Blu: The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus as an historical event is of very poor quality. It's no more capable of persuading an impartial onlooker that such an event happened in history than any other of the resurrection stories of antiquity.
iama: The evidence of the resurrection, and Christ Jesus' incarnation existence, is reported by reputable eye- witnesses:
- Matthew, an eye-witness / a Jew / a publican / a tax collector, was Jesus' disciple.
- Mark reported as an eye witness to the life of Christ Jesus, and he records the eye-witness account of the Apostle Peter's 3.5 years life experiences with Christ Jesus. Mark was the son of Mary, a Christian Jewess, in whose home the early Christians seem to have been sheltered (Acts 12:12). He was peculiarly Roman in training and development. He was the nephew or cousin of Barnabas and accompanied him and Paul on their first missionary journey. At Perga he left them in consequence of which Paul and Barnabas disagreed when Barnabas proposed that Mark accompany them on their second journey. The result was that Silas and not Barnabas was Paul's companion. That friendly relations between Paul and Mark were afterwards resumed is evident from the fact that he was with Paul during his first imprisonment (Col. 4:10; Phile. 24).
In his first epistle Peter states that Mark was with him, and is spoken of as the "interpreter" of Peter. According to tradition he founded the Church at Alexandria. The fact that Mark was with Paul at the time of his imprisonment (62-63 A.D.) accords with tradition that his Gospel was written in that city. He was with Peter in 61 A.D., who, doubtless, supplied Mark with the facts of the Gospel and gave them their final form. This would lead to the conclusion that this Gospel was written between 63-66 A.D., since it is certain that the date was prior to the destruction of Jerusalem." - from Notes in the Dickson Bible
- Luke, was not an eye witness (to Christ Jesus' life and resurrection, but he was the recipiant of Life Everlasting / Eternal Life / Christ Jesus' purchased Salvation for Luke), and "was therefore not one of the Seventy sent out by Christ,or one of the two disciples that walked to Emmaus, as thought by some on the ground that he alone gives these particulars.
According to Eusebius and Jerome Luke was a native of Antioch in Syria, and was therefore the only Gentile writer of the Scriptures. He was a man of education, a Greek of Grecian culture. He was a physican, a profession that in his day was almost entirely in the hands of the Greek.
He was Paul's companion from Troas to Philippi on the second missionary journey (Acts 16:10-17), where he probably remained for some time, but again became his companion and continued with him to the close of the narrative (Acts) which was about 58 to 63 A.D. In 2Tim. 2:11 Paul mentions that Luke was with him which was during his second imprisonment in Rome. We know nothing of Luke's later life. We can understand how he the physician would give such prominence to the healing nature of Christ's redeeming work.
This Gospel is less chronological then those of Mark and John. He groups his details "in order," but the order is that of grouping the details and carying forward each series to the end before taking up the next. His style is that of an educated man. There are many particulars which he alone records, ...." - from the Notes of The Dickson Bible
- John: The Apostle John identifies himself in John 21:24, as "the beloved disciple" / "the disciple whom Jesus loved", after the discusion takes place about the Apostle Peter's prophecied death, and that the Apostle John's life, was going to be, according to Jesus' prophecy, a life-extended, John states:
"This is the disciple (the "disciple whom Jesus loved following," John 21:20), which testifies of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."
John, the apostle, lists the disciples who were at the Sea of Tiberias as follows:
"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed He [Himself]. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the [sons] of Zebedee (James and John), and two other of his disciples." So, 7 of the 11 disciples were present. "The disciple whom Jesus loved" is John, and John is with the disciples for the eye-witness account-recording of this event.
"The Apostles John and James were the sons of Zebedee and Salome, the latter probably the sister of our Lord's mother (John 19:25). John was born in Bethsaida of Galilee. His intimate relations with Jesus are indicated by the expression "the beloved disciple," and it has been said he was able to give men "the heart of Christ."
The style of this Gospel is simple but the thought is profound. Its great design is to set forth the divinty of our Lord as the basis of faith, and to meet the spiritual needs not of a particular clas, Jew, Roman or Greek, but of all men, and hence it is called "the spiritual Gospel," and "The Gospel for the Church." It states its purpose, "But these are weritten, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the So of God; and that belieiving you might have life through His name (John 20:31)." - from Notes of The Dickson Bible
The following were / are Jesus' Christ's twelve, specifically-chosen disciples:
"And when he had called unto [him] His twelve disciples, He gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter (Mark's Gospel) and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John (Gospel of John) his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican (Gospel of Matthew); James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him."
