History Has the Final Say

The big topic for the moment is the subject of rain. When will it rain? I happened to hear Alan Jones interview Scott Morrison last week. The interview has been well publicised due to Jones’ aggressive interviewing style. In the interview, Jones’ referred to an earlier conversation he had with a caller from Bourke. The caller said, “We’re a real tough mob. We have put up with drought and dust storms but we always have hope. But now we have got none—give us some bloody hope Scott!”.

Everyone needs hope. We cannot live without hope for the future. As it turned out, the Prime Minister phoned this caller and they had a conversation. The caller later reflected, “If you ask me did I sleep better and did he give me a bit of hope, the answer is yes, he did”.

It’s difficult to carry on without hope. Yet there are many people living without hope. For if humanity is no more than the product of a cosmic accident, if our bodies and minds are no more than a series of meaningless chemical reactions which often malfunction (e.g. cancer and depression), if reality is a human invention—there is no hope.

The narrative that drives our society by its very nature invites hopelessness. This story says we can no longer know the truth and so the best we can do is manage conflicting opinions. In our tribal world the headlines resonate with stories of one tribe seeking dominance and power over another tribe. And so we live in disruptive and unstable world which, in the view of some pundits, is plummeting out of control.

So is the church simply another tribe seeking power in society? Why does the Bible’s grand narrative deserve our attention?

Not all stories are created equal. It is not unreasonable to begin with the assumption there is such a thing as truth then test that assumption. The fundamental historical truth in the Bible is the resurrection of Jesus. If, in real time and space, Christ has been raised this validates the Christian story. But if Christ has not been raised then the conclusion is unavoidable and clearly put in the Bible, “our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).

Did you hear that?

If history counters the claim that Jesus was raised from the grave, then the story of the Bible is reduced to another tribal story—Christianity is reduced to the level of opinion. But the evidence is to the contrary. Jesus was in fact raised from the dead and given new life. And the Christian message is that we too can be raised from the dead and given new life.

There is no better hope than to have a hope which extends beyond the grave. There is nothing more comforting than to know the source of truth then live in harmony with that truth. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) he is saying that hope comes from outside ourselves, he is saying that hope is gift from God.

Call it “religion” or call it whatever you want to call it. Whatever label you choose you cannot smother the historical fact of the resurrection. Our great hope for the future rests on the sure and certain hope that God rescues us from meaninglessness through the death and resurrection of his Son.