TheResurrection Pop Quiz Posted 2nd February 2012
1. Five theories aredescribed to account 25for the resurrection - Markswhat are they?
2. Give 8 of the 9arguments against theidea that Jesus swoonedon the cross but did notdie. 253. Refute the Conspiracy MarksTheory: List 6 of the 7Arguments.4. Give six argumentsagainst the myth theory.
1. Five theories aredescribed to account forthe resurrection - what For %are they? multiplyChristianity yourHallucination score byMyth 20ConspiracySwoon
TheResurrection Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics Chapter 9Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
Every sermon preached byChristians in the NT centres on theresurrection. the wages ForKreeft says, “The Gospel or “good of sin isnews” means essentially the news of death, butset the theChrist’s resurrection.” he goes on tosay that the news thatancient gift of fire was is that of world on God not eternal‘love your neighbour’ but of theresurrection of Jesus Christ, who life in Christclaimed to be the Son of God andSaviour of the world. Jesus our crucialThe resurrection is of Lord.importance because it completes oursalvation - Rom 6:23
Abraham, Buddha,Muhammed, Confucius andLao Tzu all still lie dead in theirgraves - the tomb of Jesus isempty.In life changing terms we seethe difference in the disciplesbefore and after theresurrection - before hiddenbehind closed doors, afterconfident world changingmissionaries and ready to facemartyrdom if necessary.
It is important to see that theresurrection is not in the past,“Christ rose”, - but in thepresent, “Christ is risen”He is living - Lk 24:5Do you keep Christ mummifiedin words like apologetics andhistory - or do you allow him tolive and set lives alight now ashe did millennia ago?For that is what the resurrectiondid - and still does.
The strategy of the argument for the resurrection - 5 theoriesTheresurrection can theThe existence of beNT texts as we have asproved and believed withmuch historical credibility asthem, and theany other well documentedexistence (but notevent in ancient history.necessarily the truth)The two basic assumptionsof the Christian simplefor such a belief arereligion as we empiricaland are based on find ittoday.data which is no disputed:
The question to ask isthis:Which theory aboutwhat happened inJerusalem on thatfirst Easter Sundaycan account for thedata?The following fivediagrams represent thepossible theories.
5 Theories about the resurrectionJesus Died Jesus Rose 1. Christianity
5 Theories about the resurrectionJesus Died Jesus Rose 1. Christianity The apostles 2. Hallucination Jesus were deceived didn’t rise
5 Theories about the resurrectionJesus Died Jesus Rose 1. Christianity The apostles 2. Hallucination Jesus were deceived didn’t rise The apostles were myth- 3. Myth makers
5 Theories about the resurrectionJesus Died Jesus Rose 1. Christianity The apostles 2. Hallucination Jesus were deceived didn’t rise The apostles were myth- 3. Myth makers The apostles were 4. Conspiracy deceivers
5 Theories about the resurrectionJesus Died Jesus Rose 1. Christianity The apostles 2. Hallucination Jesus were deceived didn’t rise The apostles were myth- 3. Myth makers The apostles were 4. Conspiracy deceivers Jesus 5. Swoon didn’t die
Could it be thatChrist in fact survivedthe crucifixion, he didnot die but justswooned?Here are 9 arguments inresponse to the swoontheory:
1. Jesus could nothave survivedcrucifixion. Romanprocedures were verycareful to eliminate thatpossibility. Roman laweven laid the deathpenalty on any soldierwho let a capital prisonerescape in any way,including bungling acrucifixion. It was neverdone.
2. The fact that the Romansoldier did not breakJesus legs, as he did to theother two crucified criminals(Jn 19:31-33), means thatthe soldier was sure Jesuswas dead. Breaking the legshastened the death so thatthe corpse could be takendown before the sabbath.
3. John, an eyewitness,certified that he sawblood and water comefrom Jesus piercedheart (Jn 19:34-35).This shows that Jesuslungs had collapsed andhe had died ofasphyxiation. Anymedical expert canvouch for this.
4. The body was totallyencased in windingsheets and entombed(Jn 19:38-42).5. The post-resurrectionappearances convincedthe disciples, evendoubting Thomas, thatJesus was alive (Jn20:19-29).
It is psychologicallyimpossible for the disciples tohave been so transformedand confident if Jesus hadmerely struggled out of aswoon, badly in need of adoctor. A half-dead,staggering sick man who hasjust had a narrow escape isnot worshiped fearlessly asdivine Lord and conquerer ofdeath.
