The Resurrection on Trial – Refuting False Theories
Most reasonable historians will concede that Jesus Christ was a true historical figure. In recent times there have been people who try to deny this, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. I’ll give just one example of this evidence. In the middle of the first century, a man called Thallus wrote a history of the Mediterranean world from the time of the Trojan War until his own time. What is interesting about this is that Thallus was not a believer and yet tried to explain the darkness that covered the earth during the crucifixion of Christ. He suggested it was an eclipse, which was ridiculous because it happened at the time of the full moon and solar eclipses don’t happen during full moons. Note that Thallus did not try to deny the darkness – why, because everyone knew about it. Most reasonable unbelievers who do their research agree that Jesus Christ was a real historical figure, that He was crucified, and that his body went missing. It is over the reason for the empty tomb that the debate is fought. This is why there are several theories that attempt to give an explanation for the empty tomb rather than denying that there was an empty tomb. And as you will see, it probably takes a lot more faith to believe these theories than what the Bible clearly teaches – that Jesus rose from the dead. I will respond to the two most popular theories as the others aren't even worth using time on. My responses to these two theories are much shorter than they can be. I will only be bringing up some of the reasons they are false or stupid or both false and stupid.
1. The Stolen Body Theory
The first theory is the one the Pharisees gave. That the disciples stole the body. I think we all know that the tomb where they laid Jesus was being guarded by at least 10 Roman soldiers – because Jesus had prophesied his resurrection and the Pharisees thought the best chance of stopping God’s plan involved Roman soldiers and a giant rock. Well it was pretty hard for the soldiers to ignore a severe earthquake caused by an angel rolling the stone away. (As a sidenote – do you think the stone was rolled away to let Jesus out, or to let the disciples come in and take a look?)
Back to the story, the soldiers ran away in fear and headed for the city where the Pharisees were:
While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28:11-15)
The Pharisees were not only corrupt liars, they were really dumb corrupt
liars. Can you imagine how this story would go in a court of law?
1. Who can guess what the punishment was for a Roman soldier who slept on duty?
2. If the soldiers were sleeping how did they know who stole the body? If they were awake – why did they let them?
3. Can you imagine the disciples sneaking up on 10 or more Roman soldiers, all sleeping at the same time, and saying shhhhhh roll that giant rock very quietly. It’s doubtful if they could have even moved it.
4. Who has ever seen CSI? What is the first thing they always do when a body is missing? – look for it.
5. Other than John, all the disciples had fled. They thought it was over. Peter had publicly denied Christ three times. Why would these frightened men risk their lives to steal a dead body of a man they had abandoned?
2. The Swoon Theory
The swoon theory says that Christ did not actually die on the cross. He was seriously wounded and the soldiers thought he was dead. But after the beating, the crucifixion, and three days in a cold tomb with no food or water and a giant rock trapping him in there, Jesus regained his strength rolled away the giant rock and beat up all the Roman guards. Here’s just a few points to consider:
1. The Roman soldiers could be executed for failure to complete an execution.
2. The Roman soldiers were experts at killing people – the fact that they didn’t break Jesus’ legs shows that they were certain he was dead.
3. John testified to seeing separated water and blood flow out of Jesus side when the spear was thrust into Him. If Jesus were still alive there would have been blood pumping out with every heartbeat.
There are more theories but I don’t think they are worth talking about. I find all of these theories much harder to believe than what the Scipture says. They only serve to show sinful man’s desire to reject God so he can keep on sinning.
Concludes on Friday - The Resurrection on Trial: Evidence For The Resurrection
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