Resurrection Theories

Key Theme God’s Word is the standard we use to judge every thought.
A1 Objectives
B1 Describe several of the common theories that skeptics use to discredit the Resurrection.
B2 Provide biblical refutations to the false theories of the Resurrection.
A2 Scriptures
B2 None
A3 Notes
B1 What is resurrection?
C1 Not resuscitation (think of CPR and Code Blue)
C2 Not temporary (think of Lazarus)
C3 Empty tomb (think Jesus)
C4 A rising from the dead that is permanent.
B2 Types of people regarding the Resurrection
C1 When they hear of it (Quote—Philip Schaff, the great historian wrote, “the purpose of the historian is not to construct a history from preconceived notions and to adjust it to his own liking, but to reproduce it from the best evidence and to let it speak for itself.” Source
D1 Believe
D2 Don’t believe
E1 Scoff and have no further need or desire of
E2 Make excuses and barriers to justify rejecting it and ease their conscience.
F1 Atheist—There is no supernatural
F2 Agnostic—No one can know for sure, so it is irrelevant
F3 Religious (even nonreligious) crowd
G1 Body stolen by disciples
G2 Swoon theory
H1 Type 1
I1 Jesus fainted while on the cross fooling the Roman guards who thought he was dead. He was then buried.
I2 Even though he had been beaten, nailed, and been denied food and water, he revived after lying in a damp, cold tomb for 3 days.
I3 After waking up, he got the burial clothes off, rolled back the heavy stone, beat up the Romans guards, left, and told everyone that he had raised from the dead.
I1 Jesus pretended to be Messiah, so came up with a plot to fake a death.
I2 He faked his death by taking a drug that make him swoon. This fooled the guards, so they shoved a spear into his side, which killed him. This was not in the plan.
I3 He was buried.
I4 The disciples saw an unknown young man walking around and said that Jesus had risen from the dead.
G3 Missing body theory
G4 Wrong tomb theory
G5 Twin theory
H1 Jesus had a twin
H2 Twin died
H3 Jesus took advantage of that and said he was risen
G6 Vision theory
G7 Hallucination theory
G8 Hypnosis theory
G9 Spiritual resurrection theory
G10 Simon of Cyrene died instead theory
G11 Judas Iscariot died theory
G12 Jesus in the heart theory (He lives today in our hearts)
G13 Jesus was buried in a common grave. Wild, scavenging animals came and ate his body. The body was gone when the disciples checked and thus the rumor started that Jesus rose from the dead.
G14 Reference/sources
A4 Questions
B1 What are the main points of “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Thereafter He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, of whom the majority remain until now, but some have fallen asleep. Thereafter He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all, as of one born out of due time, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-9, EMTV)
C1 Christ died
C2 Christ was buried
C3 Christ was raised on the third day
C4 Christ appeared to many including Cephas, the twelve, the 500, and Paul.
B2 Dan Barker wrote in “Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?” “There have been many reasons for doubting the claim, but the consensus among critical scholars today appears to be that the story is a “legend.” During the 60-70 years it took for the Gospels to be composed, the original story went through a growth period that began with the unadorned idea that Jesus, like Grandma, had “died and gone to heaven” and ended with a fantastic narrative produced by later generation of believers that included earthquakes, angels, an eclipse, a resuscitated corpse, and a spectacular bodily ascension into the clouds. The earliest Christians believed in the “spiritual” resurrection of Jesus. The story evolved over time into a “bodily” resurrection.”
C1 How would you answer this?
D1 “Consensus among critical scholars?” Who? There are many scholars who believe it is true, even some Jewish rabbis.
E1 Sources
F1 For Dan Barker’s view and others who hold the same view as E. P. Sanders (Duke University), James D. G. Dunn (University of Durham), Helmut Koester (has taught at Harvard), Thomas Sheehan (a PhD professor at Stanford and professor emeritus at Loyola University), Dan Barker (atheist), Jeffery Jay Lowder (atheist), and Michael Martin (atheist).
F2 Against Dan Barker’s view
G1 Links: Here and here and here and here
G2 Some names, William Lane Craig,
G3 Some booksWilliam Lane Craig, Knowing the Truth about the Resurrection (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1988). Reasonable Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 255–98; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus (Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 1989); Norman L. Geisler, The Battle for the Resurrection (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992); J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 159–83; Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 175–98.
