Essex Fells Apologetics Seminar

November 8, 1989

Robert C. Newman

                                                               EVIDENCE FOR

                                                      THE RESURRECTION OF

                                                                JESUS CHRIST

 

 

Evidence from Prophecy:

 

            Psalm 16:  God will not abandon his Holy One to the grave, nor let him see decay

 

            Psalm 22:  one pierced in hands & feet, surrounded by enemies, laid in dust of death, is delivered and his deliverance becomes worldwide news down thru generations

                       

            Isaiah 53:  unbelievable report of servant's exaltation; despised by Israel, suffered as sin offering, but then he will see his offspring, prolong his days

 

Evidence from History:

 

            Can't go back in time machine to see what really happened, but several significant lines of evidence:

 

            The Existence of the Church.

 

                        The men and women who had followed Jesus were completely demoralized by his death.

                                    --we had hoped that he was Messiah

                                    --hiding from enemies

                        Within a few months they were boldly proclaiming Jesus in the very city where he was crucified.

                        Most of the apostles (all but John) died at the hands of enemies, but would not retract their testimony that they had seen (etc.) the risen Jesus.

                        The church's expansion to fill empire was made in face of persecution without using military forms of evangelism.

 

            The Existence of the New Testament.

 

                        The NT comes from within a century of the events it records, as even liberals admit.

                        The external historical evidence of authorship points to two apostles and two of their associates for the four Gospels and to a former enemy of Xy for most of the letters.

                        Uniform testimony of NT is that many eyewitnesses to resurrected Jesus, including extended appearances to multiple witnesses, with multiple senses involved.

                        Unless one a priori rejects the miraculous, the evi­dence for the reliability of the NT is as good as for any ancient histories.

 

            Responses of Opponents.

           

                        Several attempts to avoid resurrection:

 

                        Stolen Body Theory:

 

                          Oldest alternative, but original version has soldiers (asleep) testifying!

                          Later versions invariably try to get rid of soldiers

                          Doesn't explain:

                                    Tactics of apostles

                                    Career of Paul

                                    Content of NT

 

                        Coma Theory:

 

                          Various versions by Reimaurus, Schonfield

                          But, how get out of tomb?

                          How get past soldies?

                          How convince disciples death conquered?

                          Fatal objection in physiology of crucifixion

                                    unconscious person will die of suffocation

 

                        Hallucination Theory:

 

                          Women go to wrong tomb, mistake gardener for angel

                          Disciples begin to have hallucinations of risen Jesus

                          But, how avoid authorities producing body when Xns begin preaching Gospel?

                          How mistake tomb in daylight?

                          How avoid correction from other disciples?

                          Grief-induced (or even drug-induced) hallucinations do not produce hour-long, multiple-sense, multiple-witness appearances.

 

Conclusions

 

            Evidence is about as good as one could get for controversial event in history.

            Occurring in a time of more advanced technology would not avoid possible objections.

            The importance of knowing God and finding out what He is like is so great that we must not go through life assuming it doesn't matter until we have throroughly investigated matter.