What evidence has shattered many alternate theories to the resurrection
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|A debate over the case for Christianity. What historical facts about Jesus’ life, agreed to by virtually all critical scholars, lead to the conclusion that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Did the disciples have hallucinations of Jesus rather than actually see Him? Was Jesus’ resurrection body merely a spiritual body (a ghost-like, wispy, see-through, non-material body) or a real physical body? Did Jesus claim to be God? What factual evidence today inclines us to believe miracles (like the resurrection) are possible?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 7, Cat. No. DJRD
Keywords: Resurrection, Jesus, Easter, Jesus’ tomb
- Ankerberg: Alright, Gary, now in your book, let’s stop right there and I’ll give a plug to your book, The Historical Jesus, alright. You’ve got a whole chapter on how Tony’s friends, other naturalists, shot themselves in the foot by proposing all kinds of different ideas for what happened to the body. Roll through it quickly in two minutes. Hit some of the high spots.
- Habermas: Well, we’ve talked about several. Some people say Jesus didn’t die on the cross, although there’s virtually no scholar out there that says that today. But if someone thinks Jesus didn’t die on the cross, you’ve got the medical data; you’ve got to go with Paul; you have the extra-biblical evidence; you’ve got the Gospels. You’ve got a lot of things. You asked him earlier, “Did the disciples lie?” Of course, some people think. And he said, “No.”
- Some people think the disciples stole the body and then lied about the appearances. Doesn’t work because they were transformed. Most of them died for what they believed to be true. We’ve talked about hallucinations. That’s an important theory because it’s the one he holds. Some have said the whole thing is a legend. But the problem with a legend is, one of the main problems, is you’ve got a man like Paul that we have early data, and for legend theory to be true, you want to probably get that out of the hands of the eyewitnesses and removed a little bit past. I mean, for example, our two best biographies of Alexander the Great are not written for three to four centuries after Alexander. And it’s after that time that mythology starts creeping in, miraculous stories about Alexander which, by the way, are post-Christian. They come after Christ and he lived in the fourth century BC.
- So, for legend, when you’ve got early eyewitnesses, that’s a real problem. So I think this data can respond with six or eight refutations of every naturalistic theory but I think that’s important because the one that’s been on the table tonight is hallucination and I think the empty tomb is one more huge problem. Because now Tony has to have two of these theories. He’s got to have hallucination… well, actually, he’s got to have three. He’s got to have one kind of hallucination for Paul; one kind of hallucination for the disciples, that’s what he chooses; and now he’s got a problem with the body and the tomb. Now, he’s right: bodies vacate tombs for different reasons; however, he’s got to have the body vacating the tomb happening simultaneously with the disciples seeing the appearances. And, of course, he’s got Paul later. So now he’s starting to pile up these theories and I think the more improbable theories you have, you can have a highly probable….
- Ankerberg: Didn’t he write an article on that somewhere along the line.
- Habermas: Somewhere, somewhere.
- Flew: Look, I’m not offering a naturalistic account of what happened. I’m not trying… I don’t think it’s possible to offer any satisfactory naturalistic account to what…
- Habermas: But you accept the two hallucination theories.
- Flew: But I do think hallucination covers a lot of the data. But I don’t offer anything to cover the empty tomb evidence.
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