D2 “Growth period” How does he knows? Is this logic or assumption?
D3 “Earliest Christians believed in spiritual resurrection of Jesus. The story evolved over time into a bodily resurrection.”
E1 Peter preaching within ~3 months of Jesus resurrection states, “”Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you took, and by lawless hands, nailing Him to a cross, you killed Him; (Acts 2:22-23, EMTV)
E2 Jewish leaders react violently to the preaching of the resurrection. “Now while they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 4:1-2, EMTV)
C2 Which is more reasonable, Dan Barker’s view or the Bible’s view?
C3 Where do we start?
D1 Is logic more important than evidence? Is evidence logical?
D2 Do you accept the supernatural? Do you believe in ghosts, apparitions, and/or aliens (citizens from another galaxy/planet)?
D3 What do you accept as evidence?
E1 There are four traditional types of evidence: real, demonstrative, documentary, and oral (testimonial).
  1. Real: “Real” items of evidence are things; for example, a gun allegedly used in a robbery.
  2. Testimonial: A person tells under oath what he or she knows about the matter being tried.
  3. Demonstrative: Common examples are maps, graphs, plaster casts of tire tracks. They customarily illustrate and corroborate testimonial evidence.
  4. Documentary: Documents (writings) are, of course, things, and hence a form of real evidence, but their consideration warrants its own category when the document is offered not simply as a piece of paper, but to claim that what is written on the paper is true.
D4 What is truth?
D5 Are you open to truth?
D6 Does a person have to be alive to be an eyewitness? (Consider a written note as “Smith did it.”). Do you accept eyewitness accounts?
E1 At 200 feet a person cannot see another person’s eyes. Source.
E2 The less acquainted one is with someone, the less they will be able to identify someone accurately.
E3 The greater amount of time since a person sees another, the less the identification will be accurate.
E4 The disciples saw Jesus at less than 5 feet. “Then He said to Thomas, “Bring your finger here, and see My hands; and bring your hand here and put it into My side. Be not unbelieving but believing.” (John 20:27, EMTV)
E5 The disciples knew Jesus personally over 3 years. “And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. (John 2:1, EMTV). This is nearly the start of Jesus 3+ years of ministry. Also consider his mother, Mary, who would recognize her son accurately.
D7 If related stories existed in the past 3,000 or so years, does that mean that this resurrection account is false? (We need to look at the evidence for this account. Another account that is similar needs to stand on its own).
D8 Gospel of Mark
  • Pseudo-Barnabas (c. A.D. 70-130)
  • Polycarp (c. 110-150)
  • Hermas (c. 115-140)
  • Papias (the bishop of Hierapolis A.D. 140)
  • Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
  • Justin Martyr ([Dialogue, 106.3] c. 150-155)
  • Clement of Alexandria ([preserved in Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesia, vi.14.6ff] c. 150-215)
  • Tertullian ([Adv. Marcion, iv.5] c. 150-220)
  • Origen (c. 185-254)
  • Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
  • Eusebius (c. 325-340)
  • Jerome (c. 340-420)
  • Augustine (c. 400)
  • The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark (A.D. 160-180) 15. Muratorian Canon (c. 170)
E2 Date
F1 Those who feel that the Gospels were written from one, have a late date that of second century. This is from the idea of the Marcan priority theory.
G1 Image
G3 This is the acceptance sequence of sources per “modern” scholarship today.
G4 The basic assumption is that the Bible is only the writings of men.
G5 There is no supernatural
G6 There is no future knowledge (prophecy) as, for example, the foretelling of Jerusalem’s destruction.
G7 Man is smarter than God, and we are smarter than the early church leaders as in “We know that these things that happened are myths” or whatever excuse they want to come up with. Also, “we are scholars, experts, in these things.”
G8 The Marcan priority is highly questionable. Why wouldn’t Matthew, Mark, or John not write the life of Jesus?
F2 It seems more reasonable to consider the date of the Gospel of Mark to be AD 60 give or take 10 years.
G1 Many modern scholars do not accept this.
G2 Mark was certainly alive during Peter’s life (Acts 12:12[~44AD], 1 Peter 5:3), Jesus’s life, and Paul’s life (Acts 13:5).
