Thursday, July 27, 2006

Evidence for the Resurrection of Y'shua

In Romans chapter 1 Paul wrote the following:
Paul, a servant of [Messiah] Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus [the Messiah] our Lord,

Jesus is declared to to be the Son of God by being raised from the dead (again, for folks reading this blog re-read previous posts to understand what we mean by "Son of God").

So what's the evidence for the Resurrection?

1)Jesus died on the cross and was buried. His earliest enemies knew this to be true. And no one, until Mohammed, doubted that he died on the cross.

Justin Martyr, circa 150, refers the Roman emperor to the works of Pontius Pile in his archive for the reports of Jesus' death and miracles. His death is mentioned by Cornelius Tactitus around 112-124 A.D. Lucian of Samosata, Josephus, and the Letter of Samosata all mention Jesus' death. Jewish Talmudic writings also corroborate this fact.

I have already mentioned I Corinthians 15, written by the apostle Paul. Versus 3 through 5 are believed to be an early Christian creed dated to the first 5 years after Jesus' death. Mark, the earliest gospel at around 40 A.D., records Jesus' death. These report Jesus' death very early.

While some skeptics have doubted the existence of Jesus, let alone his death, there is no basis for this. The earliest Christian record, the secular record, and even the enemies of Christianity all knew the fact of Jesus' death.

2)The tomb was empty the first Easter morning. While this is a more controversial piece of evidence, it is backed by solid historical evidence.

The Christian movement started in Jerusalem. If the tomb was occupied, this would be the last place to start. Produce Jesus' body or point to the tomb and the movement would have been over.

This is also part of the earliest Christian testimony. It is implicit in the early creed from I Corinthians 15. It is mentioned in Mark, the early gospel, and all the other gospels.

Despite these good reasons, there is one reason that shows the empty tomb to be a fact, while showing God's sense of irony at the same time. From the gospel of Matthew (chapter 28) to Justin Martyr to Teretullian to Toledot Yeshu (a Jewish medieval work based off of earlier sources) the counter-argument to the Resurrection was that the disciples stole the body. The disciples then countered that there were guards at the tomb. The Jewish authorities then argued that the guards fell asleep.

Stop for a second. What are the opponents of Jesus admitting? The empty tomb. We have positive evidence from a hostile source that Jesus' grave was empty.

Here is a good article which establishes the fact of the empty tomb in more detail.

3) The third piece of evidence, which is clearly shown from the New Testament, is that the disciples claimed to have post-resurrection experiences with Jesus.

4) The last piece of evidence is that these same disciples went out and suffered for this message.

Christian historian Eusebius records deaths of Peter, Paul, James the brother of Jesus and James the brother of John. Acts 12:2 records the death of James, the brother of John. Josephus records the death of James, the brother of Jesus. Clement of Rome (d. 100) mentions the deaths of Peter and Paul. Oral tradition of the early church records many of the martyrdoms of the apostles. When I was watching the History Channel, a historian on a show about the apostles said (and she didn't appear to be a believer) that these extra-biblical traditions show us accurately where the apostles went and how they died.

Paul and James claimed to have seen Jesus post-Resurrection and they weren't part of the pre-Resurrection followers of Jesus.

Whatever doubts arise about whether certain apostles were martyred, the testimony of second and third generation believers indicates most of the apostles died for their testimony. Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Justin Martyr are examples of these believers who also died for what they believed. If the student is willing to die, how much more so the master?

Now, dying for a cause in and of itself doesn't make something true. But this piece of evidence shows us they were sincere.

My contention is that the only thing that can explain all of the above is the Resurrection of Y'shua, the Messiah.

Now, there have been a variety of counter-arguments. Feel free to posit them in the comments section, and we can hash this out. You should try to account for all 4. Jesus died. His tomb was empty. His followers claimed to have seen him and then went out and suffered and died for that testimony.

I've discussed this many times and have run into many different arguments. Here is my article which goes over the above and then tries to go over counter-arguments as well, so you may want to check those out first before responding.

I think someone once tried to posit UFOs as an alternative explanation. I have yet to respond to that line of argumenation.

8 Comments:

Blogger Sultan Knish said...

let's see, for starters Jews for the most part didn't care about Jesus or how he died, but a story that did make its rounds among Jews claimed he was hanged

Muslims meanwhile did to Jesus what Christians had done to Judaism, which was co-opt him into a new religion

btw claiming that Jesus was the son of god and claiming he was descended from David are incompatible things, either he was descended from David or from god, he can't be both. and no adoption is not descent.

finally josephus did not live during the time jesus was supposedly alive and the section refering to jesus has been cited by many historians as being tampered with at a later date

most of the rest of this post is premised on taking the events in christian mythology as evidence when they're not evidence, that's circular at best

if you assume that everything the christian bible says is true, then you'd have a miracle. same goes for the koran or any holy book. of course if you assume that you're a christian in the first place

Muslims can produce far more eyewitnesses and testimony for Mohammed's miracles than Christians can, it doesn't make them true either, since both are in any case processed through brutal theocracies that burned and suppressed any works they disagreed with and edited history to make it come out their way

certainly there is inarguably far more evidence of the existance of mohammed than of jesus, yet Christians are not about to conver to Islam

7/27/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Knish said:

"Jews for the most part didn't care about Jesus or how he died"

Which proves what? Most people haven't cared about the Jews, either. The importance of something isn't determined by a poll vote.

