The Five Common Objections to the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus
by Matt Rawlings
‘Tis the season for weird theories about the origins of the Christian faith. Every year at Easter and Christmas, several cable channels will offer shows setting forth odd (and academically rejected) theories about the events surrounding the weekend on which Jesus was crucified.
So, here is a quick primer on how to deal with the most common objections to the claim that Jesus was actually raised from the dead.
1. Objection: “The disciples fabricated the resurrection.” Answer: Hmmm, why? There is no reason for the disciples to have fabricated the resurrection of Jesus. Their loyalty to Jesus had already cost them more than they were comfortable with, so, why would they make up something that would get them into more trouble? What would they gain by doing so? Who would continue to claim they saw something they didn’t when it threatened their livelihood then their freedom and then their very lives. Eventually, in a group of eleven, it breaks down…but it didn’t!
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2. Objection: “The Gospels set forth one of many ancient resurrection stories!” Answer: There are NO ancient resurrection stories like the one recorded in the New Testament. Bill Maher’s “documentary” Religulous tried to argue that the resurrection of Jesus was copied from other ancient near eastern accounts. Maher points to the Mithras cult and the Egyptian Horus legend as the precedent for resurrection stories. But many historians now believe the Mithras legend followed not preceded the Christian account. The Egyptian story of Horus is not that analogous to the account of Jesus. Horus was not truly physically resurrected but was spiritually cobbled together (save one piece that I won’t mention) so that he could join the spiritual place of the dead. No one anticipated a physical resurrection and that’s because it was unique as a sign of the future new heavens and new earth in which all of those who place their faith in Jesus will inherit a perfect, eternal physical body…