The resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part Three

One of the arguments laymen skeptics and atheists like to make against Jesus’ resurrection is that the early Christians borrowed this idea from supposed pagan resurrection stories. While most scholars don’t accept this, it will be good to know what it is when you hear it brought up.

We will see in the two short videos that these pagan myths are nothing at all like the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will also see that Jesus’ resurrection was in sharp contrast to the expectations of Second Temple Judaism in the first century, which refutes the skeptic’s argument that the early Christians ransacked the Old Testament Scriptures in order to come up with a resurrection story of their own.

I will try to state this as clearly as I can. There is nothing in ancient pagan, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greco-Roman, or even Jewish history that compares to the bodily resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ, nor had it even entered into anyone’s mind what God was going to do. It was totally unprecedented and unanticipated, as Paul put it so succinctly:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But as it is written:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor.2:7-9 NKJV – emphasis added)

This first short clip is from Godnewevidence titled, “Was the story of Jesus rising from the dead borrowed from pagan myths?” In this video, experts debunk the popular myth that skeptics like to put forth that the origins of the Christian resurrection came from pagan sources.

I’ve included this second clip from InspiringPhilosophy because it continues along the same line of argumentation that the other videos used in parts one and two. This also has more background on Second Temple Jewish Messianic expectations, comparing that to Jesus’ resurrection.

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)

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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18 Responses to The resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part Three

  1. Arkenaten says:

    I don’t think it matters to be honest. It is simply a work of fiction or delirium.

    Much like the born of a virgin garbage found in Matthew. Plenty of people have been claimed to have been born of a virgin or by some form of miracle. Almost yawn-worthy.

    All part and parcel of the narrative to convince would-be followers, that this new god was a New and Improved Model.

    Same old same old.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Haha…let’s just say it’s fiction and declare victory! Yeah, that proves it! Whatever…

      So, it doesn’t matter? Well, it does, Ark, whether you believe it or not. The truth is not affected by your unsubstantiated opinions.

      • Arkenaten says:

        So, exactly why does it matter, Mel?
        Please enlighten me. I’m deadly serious. I really want to try to understand why you beleive this and why you consider it is vital to at least try to convince me of its veracity.

        After all , we can presume some of you flock are following along.

        So once again. Why does it matter, Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, exactly why does it matter, Mel?
          Please enlighten me. I’m deadly serious.

          That’s a great question, actually, and I truly hope you are serious (and open to it). I’m planning to do a series of posts on “why Jesus” for this apologetic series. I’ve already written extensively on it in these posts, so for now, I will summarize the most important point using a quote from theologian, Dr. C. Baxter Kruger.

          Jesus resurrection represents a “reboot” of the whole world in a way…a new creation reality has been inaugurated on the earth in humankind. This is John’s argument in John 1:1-18, utilizing another early Christian hymn and brilliantly expanding on Heraclites’ definition of logos (I wrote about this in “Logos: the structuring reality of everything“). Simply put, Jesus became a Man in order to INCLUDE us in the SAME eternal Fellowship He has had with the Father through the Spirit from eternity. Dr. C. Baxter Kruger can help us here from his “Summary of the Trinitarian Vision”:

          “The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings.” (“Summary of the Trinitarian Vision” – Dr. C. Baxter Kruger)

          Of course, this is philosophically and theologically based, not historical, as this particular series is focused. But you were asking a philosophical question so it requires a philosophical answer. I will go into greater detail and make other points in the series.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I am sorry, but this does not explain anything/mean to me.

          What does eternal fellowship mean?

        • Mel Wild says:

          It essentially means relationship, exactly like the relationship Jesus had with His heavenly Father when He walked the earth as a human being. It’s eternal because it exists outside of time and space. Jesus was the prototype in this particular sense. Of course, it starts with believing that God exists. So, I don’t expect you to understand it because you’re not open to it. It’s theological language that I will try and unpack when I do the series.

