Part 11 Explanation one: dead men don’t rise

What is the best explanation of the facts?

Overall the 5 facts give us an historical framework for testing explanations.  The best explanation is the one that can account for all 5 accepted historical facts.  Remember the 5 facts are:

  • Fact #1: Jesus was killed by crucifixion
  • Fact #2: Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them
  • Fact #3: The conversion of the church persecutor Paul
  • Fact #4: The conversion of the skeptic James, Jesus’ half-brother
  • Fact # 5: Jesus’ tomb was empty

Since the time of the resurrection, skeptics have tried to explain the facts of the event without concluding Jesus rose from the dead.  I will start with one tactic some atheists use to discredit any and all explanations.

Any explanation is better than Jesus rising from the dead

This was an approach an atheist friend of mine.  Since he didn’t believe in God no matter what evidence or proof I provided or how ridiculous his explanations were, he told me, “Any explanation was more acceptable than a dead man rising from the dead.”  His basic stance was it is impossible for a dead man to rise from the dead.  The truth is, from a purely naturalistic perspective he is right.  If God doesn’t exist and if miracles are not possible, then dead men cannot rise from the dead.

If this is your view then you are wasting your time reading my series.  Your mind is made up so why look at any contrary evidence.  This is the mindset behind many of the “so-called scholars” that appear regularly on the Discovery Channel or CNN specials on the resurrection of Jesus.  They believe, even before examining the evidence, the resurrection is impossible.  For them evidence for the resurrection is not important; a prior commitment to an anti-supernaturalism eliminates all positive proof for the resurrection.  Therefore, they accept any plausible naturalistic explanation because miracles are impossible and dead men cannot rise from the dead.

Hopefully, if you are reading this blog, you are more open minded and willing to look at the evidence.  I will present some of the most popular explanations people have proposed to explain away the resurrection and then finish with what I would consider to be the best explanation of the facts.  I will test these explanations and see how well they explain the 5 facts most scholars accept as accurate.

Go to part 12 here

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Tom Wright September 10, 2010, 10:25 pm

    Steve;
    What if one believes in God, but doesn’t believe Christ rose? Does this mean all Jews and people of other religions will go to hell?

  • Steve September 12, 2010, 6:44 pm

    Tom,
    The answer is yes.

    Read my latest post on salvation (Unmasking the Deception of Mormonism part 20). Sin is the problem everyone has to deal with. God is a just and holy God who has to punish sin. Either people pay for their own sins or Jesus pays the penalty for them on the cross. All other religions try to say you can earn heaven by doing good deeds. They think somehow doing good works cancels out doing bad. God doesn’t operate that way. We are expected to follow His laws and when we sin or break His laws God will pronounce judgment upon us after we die. All Jews and individuals in other religions go to hell for breaking God’s laws. The only real solution to the sin problem is belief in Jesus. The resurrection confirms Jesus had the power to overcome death and all who die in Christ will pass out of death into life. John 5:24 (NASB) [Jesus speaking] “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” When they die, believers will experience eternal life in heaven and will not experience judgment. Good works saves no one and works based religions fool people into a false sense of security. They will be judged in the end for every sin they have ever committed. This will not be a pleasant sight.

  • Tom Wright October 13, 2010, 9:13 am

    Steve:
    Hell will be a very crowded place, because the non-believers of every religion will be there! That means 100% of the population!

  • Steve October 14, 2010, 5:28 am

    Tom,
    100 % of the population is in trouble because of sin but not in hell. Hell will be for those who reject the only solution to sin. There are millions that have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and will spend eternity in heaven.

    Steve

  • Tom Wright October 14, 2010, 2:59 pm

    “Hell will be for those who reject the only solution to sin”. So the billions of people of other religions, devout, will also be there (heaven) because they didn’t reject the only solution, but were merely believers of a different faith?
    Different subject; I’m probably using the wrong wording here, but I’ve having trouble understanding your stance on grace v. good works, meaning being a forgiven Christian v. people of other faiths or an unforgiven Christian or an atheist.
    An example: A forgiven Christian father regularly beats his wife and kids, goes to church every Sunday, and by outward appearances is an upstanding devout member of the church. By what I understand, he will go to heaven, while the other person, nonviolent, non religious, has a full load of voluntary charity work, will not. No?

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Do Objective Morals Exist?
Answering Tough Questions
Counting the Cost
Is God the Author of the Bible?
God’s Holiness and Love Wins
Ministering to Mormons in Utah
Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness
What Ever Happened to Hell?
Accurately Interpreting the Scriptures
Understanding the Christian Worldview
Accused of Partnering in Wickedness
Set Apart Christ as Lord
Sharing with Knowledge & Wisdom
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