Proof of Christ's Resurrection?

Since our faith relies on it! I am just playing Devils Advocate here I of course believe in it :D:D

Prove it happened!

From what I understand, the proof is as follows…

It is written in the 4 gospels which can be seen as historical documents. According to later Catholic sources, many witnesses of the resurrection were martyred for it willingly (no one is going to willingly die for something they know is made up)…but these are just later Catholic writings and hearsay. Also Paul challenges people in one of his letters to talk to the people that saw the resurrected Jesus if they don’t believe (I don’t think that he says that exactly, but I believe he somewhat implies it).

Other than that, there isn’t much.

The 12 Apostles went around and talked about it because they saw it and believed in it. They had no reason to lie about it because they would not gain any money, wives, or political power from it. In fact, the exact opposite happened: the Romans crucified them, beheaded them, and fed them to lions.

“God is love, and he who dwells in love dwells in God”; “If we say yes to sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”; “we look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells”; “It is better to suffer for doind well, if such be the will of God, than for doing ill”; “bless them that persecute you, bless and do not curse”.

Do these sound like something a bunch of liars, con artists, and thugs would say? No these are the words of the Apostles.

There’s a huge amount of evidence for it. NT Wright’s massive study amazon.com/Resurrection-Christian-Origins-Question-Vol/dp/0800626796/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291820571&sr=8-1

though possibly better to start with his shorter stuff. Surprised by Hope has a couple chapters on it. I also find William Lane Craig very good.
reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5351

The best form of an argument I have heard.

I). There are three facts that can be established on the basis of historical evidence.
fact 1: Jesus’s burial and the discovery of his empty tomb three days later. Craig gives one reason for believing this: “The earliest Jewish allegation that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (Matt. 28.15) shows that the body was in fact missing from the tomb. The earliest Jewish response to the disciples’ proclamation, “He is risen from the dead!” was not to point to his occupied tomb and to laugh them off as fanatics, but to claim that they had taken away Jesus’ body. Thus, we have evidence of the empty tomb from the very opponents of the early Christians”

fact 2: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.

fact 3: The origin of Christian belief.

Part II. Conclude that the best explanation of these three facts is that Jesus really did rise from the dead leaving behind an empty tomb.

note: none of this rests on assuming the gospels were reliable sources. Only that we can pull from them the above facts. Then conclude the best explanation of those facts is that the resurrection really happened. This is enough to show that the resurrection is historically probable.

We cannot arrive at the resurrection through the light of reason alone. However what we can say is that Jesus’ followers behavior after the fact would make the hypothesis that Jesus was not bodily resurrected highly unlikely. People do not allow themselves to be martyred for a hoax.

In my opinion you can’t - it is purely a matter of faith.

The following points are worth remembering:
[LIST]
*]There are no accounts of the resurrection itself.
*]There are no first person accounts of the appearances, only inconsistent and murky third-hand appearance stories.
*]The gospel stories only reference appearances to insiders - those who already knew and followed Jesus when he was alive.
*]The gospel accounts were all written by insiders long after the event.
*]There are no independent sources providing verification.
*]If it were in any way “proveable” as a historical event, it would appear in every history book as the most significant event in human history.
*]There is no evidence that martyrs were killed for their belief in the resurrection - the romans were quite ready to kill anyone upsetting the status quo.
[/LIST]

It’s really disappointing how many Christians think there can’t be good evidence for the resurrection. It has so many negative problems.

  • It ignores the fact that many brilliant Christians (NT Wright, Craig Evans, Carten Peter Thiede, William Lane Craig) have put alot of work into showing that there really is good evidence for the Resurrection.
  • If all Christians took this view, none of them would study the historical Jesus, so the only people studying Jesus would be athiests and agnostics who would have biased views. This would trick many people into thinking that historians have proven Jesus didn’t rise, and that all the people studying him didn’t believe in him.
  • itgnores that there really is good historical evidence for the resurrection. See my above post.

