Sunday, April 10, 2011

Consider the evidence

It seems that every Easter an attack is made on the resurrection story.  A few years back the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown caused a stir.  After the DaVinci Code, the gospel of Judas was pushed to show the Jesus of history to be false.  Most recently, James Cameron, of Avatar fame, produced, The Jesus Family Tomb (2007), which called into question the empty tomb.  Each attempt to disprove the Jesus of the New Testament has fallen flat.  In fact, there is no credible evidence out there to disprove the resurrection of Jesus.

The New Testament is written in such a way to invite  questions.  The apostle Paul even challenged people of his day to examine the evidence (1 Cor. 15:6).  Christianity does not shy from testing, but in fact, encourages it (1 Thes. 5:21).  Concerning the resurrection, Paul states, "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (1 Cor. 15:14).  Paul understood, that a blind faith in Jesus simply would not suffice the attacks on the resurrection.

For 2000 years, various attacks on the resurrection have taken place.  Most of the attacks have occurred within the last few hundred years of Christianity.  No attack has disproved the resurrection story, because the attacks have never answered all the cumulative evidence for the resurrection.  What evidence for the resurrection exists?

1.  Prophesies exist about the birth, life, and the kind of death Jesus would experience.
2.  Jesus, himself, predicts his own resurrection (Matt. 26:61, Matt. 16:4).
3.  The known tomb was found empty three days later.
4.  Jesus appeared to many.
5.  Jesus first appeared to women.
6.  The changed lives of those who encountered the resurrected Jesus.
7.  Those skeptical of Jesus become his followers (John 7:3-5, Acts 8:3).
8.  The Church starts at the center of Judaism.
9.  The resurrection story was early (1 Cor. 15:3-8).

Many alternative stories to the resurrection of Jesus have been put forth over the years, but none has sufficiently explained away the resurrection story.  Why?  Like anything that is believed to be true, there needs to be sufficient explanatory evidence to back up the claim.  2000 years after the resurrection, only one story can fit the evidence, and that is Jesus bodily rose from the dead.  Paul accurately frames the importance of the resurrection story by saying, if Jesus did not rise, all who believe in him are pathetic followers of false belief (1 Cor. 15:19).  Paul and others believed the evidence and were not interested in deception.

The resurrection has stood the test of time for a reason.  Considering the evidence, there is no comprehensive set of explanations that fully answer the resurrection story outside of the New Testament documents.  The resurrection story of the New Testament shows the story fits the evidence in a comprehensive way in matching with the truth of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection.

3 comments:

Mystic_Mom said...

Well written and I'll be sharing it! Bright blessings! Shanyn (strawberryroan.blogspot.com)

Shelby Cade said...

Thanks Mom :-)

Joe Brundige said...

The only evidence against Jesus' resurrection is sanity and clear thinking. If one is conscious enough to not believe in ghost stories then one is conscious enough to see that the resurrection fable is as true or real as Santa Claus.

Why do Christians dilute the power of the message of one of the greatest men who ever lived by insisting on the truth of supernatural mumbo jumbo written before the birth of modern science?