So, Blu, the eye-witnesses are:
- Gospel of Matthew - the Apostle Matthew, the publican, hated by his fellow Jews
(Only Matthew's Gospel records this: Mat 9:9 "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
Why would only Matthew's Gospel record the calling of Matthew, if Matthew was not written by the Apostle Mathew?),
- Gospel of Mark - Mark, an eye-witness, because he was a cousin to Jesus, by his mother, Salome - sister to Mary, Jesus' mother (Salome was, also, the owner of the Upper Room)- and of Roman education and development,
(Only Mark's Gospel records the following: Mar 14:5152: "And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about [his] naked [body]; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked."
Why would Mark record this bit of information, if he was not the "a certain young man"? )
- Gospel of Luke - the eye-witnesses whom Luke, the historian, the educated Greek physician, interviewed, and
- Gospel of John - the Apostle John, Christ Jesus' disciple for 3.5 years.
1. The Apostle Matthew was eye-witness to the resurrected Christ Jesus in the Upper Room, and elsewhere.
2. The Mark, the cousin of Christ Jesus was eye-witness to the life of his cousin, Christ Jesus, and of the resurrected Christ Jesus, as his mother, Salome, was the owner of The Upper Room and Mary's sister.
3. All of the eye-witnesses whom the historian-physician, Luke, interviewed, were somehow related to Christ Jesus' incarnation, reality, physical existence - His virgin birth, visit to The Temple at age 12, growth to maturity, His wilderness testing, His baptism, first miracle, all of His other miracles, travels to all the regions of Israel, His personal interactions with individuals, Mary & Martha, Mary Magdelene, Nichodemus, etc., His Garden of Gethsemane suffering, His trials, His crucifixion death, burial, resurrection, appearance to up to 500 believers, as the God-Man, Emmanuel, "God with us." Mary, Jesus mother, was a store-house of data, and may have supplied much of Luke's eye-witness data:
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered [them] in her heart."
4. The Apostle John was an eye-witness to all of Christ Jesus' public ministry, both to Christ Jesus' 3.5 years of His earthly ministry / His crucifixion / His burial / His resurrection, AND to His Heavenly-eternal-realm-existence as John recorded in The Revelation.
The initial problem
Blu: An historical Jesus has never been definitively found. If in this thread I appear to speak as though he historically existed, it's only so as to discuss the evidence of the resurrection in isolation from this problem.
iama: The Gospels present the historical Jesus 100% accurately from 4 different purposes / audiences for whom they were recorded. God-Holy Spirit engineered and inspired their recordings.
"But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
The 'Usual Story' problem
Resurrections are routine in tales from the ancient world.
In the bible stories -
* Samuel came back after his death and spoke with Saul. (You could argue he was a ghost, not a bodily resurrection.)
* Elijah raised the Zarephath woman’s son.
* Elisha raised the Shamite woman’s son.
* The man whose dead body touched Elisha's bones was resurrected.
* Jesus raised the Nain widow’s son.
* Jesus raised Lazarus.
* Peter raised Tabitha / Dorcas.
* Matthew describes the faithful dead at large in the streets of Jerusalem.
iama: Blu, I hope that you realize that all of the OT references which you reference are raisings accomplished by God-Son-Jehovah, the pre-incarnate-Christ Jesus! All of The Bible's accounts of raisings from death OT and NT, actually happened in reality-Earth-History-Space-Matter-Time, and according to The Bible's truth recording, by God-Holy Spirit inspiration. The Bible is a Supernatural Book. Believers throughout human-history can and have attested to that fact.
You can't possibly make the same claims for your following mythical accounts!
Elsewhere - and this is only a tiny sample - Osiris in Egypt, Tammuz in Babylon, Dionusos in Greece were put to death and came back to life. In Greece, Asklepios raised Lukourgos, Kapaneos and Tundareos from the dead, and Glaukos, Hippolutos and Orion were resurrected too - as indeed was Asklepios himself. Eurudike (and in Scandanavia, Baldur) nearly made it back. Persephone and Adonis had to spend only half their time in the Underworld.
I don't understand how you can even consider any of the following mythologies as being credible, eternal, divine, God-entities:
Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality 1919–1920
Lewis Richard Farnell
Did you note their god's human-derived origins?
