New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 7

Editorials the roots of easter The oft-repeated observation that Easter and Christmas have roots in ancient pagan traditions may be true enough, as far as it goes. But that partial truth, or conjecture, can easily be turned into a falsity if it is misconstrued as evidence that the miracles memorialized in these Christian holidays are only reformulated “myths.” And the natural desire to appear knowledgeable and sophisticated increases the possibility of such a misinterpretation. To say the story of Easter has its roots in pagan myth is like saying the New Testament has its roots in the Old Testament. Well, yes, but the far more important point is that the truth of the Gospels is a new, fuller revelation of the same eternal truth contained in the Old Testament (in a more heavily veiled form). Every church has roots in the previous one, but all of them have their taproot in heaven. The story of the Lord’s life in the Gospels, including His resurrection, is the “original,” and the myths that preceded it – even though they came beforehand in time – are the imitations. They are allegorical, prophetic previews of the Divine Truth personified by the Lord Jesus Christ, “the Word made flesh.” Whatever the order of their appearance in human history, all events in this world of time are but shadows of realities in the eternal world of heaven. Imagine that as you are walking along you see the shadow of a tree on the ground ahead of you even though the tree itself is out of sight around the side of a hill or the edge of a building. Then when you get to where you can see around the corner you see the tree. You saw the shadow first, but the tree was prior to it; without the tree there would have been no shadow. In a similar way, the Lord’s life on earth was foreshadowed by the gods and heroes of mythology, as well as Old Testament figures such as Joseph, who was drawn out of a pit, and Jonah, who spent three days and nights in the fish’s belly. (See Matthew 12:40) As the Lord said: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) Nature itself is a theater in which spiritual realities are represented. Long before the Lord was born, caterpillars were emerging as butterflies from the 73