Jesus’ Resurrection: Miracle or Myth?
by Hank Hanegraaff
What was the central truth of the early apostles’ preaching? What was the stimulus to the miraculous growth of the early church? What was the energizing force which spread the gospel across the face of the earth?" These questions, posed by Dr. Walter Martin in his book Essential Christianity, all find their answer in the singular event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "He is risen!" was the victory cry of the early Christians, as they spread the message of Christ’s bodily resurrection to the ends of the earth.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very capstone in the arch of Christianity. When it is removed all else crumbles. It is, in fact, the singular doctrine that elevated Christianity above all the pagan religions of the Mediterranean world. And it is precisely because of its strategic importance to the Christian faith that each person who takes the sacred name Christian upon his lips must be prepared to defend its historicity.
Thus the question must be asked, How can we know beyond any doubt that Jesus really rose from the dead – that this singular event is not some queer predilection on the part of the Christian but is rather faith founded on irrefutable fact?
As Christians, we must be prepared to demonstrate that Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space – that it was, in reality, historical and not mythological (cf. 2 Pet. 1:16). The importance of this event cannot be minimized, for Jesus Himself proclaimed that His resurrection would prove His power over death, and thus His deity (John 2:18-22). Not only that, but Christ’s resurrection is the very heart of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
When I first began examining the evidences for Christianity, I discovered that belief in the Resurrection does not constitute a blind leap into a dark chasm but rather a step into the light. Indeed, the evidence for Christ’s resurrection is so overwhelming that no one can examine it with an open mind desiring to know the truth without becoming convinced of its truth.
Of the many evidences available, none is more compelling than the fact that the resurrected Christ appeared to over five hundred individuals at a single time (1 Cor. 15:6). Christ appeared to numerous other individuals as well, providing "many convincing proofs" of His resurrection (Acts 1:3). Christ in His resurrection body was even touched on two occasions (Matt. 28:9; John 20:17), and challenged the disciples (Luke 24:39) and Thomas (John 20:27) to feel His wounds.
For those who continue to harbor doubts about the veracity of the biblical evidence, one need only point to Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the greatest authority on legal evidences in the 19th century…
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