G3 Early church writers attribute Mark to have gotten his material from Peter. (See note above about eternal evidence).
G4 the events indicate an eyewitness. Compare Mark 3:21, Mark 4:26-29, Mark 7:32-37, Mark 8:22-26, Mark 13:33-37, and Mark 14:51 which are not recorded in the other Gospels. Also, more material, fuller explanation, is given is some passages as Mark 6:14-29 (John the Baptist’s death) and Mark 7:1-23 (the religious washing rites).
G5 It is probable that the early church would want the recorded life of Jesus to read and teach from. They would want that information from the most reliable sources possible, namely the Apostles themselves.
G6 Mark records the resurrection of Jesus.
D9 what does the skeptic, infidel, atheist, and so-called Christian must gain if the resurrection did not happen?
E1 William Lane Craig, “Without the belief in the resurrection the Christian faith could not have come into being. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. Even had they continued to remember Jesus as their beloved teacher, his crucifixion would have forever silenced any hopes of his being the Messiah. The cross would have remained the sad and shameful end of his career. The origin of Christianity therefore hinges on the belief of the early disciples that God had raised Jesus from the dead.”
E2 Jesus would not be the Messiah.
E3 He would not be God, as He claimed to be.
E4 Jesus was a liar, for He prophesied that He would rise from the dead.
E5 We would still be in our sins, for there would be no payment for sin that any person could provide.
E6 the early Christians would be liars. Consider Peter’s sermon in Acts:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you took, and by lawless hands, nailing Him to a cross, you killed Him; whom God raised, thus doing away with the labor pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. For David says concerning Him, “I foresaw the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope. Because You will not abandon my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will fill me full of joy with Your presence.” “Men, brothers, let me speak with boldness to you about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to seat Him on his throne, foreseeing this, he spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, ‘that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.’ This Jesus God has raised up, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore having being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: `The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:22-36, EMTV
D10 Other Biblical writings
E1 “But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:10-11, EMTV). Romans was written during Paul’s Missionary Journeys AD 55-58, so when Paul writes about Jesus being raised, it would have been close to only 25 years since the event.
E2 “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), (Galatians 1:1, EMTV)
D11 Early church writers
E1 Irenaeus (~132-202) “Against Heresies” Chapter 28:3
“He was likewise preached by Paul: “For I delivered,” he says, “unto you first of all, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1Co 15:3, 1Co 15:4) It is plain, then, that Paul knew no other Christ besides Him alone, who both suffered, and was buried, and rose gain, who was also born, and whom he speaks of as man. For after remarking, “But if Christ be preached, that He rose from the dead,” (1Co 15:12) he continues, rendering the reason of His incarnation, “For since by man came death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.”
E2 Tertullian (~155-240) “Against Marcion” Book 3, Chapter 8:
“Christ’s death, wherein lies the whole weight and fruit of the Christian name, is denied although the apostle asserts it so expressly as undoubtedly real, making it the very foundation of the gospel, of our salvation and of his own preaching. (1Co 15:3, 1Co 15:4, 1Co 15:15, 1Co 15:17, 1Co 15:18) “I have delivered unto you before all things,” says he, “how that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day.” Besides, if His flesh is denied, how is His death to be asserted; for death is the proper suffering of the flesh, which returns through death back to the earth out of which it was taken, according to the law of its Maker? Now, if His death be denied, because of the denial of His flesh, there will be no certainty of His resurrection. For He rose not, for the very same reason that He died not, even because He possessed not the reality of the flesh, to which as death accrues, so does resurrection likewise. Similarly, if Christ’s resurrection be nullified, ours also is destroyed. If Christ’s resurrection be not realized, neither shall that be for which Christ came. For just as they, who said that there is no resurrection of the dead, are refuted by the apostle from the resurrection of Christ, so, if the resurrection of Christ falls to the ground, the resurrection of the dead is also swept away. And so our faith is vain, and vain also is the preaching of the apostles. Moreover, they even show themselves to be false witnesses of God, because they testified that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise. And we remain in our sins still. And those who have slept in Christ have perished; destined, forsooth, to rise again, but peradventure in a phantom state, just like Christ.”
Posted by Choco at 18:17 28 Apr 15
Resurrection Theories
Labels: resurrection theories, Sunday School lesson


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