Resurrection & Revolution

by Caleb Roberts

The resurrection of Christ means that death is not just a matter of destruction, the end of life, but can be a revolution; the beginning of a new and unpredictable life.  All revolution means a radical change in the structures within which we have our existence, all revolution produces a new kind of man; resurrection is the revolution through death, the radical change of those structures within which we exist at all.  I mean that a man can survive other revolutions; there are structures, the structures of the body, which remain untouched by the most radical changes in his other media of communication.  Resurrection means that because of his link with the Father in Christ a man can suffer the destruction even of those basic structures, the ones that constitute his body, and rediscover his identity on the far side of death.  Because the current world is crucifying, Christ-rejecting, even in its bodily structure, mankind can only achieve its destiny, its unity in love, through a revolution that goes as deep as this, through the revolution of death.  The new world comes only through the death of this world.  Thus every revolution which deals with structures less ultimate than this is an image of, and a preparation for, the resurrection of the dead.  The Cuban or Vietnamese revolution is a type of the resurrection in the sense that we speak of Old Testament events as types of Christ.  In a sense every revolution draws upon powers that are not catered for in the preceding society, powers which therefore seem to be invisible because they transcend the terms of that society: ‘we are not just peasants, we are men, though you have forgotten it’.  The power and the spirit of every revolution thus comes from ‘outside’ the society that is overthrown.  The power and the spirit of the ultimate revolution, the resurrection, comes from ‘outside’ man altogether.  For the christian, this is what divinity is: God is he who raised Jesus from the dead. (133-135)

Herbert McCabe | Law, Love and Language