        • Arkenaten says:

          It essentially means relationship, exactly like the relationship Jesus had with His heavenly Father

          Can you explain this in more detail. It sounds a bit gobboldygook.

          So what made you a believer? What are the benefits and what do you think are the consequences of not believing?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, you think that. You’re not open to it. The Greek intellectuals made fun of it during the early church times. Nothing new there. The natural mind cannot understand it, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2. God confounds the “wise” with this reality.

          What made me a believer? The reality of this relationship I’m talking about. Because my heart was open to it, not that my faith wasn’t ever tested. My whole blog and book explain this: why I became a believer, and even more of a believer today than I was when I first believed.

          The consequence is that we live a wasted life (not according to our purpose), with our minds darkened, and we separate ourselves from Love. Quite sad, actually.

        • Arkenaten says:

          What made me a believer? The reality of this relationship I’m talking about.

          I meant what sparked the drive to pursue the belief?

          Are you serious? You truly beleive my life is a waste?

          So what happens when I die?
          And what happens when you die?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I don’t believe your life is waste in the way you imply, Ark. When the Gospels talks about “perish” it means that we are not living according to our design; we have not found the true meaning and purpose for our lives. So, we live in alienation to that purpose. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to become a preacher or some radical Bible thumper. And you can certainly can have a full life and accomplish a lot things, find love and fulfillment without God. In fact, that shows just how radical His love is, that He gives you space not to believe in Him! But it’s “wasted,” in this sense, means by comparison to what you could have, your life has fallen short of the fullness it could’ve had. I don’t expect you to believe this. But this is the philosophical reasoning behind the statement.

          What happens to you when you die? As I told you before, there are at least four major views about this in Christianity. On one end is that you just become worm food, on the other, you are tortured eternally. I don’t believe the latter. It’s not compatible with Jesus nor with God’s nature. A lot of the language about this in Scripture is metaphorical. It’s not a question that can be answered definitively. I like the theologian, George McDonald, which C.S. Lewis took for his short story, “The Great Divorce.” We continue to on the trajectory we are on now, either embracing God or alienating ourselves from God’s love and relationship. As Lewis famously said, “The gates of hell are locked from the inside.”

          Again, I cannot be dogmatic, but why in the world would you ever want to separate yourself from the source of all goodness and love? What do you have to lose? That is irrational to me.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You did not explain what sparked your pursuit of this belief.

          And you aren’t really explaining anything to me so far.
          You mention purpose but have not specified what you believe this is.
          Define what you mean by ”the life I could have” and how you believe it would be improved by believing in your god?

        • Mel Wild says:

          What originally sparked my belief is that my (future) wife talked about Jesus like she actually knew Him, which was far different than the “religion” I had rejected as a young adult. I wanted to know Him, too. So, I opened my heart to that possibility and it totally transformed my life. That was in 1978. I can honestly say that it’s still transforming my life.

          As far as improving your life. I don’t know you, and I don’t doubt you have a full and happy life now. I’m just saying that this is what the New Testament claims, and I have seen it proven, over and over, in other people’s lives. For one thing, you step into God’s very own life that exists outside of time and space, so you immediately open yourself up to His great big world instead of some myopic naturalist worldview confined to what we can observe or think about in our own heads.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So you conversion, ”re conversion’was simply out of idle curiosity then?
          You were never a non believer as such.

          ….this is what the New Testament claims,

          This still explains nothing. You are merely using flowery language and not telling me anything specific about how or what will improve in my life by believing in your god.
          BY the way did you feel obliged /were you obliged to make another confession when you re-converted?

          Just imagine I know absolutely zilch about your god.
          Now explain how my life will be vastly improved by believing in him. And explain how I believe in him and explain what you mean by open my heart.

  2. Pingback: The resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part Five | In My Father's House

  3. It appears that you and Ark are finally getting to the true nature of what the real questions are and should be.

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