Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Resurrection of Jesus: Express Version

I. There are three historical facts concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus

These are only "facts" as far as historical facts can be facts.

#1 Empty Tomb: Most scholars agree with the historicity of the empty tomb. Women were the first witnesses to the empty tomb, and their testimony would not normally have been accepted. The earliest Jewish reaction was to declare that the disciples had stolen the body, which supports that the tomb was actually empty.

#2 Appearances of Jesus alive after his death: Again, most historians agree that the resurrection experiences happened (they just disagree about the explanation for it). Paul includes a list of eyewitnesses. Each gospel independently attests these witnesses. Jesus siblings were skeptical of him while alive, but became devout disciples after witnessing him alive again after death.

#3 The disciples believed that Jesus was resurrected, despite having every disposition to the contrary: Jews had no belief in a dying and rising messiah. Jesus was found guilty and executed as a criminal, which according to Jewish law proved that he was a heretic. Jewish beliefs precluded any resurrections before the end of time. Despite all this, the disciples were willing to go to their deaths for this belief.

II. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these facts

This can only be argued for after the existence of God has been successfully argued for; the argument takes place against a generic theistic background, not as a stand alone argument.

The hallucination hypothesis would explain facts #2 and #3 but not the empty tomb.

The conspiracy hypothesis would explain facts #1 and #2 but not #3.

The apparent death hypothesis (that Jesus was only apparently dead) would not explain #1 (a sickly, half-dead man would not be able to move the stone), or #3 (a sickly, half-dead man would not inspire others to believe he had been resurrected).

The God hypothesis would explain all three facts.

III. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" entails that the God revealed by Jesus exists

If God raised Jesus from the dead, then "God" is the God revealed by Jesus of Nazareth.

IV. Therefore, the God revealed by Jesus of Nazareth exists


  1. You may find this interesting.

  2. Thanks for the link. I like Jeffrey Jay Lowder's stuff.

    This blog post is just a quick summary of Craig's argument; not intended as a defense nor a rebuttal.