Friday, November 22, 2019

The Resurrection of Jesus PROVEN in 5 Minutes



Gary Habermas an American Historian and New Testament Scholar puts forward 6 independent pieces of evidence that the vast majority of scholars, even skeptical scholars agree as being established facts regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These include:

1) that Jesus died by crucifixion; 

2) that very soon afterwards, his followers suddenly and sincerely came to believe Jesus resurrected from the dead; 

3) that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; 

4) that these things were taught very soon after the crucifixion; 

5) that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ.

6) that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience.

These 6 facts directly support the claim that Jesus did rise from the dead. But are their any feasible alternatives in explaining the rise of the world’s most influential religion? Christianity gives a straightforward explanation, that the bodily resurrection of Jesus gave the apostles and early Christians the motivation needed to carry forward their message even unto death. Unhinged and unrelenting skeptics have proposed a variety of alternative and untenable reasons that the early Christians would come to believe in the Resurrection. These proposals include the mass hallucination hypothesis, the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis, and what I call the “Jesus didn’t really die” hypothesis. Which even the early Roman historians rejected. The Romans were exquisite executioners and would’ve laughed at the idea that they would let someone survive their most gruelling punishment, the method of crucifixion.

But what shall we say to the other proposals? Regarding the mass hallucination hypothesis there are multiple problems. One is the diversity of resurrection appearances. To persuade someone that a mass hallucination occured it would be more tenable if the hallucination happened with one group, in one location, at one time. Jesus not only is recorded as having appeared to different individuals but also different groups in different geographical locations under different circumstances.

There is also the familial element to this matter. It is well known that the brothers of Jesus, two of which wrote letters in the New Testament, did not think that Jesus was anything special prior to His Resurrection. However, after the Resurrection they became highly involved leaders in the Christian movement facing great persecution ending with James the brother of Jesus being killed in Jerusalem. It’s one thing to propose that those who already believed in Jesus hallucinated, however strange that may be, but it’s an entirely different thing to propose that unbelievers such as the brothers of Jesus would come to a sudden and sincere belief in the resurrection of Christ through hallucinatory means.

As it pertains to the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis we also find many irreconcilable problems in addition to the fact that there was no material benefit to being an early Christian because you would be persecuted violently and in many instances have your property seized. Forensic experts such as Warner Wallace explain that real conspiracies rarely actually succeed. Wallace shows that you need 5 minimum requirements for a successful conspiracy which are:

1. A small number of conspirators

Preferably no more than 2. In the case of the New Testament we have a reported 513 witnesses.

2. A short conspiracy timespan

Keep in mind the apostles preached the resurrection without defecting for upwards of 40 years.

3. Excellent communication

In the New Testament the apostles spread to many different locations with only unreliable communication methods such as sending letter via horseback.

4. Strong familial relationships

The 513 New Testament resurrection witnesses including the apostles were from a variety of familial backgrounds.

5. Little to no pressure to confess

Early Christians were severely persecuted until 312 a.d. When Emperor Constantine converted to the Christian faith.

The claims of Christianity have none of these minimum requirements in terms of being able to make the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis tenable. Being that the main proposals from skeptics are found to be left wanting in every way we can arrive at the realization that even though these alternative explanations could be presented as “possible” they cannot be presented as “reasonable.” The infeasible nature of the alternative explanations to the resurrection count as additional proof for the credibility of the resurrection. Combine this with the 6 established facts that even skeptical scholars agree with and you have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Chuck Colson, the special counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal says:

“I know the resurrection is a fact and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

The rise of naturalism in modern times has produced a widespread disbelief in the supernatural. This is because naturalism as a worldview rejects any possibility of the supernatural as a core tenant of their belief system. This means that the naturalist cannot objectively evaluate evidence concerning the Resurrection of Jesus because they have already concluded that resurrections are impossible from the start. This prohibits the naturalist from “following the evidence wherever it leads.”

In the late 19th century and early 20th century a movement to try to compare Christianity to pagan myths that described dying a rising gods arose like Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and others. Scholars of that time wanted to explain away the resurrection of Jesus by trying to say that it was influenced by these ancient pagan myths. Soon after the movement fell apart within New Testament scholarship.

This mainly because the parallels were shown to be spurious because in reality these “dying and rising gods” were merely symbols of the seasonal cycles that ancient people experienced from summer to fall and so forth. In fact, these gods were not dying and rising at all when examined closely. Also, there has been no ability to show causal connection between these pagan myths and the early disciples who were Jewish. The Jewish disciples were part of a culture that rejected pagan myths, especially in the realm of the disciples in particular who are portrayed as devout, law observant Jews in the New Testament.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

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