Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 3

Dr. Gary Habermas is one of the world’s leading voices for the historical reliability of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is Distinguished Research Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity where he teaches courses about Miracles, Religious Doubt, and the Historical Jesus. He has also been a Visiting or Adjunct Professor at about 15 different graduate schools and seminaries.

Dr. Habermas has written extensively about examining the relevant historical, philosophical, and theological issues surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. His books include –

Dr. Habermas is also an accomplished speaker and debater.

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38 thoughts on “Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 3

  1. You said, “This is the same account that includes “accepted” facts to which you say most scholars agree. Why do they agree with some facts and not with others in the same historic text? ”

    If we read Homer’s “Iliad” we read stories of the Greeks attacking and destroying the city of Troy. This claim has subsequently been confirmed by historians as a real historical event. We also read stories of one headed Cyclops and a man-god who cannot be killed unless you shoot him in the Achilles tendon.

    Should we believe that Cyclops and demi-gods exist just because other claims in the story are historically accurate?

    • Hi, Gary. Is Homer’s Iliad primarily fiction or non-fiction? Do you view it as the primary text for the history of the Greeks attacking and destroying Troy? How would you compare the historicity of the Iliad to the Bible?

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • I believe the core story in the Iliad is the conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans mixed with fascinating supernatural tall tales. I believe the Gospels are stories about a first century Jewish apocalyptic preacher who was executed for getting on the wrong side of authorities, mixed with a lot of fascinating supernatural tall tales.

    • Hi, Gary. I don’t see the comparison:

      Iliad – single author
      Bible – collection of many books, in a variety of genres, written by multiple authors over a period of many centuries

      Iliad – many created gods with limited powers
      Bible – one Creator God with all power

      I agree that the Iliad includes many tall tales based on the antics of gods who often oppose one another. The Bible tells the story of God, who exists harmoniously as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and His creation in an orderly, historical fashion.

      The Bible has one great theme that culminates in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

      The Greek culture of Homer’s time was certainly different than the Greek/Roman culture of the 1st century AD. Stoic philosophy was critical of the Homeric religion and Paul, for example, was well aware of it. His speech in Athens in Acts 17 is an example. Claiming to believe in something as a miracle meant something different in Paul’s time as in Homer’s time. The disciples of Christ did not accept as fact His resurrection at first report, even though Jesus had told them He would die and rise again. They did not believe until they saw the risen Jesus with their own eyes and spent many hours talking with Him.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  2. The story of Doubting Thomas is only mentioned in ONE Gospel, the very last Gospel to be written, John. Many scholars believe that this pericope is a theological/literary invention (fiction). It did not happen.

    Mark, why are you so quick to believe that all these two thousand year old very extraordinary supernatural pericopes are historical fact? If someone came up to you and claimed that you needed to vacate your house because aliens from outer-space needed it for experimentation purposes, would you believe their tale and move out, just because twelve of them sincerely believe this claim is true? I highly doubt it. Very extraordinary claims need very extraordinary evidence to believe. Christians just do not have that quality of evidence for this very extraordinary claim. They have a collection of stories. Stories that may or may not have been told by eyewitnesses. I know you believe they were but the experts say that we cannot be sure. Do you see why this does not seem like logical thinking to me?

    That is why I asked if there are other, more powerful, reasons why you believe.

    • Hi, Gary. Why is the mention about “doubting Thomas” in one of the Gospel accounts a reason to believe it is fiction?

      I was not quick to believe in the historicity of the Bible. It took months of investigation before I came to that conclusion.

      If 12 people came to me and said that I needed to vacate my house because aliens from outer-space needed it for experimentation purposes, I would be highly skeptical and ask many questions. I would want to know who these 12 people were and how they knew this information. I would compare their answers to other information available to me in addition to checking on their claims about who they were, where they lived, worked, etc. I would also talk with people who knew the 12 to see what others thought of them. Were they known to have spent time with the space aliens and would that give them special access to the information they presented to me?

      If space aliens had lived in my city for a period of years, shown themselves to the public, spoken openly about themselves and other matters of importance to the community, demonstrated powers that were more advanced than humans in our city (e.g. turning water to wine, healing lepers, raising the dead), talked about plans to return to establish points of experimentation, etc., I would consider that along with what I learned from the 12. The results of my investigation would determine what I would believe and what I would do.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  3. You said, “My information about what Paul believed about what he saw and heard comes from his personal letters and from what people close to him wrote about it (e.g. Luke). Paul spoke well of Luke in his writings, so it would seem he trusted him.”

    It is the consensus position of scholars that no one knows who wrote the Book of Acts. Therefore for all we know, the Damascus Road pericope is an invented story. From Paul’s own writings all we know is that Paul believed he had “seen” the Christ in an appearance. Period. That is all we can say. You cannot claim that the account in Acts is an historical fact if most scholars believe that we don’t even know who wrote the book. You are certainly welcome to believe it is historical, but that is simply your opinion.

    You said, “The number of scholars who believe that Peter and James wrote the epistles named for them is a lot more than a “few.” ”

    If you can name TEN scholars who believe that the apostle Peter wrote the epistles named for him I would be very surprised. Can you? I would say the same about James the brother of Jesus.

    You said, “Bauckham is saying that another eyewitness disciple of Christ named John is the author of the Gospel of John. I don’t agree with him on that, but Bauckham is not saying that a non-eyewitness person is the author.”

