Evidence for Resurrection Part 2
Last week we looked at some of the evidence to the truth of the resurrection. Today I would like to look a skeptical counter argument that attempts of subvert the historical record.
The story goes something like this. Jesus never claimed to be divine, he made no claim that he would rise up from the dead. This is where Christianity gets it all wrong. What really happened is that a few generations of time after the life of Jesus. People winsome for Jesus made up the story that he rose from the dead. The gospel narratives and 1st Corinthians were written at least two generation removed from the crucifixion, therefore no one living at the time of the events could verify them to be true. They are legendary and unreliable sources.
Well that is a pretty clever story that could sound convincing to some people on its surface. It is a crafty piece of work, because it attempts an explanation that eliminates all of the evidence for the passion and resurrection of Jesus. However, when we look a little bit deeper, we will begin to see the cracks in this argument.
Let us begin to look at Jesus' claims of being divine. In John chapter 6 he says, “For this is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Later in chapter 10 Jesus says “I and the Father are one” That is why the Jewish leadership wanted to kill him. They thought he was speaking blasphemy claiming to be God. So the claim that Jesus never said that he was divine is just not true.
Concerning his crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus foretold these events to his disciples on at least 3 different occasions. In Matthew 20:18-20 we read, Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” The statement about Galilee is significant in that it occurs before Jesus was in Jerusalem to be unlawfully arrested and murdered. It is clear that Jesus foretold his crucifixion and resurrection before they took place. Therefore, the skeptic claim that Jesus never claimed to raise from the dead is also erroneous.
Finally, what about the big question? Were the Gospel written so much later after the crucifixion that legend could creep in since there are no eyewitnesses alive to confirm or deny what the New Testament says? We have ample explanation that the gospels were written early enough that eyewitnesses were still living. In 1st Corinthians Chapter 15 Paul says that the resurrected Christ appeared to over 500 witnesses, and if you don’t believe what I say you can ask them, although some have fallen asleep (meaning that some of them had died.) Again, the claim that legend creeped in because so much time elapsed from the historical events does not hold up to scrutiny.
The gospel accounts were written early and all four of them clearly state that the resurrection took place. There is no later adaptation of a legend to explain what took place accurately.
There is a lot more information available on the dating of the New Testament documents. If you are interested or don’t believe what I have posted here, I will include a few links for further investigation.