There are other problems with what you say anyway.
1). You say the only appearances were to insiders, people who already believed it, but that is obviously false. St. Paul (Saul) did not believe Jesus, when he saw him. Neither did James the “brother” of Jesus. Actually neither did any of the apostles. They thought Jesus was dead and that was the end of the story. They only believed after having seen him.
2). “There is no evidence that martyrs were killed for their belief in the resurrection”- Sts Paul, Peter, James are all agreed by the historical community to have died for their belief int he resurrection. So just St. Ignatius of antioch, (his letters are available in “Early Christian Writings”). Also St. Polycarp (2nd c AD), St. Sephen (first disciple), and probably most of the original 10 apostles.
3). “f it were in any way “proveable” as a historical event, it would appear in every history book as the most significant event in human history”-- Unless methodological materialism or political correctness cause it not to.
4). You say there were no first hand accounts of the appearances. This is clearly untrue. If you read St. Paul’s letters, he says Jesus appeared to him. Peter also indicated it in his own letters. These are obviously 2 first hand accounts.
5). Remmber a case for the resurrection does not depend on the gospels credibility, only on being able to pull from them certain historical nuggets of info (empty tomb, appearance, origin of belief). From them we can infer the resurrection.

Not really - we are required to believe on faith many other things for which there is far less evidence.

It ignores the fact that many brilliant Christians (NT Wright, Craig Evans, Carten Peter Thiede, William Lane Craig) have put alot of work into showing that there really is good evidence for the Resurrection.

They are also insiders who are “preaching to the choir”, no different than the gospel authors. I would hardly call them “brilliant” (especially Craig) and putting a lot of work into something doesn’t guarantee results, expecially when you only focus on data which agrees with your theory. The Creation Museum people near me have put a lot of work and a* lot* of money into something totally inane.

If all Christians took this view, none of them would study the historical Jesus, so the only people studying Jesus would be athiests and agnostics who would have biased views.

And Christians don’t???

This would trick many people into thinking that historians have proven Jesus didn’t rise, and that all the people studying him didn’t believe in him.

Only if those people have no faith. I don’t agree with this at all.

itgnores that there really is good historical evidence for the resurrection. See my above post.

I did and I don’t agree.

1). You say the only appearances were to insiders, people who already believed it, but that is obviously false. St. Paul (Saul) did not believe Jesus, when he saw him. Neither did James the “brother” of Jesus. Actually neither did any of the apostles. They thought Jesus was dead and that was the end of the story. They only believed after having seen him.

No, that is not what I said. I said “…insiders - those who already knew and followed Jesus when he was alive”. Everyone who was associated with an appearance story knew or followed Jesus. Paul certainly knew and followed him when he was writing his letters.

2). “There is no evidence that martyrs were killed for their belief in the resurrection”- Sts Paul, Peter, James are all agreed by the historical community to have died for their belief int he resurrection. So just St. Ignatius of antioch, (his letters are available in “Early Christian Writings”). Also St. Polycarp (2nd c AD), St. Sephen (first disciple), and probably most of the original 10 apostles.

Where is the evidence for this?

3). “f it were in any way “proveable” as a historical event, it would appear in every history book as the most significant event in human history”-- Unless methodological materialism or political correctness cause it not to.

It is strange then that not one historian has ever been free from “methodological materialism or political correctness”. It is far more likely that true historians follow strict rules of evidence and academic analysis and have consistently for over 2000 years not found anything that allows them to include the resurrection in a history text.

4). You say there were no first hand accounts of the appearances. This is clearly untrue. If you read St. Paul’s letters, he says Jesus appeared to him. Peter also indicated it in his own letters. These are obviously 2 first hand accounts.

I was focusing on the gospels and on apearances directly related to the resurrection. The 2 you mention are more general appearances not closely related to the resurrection stories. After all, Jesus could appear to anyone anytime without there having been a physical resurrection at all.

5). Remmber a case for the resurrection does not depend on the gospels credibility, only on being able to pull from them certain historical nuggets of info (empty tomb, appearance, origin of belief). From them we can infer the resurrection.