    But that is exactly my point. You and other conservative Christians are CERTAIN that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John and Bauckham and other Christians are CERTAIN that John the Elder wrote the Gospel of John, yet the majority of scholars don’t believe that either one did. Since your side can’t even agree among yourselves, doesn’t that demonstrate the weakness of the evidence that either one of these “eyewitnesses” wrote this book??

    You said, “I have asked the same question – when did that happen? I have no reason to doubt Paul’s statement, but don’t find corroboration for it in the Gospels or writings of other apostles of Christ. I also don’t find any disputing what Paul wrote either. The letter is from the early 50’s AD, so there was plenty of time for other apostles or disciples of the apostles to set the record straight.”

    I don’t think Paul made this Creed up. I think he truly believed its authenticity. The issue is that it is at best second-hand information. Paul says so himself. We have zero proof that Paul ever verified the information in this passage. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. But that is pretty shaky evidence upon which to base your belief in seeing a never heard of before or since reanimation of a three-day-brain-dead corpse.

    • Notice too that there is no mention of “five hundred witnesses seeing Jesus at the same time and place” anywhere in the Gospels, the Book of Acts, or in ANY New Testament epistle! That would be the most powerful piece of evidence for the Resurrection, if true. So even though Paul quoted this claim in the 50’s, the evidence strongly suggests that subsequent writers of the New Testament books did not find this claim credible and therefore abandoned it.

    • Hi, Gary. I don’t see how other writers in the New Testament not mentioning the 500 seeing the risen Christ at the same time means it did not happen or that they abandoned it as untrue.

      If another New Testament writer included information about the 500 seeing the risen Christ at the same time, would that be the thing that would convince you of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You said it would be “the most powerful piece of evidence for the Resurrection.” Are you that close to believing that you need just one more powerful piece of evidence?

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • Hi, Gary. You wrote –

      “It is the consensus position of scholars that no one knows who wrote the Book of Acts.” Really? No one knows who wrote Acts? It would appear from the text that the writer of Acts also wrote Luke. So, no one knows who wrote Luke’s Gospel either?

      Two early Christian scholars of the 2nd century, Irenaeus and Tertullian, believed Luke wrote Luke and Acts. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus quoted from all four Gospels (including Luke) more than 600 times and from Acts more than 50 times in Against Heresies. Irenaeus used Luke’s name in some of the quotes –

      “Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and follower of the apostles, says, “But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This is the power of God, which is called great. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had driven them mad by his sorceries.” Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 23.1

      Tertullian wrote against the hertical bishop Marcion and took him to task for not accepting the Acts of the Apostles, which deprived important information concderning the life of the Apostle Paul (Against Marcion, Chapter 5.1) Tertullian also supported the four Gospels and said the authors were either apostles or companions and disciples of the apostles –

      “Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instil faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfil the law and the prophets.” Against Marcion, 4.2

      Tertullian mentioned Luke by name more than 250 times in Against Marcion, Book 4.

      Most of the early church scholars agreed on the authorship of the four Gospels and the Book of Acts, as well as other New Testament writings including Peter’s letters. Clement of Rome (one of the earliest church scholars worked with Peter and Paul) and included phrasing (possibly quotes) similar to Peter’s letters in his (Clement) letter to the Corinthians. Polycarp quoted from 1 Peter in his Epistle to the Philippians (8:1). Ignatius quoted from 1 Peter in his letter to the Ephesians. Irenaeus quoted from 1 Peter. Clement of Alexandria and Origen. 4th century historian and scholar Eusebius listed 1 Peter as an “undisputed work.”

      That’s 8 scholars from the early church period. Coming up with scholars since that time will go far beyond the 10 you requested. Some include –

      Dr. Edward Hindson
      Dr. Wayne Grudem
      Dr. Daniel Wallace
      Dr. Merrill Unger
      Dr. J.B. Lightfoot
      Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield
      Dr. A.T. Robertson

      I’ve exceeded the 10 you requested, so will end here. The response to your question about the authorship of James is similar.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Our modern, advanced society depends upon society trusting the expertise of experts in each field of study. A society in which a large percentage of its citizens distrust the educated class (the experts) is a society headed toward big trouble. I trust experts. You obviously do not. The experts say that the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, therefore to believe the never heard of before or since supernatural tales of four anonymous authors whom experts believe were not even eyewitnesses to the events they describe is NOT rational.

      It is impossible to have a productive discussion with someone who does not think rationally.

      I wish you well, Mark.

    • Hi, Gary. I spent more than 40 years as a journalist and met and interviewed hundreds of “experts” in a wide variety of subject fields. Many of them were scientists on the cutting edge of their fields. I’ve sat in trials where prosecution and defense each presented “expert” witnesses who vigorously presented their “facts” which disagreed with the “facts” of other experts. I spent my career in search of experts from the “educated class” to answer questions that would help the large percentage of citizens watching my newscast or reading my article to determine the “best explanation” for many, many things. Depending on “experts” for answers was a huge part of my career. For you to say that you trust experts and I “obviously do not” is at the least an uninformed position for you to take.

      You wrote – “The experts say that the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, therefore to believe the never heard of before or since supernatural tales of four anonymous authors whom experts believe were not even eyewitnesses to the events they describe is NOT rational. It is impossible to have a productive discussion with someone who does not think rationally.”

      There are many “experts” in the world today that believe the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses. These men and women are scholars in their fields, true experts by the definition of scholarship and expertise, so to say they are not rational is, well, not rational.

      I do hope we can communicate again.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  4. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your detailed response. You said this:

    “The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth a little more than 20 years after Jesus was crucified saying that he saw Jesus alive in a resurrected body.

