How Do We Explain The Resurrection?

empty-tomb-vector

I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.
– Thomas Arnold,
Historian and Oxford Professor

If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the reality of the Christian church and its phenomenal growth in the first three centuries of the Christian era? Christ’s church covered the Western world by the fourth century. A religious movement built on a lie could not have accomplished that…. All the power of Rome and of the religious establishment in Jerusalem was geared to stop the Christian faith. All they had to do was to dig up the grave and to present the corpse. They didn’t.
– Henry Schaefer III

Claiming that the original leader was alive again was simply not an option. Unless, of course, he was.
– N. T. Wright 

I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.
– Charles Colson

The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.
– Wolfhart Pannenberg

Explaining Love, Heroism and Poetry

la_belle_dame_sans_merci_by_silberius-d66r0qg

Materialist atheism says we are just a collection of chemicals. It has no answer whatsoever to the question of how we should be capable of love or heroism or poetry if we are simply animated pieces of meat. The Resurrection, which proclaims that matter and spirit are mysteriously conjoined, is the ultimate key to who we are. It confronts us with an extraordinarily haunting story. J. S. Bach believed the story, and set it to music. Most of the greatest writers and thinkers of the past 1,500 years have believed it. But an even stronger argument is the way that Christian faith transforms individual lives—the lives of the men and women with whom you mingle on a daily basis, the man, woman, or child next to you in church tomorrow morning.

–A. N. Wilson,
“Religion of Hatred: Why We Should No Longer be Cowed by 
the Chattering Classes Ruling Britain Who Sneer at Christianity,”
U.N. Daily Mail (4-11-09)

If Jesus Had Remained Dead

jesus-resurrection1

If Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, Christianity would not exist. A religious movement with a dead messiah would attract no followers. Who could possibly be persuaded to worship a crucified man as God?

If you wanted to know who was NOT the messiah, it was someone hanging on a Roman cross.

If Jesus had remained dead, his followers would have scattered to avoid arrest. They would not have had the courage or the desire to risk their lives to spread the gospel. And they never would have died a martyr’s death (as thousands have) for their beliefs.

Something very remarkable had to happen to turn the story around.

Something like a resurrection.

There is no logical explanation for the rise of the Christian faith without the physical resurrection of Jesus. Without an empty tomb, there would be no gospel. Without Easter, there would be no Christianity.

–J. O. Schulz

Fabrication or Fact?

Miriam Fransham Empty Tomb thumb copy.jpgIf you were going to make up a religion and base it on the resurrection of the founder, you wouldn’t bury his body in the very city that he was put to death in, put his name on the outside of his ossuary and then also bury other members of his family in the same grave as The Jesus Family Tomb says. That would be foolish. No, you would get rid of the body, burn it, bury it, etc. Then you could more safely move about the city telling people, “Ah, our leader has risen!” And then if you were found out, you certainly wouldn’t persist with your story under the threat of death; you would come clean to save your life by admitting that the whole thing was a poorly thought out attempt at deception. Jesus’ disciples were not foolish enough to do any of these things. Their leader, Jesus, really had risen from the grave. They knew that, and they laid down their lives testifying to that fact. Their willingness to die at the hands of skeptics is compelling evidence that they were telling the truth.

–Charlie Campbell

Weighty Evidence

images

I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.

–Thomas Arnold,
Historian and Oxford professor

The Faith that Won’t Go Away

14098_18226_5 copy

Christianity has had a series of revolutions and in
each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity
has died many times and risen again; for it had a God
who knew the way out of the grave.

–G. K. Chesterton

Can a better explanation be given?

Eric MetaxasPart of the miracle of the resurrection is that it so empowered a ragtag band of fishermen and tax collectors that they were emboldened to stand against all earthly authority and power, and ultimately would upend the once inviolable order of the mighty Roman Empire. History tells us that this happened. So what better explanation can be offered for how it happened? Unless we have missed something, there exists none. And if there exists none, we are invited to submit to the logic of what we now know: that this most celebrated and most scorned miracle of miracles actually happened—and, perhaps most miraculously of all, can even be understood to have happened.

― Eric Metaxas,
Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen,
and How They Can Change Your Life