The miracle problem
No examinable evidence suggests, let alone demonstrates, that supernatural beings exist in reality - gods, angels, souls, magicians, goblins, werewolves and so on, none of them.
But miracles are not just breaches of the rules of the natural world - they're purposeful interventions in the natural world by supernatural beings.
The evidence necessary to establish a miracle must therefore be of extraordinary quality - sufficient to establish a category never previously shown to exist. For that reason, virtually ANY non-supernatural explanation is vastly more probable than a supernatural one. (If you doubt this, next time you're hauled into court on a traffic matter, try running the defense, A supernatural being seized the controls from me.)
Hence (on the assumption that an historical Jesus existed at all) all of the following possibilities are vastly more probable explanations of the resurrection of Jesus than the supernatural ones in the NT -
1* The body of Jesus was never placed in the tomb.
iama: The Bible recording states otherwise!
2* The body of Jesus was stolen from the tomb.
iama: That was the claim / the lie which the guards, who were powerless to guard the tomb, told.
3* Jesus wasn't dead. He recovered consciousness and left.
iama: The Roman soldier, who were experts at crucifixion, determined that He was dead, and pierced His side. Both blood and water gushed out, indicating, medically, that He had died of a broken heart.
4* Whoever reported the body missing went to the wrong tomb.
iama: The women had been at the tomb when His body was placed into the tomb. The soldiers had been guarding the tomb, and had fled at His resurrection. Peter and John went to the tomb and saw the grave cloths lying vacated - His body left the cloths unmoved, but collapsed. The angels reported that He was not in the grave, but that He had risen.
5** or was mistaken
iama: Mary Magdeline was not mistaken! Peter and John were not mistaken. The angels were not mistaken. The other women were not mistaken. The guards were not mistaken in their fear and fleeing. The Chief Priests were not mistaken in their lie / cover-up for their frightened and reporting guards.
6** or altered his report to accord with his wishes
iama:God-Holy Spirit, Inspirer of The Gospel accounts is not a liar. The disciples / eye-witnesses had no reason to lie. The eye-witnesses to Christ Jesus' resurrected body for a period of 40 days, had no reason to lie. The Apostles died believing Christ Jesus had risen from death. They were all martyred, except for the Apostle John.
7** or set out to deceive.
iama: Martyrs don't willingly die, because they "set out to deceive."
8* Whoever spread the story of the missing body was acting on a false or mistaken report
iama:The guards assigned to guard the sealed tomb of Christ Jesus' burial place, were terribly frightened, and reported what had happened to the stone which was moved by the angel(s). The chief priests / Pharisees told the guards to spread the lie of someone stealing Christ Jesus' body, and they said that they would protect the guards from death - their purported crime sleeping on watch - was a lie.
9** or altered the report to accord with his wishes
iama: For what reason? The evidence was the evidence. Christ Jesus died, was buried, and three days later resurrected. They were eye-witnesses to the fact.
10** or set out to deceive
iama:This is a repeat.
11** or made up the story intending a metaphor
iama: The Apostles and Christians would not have willingly became martyrs for an intended metaphor! They saw what they saw: The resurrected Lord Jesus Christ for 40 days after. They saw His ascension.
12** or made up the story but didn't intend it to be taken literally.
iama:The Apostles and other witnesses (500 recorded) were eye-witnesses to His resurrection for 40 days following His resurrection. Then, 10 days later, on the Day of historical Jewish Day of Pentecost, God-Holy Spirit came and empowered 120 believers waiting for His arrival in the Upper Room.
13* The story is a Jewish satire.
iama; The leaders of the Jewish Nation rejected Christ Jesus as their Messiah, God, Savior, Lord! It was Christians who recorded the New Testament accounts.
14* Or any other non-supernatural explanation.
iama: There is only the Supernatural explanation. All 500 eye-witnesses should know! Many died for their knowledge / conviction / testimony to the fact. Others fled Jerusalem carrying the Gospel-Good-News of the Resurrection-Salvation message to the then known world. Even to North America, according to evidence.
Easy to see that it's impossible to rule any of them out on the basis of the NT accounts.
iama: Christianity is a religion with martyrs by the hundreds and thousands, because what they believe has become truth-reality in their individual lives. God-Holy Spirit power, promised, has been received, and experienced. No one is willing to die for what they know is a lie! Christians are willing to die, already having received Eternal Life, knowing that Eternity awaits. Christians don't deny such a Savior! "Birthed-from-above believers" began with 120 believers in the Upper Room of Salome's home. God-Holy Spirit's work has continued unto this day. Hundreds of believers are willingly dying in countries like India, Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Philippines, etc., daily, currently.