One can infer all one wants and we can debate what is history and what is not forever. I still propose that belief in the resurrection is based on faith, not historical evidence.

I do not believe people who start a thread this. In my opinion they must have some doubts otherwise its a stupid thread to open.

It’s a legitimate question, especially in the Apologetics section of the forums. It would be different if the original poster had some other agenda, as is frequently the case, unfortunately. But those people ususually post under the guise of being true seekers. This poster said up front that he believes it but would like to hear people’s proofs of the Resurrection.
There are many, and indeed massive evidence, as more than one poster has mentioned.
Personally, my favorite is the failure of the Romans to produce the body of Jesus after the crucifixion. By literally holding up the dead body of Jesus in front of thousands upon thousands of believers and unbelievers, that pretty much would have stopped Christianity in its tracks on Day One. The Romans and the Jews would gladly have done this, if they could have. The fact is that they did not. What is the reason for this?
They couldn’t locate the body? That is absurd. Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. Did someone steal the body? Again, all the guards would have had to be asleep. The penalty for sleeping on watch was death. They all would have had to be asleep at the same time.
So, what happened to the body? If it could have been produced, the Romans and Jews would have thought this was the very best proof of the falsity of this new movement afoot.
But no body. Why? Resurrection.
Also, no one dies for a lie, all the disciples save one, who died of old age, John, all the rest were put to death, when all they had to do was to admit that yes, this whole Christianity thing was a hoax. But they had seen the risen Lord. Had they NOT seen Him, they would have been only too happy to save their own lives by saying, yes, He’s dead, we haven’t seen him since the Cross. We admit we were duped.
Those are two of many arguments that hold water.

youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CB369C15037FEDC8

^This is a very good series of videos intended for a popular audience. The biggest obstacle for people seems to be a very vague, uncritical, and presumptuous distrust of the Gospels. If you treat them as historians would, you begin to see the proof.

Windfish, that’s a good point you make about the main reason people distrust them being a vague uncritical distrust of the Gospels. It’s also, I think, partly a matter of the publicity given to radical skeptics like the so-called Jesus seminar who make up only about 4% of biblical historians. (maybe less).

Patg, The fact that we can believe the resurrection by faith does not also mean that there can’t be good evidence for it. And we should. St. Peter says we should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us if anyone asks. And the apostles themselves tried to give evidence for the resurrection through their eyewitness testimony. Since we are not eyewitnesses, shouldn’t we do the historical work to be able to follow their example and give good reasons for the resurrection. Simply challenging an unbeliever to “have faith” may work and it may not. And how should the unbeliever choose between us and say, a muslim who also tells him to have faith in Islam. If we can give a good reason for the Resurrection, that can help tip the scales in our favor and lead him to the Christian faith. The most important sense of faith is not “belief without evidence,” but “Committment of one’s entire being to God.” And to do this, one must first believe in God. Good evidence for this can help.

I don’t understand your mistrust of what you keep calling “insiders”. Wright, Craig, et. al. are not only preaching to insiders. Craig regularly debates with atheists and agnostics, so has Wright. They are writing to lay out the evidence as they see it and try to try to convince anyone who reads them. why not try one of their books? amazon.com/Surprised-Hope-Rethinking-Resurrection-Mission/dp/0061551821/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291875490&sr=8-1

And of course, the people defending the resurrection are Christians! If people study it and think there is good evidence for it, they will probably become Christians; it’s very odd you try to use this as a reason to doubt it. I don’t understand at all your remark “And Christians don’t???” I have pointed to many Christians who are excellent scholars and see good evidence for the resurrection, I see good evidence for it, and know others who do as well.

No, that is not what I said. I said “…insiders - those who already knew and followed Jesus when he was alive”. Everyone who was associated with an appearance story knew or followed Jesus. Paul certainly knew and followed him when he was writing his letters.

But Paul was not a follower of Jesus when he was alive. Neither was his “brother” James. And yet they saw Jesus. Again, you make this strange view that the only people who saw Jesus are “insiders”. Obviously that is wrong, since Paul and james were not believers when they saw Jesus, and Paul did not know Jesus during is life. And of course they believed once they saw him. Is the only evidence you would consider reliable, if Jesus appeared to someone, who would then not believe in him? This seems very strange.

