SKEPTIC: Before he was crucified, do you think Jesus knew that he would be resurrected in 3 days?
PREACHER: Jesus knew that he was going to be resurrected in three days. In Mark 9:31 and Luke 9:22 He is quoted, saying that He would be killed and would rise again on the third day.
SKEPTIC: If Jesus knew that he was going to be resurrected in three days, what exactly is the sacrifice he made? How precisely did Jesus "die for my sins" if he jumped out of the tomb after 36 hours? That's not dying - that's more like being in a coma. If you're really dead, you're dead. Like forever.
PREACHER: Aren't you limiting reality to just this material world? A Biblical view of reality says that there is a spiritual world that transcends the material. When one dies he is only physically dead and the spiritual part of the person continues to exist forever. That eternal existence is "life" if you are in fellowship with your Creator, and "death" if you are separated from Him. Since all men are sinners and born separated from God they are facing that eternal spiritual death when their physical life ends. Christ died on the cross both physically and spiritually. Being the infinite God he was able to come back to life from that, also having suffered death (separation from God) sufficiently enough to have taken upon Himself the judgment of all who would believe in Him. Facing that terrible judgment, He was in fear of it in the garden the night before, but as it says in Hebrews 12:2, He willingly went to the cross because of the joy of the outcome, the salvation of all who believe in Him.
SKEPTIC: So are you saying that Jesus was resurrected spiritually, but NOT physically?
PREACHER: He was raised both spiritually and physically. What made you think that it had to be one or the other?
SKEPTIC: In doing a bit of research, it seems that Christians can't even agree among themselves whether the resurrection was physical, spiritual, or both. But nonetheless, my original point still stands. Jesus didn't really die. Death is permanent, unless you want to change the definition of the word.
PREACHER: I think you have a different definition of the word death than I do. As a materialist don't you see death as the final end, extinction with nothing after it, and any return to life is impossible? That is not my definition of death. Death from a biblical standpoint for humans is both physical and spiritual. Physical death is when this body quits working and can't start up again until God performs a miracle of new life. He promises that those who believe in Him will rise physically again to live forever with Him, and He promises that those who have rejected Him will be raised physically to experience eternal death (not cease to exist). Spiritual death is the state in which we are separated from our Creator. You can be spiritually dead and physically alive. Jesus experienced physical death. They took Him down from the cross and put Him in the tomb because He was obviously dead. He experienced spiritual death when He cried out, "My God, why have You forsaken me." That He rose again from the dead and then ascended to His Father is proof that He regained His spiritual life as well as His physical life. So, Jesus died and rose again both physically and spiritually.
SKEPTIC: My definition of death is the one from the dictionary: "
PREACHER: I am in compliance with the definition of death you give. "Organism" refers to only the physical. That is what happened to Jesus. It doesn't refer to the spiritual. The spiritual part of Jesus never ceased to exist, it was temporarily separated from the Father. After He paid the penalty for sin the spiritual gave life again to the physical and He was resurrected. Of course if you believe as typical materialistic atheists do, the spiritual does not really exist anyway. It is only conceptual.
When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples and encouraged them to touch Him, saying that a spirit does not have flesh and blood, but He did. That in no way denies that He was also spiritually alive. Later on in the epistles of Paul He is referred to as a life giving Spirit. That does not deny the physical life either. You are insisting on a either-or-only view of spiritual and physical. I believe that both are parts of reality.
Materialistic atheism also works within a closed loop. It says that anything that man cannot sense or measure scientifically doesn't really exist. Therefore, there is no need to be concerned about the spiritual world. So, the reader of this blog can make the choice between your partially educated opinion that the spiritual doesn't really exist, or can consider that God has really spoken to us and revealed Himself in the man Jesus Christ, who both physically and spiritually died and rose from the dead.
SKEPTIC: Fine. You're right. The reader of this blog can agree with my "partially educated" opinion, based on science and reason, or they can agree with your apparently fully educated opinion, based on ancient myths and superstitions.
PREACHER: Ancient myths and superstitions don't recall history accurately nor do they tell the future accurately. The Bible does both of those, so I don't put it in that category. I am probably not as educated as you are. But, I place more stock in revealed Truth than someone's opinion. Do you really think that your opinion is infallible? Science and reason assume that the universe is understandable to the human mind. That makes sense to me because a God who communicates with us in an understandable way created it. A universe that started by chance and random events wouldn't be understandable to the human mind.
SKEPTIC: If God communicates to us in an understandable way, why are there so many different understandings of the Bible? You know, Nostradamus supposedly told the future, too. Maybe you should worship him, too.