Is The Resurrection of Jesus Falsifiable?
By Carey Bryant
Christians rightly point out that the resurrection would have been easily falsifiable not long after Jesus’ death. All the opposition had to do was produce the body. Then the disciples would have confirmed that it was Jesus and went back to their day jobs. I wouldn’t be writing this blog, and there would be no A Clear Lens.
What a terrible world we would live in!
But there was no claim that Jesus’ body was ever found, and the first Christians preached the resurrection in the very place where Jesus died. They preached this radically new doctrine because according to them, they experienced the risen Jesus firsthand.
The Question of Falsifiability
Skeptics will point out that the resurrection is not falsifiable today because too much time has passed since Jesus’ death. In other words, if a body was produced today, there would be no way to confirm that it was Jesus of Nazareth’s body.
I agree with this. However, if we discovered an ossuary dating back to the first century that contained the bones of a crucified individual, and it had an inscription on it that read “Jesus of Nazareth,” then that would be a problem for Christianity!
It seems unlikely that some kind of evidence could be presented that would prove with absolute certainty that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. In the case of the ossuary, there could be several alternative explanations even though they are highly improbable. For example, there could have been more than one Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified in the first century.
Reason to Doubt the Resurrection?
Even if it’s not possible to disprove the resurrection with absolute certainty, it could still be the case that people who believe in the resurrection ought not to do so because of evidence against it.
Here are three scenarios that ought to make Christians doubt the resurrection if they were true…
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