"Muslims meanwhile did to Jesus what Christians had done to Judaism, which was co-opt him into a new religion"

No, Knish, faith in Jesus / Christianity was considered a sect of Judaism in the first century much like Pharisaism, Sadduceeism, Essenism, etc.

"btw claiming that Jesus was the son of god and claiming he was descended from David are incompatible things, either he was descended from David or from god, he can't be both. and no adoption is not descent."

"Son of God" doesn't mean physically descended from God. That, by the way, is a Muslim conception and we Jews should know better. It's a common enough phrase in the Hebrew Bible for Israel, for angels, and ultimately for the Messiah.

"finally josephus did not live during the time jesus was supposedly alive and the section refering to jesus has been cited by many historians as being tampered with at a later date"

The section you're referring to has been analyzed by many man historians, and the consensus is that parts are interpolated - that Josephus does mention Jesus but not that Josephus believed he was the Messiah.

"most of the rest of this post is premised on taking the events in christian mythology as evidence when they're not evidence, that's circular at best
if you assume that everything the christian bible says is true, then you'd have a miracle. same goes for the koran or any holy book."


Knish, a very simple question for you since you enjoy telling people that they have no evidence for what they believe (and studiously avoid following up any post having to do with historians, evidence, etc.).

Here's the simple question: What do you believe? And why do you believe it?

"it doesn't make them true either, since both are in any case processed through brutal theocracies that burned and suppressed any works they disagreed with and edited history to make it come out their way"

Hmmm, and wasn't there a theocracy in Israel. You remember ... King David...King Solomon...the others...

By the way, I haven't noticed the brutal Christian theocracy around here, but maybe you can point me to it...

"certainly there is inarguably far more evidence of the existance of mohammed than of jesus"

Here is where Knish loves to throw out statements concocted out of whole cloth ... and by the way I think you mean "arguably" not "inarguably" ... and just which evidence do you think is stronger for Islam than for Jesus?

But then again, you really don't like evidence. If the evidence were that strong, you'd want to be a Muslim, wouldn't you? I mean you do want to go where the evidence leads, right?

7/27/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Sultan,

We have people who claimed to have known Jesus, ate with Jesus, etc., etc. They went out and died for their message. How do you explain that? Dismissing it at mythology doesn't get around the fact that it is their testimony sealed in their blood.

My argument doesn't assume that everything in the Christian Bible is true, although I believe it is. All I'm assuming is that it is the testimony from people who claimed to have known and seen Jesus. Since the people who knew the apostles extensively quote the Christian Bible, we have further confirmation of that.

You try to make the comparison with the claims of the Muslims. "Muslims can produce far more eyewitnesses for the miracles of Muhammad."

I accept the testimony of Muslims of the era as sincere, like the early believers in Jesus were sincere, and largely accurate of what they saw and believed. There is one huge problem for you.

Muslims say Muhammad performed no miracles. Well, they may consider the Koran a miracle, but no miracle in the traditional sense. They may be sincere, but there is nothing for their sincerity to confirm. There is no miracle for them to confirm.

Which goes even further to make my case for the believers of Jesus. How could these sincere believers think the guy they knew so well died and was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven?

7/28/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Richard Grey said...

The second and third generation martyrs I have recently researched. I cannot seem to find any non-Christian document showing these martyrs to be followers of the original apostles or of their martyrdom other than Polycarp (only of his death). While I do not doubt the large number of Christian martyrs at this time I am looking for hard evidence of ones associated with the original apostles other than stories from the Apolistic Fathers or "legend has it".

7/19/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Richard,

Two things.

1) Josephus mentions the death of James.

2) Although confirmation from a hostile or neutral source is great, that doesn't make the Christian traditions, sources and witnesses unreliable. Why would the Apostolic Fathers make up stories about the apostles?

Plus, the Apostolic Fathers did associate with the apostles. That's how they got the name "Apostolic Fathers."

7/19/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

I found a quote from an article I did that is pertinent to Richard's question.

"Christian historian Eusebius records deaths of Peter, Paul, James the brother of Jesus and James the brother of John. Acts 12:2 records the death of James, the brother of John. Josephus records the death of James, the brother of Jesus. Clement of Rome (d. 100) mentions the deaths of Peter and Paul. Oral tradition of the early church records many of the martyrdoms of the apostles. When I was watching the History Channel, a historian on a show about the apostles said (and she didn't appear to be a believer) that these extra-biblical traditions show us accurately where the apostles went and how they died."

7/19/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a bit of a different take on the matter: http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2009/03/jewish-radical-from-galilee.html.

It's easy enough for legend to develop, especially when profound grief and frustrated political aspirations are involved.

Peace.

3/25/2009 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

You'll still have to explain how the tomb was empty. And Paul and James who weren't followers until after they saw Jesus.

Trying to explain one set of facts, you can't leave out the others.

5/15/2009 11:34:00 PM  

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