    No. I’m sorry. Paul never anywhere says that he saw a body. I agree that Paul believed that Jesus had been bodily resurrected, but that doesn’t mean that he saw a resurrected body. Paul says that he had “seen the Christ”. That’s it. You are assuming that he saw a body. But if you search Paul’s own writings, nowhere does he describe what he saw.

    The author of the Book of Acts claims that Paul saw a bright light and heard a voice, but never once claims that Paul saw a body.

    You quote the Early Creed in First Corinthians 15. Do you notice that no where in this passage is there any physical description of what these people allegedly saw? Not one word. I suggest this possibility which I’m sure you will find very hard to accept: All these people saw what the author of Acts says that Paul saw: a bright light…and that’s it. Based solely on the information in the Early Creed, all the appearance claims could have been based on individuals and groups of believers seeing a bright light and believing it was Jesus. Then, many decades later, after all or at least most of the eyewitnesses were dead, non-eyewitness authors wrote stories of detailed (fictional) appearances of Jesus involving him eating broiled fish and allowing disciples to poke their fingers into his wounds…for theological purposes, never meant to be taken as historical facts.

    • Hi, Gary. Paul does use the word “seen” for his experience with the risen Christ – “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (verse 8) Paul does not say when he saw the risen Christ, but he does use the word “seen.” Paul’s life did not change dramatically because he just saw a bright light. He conversed with the risen Christ and at some point in his life looked upon him. Paul had a “real” encounter with Jesus and it turned his life in a different direction. The things that he once thought were so important were no longer important in light of meeting Jesus Christ. Here’s how Paul described his experience –

      “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:4-11

      You wrote – “Then, many decades later, after all or at least most of the eyewitnesses were dead, non-eyewitness authors wrote stories of detailed (fictional) appearances of Jesus involving him eating broiled fish and allowing disciples to poke their fingers into his wounds…for theological purposes, never meant to be taken as historical facts.”

      Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 (written about 20 years after the resurrection) that the apostles, James and himself had seen the risen Christ. I earlier shared with you that Peter, James, John and Paul wrote about their eyewitness accounts – prior to their deaths. Mark and Luke, who spent many years with the apostles and other eyewitnesses to the risen Christ, wrote about what they told them.

      You wrote – “All these people saw what the author of Acts says that Paul saw: a bright light…and that’s it.”

      The Apostle John was an eyewitness before the crucifixion, during the crucifixion, and after the resurrection. He knew what Jesus looked like. He described how the risen Jesus looked to him before and after Christ’s ascension. John’s descriptions were detailed about the body of Christ. John did not describe a bright light. He saw the body of a man raised from the dead. The eyewitness accounts are multiple and powerful. How they lived their lives after the resurrection also demonstrates the truth of what they saw. They did not live their lives the way they did because of a bright light. They saw a body of flesh and bone alive after death. That transformed them forever.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Paul never describes his conversion experience in his own writings. All he says is that he has “seen the Christ”. But since we know that Paul was a man of visions and a man who believed that God had given him private revelations (in his head) how can we be sure that when Paul says that he has “seen” the Christ that this was not an internal “seeing” of Jesus. I can close my eyes right now and “see” my deceased mother. Bottom line: I cannot prove that Paul did not believe that he had seen a body with his eyes from reading his writings, but neither can you prove that he did. We both agree that Paul believed that Jesus had been bodily resurrected but that doesn’t mean he had to have seen the body to believe that concept.

      You said, ” I earlier shared with you that Peter, James, John and Paul wrote about their eyewitness accounts – prior to their deaths. Mark and Luke, who spent many years with the apostles and other eyewitnesses to the risen Christ, wrote about what they told them.”

      Few scholars would agree with you that Peter and James the brother of Jesus wrote the epistles named for them. The majority of scholars do not believe that John the son of Zebedee wrote the Gospel of John. Even prominent evangelical scholar Richard Bauckham does not believe that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John. The majority of NT scholars do not believe that eyewitnesses nor the associates of eyewitnesses wrote any of the Gospels. I know that conservative Christians don’t like to hear that but that is the expert consensus. Is it possible that eyewitness testimony exists within the Gospels and the Book of Acts? Sure. But do most scholars believe we can be confident of that fact? No. Not at all. So all we have are claims. But we also have claims of Martian sightings, Big Foot sightings, and Virgin Mary sightings, etc.. Just because people make very extraordinary claims and sincerely believe those extraordinary claims does not mean that the claims are true. We need evidence, good evidence, to believe very extraordinary claims, and the Christian very extraordinary claim does not have good evidence.

      The Christian claim only has ONE confirmed witness and he never tells us in his own words, in his own writings, what he saw. You cannot claim that the authors of Matthew and John are confirmed witnesses if most scholars say these books were not written by eyewitnesses. You cannot claim that the Gospels of Mark and Luke contain confirmed eyewitness testimony if the majority of scholars do not believe that Mark or Luke wrote these books. And you cannot claim that the persons listed in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 are confirmed eyewitnesses since Paul admits that this Creed is something which he obtained from someone else, who could have received it from someone else, who received it from someone else, etc., etc.. Paul never claims that he interviewed each of these persons and compared their appearance experience with his.

