Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Objections to the Resurrection Overview

Objection 1: Jesus didn't really die on the Cross.
Reply 1: Soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear. Blood and water flowed out of the wound, proving that physical death had occurred. [John 19:34]. Journal of the American Medical Association says that Jesus' death was ensured when the spear, thrust between His right rib, perforated His right lung and the pericardium of the heart. Jesus declared that He was dying. [Luke 23:46] Roman soldiers didn't bother breaking Jesus' legs, a common procedure used to hasten death. [John 19:33] Pilate double-checked to see if Jesus was dead before giving the corpse to Joseph for burial. [Mark 15:44-45] If Jesus was not dead from the crucifixion, he would have died while in the sealed tomb wrapped in about 100 lbs. of cloth and spices for three days [Matt. 27:60; John 19:39-40], due to lack of food, water, and medical treatment.
Objection 2: Jesus' post-resurrection appearances were unimpressive to the disciples who heard about them (and should have been expecting them) and even to those who witnessed them or they were cases of mistaken identity.
Reply 2: This is a gross misrepresentation of the accounts. Occasionally there was difficulty recognizing Jesus, but in every case it was only temporary. Perplexity, sorrow, the dimness of the light, visual distance, the suddenness of Jesus' appearance, the different clothes He was wearing, and spiritual dullness or disbelief were some factors causing this difficulty. Before the appearances were over, the witnesses had absolutely no doubt that Jesus Christ, whom they had known intimately for many years, had arisen in a literal, physical body.
Objection 3: Joseph of Arimathea stole Jesus' body from the tomb.
Reply 3: Since St. Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple [Luke 23:50-51] we can eliminate the motive of preventing the disciples from stealing it. Joseph could have produced the body and discredited the entire story if he was not a follower of Christ. Joseph, a pious Jew, would not have broken the Sabbath [Luke 23:50-56]. A Roman guard stationed in front of the tomb [Matt. 27:62-66] would have seen Joseph's torches at night. The women came at dawn the next morning [Luke 24:1]; there was no opportunity for Joseph to remove the body. Where would Joseph put the body? Christ's body was never found, despite the fact that almost two months passed before the disciples started preaching; this was an abundant time frame in which to expose a fraud. This theory, lacking a means, motive, and opportunity, is junk.
Objection 4: The Passover Plot is the best explanation of the so-called resurrection accounts.
Reply 4: The Passover Plot is false. It contradicts the Gospels' early dates, the known character of Jesus and His disciples, the permanently empty tomb, the explicitly physical nature of the resurrection appearances, the verification of Biblical narratives by history and archaeology, the multiplicity of the eyewitness accounts, and the incredible number of eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Objection 5: There are no good reasons to accept the Gospels' resurrection accounts over non-Christian resurrection claims.
Reply 5: Non-Christian resurrection claims must be rejected. In the cases of Apollonius of Tyana, Sabbatai Sevi, Rabbi Judah, and Kabir, there are no credible witnesses, no contemporary records, no physical evidence, only some claims to deification, and no corroborating miracles. However, in the case of Jesus Christ's resurrection, there are numerous credible witnesses, numerous contemporary records, abundant physical evidence, claims to deity, and numerous other confirming miracles.
Objection 6: David Hume proved that miracles are false. The resurrection is a miracle. Therefore, the resurrection story is false.
Reply 6: David Hume, in his "hard" argument against miracles, begs the question by saying that miracles are impossible by definition. In his "soft" argument, Hume begs the question, is inconsistent with his own epistemology, ignores contrary evidence, proves too much, and makes scientific progress impossible. Hume's test for the truthfulness of witnesses confirms that the New Testament witnesses, especially those to the resurrection, are trustworthy. Hume's self-canceling witness argument is false because not all miracles are created equal, either by the alleged miracles' nature, the physical evidence, and the number and reliability of witnesses. If wisdom is proportioning belief to the evidence, then Hume lacked wisdom.
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