6. How were the Roman guards at thetomb overpowered by a swooningcorpse? Or by unarmed disciples? And ifthe disciples did it, they knowingly lied whenthey wrote the Gospels, and we are into theconspiracy theory.
7. How could a swooninghalf-dead man have movedthe great stone at the doorof the tomb? Who moved thestone if not an angel? Neitherthe Jews nor the Romans wouldmove it, for it was in both theirinterests to keep the tombsealed, the Jews had the stoneput there in the first place, andthe Roman guards would bekilled if they let the body"escape."
The story the Jewishauthorities spread, that theguards fell asleep and thedisciples stole the body (Mt28:11-15), is unbelievable.Roman guards would not fallasleep - if they did, theywould lose their lives. If theydid fall asleep, the crowd andthe effort and the noise itwould have taken to move anenormous boulder wouldhave wakened them.
8. If Jesus awoke from aswoon, where did he go? Think:you have a living body to deal withnow, not a dead one. Why did itdisappear? There is absolutely nodata, not even any false, fantastic,imagined data, about Jesus lifeafter his crucifixion, in any sources,friend or foe, at any time, early orlate. A man like that, with a past likethat, would have left traces.
9. Most simply, theswoon theorynecessarily turnsinto the conspiracytheory or thehallucination theory,for the disciplestestified that Jesus didnot swoon but reallydied and really rose.
The disciples made upthe resurrection storyConspire: to join in asecret agreement to do anunlawful or wrongful act oran act which becomesunlawful as a result of thesecret agreement(Miriam Webster dictionary)
Refutation of the Conspiracy Theory: Seven ArgumentsWhy couldnt the discipleshave made up the wholestory?1. Blaise Pascal gives a simple,psychologically sound proof forwhy this is unthinkable:"The apostles were either deceived ordeceivers. Either supposition isdifficult, for it is not possible toimagine that a man has risen fromthe dead...
The hypothesis that the Apostles were dishonest isquite absurd. Follow it out to the end, and imaginethese twelve men meeting after Jesus death andconspiring to say that he has risen from the dead.This means attacking all the powers that be. Thehuman heart is susceptible to fickleness, to change, topromises, to bribery. One of them had only to deny hisstory under these inducements, or still more because ofpossible imprisonment, tortures and death, and theywould all have been lost. Follow that out."Pascal, Pensees 322, 310
The "cruncher" in this argument is thehistorical fact that no one, weak or strong,saint or sinner, Christian or heretic, everconfessed, freely or under pressure, bribe oreven torture, that the whole story of theresurrection was a fake a lie, a deliberatedeception. Even when people broke undertorture, denied Christ and worshiped Caesar,they never let that cat out of the bag, neverrevealed that the resurrection was theirconspiracy. For that cat was never in that bag.No Christians believed the resurrection was aconspiracy; if they had, they wouldnt havebecome Christians.
2. If they made up thestory, they were the mostcreative, clever,intelligent fantasists inhistory, far surpassingShakespeare, or Danteor Tolkien. Fishermans"fish stories" are neverthat elaborate, thatconvincing, that life-changing, and thatenduring.
3. The disciples characterargues strongly against such aconspiracy on the part of all ofthem, with no dissenters. Theywere simple, honest, commonpeasants, not cunning, connivingliars. Their sincerity is proved bytheir words and deeds. Theypreached a resurrected Christ andthey lived a resurrected Christ.They willingly died for their"conspiracy." Nothing provessincerity like martyrdom.
They change in their lives fromfear to faith, despair toconfidence, confusion tocertitude, runaway cowardice tosteadfast boldness under threatand persecution, not only provestheir sincerity but testifies tosome powerful cause of it. Can alie cause such a transformation?Are truth and goodness suchenemies that the greatest good inhistory -- sanctity -- has comefrom the greatest lie?
4. There could be nopossible motive for such alie. Lies are always told forsome selfish advantage. Whatadvantage did the "conspirators"derive from their "lie" ? Theywere hated, scorned,persecuted, excommunicated,imprisoned, tortured, exiled,crucified, boiled alive, roasted,beheaded, disemboweled andfed to lions - hardly a catalog ofperks!