Evidence for the martydroms is widespread and virtually undisputed. We have Ignatius’s letters, and evidence about Polycarp in “Early Christian Writings” (a book available on Amazon. Tacitus confirms that Nero persecuted Christians. And you have yet to give any reason to doubt Acts. why should they lie when they saw Stephen was executed?

After all, Jesus could appear to anyone anytime without there having been a physical resurrection at all.

But then they would not say he was "resurrected. As Wright shows, reurrection was by definition physical. Otherwise, they would not say Jesus was raised, they’d say they saw his ghost.

I dont understand your view. I have mentioned 3 facts (empty tomb, appearances, origin of belief), you have not offered a single reason to doubt them. And your reasons for skepticism don’t seem very good. You almost sound like you want the resurrection to have happened, but you don’t want there to be any eividence for it. Please look at Wright or someone like that. It’s really worth a look.

I dont understand your view. I have mentioned 3 facts (empty tomb, appearances, origin of belief),

The problem is that you can’t establish any of these as being “facts”. They are stories written by believers with no independent attestations (one of the most basic tools of historical analysis). It is not acceptable to assert that one’s views are historically accurate and at the same time reject the standards and practices of the historical method and historical thinking.

you have not offered a single reason to doubt them.

I understand that no believer would ever doubt them.

[FONT=Arial]Empty tombs don’t prove anything, except to insiders. Nor do reports of appearances of risen leaders. In the gospels the risen Jesus appears only to those who already believe in him. Those who see him immediately after his resurrection are those who followed him during his lifetime. John’s gospel originally ended with a blessing for those who believe in Jesus without needing to see him firsthand. John’s implication is that it takes little faith to believe when one has seen the risen Lord in person. Matthew, however, does not agree. At the very end of Matthew’s gospel is a fascinating and unexpected statement. He reports that even some of the apostles who personally encountered the risen Jesus had their doubts. Just before Jesus sent forth the Eleven with the Great Commission, they prostrated themselves before Jesus, “but some doubted” (28:17). This gospel thus closes with a cryptic admission that even some of these ultimate insiders were not convinced by a face-to-face encounter with the risen Lord. [/FONT]

Whatever else the gospels may teach about the resurrection, faith in the risen Jesus requires more than stories about him, no matter how con­vincing these stories may be to some insiders.

hi patg,
I agree with you that the resurrection is beyond historical proof. Where do you or how do you place the importance of the historical record in relation to your faith? Sorry if i am having a hard time articulating my question. What role do you see the historical record of Christianity playing in your faith? Im sure your not espousing fideism. I guess im curious how you see faith and reason being related.

In Christ,
JMS

  • What do you mean “beyond historical proof”?
  • The tomb of Jesus was either found empty 3 days after his Resurrection or it was not. If it was, this is a fact of history; if it was not, isn’t this also a fact of history?
  • Same with the resurrection appearances. Jesus’ followers either had such appearances or they did not, isn’t this a fact of history?
  • Same with the origin of Christian belief. Isn’t it a nearly an undisputed historical fact that Jesus’ followers (either rightly or wrongly) came to believe that he rose?
  • If we agree that those three facts are all historically probably, can we then also consider the best explanation of those facts?

I think some people find the idea that the resurrection is “beyond history” or “beyond historical proof” comforting for several reasons. One is that they think this means that it protects Christianity from being disproven by historical analysis. Is that your concern?

[/FONT]

The Romans sealed the tomb and posted a guard. How did Jesus’ body disappear from the tomb?
[FONT=Arial][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]

Nor do reports of appearances of risen leaders. In the gospels the risen Jesus appears only to those who already believe in him. Those who see him immediately after his resurrection are those who followed him during his lifetime.

[/FONT]

Saul of Tarsus was not a believer, yet Jesus appeared to him.

Evidence for the Resurrection
by Josh McDowell
leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html

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