new cause and to sacrifice his life. However we can not determine what exactly that experience was like.
     
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  17. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Yes.
    Either that.... he was drained of fluids, taken down and survived..... or he was so loved by the people that a very scared Pilate pardoned him ......the Jesus son of the Father referred to in the gospels, but whose 1st name was removed after the earliest gospel accounts.

    And so I do believe that Cephus and the other ten saw him, some time after that week.

    I guess that doesn't count...? .
     
  18. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. It is just speculation. My first answer was according to the narrative. Whether that narrative is true or actually happened, and what Paul actually experienced is another story altogether.
     
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  19. Hawkins

    Hawkins Well-Known Member

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    It is more in a similar way how all the OT prophets encountered God. Paul is supposed to be the Moses of NT, with John the Baptist as the Elijah of OT. Moses is said to be with a face to face encounter with God. Paul is close to that extent. That's why Paul said he delivered his message not through other apostles but from Jesus Himself.


    Acts 9:6 (NIV2011)
    “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”


    All Paul meant to say is that he's an eyewitness of Jesus, just like all other apostles (but in a way of the OT prophets). This is not difficult to understand as all other apostles are chosen at the time when Jesus is a human, but Paul is chosen (to encounter Jesus) when Jesus is no longer in His human form. Naturally it must be in the same way as the OT prophets.
     
  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    It counts, but needed clarification. The belief Jesus was seen after being crucified because He wasn’t actually killed as opposed to resurrected is more similar to mainstream Islam than Christianity. The Baha’i belief that Christ wasn’t literally resurrected is clearly different from what many Christians believe too.
     
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