5. If the resurrection was a lie, theJews would have produced thecorpse. All they had to do was go tothe tomb and get it. The Romansoldiers and their leaders were ontheir side. If the Jews couldnt get thebody because the disciples stole it,how did they do that? The argumentsagainst the swoon theory hold heretoo: unarmed peasants could nothave overpowered Roman soldiers orrolled away a great stone while theyslept on duty.
6. The disciples could not havegotten away with proclaiming theresurrection in Jerusalem - sametime, same place, full of eyewitnesses- if it had been a lie.William Lane Craig says,"The fact that the disciples were able toproclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem inthe face of their enemies a few weeks afterthe crucifixion shows that what theyproclaimed was true, for they could neverhave proclaimed the resurrection (and beenbelieved) under such circumstances had itnot occurred.”
The disciples had amass hallucination.Hallucinate:1: to affect with visions orimaginary perceptions2: to perceive orexperience as ahallucination (MiriamWebster dictionary)
Refutation of the Hallucination Theory: Thirteen ArgumentsIf you thought you saw adead man walking andtalking, wouldnt you think itmore likely that you werehallucinating than that youwere seeing correctly? Whythen not think the samething about Christsresurrection?
1. There were too manywitnesses. Hallucinations are private,individual, subjective. Christ appearedto Mary Magdalene, to the disciplesminus Thomas, to the disciplesincluding Thomas, to the two disciplesat Emmaus, to the fisherman on theshore, to James (his "brother" orcousin), and even to five hundredpeople at once (1 Cor 15:3-8). Eventhree different witnesses are enoughfor a kind of psychologicaltrigonometry;
...over five hundred is about as public as you can wish.And Paul says in this passage (v. 6) that most of thefive hundred are still alive, inviting any reader to checkthe truth of the story by questioning the eyewitnesses-- he could never have done this and gotten away withit, given the power, resources and numbers of hisenemies, if it were not true.
2. The witnesses were qualified.They were simple, honest, moralpeople who had firsthandknowledge of the facts.3. The five hundred saw Christtogether, at the same time andplace.4. Hallucinations usually last afew seconds or minutes; rarelyhours. This one hung around forforty days (Acts 1:3).
5. Hallucinations usuallyhappen only once, except tothe insane. This one returnedmany times, to ordinary people(Jn 20:19-21:14; Acts 1:3).6. Hallucinations come fromwithin, from what we alreadyknow, at least unconsciously.This one said and didsurprising and unexpectedthings (Acts 1:4,9) -- like a realperson and unlike a dream.
7. Not only did the disciples notexpect this, they didnt evenbelieve it at first -- neither Peter,nor the women, nor Thomas, northe eleven. They thought he was aghost; he had to eat something toprove he was not (Lk 24:36-43).8. Hallucinations do not eat. Theresurrected Christ did, on at leasttwo occasions (Lk 24:42-43; Jn21:1-14).9. The disciples touched him (Mt28:9; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:27).
10. They also spoke withhim, and he spoke back.Figments of yourimagination do not holdprofound, extendedconversations with you,unless you have the kindof mental disorder thatisolates you. But this"hallucination" conversedwith at least eleven peopleat once, for forty days(Acts 1:3).
11. The apostles could not have believed in the"hallucination" if Jesus corpse had still been in thetomb. This is very simple and telling point; for if itwas a hallucination, where was the corpse? Theywould have checked for it; if it was there, theycould not have believed.
12. If the apostles hadhallucinated and thenspread theirhallucinogenic story, theJews would havestopped it by producingthe body -- unless thedisciples had stolen it, inwhich case we are backwith the conspiracytheory and all itsdifficulties.
13. A hallucinationwould explain only thepost-resurrectionappearances; it wouldnot explain the emptytomb, the rolled-awaystone, or the inability toproduce the corpse. Notheory can explain allthese data except a realresurrection.