The incredibility of the NT accounts
Quite apart from the supernatural aspect, the five NT accounts are incredible for other reasons. If you went to court relying on evidence of that quality, you'd be thrown out before you could open your mouth.
iama: Blu, there have been lawyers, well trained to judge, decipher, critically analyze The Bible's account. They have determined, from a lawyers / judges point of view, that the accounts are authentic / that what is recorded happened.
There have also been believers and unbelievers who have been concerned with the resurrection and have done research to verify / appreciate the event:
Who Moved the Stone - truthchasers
Who Moved the Stone - Morison - audio-book - Preface & Chapter 1 - advertisement
Who Moved the Stone -
by Frank Morison
Book: Who Moved The Stone?: A Skeptic Looks At The Death And Resurrection Of Christ
Who Moved the Stone? is considered by many to be a classic apologetic on the subject of the Resurrection. Morison includes a vivid and poignant account of Christ's betrayal, trial, and death as a backdrop to his retelling of the climactic Resurrection itself.
"I owe Morison a great debt of gratitude. Who Moved the Stone? was an important early link in a long chain of evidence that God used to bring me into his kingdom. Morison's stirring intellectual exploration of the historical record proved to be an excellent starting point for my spiritual investigation." --From the foreword by Lee Strobel
English journalist, Frank Morison, had a tremendous drive to learn of Christ. The strangeness of the Resurrection story had captured his attention, and, influenced by skeptic thinkers at the turn of the century, he set out to prove that the story of Christ's Resurrection was only a myth. His probings, however, led him to discover the validity of the biblical record in a moving, personal way.Who Moved the Stone? is considered by many to be a classic apologetic on the subject of the Resurrection. Morison includes a vivid and poignant account of Christ's betrayal, trial, and death as a backdrop to his retelling of the climactic Resurrection itself. Among the chapter titles are: * The Book That Refused to Be Written* The Real Case Against the Prisoner* What Happened Before Midnight on Thursday* Between Sunset and Dawn* The Witness of the Great Stone* Some Realities of That Far-off Morning Who Moved the Stone? is a well-researched book that is as fascinating in its appeal to reason as it is accurate to the truthfulness of the Resurrection.
First, none of the accounts is (or even purports to be) an eyewitness account.
Matthew records eye-witness accounts of The Resurrection of Christ Jesus - his and others.
Mark records eye-witness accounts of The Resurrection of Christ Jesus - his, Peter's and others.
Luke records eye-witness accounts of The Resurrection of Christ Jesus - others.
John records eye-witness accounts of The Resurrection of Christ Jesus - his and others.
Second, none of the accounts is contemporary with the event. If we use the traditional date for the crucifixion, 33 CE, then Paul's account is at least 17 years after the event and consists ONLY of the assertion that Jesus was crucified - he never says where, when, why or by whom. Mark's account is next, and no earlier than 70 CE, so at least 37 years later. John's (the last) is at least 67 years later.
iama: As, I believe, you have pointed out, The Apostles believed that Christ Jesus' Second Coming was imminent. Their message was, therefore, given orally for many years. As local churches were formed in the then-known-world, the need for truth-teaching necessitated the writings which we, not, have as NT Scriptures. The teachings of the Apostle Paul were sent from him to local churches which had formed following his ministries, and were written to these early churches, while he was imprisoned in Rome. These letters were copied and sent to other churches, where they were read to the congregations. By the early 300 A.D.s there were some letters which were more circulated than others. Many, many of the early writings were burned or destroyed. God-Holy Spirit is responsible for the NT recordings which spared, and which eventually were compiled as the NT.
Third, none of the NT accounts is an independent report. (And outside the NT, I discount the Testimonium Flavianum as very probably a forgery.)
iama:I am sure, then, that you have read the following wiki entry:
wiki - Tesimonium Flavianum
And fourth, each of the five NT accounts of the resurrection conflicts in major ways with the other four.
iama: I fail to appreciate your words "conflicts in major ways". Five different recorders, recording for at least five different audiences, and recording for at five different purposes, surely, can be appreciated by you. The Apostle John, mentions that much more could have been recorded concerning Christ Jesus than has been written by ~95+ A.D. when the Apostle John is recording this Gospel, as a very old man.