      What about Paul’s claim that Jesus appeared to five hundred people at once? Well for starters: Where did this event occur? When did it occur? What are the names of some of the people who were there? What exactly did they all see? Did Paul ever interview any of these people? When Paul says that most are still alive did he know this first hand or was this information that he had also “received” from others? Answer: WE DON’T KNOW. We don’t know because Paul doesn’t say. For all we know, a group of five hundred people on a hillside in Galilee saw a bright light and heard a rush of wind and believed it was Jesus. We just do not know. Christians assume it was an appearance as described in the Gospels but this is yet again an assumption. I assert that the entire Christian story is held together by multiple such assumptions and little real evidence.

    • Hi, Gary. You wrote –

      “Paul never describes his conversion experience in his own writings. All he says is that he has “seen the Christ”. But since we know that Paul was a man of visions and a man who believed that God had given him private revelations (in his head) how can we be sure that when Paul says that he has “seen” the Christ that this was not an internal “seeing” of Jesus. I can close my eyes right now and “see” my deceased mother. Bottom line: I cannot prove that Paul did not believe that he had seen a body with his eyes from reading his writings, but neither can you prove that he did. We both agree that Paul believed that Jesus had been bodily resurrected but that doesn’t mean he had to have seen the body to believe that concept.”

      Paul refers to his conversion experience in his writings in a variety of ways. Are you saying that he didn’t describe his conversation experience in his writings in the same way that Luke quoted Paul when he was sharing it verbally (e.g. Acts 22 & 26)? If so, what differences do you see between what Paul described verbally in Acts and what he wrote about his conversion in his letters?

      My information about what Paul believed about what he saw and heard comes from his personal letters and from what people close to him wrote about it (e.g. Luke). Paul spoke well of Luke in his writings, so it would seem he trusted him.

      You wrote –

      “Few scholars would agree with you that Peter and James the brother of Jesus wrote the epistles named for them. The majority of scholars do not believe that John the son of Zebedee wrote the Gospel of John. Even prominent evangelical scholar Richard Bauckham does not believe that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John. The majority of NT scholars do not believe that eyewitnesses nor the associates of eyewitnesses wrote any of the Gospels. I know that conservative Christians don’t like to hear that but that is the expert consensus. Is it possible that eyewitness testimony exists within the Gospels and the Book of Acts? Sure. But do most scholars believe we can be confident of that fact? No. Not at all. So all we have are claims. But we also have claims of Martian sightings, Big Foot sightings, and Virgin Mary sightings, etc.. Just because people make very extraordinary claims and sincerely believe those extraordinary claims does not mean that the claims are true. We need evidence, good evidence, to believe very extraordinary claims, and the Christian very extraordinary claim does not have good evidence.”

      The number of scholars who believe that Peter and James wrote the epistles named for them is a lot more than a “few.”

      I am familiar with Bauckham’s argument concerning the authorship of John’s Gospel and have certainly considered his viewpoint. Larry Hurtado wrote to Bauckham concerning his viewpoints and Bauckham replied to Hurtado –

      “I guess I ought to clarify my position on eyewitness testimony in the Gospels, since it has been raised and you, Larry, say: ‘As I understand him, he doesn’t mean that the Gospels are “eyewitness testimony” such as a court transcript would provide, but that the Gospels draw on “eyewitness testimony” as it circulated in early Christian circles.’ Well, no, certainly nothing like a court transcript, more like “oral history.” But my point was that the Gospels are CLOSE to the eyewitnesses’ own testimony, not removed from them by decades of oral tradition. I think there is a very good case for Papias’s claim that Mark got his much of his material directly from Peter (and I will substantiate this further with quite new evidence in the sequel to [my book] Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that I’m now writing). I think that the ‘Beloved Disciple’ himself wrote the Gospel of John as we have it, and that he was a disciple of Jesus and thus an eyewitness himself, as he claims, though not John the son of Zebedee. Of course, his Gospel is the product of his life-long reflection on what he had witnessed, the most interpretative of the Gospels, but still the only one actually written by an eyewitness, who, precisely because he was close to Jesus, felt entitled to interpret quite extensively. Luke, as well as incorporating written material (Mark’s Gospel, which he knew as substantially Peter’s version of the Gospel story, and probably some of the “Q” material was in written form), also, I think, did what ancient historians did: he took every opportunity to meet eyewitnesses and interviewed them. He has probably collected material from a number of minor eyewitnesses from whom he got individual stories or sayings. Matthew is the Gospel I understand least! But whatever accounts for Matthew it is not the form-critical picture of anonymous community traditions, which we really must now abandon!” (https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/bauckham-on-eyewitnesses-and-the-gospels/)

      Bauckham is saying that another eyewitness disciple of Christ named John is the author of the Gospel of John. I don’t agree with him on that, but Bauckham is not saying that a non-eyewitness person is the author.

      Many church fathers (1st – 3rd century) believed the Apostle John was the author of the Gospel. One example is Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John –

      “Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” Against Heresies 3.1.1

      The author of 1 John wrote, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” The author presented himself as an eyewitness.

      You wrote –

      “What about Paul’s claim that Jesus appeared to five hundred people at once? Well for starters: Where did this event occur? When did it occur? What are the names of some of the people who were there? What exactly did they all see? Did Paul ever interview any of these people? When Paul says that most are still alive did he know this first hand or was this information that he had also “received” from others? Answer: WE DON’T KNOW. We don’t know because Paul doesn’t say. For all we know, a group of five hundred people on a hillside in Galilee saw a bright light and heard a rush of wind and believed it was Jesus. We just do not know. Christians assume it was an appearance as described in the Gospels but this is yet again an assumption. I assert that the entire Christian story is held together by multiple such assumptions and little real evidence.”

