What are the objections to the Christian assurance of the resurrection?
C.S. Lewis, in The Silver Chair tells the story of Eustace and Jill who set out in Narnia to find Prince Rilian who has been kidnapped and enchanted by the Lady of the Green Kirtle to forget who he is and where he has come from. They rescue him while she is absent but the Enchantress returns and attempts to bewitch them to forget who they are. She weaves a spell on them to forget the land of Narnia, that there is no other country than the one they are in.
She tries to persuade them that they are dreaming and that there is no other world but the one they are in – an underworld with no sun, no sky, no stars, no Aslan (God). She keeps on repeating the mantra: “It is all a dream, there never was such a world, there never was any world but mine.” She gets them to see that the present is the only reality and the rest is only a tale, a children’s story, a make-believe world.
Lewis makes the comment that the more enchanted you get, the more you feel that you are not enchanted at all. So she gets them to agree with her that the other world must be all a dream. It takes action by their companion Puddleglum, who is the realist among them, who endures much pain to defeat the sorcerer’s spell.
Sometimes the afflictions of life serve to break the spell of our illusions that this world is all there is.
We live in a now-centered culture, filled with all sorts of attractions that feed our present desires. God has given us a beautiful and entrancing world in which to live though it was never meant to be an end in itself but to point to an even greater world that is permanent and eternal. St. Paul talks about God “preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
We must not forget that other world by being enchanted and persuaded that this world is the only reality. Filled with the sights and sounds around us we can think little about the future life. Not having tasted much of heaven all we can imagine is earth. But the real illusion is to live only for now. It makes us superficial creatures.
We are tempted not to look beyond this life. But disbelief in life after death makes this life meaningless. For those whose life is cut short or is full of suffering the idea that death is the finish makes the whole world absurd.
Into this world came Jesus. He came from God and returned to God. He showed us the way to God through his death and resurrection. The words of the angels pierce the enchantment of this world: “He has risen.” He goes to prepare a place for us so that we will be with him if we are prepared to accept his grace.
Resurrection from the dead is for those who welcome Christ and His Spirit into their lives. Of this we can be confidently assured. Such faith transforms our perspective in this life and gives us the sure and certain goal of the life to come.