Proof #15: Examine Jesus’ Resurrection

December 18, 2007 at 9:05 am 2 comments

Marshall Brain asks:

What if we pray to Jesus like this: “Dear Jesus, please appear to us, as you did to Paul and the 500 brethren, so that we can see the evidence of your resurrection. In your name we pray, amen.” (emphasis added)

Well, nothing will happen because of we have to look back at why prayers may not work the way we’d like them to: the obedience component, and the motivation component.

There are dozens of Bible verses that establish man’s sinfulness.  There is no need for me to get into that here.  As for the motivation, well, I boldfaced the key passage in that one.  This prayer is another test for God, and God doesn’t take tests (Deut 6:16).

But why should Jesus appear, when He is already here?  Matthew 18:19 says that wherever two or more are gathered in Christ’s name, He is there among them.  Brain thinks that it is odd that Jesus doesn’t just materialize in this situation, since He’s already there.  But, for an obedient Christian, this isn’t necessary since He’s already appeared to hundreds of Christians during the first century–a fact that this website doesn’t attempt to dispute, by the way–and these eyewitnesses died for their repeated testimony.

Notice that the contemporary opponents of Jesus never once denied the Resurrection.  In fact, they had to take some great pains to explain the Empty Tomb (Mt 28:11-15).  This seems to be easy to deny 2000 years after the fact, but why did it seem to be so difficult right when it occurred?

It is with this in mind that it becomes easy to spot the gaping flaws in the remainder of Brain’s reasoning.  First, Brain asserts that Paul is suggesting something unprecedented, on no evidence, with many alternative explanations, and didn’t continue after the first century.

To begin, Paul’s writings date from a.d. 52 to a.d. 58.  I know of no scholars who dispute that.  The Resurrection occurred in a.d. 33 according to the prophetic timeline presented in Daniel 9.  That means that Paul’s writings are some of the best representations of what early Christians believed because they occur within 20 years of the historical events that they record.  Twenty years is not enough time for legends to develop because there are still too many eyewitnesses alive–and there would have been far too many hostile eyewitnesses in this case for Paul to make up a story like that and have it stick for as long as it has.

“There is zero evidence to support Paul’s story, zero reason to believe it, a motive to lie and plenty of alternative explanations,” says Brain.  The problem is that there is a very important reason to believe it, no motive to lie, and all of the alternate explanations fail to account for the evidence.

Why should anyone believe this story?  Because “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9, emphasis added).  Salvation is contingent upon this; you must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead in order to be saved.  That’s eternal life in Paradise.

There was no motive for Paul and the others to lie about the Resurrection.  Look at what happened to Steven in Acts 7–he proclaimed Jesus and was stoned to death for it.  That was the first of many evangelists who died for the gospel message.  There was more motive to keep this message under wraps then there was to broadcast it the way the early Christians did.

And, as I’ve already stated, all other explanations fall flat when analyzed.  These “alternate explanations” don’t fit all of the evidence.

Myths take thousands of years to develop.  The writings of Paul, the other apostles, and the Church Fathers of the second century prove that Christians believed from the outset in the Resurrection, at a time when much negative criticism, hostile eyewitnesses, and a martyr’s death awaited those who believed it.  The fact that the story survived all of that is strong evidence for its veracity.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact.  This is the inescapable conclusion of following the evidence.

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Entry filed under: Jesus.

Proof 14: Examine Jesus’ Miracles Proof #16: Contemplate the Contradictions

2 Comments

  • 1. Samuel Skinner  |  February 1, 2008 at 7:27 am

    See every other revealed religion ever for a counter arguement.

  • 2. Luke  |  June 13, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    “There is zero evidence to support Paul’s story, zero reason to believe it, a motive to lie and plenty of alternative explanations,” says Brain. The problem is that there is a very important reason to believe it, no motive to lie, and all of the alternate explanations fail to account for the evidence.
    —Funny how you defend most of your opinions of Christianity with everything that any other religion and can claim about their founders. The only reason people find it “important” to believe in Christianity is the fear of punishment and hell. And if the authors of the gospels didn’t have a motive to lie, then no one else of any other religion did. Now ask yourself why other religions had a motive to lie about Gods, and then why the Gospel writers wouldn’t have some of those same motives. And there is no evidence of ANY resurrection accounts EVER other than falsifiable accounts in the Bible and every other religious writings buried in myths and legends that share certain qualities with eachother throughout history. If people don’t see evidence for God, then the story of Jesus being the son of God and being resurrected by a God is all just a myth to begin with.

    Myths take thousands of years to develop.
    —No they don’t. Myths and legends start from one person, usually a political ruler such as a pharaoh or king, or a small group of people such as shamans or mystics. The closest your statement comes to reality is that myths and legends evolve further and further over time to accommodate changes within a civilization and questions and doubts people begin to have.
    –Here’s a quote I remember hearing from somewhere: “Religion is viewed by the common man as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    The writings of Paul, the other apostles, and the Church Fathers of the second century prove that Christians believed from the outset in the Resurrection, at a time when much negative criticism, hostile eyewitnesses, and a martyr’s death awaited those who believed it. The fact that the story survived all of that is strong evidence for its veracity.
    –This is not proof of anything other than a few religious fanatics existed, persisted in delusional beliefs, and were eventually killed. You can’t have a “successful” religion if you don’t have an advertising campaign. Every religion has had it’s martyrs in times of much negative criticism, and their supposed eyewitnesses. The fact that all other religious stories survived all of their trials and tribulations are strong evidence for their veracity as well. But does that make them true? Absolutely not.

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact. This is the inescapable conclusion of following the evidence.
    –Thou shalt not lie. If there’s some kind of evidence you have that I don’t know about to prove this “historical fact” of Jesus’ resurrection, then please share. Because the Bible sure isn’t evidence of it no more than other religious writings are evidence of their Gods and myths.


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