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Do the Dead Still Rise?

Professor Craig Keener shares the following story in an issue of CT magazine:

Around 1960, in the Republic of Congo, a two-year-old girl named Thérèse was bitten by a snake. She cried out for help, but by the time her mother, Antoinette, reached her, Thérèse was unresponsive and seemed to have stopped breathing. No medical help was available to them in their village, so Antoinette strapped little Thérèse to her back and ran to a neighboring village.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, brain cells start dying less than five minutes after their oxygen supply is removed. After six minutes, lack of oxygen can cause severe brain damage or death. Antoinette estimates that, given the distance and the terrain, it probably took about three hours to reach the next village. By the time they arrived, her daughter was likely either dead or had sustained significant brain damage.

Antoinette immediately sought out a family friend, Coco Ngoma Moyise, who was an evangelist in the neighboring village. They prayed over the lifeless girl and immediately she started breathing again. By the next day, she was fine—no long-term harm and no brain damage. Today, Thérèse has a master’s degree and is a pastor in Congo.

Craig writes, “When I heard this story, as a Westerner I was naturally tempted toward skepticism, but it was hard to deny. Thérèse is my sister-in-law and Antoinette was my mother-in-law.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Not every claim to a miraculous raising today is authentic. Everywhere in the world, most people who die stay dead. Even those resuscitated miraculously, such as Lazarus, die again; all healing in our mortal bodies is by definition temporary. Such miracles do, however, remind us that Jesus Christ, who raised the dead during his earthly ministry, is the risen and exalted Lord. Sometimes he continues to grant signs of the future, reminders of the resurrection hope that in him awaits us all.

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