In part one, we looked at the historical data for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead that most scholars agree on. I did not treat the Bible as inspired (even though I believe it is) but as a history book, to see if the resurrection theory is the best explanation that provides explanatory scope and power for the evidence. I used articles and a video from experts in the field to show this.
A New Testament book that no textual scholar, theist or atheist, disputes the validity of is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. And in that letter, he writes:
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. ” (1 Cor.15:3-8 NASB)
It’s agreed that the ancient creed Paul is quoting here goes back to around the time of the resurrection (see my post, “New Testament hymns and creeds.”). To be clear, this doesn’t mean that skeptical scholars believe Jesus actually rose from the dead, but that the creed is very early and the letter is authentic.
And in this earliest creed are all the elements of the gospel, along with Paul’s attestation of resurrection appearances.
The video I included in part one (“Historical Evidence”) compiled the case for Jesus appearing to disciples after His crucifixion and death:
- His disciples said Jesus appeared to them alive
- Skeptics (Paul, James) reported Jesus appeared to them
- Conversion of skeptics Paul and James
- Expectation of the Gospel to the surrounding world
- Low status of women in the ancient world
- Immediate proclamation in Jerusalem
- Voluntary suffering of the disciples and witnesses
- Empty tomb
The video also compared this resurrection claim to popular counterclaims by skeptics, which includes the Mythic theory, Conspiracy Theory, and Hallucination Theory. We saw that these theories fail to provide a better explanation for the data.
Again, simply saying a claim is false does not refute the claim. The person must provide a better explanation that provides explanatory scope and power for all the data, not just for some of the points. And the burden of proof is always on the one making or refuting the claim.
In this part, I will simply show part four of the InspiringPhilosophy resurrection series titled, “Advanced theories.” These deal with some of the more advanced arguments that skeptical scholars Bart Ehrman and Gerd Lüdemann make for a better explanation of the evidence. We will see how their argument holds up to our claim.
NOTE: Please confine your comments to the subject matter of the post and video. Also, please keep your comments concise (under 500 words, preferably much shorter)