      I have asked the same question – when did that happen? I have no reason to doubt Paul’s statement, but don’t find corroboration for it in the Gospels or writings of other apostles of Christ. I also don’t find any disputing what Paul wrote either. The letter is from the early 50’s AD, so there was plenty of time for other apostles or disciples of the apostles to set the record straight.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  5. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for reviewing my possible explanation for the early Christian Resurrection belief. Just to remind you, I realize that you and I will disagree on which explanation is more “probable”. However, my question for you is: Is my explanation PLAUSIBLE? Is it a reasonable explanation? Would most rational, educated, people consider it a reasonable, possible explanation for the non-disputed evidence available for the events surrounding the death of Jesus? I think you would be hard pressed to prove my explanation implausible.

    I don’t think you will find many scholars willing to state that it is an historical fact that Peter returned to the tomb and found the burial linens neatly folded. Neither will you find many scholars willing to state that it is an historical fact that Jesus appeared to the Ten in the Upper Room and then to the full Eleven (including Thomas) a week later. Yes, these stories are included in the Gospels, but not even most evangelical scholars such as Gary Habermas and Mike Licona are willing to state that they are historical facts. So if we just stick with the non-disputed facts, and even throw in the Empty Tomb pericope, which I included in my explanation, my explanation is perfectly plausible…and I believe much, much more probable than your supernatural explanation.

    I believe that the only reason you believe that your supernatural explanation is more probable than my explanation and many other possible natural explanations is because you presume the existence of the ancient Hebrew deity, Yahweh.

    • Hi, Gary. Is your explanation “plausible”? Oxford Dictionary – (of an argument or statement) seeming reasonable or probable – old idea of applauding or approving. I don’t see how reasonable people would applaud or approve your explanation, so I don’t see how it is “plausible” or “reasonable.” I understand how reasonable people can disagree on evidence. This pertains to life after death, so continuing to consider the evidence seems worthy of the time spent on it.

      Drs. Habermas and Licona present the Minimal Facts approach to demonstrate what most scholars agree to concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean other evidence in the Gospel accounts is not true.

      If you mean by the word “presume” that I “suppose to be true without proof” (Merriam-Webster), I do not “presume” the existence of Yaweh. I “believe” the existence of Yaweh.

      My own journey to belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ led me to believe the Bible is God’s Word. I did not believe in the supernatural until completing that journey.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • Once again, I am not trying to suggest that I know exactly what happened, only what might plausibly have happened. My explanation includes all the minimal facts.

      You may believe that Thomas stuck his fingers into Jesus’ wounds, but no scholar is going to say that this alleged event is an accepted historical fact. The same is true of all the other detailed appearance stories in the Gospels. Could they be true? Yes. But could they be literary inventions or simply legends? Yes.

      My explanation is “plausible” in that it explains all the agreed upon evidence and it is reasonable. I am not suggesting that Martians took the body. So if I can provide a more plausible explanation for the evidence surrounding the death of Jesus, why should skeptics believe your more implausible Christian claim of a supernatural resurrection?

    • Hi, Gary. In reference to the Apostle Thomas and Jesus, you wrote “no scholar is going to say that this alleged event is an accepted historical fact.” No scholar? None? You will find many scholars who believe that the Gospel account is accurate, so not sure why you would write that. Scholars agree and disagree on just about everything I’ve ever seen scholars address. So, it’s up to each individual to do his or her best and come to a conclusion based on the evidence. Looking for the best explanation.

      The supernatural does seem implausible, unless it’s true. I had to set aside my anti-supernatural presuppositions as an atheist in order to look at the evidence with as unbiased eyes as I could muster at the time. Took awhile, but finally got there.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • There may be many scholars who BELIEVE this or that pericope in the Bible was an historical event, but that was not my claim. Here is what I said:

      “no scholar is going to say that this alleged event is an ACCEPTED historical fact. ”

      –It is the consensus of scholars (accepted fact) that Jesus was a real historical person.
      –It is the consensus of scholars (accepted fact) that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
      –It is the majority opinion of scholars (majority opinion) that the Empty Tomb is historical.

      But I don’t know of any scholar who would stick his neck out to state that it is an “historical fact” that Thomas stuck his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. See what I mean?

      I think if we are both honest and open minded we would both admit that the actual physical and eyewitness evidence for the Resurrection is rather weak. I will bet that there are other, more powerful reasons that lead you to believe this story. Am I right?

    • Hi, Gary. The issue seems not to be whether Thomas placed his fingers in Jesus’ wounds, but whether he “saw” the risen Christ. Jesus invited Thomas to touch him, but the text says Thomas responded by saying “My Lord and my God!” It doesn’t say he actually placed his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. He may have, but the text does not say that. Jesus responded to Thomas’ declaration by saying, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) What’s important to our discussion about the physical body of the risen Christ is that Jesus invited Thomas to place his physical fingers in Jesus’ physical wounds (healed as they were). If Thomas was looking at a bright light or an apparition, his response would probably have been different. How could a physical man place his physical fingers into a light or an apparition?

      You wrote – “I think if we are both honest and open minded we would both admit that the actual physical and eyewitness evidence for the Resurrection is rather weak. I will bet that there are other, more powerful reasons that lead you to believe this story. Am I right?”

      The Gospel of John presents this event (Thomas seeing the risen body of Christ) as historical fact. So, the question then goes to the historicity of the Gospel account. This is the same account that includes “accepted” facts to which you say most scholars agree. Why do they agree with some facts and not with others in the same historic text? The problem some scholars have, I believe, is a naturalistic confirmation bias. They will not believe anything that cannot be explained naturalistically. They do not want to believe in supernatural answers to their questions even if that is the best explanation.

      I believe that John’s Gospel is the inspired Word of God and presents the truth about what happened in the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. I did not come to that conclusion easily or quickly, but I did come to it. I understand your skepticism, having been a skeptic myself, and hope you will consider the argument that God does exist and that what you read in the Bible about Jesus dying for your sins and rising from the dead is the best answer to your questions.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  6. Here is just one of many alternative, natural explanations for the early Christian belief that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead and appeared to some of them. I challenge Christians to demonstrate that this explanation is not plausible (reasonable). You may believe that your supernatural explanation is more probable, but I do not believe that you can demonstrate that my alternative explanation is implausible. And before proceeding any further, I must point out one very important point: I am not obligated to provide evidence that this is what actually happened in circa 33 AD as this is NOT my objective. I am only attempting to demonstrate that plausible, alternative, naturalistic explanations for the early Christian resurrection belief do exist.

    As an example: If you wake up tomorrow morning and find your car keys missing, I am not obligated to present evidence prior to suggesting possible explanations for why your car keys are missing. If I were attempting to tell you exactly why your keys are missing, then I would need to provide evidence. But I am not attempting to tell you why your car keys are missing because I do not know why they are missing. I am simply suggesting plausible possibilities as to why they are missing. My possible explanations for your missing keys are plausible if they are reasonable to most people and if they conform to any non-disputed evidence related to the event (if any such evidence exists).

    And the same should be true with alternative explanations for the early Christian resurrection belief. They should be plausible (reasonable to most people) and they should conform to any non-disputed evidence related to this alleged event. (For the sake of this argument, I am going to include the Empty Tomb as a non-disputed piece of evidence related to the Resurrection, even though this is not actually the case. According to Habermas, 25% of scholars do not believe in the historicity of the Empty Tomb.)

    So here is one possible, plausible, naturalistic explanation for the early Christian resurrection belief:

    Jesus is crucified. His dead body is placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb on Friday before sunset. On Saturday night, after sunset, the Sanhedrin comes to the tomb, with Pilate’s permission, and moves the body of Jesus to another unmarked grave, leaving Arimathea’s tomb empty. They had only placed Jesus’ body in Joseph’s tomb temporarily so as not to defile the Sabbath. They never intended to leave it there.

    Sunday morning, the women come to the tomb, find it empty, and run to the disciples telling them that Jesus has risen just as he had promised. Emotional hysteria grips the disciples. Simon Peter is emotionally exhausted and hasn’t slept for days. Due to a combination of factors, he experiences an hallucination. In this hallucination, Jesus appears to him in the flesh and tells him that he has risen from the dead and that he will soon ascend to the Father; the general resurrection will soon follow. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Peter shares his appearance story with the other disciples. They are ecstatic. They believe him just as the Jews in Asia Minor will believe Paul’s appearance story a few years later. Soon other disciples are “seeing” Jesus. Some are experiencing vivid dreams of Jesus. Some are experiencing illusions of Jesus. Groups of disciples see bright lights that they perceive to be Jesus. It is these illusions/misperceptions of reality (not group sightings of a resurrected body) that lead to the claims of appearances of Jesus to groups which we find in the Early Creed quoted by Paul in First Corinthians 15.

    Then beginning in circa 70 AD, non-eyewitnesses, writing in far away lands, write the Gospels based on oral legends that have been circulating for forty years. The authors of the Gospels add their own literary embellishments to the story, embellishments which were perfectly acceptable in that genre of literature—Greco-Roman biographies. The authors did not add these fictional details to lie or deceive anyone; they never intended all of the pericopes to be understood literally. Their first century readers understood that.

    So people in the first century knew that dead saints were not shaken out of their graves the moment of Jesus’ death to then walk the streets of Jerusalem. They knew this was literary/theological symbolism. And they knew the same about the story of Doubting Thomas sticking his fingers into Jesus’ wounds, and the story of the resurrected Jesus cooking a fish breakfast on the shores of the Sea of Tiberius. The authors never meant people to believe these stories as historical events. The Gospels were never meant to be history books in which every detail was to be understood as historical fact. They were written as documents of religious evangelization (propaganda): “these things are written that you might believe.” No, they are not works of pure fiction as some skeptics might suggest, but neither are they literal history books as some conservative Christians believe. It is the job of the good historian and scholar to tease out the historical facts from the literary fiction. In many cases, however, we must simply be honest and admit, we don’t know. Was there a real man named “Joseph of Arimathea”, for instance? We will probably never know.

    So what about James, the brother of Jesus: We have no idea why and when James converted. Christians assume he converted due to an appearance by Jesus, making his appearance “an appearance to a skeptic”. However, it is possible that James had converted prior to Jesus’ death. The Gospels do not say when James believed, therefore the alleged appearance to James cannot be used as evidence of an appearance to a non-believer.

    What about Paul: For all we know, Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was episodes of mental illness which included delusions and hallucinations. Anyone who is unsure if he has or has not taken a space trip to a “third heaven” is most likely not of sound mind. Therefore, Paul’s “heavenly vision” may have been an hallucination or just a vivid dream. Skeptics admit that Paul’s conversion is very odd. But odd conversions do not confirm the veracity of the convert’s new belief system. Human beings make very odd life decisions all the time.

    I therefore believe that the above explanation is much more probable to be the explanation for the early Christian resurrection belief than the Christian supernatural claim that an invisible middle-eastern deity breathed life back into a three-day-brain-dead corpse which then somehow exited its sealed tomb to later fly off into outer space.

    • Hi, Gary. Your alternative includes two of the better-known alternatives to Jesus’ resurrection: stolen body and follower hallucinations.

      In looking for the best explanation, I have serious questions about the probability of both.

      1. Stolen body — is it possible that members of the Sanhedrin could have moved Jesus’ body to another burial location? Yes. They had control of the body via the guards. Is it probable? No. Why?

      The Sanhedrin could have easily brought an end to the early Christian movement by producing Jesus’ body “if” they had it. They did not do that, I believe, because they did not have His body.

      Saul of Tarsus was an employee of the Sanhedrin and could have easily brought the early Church to its knees by producing the body or taking the disciples of Christ to where the Sanhedrin had buried the body and shown them the dead body of Jesus. He didn’t do that because the Sanhedrin didn’t have the body of Jesus. Saul tried to stop the growth of the Christian movement by arresting and killing disciples .. until he became a disciple himself.

      The Bible lists another alternative that makes sense given the nature of the Jewish leaders and their hatred for Jesus –

      “Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Matthew 28:11-15

      I believe this is more probable based on the evidence and is the best explanation for the empty tomb.

      2. Hallucinations – Is it possible that people can have individual hallucinations? Yes. Is it probable in this situation. No. Why? I’ll respond to your hypothesis.

      “Sunday morning, the women come to the tomb, find it empty, and run to the disciples telling them that Jesus has risen just as he had promised. Emotional hysteria grips the disciples. Simon Peter is emotionally exhausted and hasn’t slept for days. Due to a combination of factors, he experiences an hallucination. In this hallucination, Jesus appears to him in the flesh and tells him that he has risen from the dead and that he will soon ascend to the Father; the general resurrection will soon follow. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Peter shares his appearance story with the other disciples. They are ecstatic. They believe him just as the Jews in Asia Minor will believe Paul’s appearance story a few years later. Soon other disciples are “seeing” Jesus. Some are experiencing vivid dreams of Jesus. Some are experiencing illusions of Jesus. Groups of disciples see bright lights that they perceive to be Jesus. It is these illusions/misperceptions of reality (not group sightings of a resurrected body) that lead to the claims of appearances of Jesus to groups which we find in the Early Creed quoted by Paul in First Corinthians 15.”

      Your account of Peter seeing Jesus doesn’t follow the evidence. Peter ran to the grave with another disciple (John) and found the tomb empty. According to John’s eyewitness account (John 20), he and Peter went into the tomb and saw linen cloths lying there along with a handkerchief he believed had been around the head of Jesus. He said the handkerchief was folded in a place by itself, away from the linen cloths. John wrote that they didn’t think of it being a resurrection and they went away to their own homes. Here we have Peter and John in the empty tomb seeing only cloths and handkerchief .. no resurrected body. No vision, no hallucination.

      That happened on the morning of the resurrection. The disciples assembled together for fear of the Jews that evening. Jesus stood in their midst and spoke with them. He showed them His hands and His side and the disciples were glad to see Him. Peter, John and other disciples saw Jesus and heard Him speak at the same time. How could this be an hallucination when several men saw and heard the same thing at the same time?

      Thomas was not at that meeting, so the disciples told him that they had seen Jesus. Thomas did not believe them and said that he would have to see Jesus and the print of the nails in His hands and would have to place his finger into the print of the nails and his hand into Jesus’ side. Until then, Thomas said, “I will not believe.” Thomas was with the disciples eight days later when Jesus stood with them and told Thomas to touch his hands and side. Thomas’ response was to say, “My Lord and my God!”

      I believe this is more probable based on the evidence and is the best explanation for what the disciples saw.

      Gary, I used to share your skepticism. Look at the evidence, consider the best explanations. That led me to belief in the resurrected Jesus and can lead you there as well.

      Thanks!

      Mark

  7. Sorry, I again posted in the wrong place.

    Yes, and people reading the above mentioned psychic’s blog have the option to believe her written testimony regarding key-stealing space aliens. The question is: should rational people believe very extraordinary (supernatural) claims just because there are alleged eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    I will bet that for all extraordinary claims other than those involving your religion, you would agree with me that we should NOT believe these tall tales because there are MANY, MANY alternative, natural explanations that are much more probable to be the explanation for the event in question. I would be happy to give you a natural explanation for the early Christian resurrection belief which is much more probable than the Christian supernatural explanation, if you are interested.

  8. Yes, and people reading the above mentioned psychic’s blog have the option to believe her written testimony regarding key-stealing space aliens. The question is: should rational people believe very extraordinary (supernatural) claims just because there are alleged eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    I will bet that for all extraordinary claims other than those involving your religion, you would agree with me that we should NOT believe these tall tales because there are MANY, MANY alternative, natural explanations that are much more probable to be the explanation for the event in question. I would be happy to give you a natural explanation for the early Christian resurrection belief which is much more probable than the Christian supernatural explanation, if you are interested.

  9. Because I think the same question can be asked regarding the topic of this post. Question: Should you believe this very extraordinary explanation for a missing dead body just because there are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    • Hi, Gary. The missing car keys and psychic story doesn’t seem in the same category with the missing body of Jesus from the tomb where people placed him and where soldiers guarded the tomb. Neighbors saying they saw “something” above my house seems quite different than multiple people who talked with the risen Jesus and spent more than a month with him after His resurrection, including the chief persecutor of the people telling the amazing resurrection story (Saul of Tarsus). Quite different.

