The Resurrection Story & the Transformation of Human Nature

We ended yesterday’s DM with New Testament scholar Bruce Chilton explaining the Resurrection by its results and impact on the historical movement that occurred in the name of Jesus.

“Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection.” Painting by William Etty, 1834, at the Tate Gallery. Wikimedia Commons

In that movement, believers conceived that Jesus, alive after his death, appeared in visions, conveyed purity, assured the promise of the coming age, provoked an extension of the message beyond historic Israel by means of baptism….

We continue Chilton’s observations here: Jesus, alive after death, also authorized programmatic forgiveness, insisted that his teaching should be used to call new disciples and seek out new meanings in Scripture by means of Spirit, and provided his followers means to stand on the right side of the final judgment.  What he had spoken of in association with God’s activity—the kingdom of God revealing itself—became his own activity, and on a larger scale than before the crucifixion.

16th-century Flemish tapestry showing St. Peter healing a lame man by the Temple gate in Jerusalem. Photo by Slices of Light on Flickr.

New efforts and language arose to try to understand Jesus and his relation to God including titles such as “Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, Just One.”  The term “Son of God” was occasionally used in Judaism for one who lived a path of wisdom.

What happened was that Jesus became an agent of greater change than when he was alive, and in that sense the resurrection influenced history with all the impact of an event, while holding itself back from entering history.

It followed that “those who acted on Jesus’ behalf refer to him as the living, transcendent source of their actions,” but “their claims exited the realm of history.”  Yet clearly their actions are fully historical–they operated “in history and yet not of history.”  That Jesus had been raised from the dead by God occurred “in history and yet not of history.” 

“Christ Appears to Paul In Prison: Bear Witness in Rome.” Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. on Flickr.

The cause and effect of their histories remains the teachings and stories of Jesus including his resurrection and sending of the Spirit that imbued the courage as well as message of his followers. 

Chilton seems to summarize his understanding of the Resurrection this way: “Resurrection implies that human nature itself has been transformed.”*   

Here Chilton, in my understanding, links up directly with Thomas Aquinas’s and Hildegard of Bingen’s understanding of the “first resurrection” that all can undergo: Our waking up in this lifetime with good news to tell. 

Resurrection conquers fear, death and cynicism and leads to an influx of the Holy Spirit.

*See Bruce Chilton, Resurrection Logic: How Jesus’ First Followers Believed God Raised Him from the Dead, pp. 196, 188.

See also Matthew Fox and Bruce Chilton, Resurrection: Conversations with Matthew Fox and Bruce Chilton.”

See Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 128-156.

And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 359-364.

And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 167-188, 53-56.

And Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 144-151.

Banner image: Three from a series of windows showing the life of St. Tabitha (Dorcas), a “woman full of good works” who fell ill, died, was raised from the dead by St. Peter, and subsequently honored with the title of “disciple” (Acts 9:36-43). Melton Mowbray, St Mary’s church, Vestry window detail. Photo by Jenny on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Chilton that Resurrection implies that human nature itself has been transformed?  What evidence if any do you see for that in your life?  And in history?  And for the future?

Recommended Reading

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

3 thoughts on “The Resurrection Story & the Transformation of Human Nature”

  1. Avatar

    The ‘Resurrection’ does not imply, rather it reveals what has always been present. The human and divine nature are ‘one’. It is interesting to note that over 2,000 years later, many treat others without respect and regard for their inherent divinity. As well and worse yet, others will treat their brothers and sisters as less than human. That is the misguided nature and darkness ‘of the world’. But ‘light seekers’ are ‘not of the world’ as Jesus describes.

    Jesus as the ‘Living God’ is not and never will be ‘a historic God’ as history comes and goes, while Jesus is a, is our, ever living presence. ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’ can be the transforming nature in our lives if we follow, listen to and act obediently as the Teacher instructs. This is how we are led to an increased experiential awareness of Christ consciousness, soul consciousness, in our lives. In that, the knowledge and power of the resurrection are further revealed to us. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    the resurrection as testified is not of history but its effect has been acknowledged, testified to, in its effect, historically. The acknowledgement of our personal effect on other human beings,i.e. with the force of compassionate love, allows me to identify withe quiet certainty there is indeed transcendency in this world, alive in our person-hood’s potential. Jesu showed his powers and reminded us always that we too can do the same – heal our brothers with com-passionate love. We mostly regard that scenario as beyond us. Nevertheless many of our kind try to do our utmost with the compassion and love we are able to muster. We do not regard ourselves as literally to be miracle workers even with the help of whomever made us. We accept that the son of whomever made all this did have that power. His wisdom was power-full, godly. But he was “different” because of that. To accept that we are able to be more, to be like Jesu “different”, we know there is the example of an historical Jesu. But he is the actual son of god even though his earthly birth history testifies he was all human in his flesh – as testified to historically and later – on so many occasions. But he had to actually prove he was also “just” a human being…so… by the logic of his way of life he had to end up tortured and to die so miserably. It is a daunting thought…this “Way”.

  3. Avatar

    Yes! The Resurrection and Rebirth of the Cosmic Christ within All of Us means our human nature is Cosciously being transformed by the Presence of Our Divine Nature evolving within Our hearts/Souls and lives with one another and All Creation with Our SOURCE~Co-CREATOR’S SPIRIT of LOVING Diverse ONENESS in the Sacrament of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT…
    FAITH~HOPE~LOVE daily with-in Our ongoing/Eternal LOVE~LIGHT~LIFE….

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: