Do all miracles = parables? Borg reflection pt. 2

13 Feb

This post is the second in my weeklong reflection on hearing Marcus Borg speak. Catch part 1 here, and part 3 coming tomorrow.
“When it comes to the virgin birth, or the resurrection [or ANY miracle, I later found out] I say believe what you want about what happened…now can we talk about meaning?” – Marcus Borg
Borg says that we should treat accounts of the miraculous in scripture as parabolic – meaning we should read them as parables like the Good Samaritan or the sower. He insists that we don’t need to argue that the events didn’t happen but merely that we should try to get the meaning out of the story.

According to Borg, all the accounts of miracles in the Bible belong here.

According to Borg, all the accounts of miracles in the Bible belong here.

This is problematic for me, and I think for anyone examining miraculous claims because this approach means the historicity of an event is inconsequential. This can work in some instances, perhaps. He cites the Garden of Eden as one example. Maybe there wasn’t a historical Adam and it’s all more of a mythical reconstruction intending to educate us on our own frailty and fallen nature. I think losing the historical Adam costs us much more than this, but ok. The problem with applying this approach to the resurrection is the meaning to be gleaned from the story if it is not historical is incompatible with the meaning to be gleaned from the story if it is indeed history.
Borg reasons that the meaning of Easter for early Christians boiled down to two points:
·         He is alive
·         He is Lord
This is correct and the trick is that Borg borrows the true conclusions of early Christians (whether they were right in their belief or not, it cannot be denied that they believed these things to be true) and then works backwards. Of COURSE they believed these things, but what he fails to show is how they could have possibly come to these conclusions if Jesus’ “resurrection” was merely one of spiritual experiences. Throughout the New Testament (notably in Acts and 1 Cor 15) the resurrection is pointed to as the cornerstone of Christian belief. If by “resurrection” the authors meant “spiritual experience of Jesus – even though his body is rotting away” it renders many of these passages absurd! One example will suffice:

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2: 29-32

There can be no mistake that Peter here is referring to a bodily, physical resurrection! Borg and other Jesus Seminar cohorts will argue that this text (and any other which seems to contradict their philosophy) isn’t authentic, or has been changed but we have no reason to think this. Borg simply cuts out what he disagrees with and calls it scholarship! The conclusion, if Jesus did resurrect is: He is God. Bow before him, confess, repent and follow him as Lord. No other reality can lead us to that conclusion. If he did not resurrect, Paul rightly tells Christians that they are to be pitied because their faith is worthless!

Borg asks “What can be added to the parable [of the resurrection] by insisting on a physical transformation of Jesus’ dead body?” How about confirmation that he is who he claimed to be (God incarnate) and he has the power over death, and our future resurrection to glory in the Kingdom of God is assured because his resurrection was witnessed! We cannot take hold of these things if the story is merely a parable.


One Response to “Do all miracles = parables? Borg reflection pt. 2”


  1. Reflection pt. 3 – Borg and the ancients « What do I say to that? - February 14, 2013

    […] post reflecting on the Marcus Borg conversation at Rollins. Links two the first two are Here, and here. (In other news, sorry this has nothing to do with Valentine’s day. Since the heart of this blog […]

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