      Mark

    • “The missing car keys and psychic story doesn’t seem in the same category with the missing body of Jesus from the tomb where people placed him and where soldiers guarded the tomb. Neighbors saying they saw “something” above my house seems quite different than multiple people who talked with the risen Jesus and spent more than a month with him after His resurrection, including the chief persecutor of the people telling the amazing resurrection story (Saul of Tarsus). Quite different.”

      The missing keys event happened just a few days ago and already a few of your neighbors are claiming that they saw the aliens on your roof. Now, let this story percolate for forty to sixty years, let a couple of people write books about the event, and then try to sift out fact from fiction. That is what we must do with the Resurrection story. Even most skeptics such as myself agree that Jesus existed, that he was tried for treason, that he was crucified, and that shortly after his death some of his disciples believed that he appeared to them in some fashion. But even if we add the Empty Tomb to that list of “facts”, that leaves much of the story as told in the Gospels as questionable.

      Is it an accepted historical fact that eyewitnesses “talked” to Jesus, that they “spent a month with Jesus”? No. The truth is: we have no confirmed eyewitness testimony from ANYONE who says that he or she saw, talked to, or touched a resurrected body. The only confirmed testimony we have is from Paul and he never tells us what exactly he saw. (The author of Acts tells us that all Paul saw was a bright light).

    • Hi, Gary. The story that you told about the missing keys … is that a real story? Wondering whether we’re dealing with a story you made up as an example or if it’s a real story we can investigate.

      The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth a little more than 20 years after Jesus was crucified saying that he saw Jesus alive in a resurrected body.

      “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

      Notice that Paul claimed more than 500 people had seen Jesus alive after the crucifixion, including the 12 Apostles and himself.

      We have to look further to see when Paul may have “seen” Jesus. The book of Acts includes quotes from Paul that he heard the “voice” of Jesus speaking clearly to him. They had a conversation.

      Paul’s conversion is believed to have been within a couple of years after Pentecost. Paul referenced his Damascus road experience and other experiences several times through Acts and his writings. He said that he saw a bright light, fell to the ground, and heard a voice speaking to him. Paul said the voice claimed to be Jesus who Paul was persecuting. Paul said he and Jesus conversed.

      “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Acts 9:2-9

      “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’” Acts 22:6-8

      “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Acts 26:12-15

      Paul wrote another letter to the Church in Corinth a short time later and shared something that had happened to him 14 years earlier — which would have been within 10 years or less from Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Paul does not say that he saw Jesus, but he did see Paradise.

      “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:1-6

      Paul’s testimony in one of his earliest letters was that he received the Gospel message through a direct revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul said he went to Arabia, then returned to Damascus and then to Jerusalem. After three years Paul went to Jerusalem to see Peter and James, the Lord’s brother. Did Paul “see” Jesus in the Arabian desert? Did Jesus teach Paul personally? We don’t know for sure, but we know that what Paul experienced on the Damascus road and in the years following changed him from being the chief persecutor of the Church to being its chief presenter.

      “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)” Galatians 1:11-20

      James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote a letter to believers and called Jesus – “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory…” (James 2:1) We also know from Acts that James became a leader in the Jerusalem Church which preached Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. James was one of the eyewitnesses Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 who added his own testimony through a personal letter.

      Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles, wrote this in his first letter to believers – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) Peter was one of the eyewitnesses Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 who added his own testimony through a personal letter.

      John, one of Jesus’s apostles, wrote this in his first letter to believers – “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2) John wrote the letter toward the end of his life and spoke of Jesus in the present tense. John also wrote another letter that was distributed to many churches toward the end of the first century where John described a meeting he had with Jesus where he both saw and heard Jesus –

      “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” Revelation 1:9-18

      John also wrote an historical account about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Gospel of John) as did another apostle of Christ, Matthew. Mark’s Gospel is believed to be the remembrances of the Apostle Peter. Luke, who traveled with Paul, wrote two lengthy Gospel accounts (Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts) which were based on interviews with eyewitnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

      “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Luke 1:1-4

      Gary, I disagree with your contention that “we have no confirmed eyewitness testimony from ANYONE who says that he or she saw, talked to, or touched a resurrected body.” I have just shared with you several eyewitness accounts. Hope that helps.

      Mark

  10. Gary on said:

    Christians should stop and think about this:

    This morning you woke up and your car keys are missing. You tear the house apart and still cannot find them. You go out in front of your house to check the front door, the drive way, and your car but still do not find your keys. Your neighbor, who is a professional psychic, asks what is going on. You tell her about your missing keys. She consults her psychic tea leaves and they tell her that a group of space aliens took your keys last night. She says that a space ship hovered over your house at approximately 3 AM, two of the aliens descended onto your roof, entered your house, walked out with your keys, levitated back into the space ship, and then flew off into the night sky.

    Your neighbor publishes this story on her weekly psychic blog.

    Within days, several of your neighbors report having seen “something” above your house the night of your missing keys. Some even claim to have seen the aliens on your roof.

    There is no other evidence to suggest why your keys are missing.

    Question: Should you believe this very extraordinary explanation for your missing keys just because there are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

  11. Pingback: Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 5 | Faith & Self Defense

  12. Pingback: Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 4 | Faith & Self Defense

    • Sorry. I guess I replied in the wrong location.

      Because I think the same question can be asked regarding the topic of this post. Question: Should you believe this very extraordinary explanation for a missing dead body just because there are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    • You have the option to believe the written testimony regarding the topic of the post.

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