The Importance of the Resurrection for Apologetics

by Austin Gravley

I remember a few months ago, a good Facebook friend of mine, who is an atheist that I greatly respect, asked me: “What would it take to falsify your belief in Christianity”?

Another Christian, one who had been locked in passionate (but respectful) debate with said atheist friend listed, amongst other things, that if it could be shown that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then that would convince him that Christianity was false.

I posted another comment in agreement.

Today is Easter Sunday. The rest of the house is asleep while I am head banging and playing air guitar to metal legends Living Sacrifice. Such is the typical Sunday afternoon at my house. Yet for all it is worth, today is no ordinary day. Today is the day we celebrate the one event that, if true, is the single most monumental event that will ever take place in the entire history of existence: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that the resurrection is what will make or break Christianity:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (HCSB)

As an apologist, if there is one area I believe that every Christian should be an expert in, it would be the resurrection. I would argue that all other areas of apologetics (philosophical, scientific, historical, ect) are useless endeavors apart from the resurrection of Christ. If it did not happen, then apologetics would be the most delusional waste of time, as time and effort would be trying to spent justifying something that is not possible because the main ingredient – the resurrection – never happened. While the question of God’s existence would still be open even if it could be shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead, it would demonstrate one thing: Jesus Christ is not God, and Christianity is a joke…

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RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:  The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus / The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach / The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) / More suggestions…