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Resurrection Sunday: What is truth?

By Charlotte B. Cerminaro
web posted April 5, 2021

As followers of Christ all over the world begin this week by celebrating the risen Savior, it's reasonable to seek evidence, search for the truth and attempt to figure out what actually happened. The strange and extraordinary events leading up to and including the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah Jesus, or Yeshua, push the limits of our knowledge by the truth they proclaim. They require understanding that goes beyond our limited knowledge, wisdom seasoned with a whisper of faith. That question--immortalized by the fifth Roman governor of the province of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, "Qui est veritas?"--was answered by Christ, "I am the truth." Considering how many things we accept these days, on faith alone, this story requires surprisingly little faith.

The words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his most famous character Sherlock Holmes, sum up the essence of deductive reasoning: "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Our basic laws of chemistry and physics adequately explain the existence and properties of electrons, yet no one has ever actually seen one. We've photographed "electron clouds" with our electron microscopes but this is simply the essence and trajectory of their energy. Their high velocity and sub-atomic size make it nearly impossible to even predict where they will be in their orbit at any given moment. Here, we enter the mysterious world of quantum physics, where reality is just another question and that question can have two equally true answers. Is it a particle or a wave? Both. Is it matter or energy? Both. Where is it? Everywhere. And nowhere. Sounds ridiculous but strangely true. If quantum theory is fully comprehended, it is deeply disturbing and requires a certain comfort around uncertainty.

Yet this is what we've generally deduced about our surroundings--that these tiny elements, or quanta, which are invisible, indivisible and indiscernible between any and every solid, liquid or gaseous substance in our known universe--that this is the stuff of creation, the essence of a created, digital (metaphorically speaking) universe. Genesis chapter 1, especially in the original Hebrew, is now suddenly comprehensible.

Going back to the empty tomb: In any courtroom in the land, then and now, two or more witnesses are enough for a legal conviction, a statement to be considered "fact". The Jewish Sanhedrin and Pharisees went to Pilate after Jesus' death, requesting the tomb to be sealed and Roman guards to watch for at least 3 days. The Roman Centurion had already confirmed death, using his spear to pierce the heart. After Joseph of Arimathea took the body, wrapped it in linen and put it into his own recently purchased tomb, it was closed with a large, heavy stone, requiring several men to roll it into place. The Roman seal was placed across it and at least 12-16 trained soldiers watched, each shift, for 3 days. It meant certain death if a soldier failed on duty.

Yet the morning of day 3, they all felt an earthquake and saw a terrifying being, "shining like lightning", who approached the tomb, rolled the stone away and sat on it. They were frozen with fear and could only watch. As two women approached the tomb, this powerful being spoke to them, telling them that Jesus was no longer with the dead. "He is risen from the dead and going ahead of you into Galilee, and there you will see him." They hurried away toward Galilee and suddenly Jesus was there, meeting them on the road. Later, they told the other disciples they saw Jesus, alive, though they weren't believed until the others saw Jesus with their own eyes. All told, close to 500 people in Jerusalem testified to seeing the risen Christ. This wasn't faith; it was the truth. No opinion and no amount of time, however great, can change that which is true. ESR

Charlotte B. Cerminaro is a Juilliard-trained classical musician who, in addition to being a studio and orchestral musician, enjoys writing and has a degree in Molecular Biology. © 2021

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