The Apologist: What proof is there?
Christian apologist Amy Orr-Ewing responds to some of the biggest objections to the resurrection.
Isn’t the story of the resurrection the result of uneducated people who were willing to believe?
The resurrection of Jesus was believed and communicated both by ‘educated’ and ‘non-educated’ people. I think this is important – some may sneer at the supposedly ‘uneducated’ Gospel writers Matthew and Mark whose accounts are based on the testimony of working people. But I would question whether fishermen are more given to flights of fancy than a doctor such as Luke or an educated academic such as Paul.
The more important issue here is the idea that people were ‘willing to believe’. There was no Jewish expectation of an individual resurrection at all at the time of Jesus – they generally believed there would be a corporate resurrection at the end of time, rather than the resurrection of one man.
The Gospel narratives reflect this reluctance to accept Jesus’ resurrection. Thomas, for example, initially refused to believe it had happened. Paul believed in spite of having every personal predisposition not to. There was a huge cost, both theologically and personally, to the disciples and other early Christians for believing in the resurrection.
In essence, don’t dismiss Jesus’ resurrection on the basis that people would have been willing to believe it, because they weren’t.
Why should we believe a story that wasn’t written down until long after the event?
We are not being asked to believe in something written a ‘long’ time after the events. Compared to other equivalent historical sources, the Gospels were written relatively shortly after the events they record.
At the time, there was a strong oral tradition and the stories could have been accurately preserved that way. However, recent scholarship which focuses on literary details within the Gospels themselves has demonstrated that they are in fact the product of eyewitness testimony…