Is There Evidence for the Resurrection?
by Matthew Ruttan
Alright, put on your seat belts, we’re going on a bit of a journey!
1 Corinthians 15:16-18 was written by the apostle Paul in the mid-50’s after the resurrection to a group of struggling Christians in the ancient city of Corinth. Here he’s talking about the centrality of the resurrection to our faith:
“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Yup, if the resurrection didn’t happen our faith is “futile” and we are “of all people most to be pitied.”
So yes, the resurrection is central to our faith. It’s not out in left field somewhere, its home plate. So with that in mind, and on the heels of Easter Sunday, our question today is this:
Is there evidence for the resurrection?
In this blog I explore that question. (And you should note that this is a basic manuscript from a message I delivered at Westminster Church on April 8, 2018. You can listen to the full audio podcast here.)
According to my trusty Webster’s dictionary evidence is “anything that provides material or information on which a conclusion or proof may be based, an indication.” So exploring the evidence for the truthfulness of something requires the use of our brains—it requires following the evidence.
And what is more important than exploring the truthfulness of the resurrection, especially if our faith is “futile” without it?
For me, the biblical rationale for exploring the evidence for the resurrection comes from Jesus himself. In Mark 12:30, he outlines the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND and with all your strength…” (capitals added).
One of the implications of this is that using your mind—your brain, your reason—is a part of your devotion to God.
I once overheard a young person ask an older person this question: “How do I know if the resurrection actually happened?” Great question! After all, it’s a pretty wild story. A guy came back to life for goodness sakes! Here’s the answer they got back: “Well, you just have to believe.”
I’m sorry that but that answer just isn’t good enough. Reasons matter. Reason to your faith is like walls to your house—it gives it strength, structure, and guards against collapse…