Part 15 Explanation five: Jesus rose from the dead

  • The best explanation of these facts is that Jesus rose from the dead.

This, of course, was the account the eyewitnesses themselves gave, and I can think of no better explanation. The resurrection hypothesis passes all the standard criteria for being the best explanation of the 5 facts scholars accept.

After examining each of the alternative theories to explain the resurrection, none of them have evidence and all have major weaknesses.   Secondly, not one of them can explain the 5 facts adequately. They stumble on one or more of the accepted historical facts.  In the judgment of contemporary scholarship none of these naturalistic hypotheses has managed to provide a plausible explanation of the facts. In conclusion, then, I think there is good historical evidence Jesus rose from the dead.

In closing I would like you to think about this; five weeks after Jesus was crucified, the book of Acts reports that thousands religious Jews were now followers of Christ.  Why would religious people give up beliefs, they had been taught since they were a child, to embrace a new religion and risk eternal damnation?  Remember these conversions to Christianity were taking place in Jerusalem, the place of the death, burial, and resurrection.  I believe the best explanation is they believed Christianity was true and that Jesus had truly risen from the dead!

Remember all explanations have to pass the evidential test.  If you think you have an alternative explanation for the resurrection, remember the 5 facts the majority of scholars accept.  Your explanation has to take into account each of these facts.

  • 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

The Discovery channel broadcast the “Lost Tomb of Jesus” made multiple errors.  Scholars afterwards attacked the broadcast.  I don’t have time to go through all the reasons why archeologists and scientists from around the world believed the claims of this special were bogus.  The fact the Discovery Channel pulled all repeats of the program reveals the embarrassment over presenting unsubstantiated propaganda.  They obviously removed the program because their reputation was at stake.

After years of being a skeptic, once I became a follower of Jesus Christ, proofs like I have shown in this series changed my life.  The evidence seems to me to be overwhelming.  If you are an atheist probably nothing I’ve said has made a dent in your belief system; for the simple reason you believe miracles are impossible and dead men don’t rise from the dead.  Your mind was made up before you started reading, well before any evidence.  Others who follow Christ, I hope this information has strengthened your faith.  Finally, if you are a seeker I hope this series has challenged your thinking.

Dr. Gary Habermas, the professor who analyzed the data and arrived at the 5 facts, years ago suffered from a great depression due to the painful death of his wife, who succumbed to cancer.  One day, in one of his theology classes, a student raised his hand and said, “Dr. Habermas aren’t glad for all the evidence for the resurrection.  Because of the resurrection you will see your wife again.  Jesus overcame death and so will you and your wife.  Isn’t that something to be glad about?”  Habermas said this student’s reminder of the power of the resurrection helped him overcome his depression.

Dr. Habermas could rejoice at the evidence that he would be in heaven and would someday join his wife.  He could believe with confidence because of the overwhelming evidence Jesus rose from the dead.  Jesus overcame death and so will all followers of Jesus Christ.

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Ministering to Mormons in Utah
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