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name."
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."
The incompatibility of the five biblical resurrection accounts
Here's a list of incompatible claims in the five resurrection accounts in the NT. (Paul's account is at 1 Corinthians 15.) It's not exhaustive.
1. Who went to the tomb?
Mark: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Salome
Matthew: MM, MmJ
Luke: MM, MmJ, Joanna
2. What did they see?
Mark: Open tomb
Matthew: An earthquake. An angel descending who rolled away the stone and sat on it. He looked like lightning, his raiment white as snow
Luke: Open tomb
John: Open tomb
3. Were any guards there?
Matthew: The guards trembled.
4. What did they do?
Mark: Went in.
Luke: Went in
John: Ran to fetch Peter and the Beloved Disciple who ran to the tomb and saw the linen
5. Did they see anyone in or at the tomb?
Mark: Saw one young man in a white robe. Told Jesus had risen, and would meet the disciples at Galilee
Matthew: Addressed by an angel. Told Jesus had risen, and would meet the disciples at Galilee.
Luke: Saw two men in dazzling apparel. Told Jesus was risen.
6. What did they do next?
Mark: They fled in fear.
Matthew: They left.
Luke: They went and told the eleven but weren't believed.
John: Peter and the Beloved Disciple went home.
7. To whom did Jesus first appear?
Matthew: MM and MmJ
Luke: 'Cleopas' (= Cephas/Peter?) and Simon
Mark: As MM fled.
Matthew: As MM and MmJ were going home. He told them he'd meet the disciples at Galilee.
Luke: As Cleopas and Simon walked to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him. That night at dinner he broke the bread and they realized who he was.
John: At the tomb. MM mistook him for the gardener. Then she recognized him. He said, 'Inform my brethren'.
9. What did the guards do?
Matthew: Told the chief priests. Were paid to say, Disciples stole the body.
10. What did the others do?
Matthew: The eleven went to Galilee.
Luke: Went to Jerusalem, told the disciples &c.
John: MM told the disciples.
11. To whom did Jesus second appear?
Paul: The twelve [sic].
Mark: 'two of them'.
Matthew: The eleven.
Luke: The eleven and others.
John: The disciples and others
Matthew: At Galilee
Luke: While MM, MmJ and Joanna were reporting to the eleven.
John: At table, with doors shut
13. With what result?
Mark: The two told the others but weren't believed.
Matthew: They worshiped him but some doubted. He told them to preach to all nations.
Luke: They thought he was a ghost. He reassured them. He led them to Bethany. He was carried up to heaven.
John: They were glad. He gave them the Holy Spirit and power to forgive.
14. To whom did Jesus third appear?
Paul: The five hundred.
Mark: The eleven at table. He upbraided them for their disbelief. He told them signs - demons, tongues, serpents, poisons. He went up to heaven.
John: At the same house as before, with the doors locked. He reassured Thomas.
15. To whom did Jesus fourth appear?
John: Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, (James and) the BD (beloved disciple) and (two) another disciples (7 total). They didn’t recognize him at first. They caught lots of fish. They recognized him at breakfast. They argued over the Beloved Disciple waiting (living) till Jesus returned.
16. To whom did Jesus fifth appear?
Paul: All the apostles.
Luke: All the apostles
? : 500 at a time
"Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:"
17. Where did Jesus ascend to heaven?
iama: Where do you get Galilee from Mark?
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey."
You can get to the resurrection by faith.
You can't get there through history.
Blu, you have done a good job of compiling your above data.
If, each of Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, Mark, writing to a Roman audience, Luke, writing to a Greek audience, and John, writing to all men / women, and they therefore chose data, from the life of Christ Jesus, which reinforced their particular emphasis to a particular audience, why do you, then, state that, "each of the five NT accounts of the resurrection conflicts in major ways with the other four." Why do you state that there are conflicts? Why couldn't four reporters report four different accounts, all correct, but, different, because the recorders were eye-witnesses of, or had interviewed eye-witnesses of, who had initially appeared at the resurrection scene at differing times, and for differing reasons / purposes, and with different companions, and with different messages, and with different observations, etc.?
Blu, you can get there if you are willing to believe The Bible's history-recordings as historically recorded by historical, human recorders, regarding historical events. Christ Jesus is God taking upon Himself the form of a human, for the purpose of buying back His The Creation, from The Evil - "The Law of Sin and Death." "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" is, now, available to all who believe.