C.S. Lewis says,"Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and ifit is invention [rather than fact], it is the oddest inventionthat ever entered the mind of man) that on three separateoccasions this hallucination was not immediatelyrecognized as Jesus (Lk 24:13-31; Jn 20:15; 21:4). Evengranting that God sent a holy hallucination to teach truthsalready widely believed without it, and far more easilytaught by other methods, and certain to be completelyobscured by this, might we not at least hope that he wouldget the face of the hallucination right? Is he who made allfaces such a bungler that he cannot even work up arecognizable likeness of the Man who was himself?"(Miracles, chapter 16)
The story of theresurrection is simply aMyth:a : a popular belief or traditionthat has grown up aroundsomething or someone;b : an unfounded or false notion3: a person or thing having onlyan imaginary or unverifiableexistence (Miriam Websterdictionary)
Refutation of the Myth Theory: Six Arguments1. The style of the Gospels isradically and clearly differentfrom the style of all the myths.Any literary scholar who knowsand appreciates myths canverify this. There are nooverblown, spectacular,childishly exaggerated events.Nothing is arbitrary. Everythingfits in. Everything is meaningful.The hand of a master is at workhere.
Psychological depth is at a maximum. Inmyth it is at a minimum. In myth, suchspectacular external events happen that itwould be distracting to add much internaldepth of character. That is why it is ordinarypeople like Alice who are the protagonists ofextra-ordinary adventures like Wonderland.That character depth and development ofeveryone in the Gospels, especially of Jesushimself, is remarkable.It is also done with an incredible economy ofwords. Myths are verbose; the Gospels arelaconic (concise).
There are also telltale marks of eyewitnessdescription, like the little detail of Jesus writingin the sand when asked whether to stone theadulteress or not (Jn 8:6). No one knows whythis is put in; nothing comes of it. The onlyexplanation is that the writer saw it. If thisdetail and others like it throughout all fourGospels were invented, then a first-century taxcollector (Matthew), a "young man" (Mark), adoctor (Luke), and a fisherman (John) allindependently invented the new genre ofrealistic fantasy nineteen centuries before itwas reinvented in the twentieth.
2. A second problem is that therewas not enough time for myth todevelop. The originaldemythologizers pinned theircase onto a late second-centurydate for the writing of theGospels; several generationshave to pass before the addedmythological elements can bemistakenly believed to be facts.Eyewitnesses would be aroundbefore that to discredit the new,mythic versions.
In other cases where myths andlegends of miracles developed around areligious founder, e.g. Buddha, Lao-tzuand Muhammad. In each case, manygenerations passed before the mythsurfaced.Julius Muller challenged his 19th centurycontemporaries to produce a singleexample anywhere in history of a greatmyth or legend arising around ahistorical figure and being generallybelieved within thirty years after thatfigures death. No one has everanswered him.
3. The myth theory has two layers.The first is the historical Jesus, whowas not divine, did not claim divinity,performed no miracles, and did notrise from the dead. The second, later,mythologized layer is the Gospels aswe have them, with a Jesus whoclaimed to be divine, performedmiracles and rose from the dead. Theproblem: there is not the slightest bitof any real evidence whatever for theexistence of any such first layer.
4. A significant little detail: the firstwitnesses of the resurrection werewomen. In first-century Judaism,women had low social status and nolegal right to serve as witnesses. If theempty tomb were an invented legend,its inventors surely would not have hadit discovered by women, whosetestimony was considered worthless. If,on the other hand, the writers weresimply reporting what they saw, theywould have to tell the truth, howeversocially and legally inconvenient.
5. The NT could not bemyth misinterpreted andconfused with fact becauseit specifically distinguishesthe two and repudiates themythic interpretation (2Peter 1:16). Since itexplicitly says it is notmyth, if it is myth it is adeliberate lie rather thanmyth. The dilemma stillstands. It is either truth orlie.
There is no escape fromthe horns of thisdilemma. Once a childasks whether SantaClaus is real, your yesbecomes a lie, not myth,if he is not literally real.Once the NewTestament distinguishesmyth from fact, itbecomes a lie if theresurrection is not fact.
Richard Purtillsummarizes the textualcase:"Many events which areregarded as firmlyestablished historicallyhave;1. Far less documentaryevidence than manybiblical events
2. The documents onwhich historians rely formuch secular history arewritten much longer afterthe event than manyrecords of biblical events3. We have many morecopies of biblicalnarratives than ofsecular histories
4. The surviving copies aremuch earlier than those onwhich our evidence forsecular history is based. Ifthe biblical narratives did notcontain accounts ofmiraculous events, biblicalhistory would probably beregarded as much morefirmly established than mostof the history of, say,classical Greece andRome."
If the evidence provided istrue then we have to facea decision: will we followChrist?Such a decision can bebased on the evidenceprovided beingintellectually acceptable -and the moral integrity toaccept and act upon it.