Book Discussion Day 13: Chapter 12 – Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?
Chapter 12 exposes how false each of the theories put forth by skeptics to deny the resurrection of Jesus.71
- Hallucinations aren’t experienced by groups. Jesus did not appear just once to one person. He appeared in a dozen separate occasions in a variety of settings to different people over 40 days. A total of over 500 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. The tomb was empty. No proof of Jesus’ body was shown by those that executed him because they did not have his body, when so many people claimed to see him alive.
They went to the wrong tomb theory
- The theory assumes that all of the Jews and Romans had a permanent kind of collective amnesia about what they had done with the body of Jesus.
- The theory doesn’t explain the appearances of Jesus. Nor does it explain the empty tomb well. Most of the disciples were hopeless and fearful still after learning of the empty tomb. They did not believe that the empty signified that Jesus was alive until they physically saw him and spoke with him.
Swoon or Apparent Death Theory
- Everyone believed Jesus was dead
- Jesus was embalmed in 75 pounds of bandages and spices. That doesn’t happen to a live person.
- It assumes he would survive 36 hours, unwrap himself, move a 4,000-pound rock from the entrance and get past Roman guards.
- He would not have appeared to be in good condition when he was seen.
- It does not account for Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
The Disciples stole the body theory
- Were they hallucinating, or did they steal the body, which is it?
- For some inexplicable reason, they stole the body n order to get themselves beaten, tortured, and martyred.
A Substitute Took Jesus’ Place on the Cross Theory
- This is a popular Muslim theory. There is absolutely no evidence to back up this theory.
- It should be noted that the Qur’an was produced over 600 years after Jesus. The New Testament has eyewitness accounts of what happened with Jesus only a few decades after his death and Resurrection.
- So all those eyewitnesses who saw what happened, why do they say it was Jesus?
- Why was the tomb found empty?
The Disciples Faith led Their Belief in the Resurrection
- There is no evidence for this theory
- I does not account for the appearance of the resurrected Jesus to over 500 people.
- It ignores the fact that the scared, skeptical disciples were not in any frame of mind to invent a story they would later be put to death for believing. The resurrection appearances gave them their bold faith not the reverse, as this theory claims.
The New Testament Writers Copied Pagan Resurrection Myths
- This theory fails to explain the eyewitness accounts at the time.
- It does not explain the empty tomb
- It does not explain the eyewitnesses who were martyred
- It does not explain the testimony of non-Christian writings
- It does not explain the facts which the vast majority of the scholars use to conclude the events were believed to have taken place by those who were present at the time.
- The ancient non-Christian sources at the time – both Jewish and pagan – understood the resurrection was not a myth and instead argued at the time that they did not believe the accounts happened as Christians described.
- There is no myth that is similar to Jesus’ resurrection
- The first legitimate parallel story of a god rising from death appears about 100 years after Christianity began.
Skeptics Consistently Demand Evidence from Christians to Support the New Testament
The evidence to support the New Testament has been overwhelming, far exceeding any comparable historically documented event and proves true beyond a reasonable doubt.
Skeptics Have no Evidence to Support any of these Theories that doubt the New Testament
Their refusal to accept the New Testament accounts is based on philosophical bias against them.
How to View the Evidence
- The theistic nature of the universe makes miracles possible
- Ancient documents say miracles are to be expected
- Historically confirmed eyewitness documents say miracles are actual
- References of other ancient historians and writers confirm the basic storyline of the New Testament, and several archeological discoveries affirm the details they describe.72
Summary: One Solitary Life
Let us turn now to the story. A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend.
Those are the facts of his human life. He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, What kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life…73
It there was no resurrection, how could this life be the most influential life of all time?
71 Geisler & Turek pages 301-312 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
72Geisler & Turek pages 317-319 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
73Geisler & Turek page 324 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.