Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?
It depends upon who you believe. The unbelieving modern world (the great majority of mankind) says, Of course not. Not because they possess serious evidence to back up their skepticism, but because philosophically they do not believe in the supernatural and in miracles in particular. In case you haven’t heard, we supposedly live in a closed, self-contained universe. Its existence owes nothing to a so-called ‘Creator’, but it all materializes into what you see (and don’t see) by more or less a Big Bang and a “fortuitous concourse of events” in some primordial soup and bingo! it all unfolded from there (now if that is not a chain of ‘miracles’ it would be hard to know what one is, don’t you think?)
Anyway the best arguments against the historical testimony and other evidences of the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ are:
1) “I don’t know anybody who has seen a resurrection.”
(I don’t know anybody who has ever seen Napoleon either. Nor do I know a single person who was ever in the Civil War, or saw Lincoln shot.)
And the more fundamental rebuttal of the resurrection of Jesus is, when you boil the skeptical objection to it down to its essence:
2) “That miracle didn’t happen, silly, because we all know miracles don’t happen.”
(Now there’s steel trap logic for you!)
But we Christians rest our case (for believing in the physical resurrection of Jesus) primarily on the testimony of the Scriptures, the OT prophecies that anticipate it, and NT eyewitnesses (His disciples) who record it and describe their (and others) encounters with Jesus after His resurrection.
The eyewitnesses to His resurrection were multiple, their testimony is consistent, but clearly not contrived, they were in position to know the facts, they are all morally credible witnesses, they had nothing to gain but everything to lose from lying about it, and they were willing to die for their witness (men will die for a lie, true, but not for something they know is a lie.). Without the fact of the resurrection it is impossible to realistically account for the change in Jesus’s disciples and impossible to account for the power of the message of Christ if He was an imposter and His resurrection a non-event.
Some legal analysts have said that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is stronger than the evidence for the lives of far more recent iconic figures of history about whose existence historians have not the slightest doubt.
The truth is, most people who deny the resurrection do not do so on the basis flimsy evidence, but take that position for a moral motive. They do not want Jesus to have risen from the dead, for then that would prove beyond a scintilla of doubt that He indeed was who He claimed to be and that He indeed is the Savior and Lord of the world and is One to whom all shall give account. That is an unwelcome thought to them and so they grap hold of any excuse to rule out the resurrection as a game-breaking fact of history.