How to Dismantle Myths about the Resurrection of Jesus
By Nicholas Davis
There are some facts about the death of Jesus that no one disputes. According to the testimony of both Christian and non-Christian historical documents, it is undisputed that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person who lived, was crucified, died, and was buried in a tomb. (See the Gospels, the historian Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and the Jewish Talmud.)
Three days after the death of Jesus, his tomb was empty. These are the undisputed facts. So what best explains why (or how) the body of Jesus went missing? Let’s look at how to dismantle seven resurrection myths that fail to account for all the facts.
1. Jesus was faking it.
The “swoon” theory claims that Jesus fainted on the cross and awoke in the tomb. This is a myth, because the Romans were very good at executing people via crucifixions. Jesus had gaping wounds from the flogging and beating, dislocated shoulders, and a pierced side from the crucifixion.
Even if he survived all of that (and asphyxiation from being nailed to a cross for hours), in his very poor health condition he would have needed to roll away a heavy stone while essentially locked inside of the tomb. All of this seems more unlikely than an actual resurrection.
2. Jesus had a twin brother.
The “twin” theory” says that Jesus had an identical twin who remained hidden all of his life. I like to call this the “prestige theory,” named after the Christopher Nolan film in which Christian Bale is a magician and has a twin brother who helps him complete the impossible magic trick with the doors.
Aside from the fact that there is no documentary evidence whatsoever to support this myth, it doesn’t account for the missing body from the tomb. If he had a twin brother who died in his place, the other brother would have needed to steal the body from the tomb.
3. The body of Jesus was stolen.
The “stolen body” theory says the body of Jesus was stolen by someone. The question is, who had a motive to steal his body? The Romans and the Jews wanted Christianity to die—so it was in their interest to make sure the body remained. The disciples had no motive either, because they believed their Messiah was dead and mourned his death as if he were never coming back.
It’s highly unlikely that they would be willing to be imprisoned, tortured, beaten, and killed for preaching the resurrection of a body they had stolen. Who would suffer so much loss for a lie? More questionable is the fact that in order to steal the body, they would have to go through the Roman guard.
There is a group of people who actually claim that aliens stole the body of Jesus. First of all, prove that aliens exist. Then prove that aliens cared enough about a first-century Jew (out of all periods in history and all people who have ever lived) to steal his body. This view is more unbelievable than the resurrection of Jesus…
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