Investigating Easter: Did the Disciples Imagine the Resurrection?

by J Warner Wallace

In the many centuries since the disciples of Jesus reportedly observed the risen Christ, critics of Christianity have challenged the supernatural claim of the Resurrection. Some skeptics believe the disciples, as a result of their intense grief and sorrow, only imagined seeing Jesus alive after His death on the cross. These critics claim the appearances were simply hallucinations that resulted from wishful thinking. But this proposal fails to explain the empty tomb and only accounts for the resurrection experiences at first glance.

As a detective, I frequently encounter witnesses who are related in some way to the victim in my case. These witnesses are often profoundly impacted by their grief following the murder. As a result, some allow their sorrow to impact what they remember about the victim. They may, for example, suppress all the negative characteristics of the victim’s personality and amplify all the victim’s virtues. Let’s face it, we all have a tendency to think the best of people once they have died. But these imaginings are typically limited to the nature of the victim’s character and not the elaborate and detailed events that involved the victim in the past. Those closest to the victim may be mistaken about his or her character, but I’ve never encountered loved ones who have collectively imagined an identical set of fictional events involving the victim. It’s one thing to remember someone with fondness, another thing to imagine an elaborate and detailed history that didn’t occur. Based on these experiences as a detective, there are other reasonable concerns when considering the explanation that the disciples hallucinated or imagined the resurrection…

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Investigating Easter: Did The Disciples Imagine The Resurrection? | Cold Case Christianity