Today, I would say the claim concerning the resurrection is more impressive than any by the religious competition (former atheist Anthony Flew).
It’s worth noting that the apostles saw the risen Christ, touched the risen Christ, and died tortuous deaths while proclaiming the truth of the resurrection. They did this when all they had to do was deny it to avoid persecution and death. Sure, many people die for lies, but no collective, diverse group of people die for a lie when they have sure knowledge that it is a lie. Furthermore, all known ancient documents that refer to the subject report an empty tomb. Even though the manner in which one accepts or rejects the evidence is controlled by one’s presuppositions, the facts are mighty. The evidence is there and it is impressive.
The message is clear: Through His mercy and grace, God forgives sinners who place their faith in Christ. Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers, and God maintains His standard of perfect justice. Too marvelous for words! (David Limbaugh).
Evidence is Delightful
If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn’t believe the claim on the basis of faith. “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway (Peter Boghossian, A Manual for Creating Atheists). What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof (assertion made by Hitchens offered without proof). In short, I didn't become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God who proved his divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take (Lee Strobel).
The Christian worldview alone offers a confirmed resurrection of a Savior to demonstrate its authority. The Greek deities and other pseudo-resurrected gods were not historical figures. The only documents we have concerning the false gods/myths are the specific documents dated hundreds of years after Christianity arose.
Evidence is indeed wonderful. The Christian faith has an abundance of evidence to support its claims. In truth, there is nothing but evidence for the God of the Bible. Every star and every atom declares the majesty of God (Psalm 19:1).
The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Integrated with Assured Proof
Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end. Often had they been faithless and now, while addressing them, He knows that they will all in a few hours forsake Him. Yet He trusts them; He commits His cause to their keeping. And we must love as He loved.1
You can see the resurrection effect in the waning movement of the Sadducees (the priests and their sect)—people who doubled down on manmade religion and their self-centered traditions. The growth of the church through the resurrection of Christ made the sect of the Sadducees (priestly) obsolete. Indeed, biblically, the world is opposed to the Christian church, but unlike cultists, the church should not fear the world. The church should aim to win souls from the world because God's people are led by the Spirit of God.
The world will bring its condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If they reject us, he accepts us. If they hate us, he loves us. If they imprison us, he sets our spirits free. If they afflict us, he refines us by the fire. If they kill us, he makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous. “And the righteous are bold as a lion.”2
The Excessive Evaluation of Reason
To whatever degree men discard God’s word they must attempt to substitute it with something within their own nature. In snubbing God, as the ground for truth men, suppose that He is replaced by mankind's reason. On every occasion where people banish God from their analysis, a void is left which must be filled. When analyzing the resurrection of Jesus, if one dismisses the accounts in the Gospels, one is not only left without the best informational source, one is caught without a foundation to account for the universal operational features utilized in such an analysis.
As scholars strive to fill that rational barrenness, they find it necessary to act as magistrate over God and His word in questions such as:
· Does the true God exist?
· Did God reveal Himself and truth?
· Can one affirm God’s revelation in scripture?
To deny God, unsurprisingly, leads to the elevation of man and human reason over God’s revelation. One sees this in the work of the Boghossian and the New Atheists.
God’s is the Ultimate Ruler of Reason
I maintain belief [p] Christ’s resurrection because there are good grounds to believe [p]. However, I believe in [p] because the Christian worldview is and must be true since it furnishes the necessary conditions for intelligibility—the structured necessary categories of understanding. Above and beyond those truths, because of the illumination from the Holy Spirit, I know [p] in a certain, undeniable, and indubitable manner. The evidential burden for rational belief in the resurrection can be set high since it is an essential feature of the Christian worldview; the worldview that provides the universal functioning categories of intelligibility.
So, regarding the Resurrection, there is worldview proof as well as proof by a preponderance of evidence.
I believe Christ is alive because:
I. The preponderance of the evidence supports the resurrection
II. The Christian worldview is true
III. Most significantly, God has revealed His truth to me by His grace through the Word and Spirit
Since a believer and nonbeliever will assess the evidence differently, under dissimilar presuppositions, this will affect how each assesses the historical evidence. The divergent ways in which men interpret evidence is one reason contending at the worldview level is so crucial. The rational confidence in the truth of a historical account is not always evidentially established. Non-evidential modus does not imply non-rational. In fact, all knowledge can be connected back to one’s ultimate commitments—unargued rational pre-commitments. Thus, there is a direct appeal to the facts as well as the worldview that provides the preconditions necessary for the discovery, examination, analysis, and communication of facts.
Because God is not only real, but necessary, the scholar who strives to analyze and evaluate the resurrection of Jesus (or any subject) devoid of a divine foundation understands only in terms of himself. He attempts to comprehend that which is beyond him. This is the case since he is assessing selected infinite features using his finite mind while he is not in a proper epistemic position to discern such truth. God is boundless in His knowledge, but humans are limited creatures who can never provide the infinitely-broad operational features necessarily utilized in all research. One needs God as one’s ground for reason to account for all the implicit features of rational analysis.
Scholars researching the resurrection of Christ should not presume the entitlements of the all-knowing God. Man is fallen. People have sinned. Acquiescing to the actuality of sin is requirement for real conversion—one must repent from sin and trust in Christ. The accurate researcher must consent to his finitude and its limitations. He must understand himself in light of who God is and what He has revealed. Nevertheless, many academics scrap both. Too often writers tackling the subject of Christ and His resurrection approach the subject with naturalistic presuppositions. Naturalism denies the fallen nature of man and effectively makes human reason the controlling authority, the rational zenith used to analyze the truth of God’s word. The positions are then reversed, for the reason that God is then at best an unnecessary idea. He is vulgarly dismissed as a superfluous invasion into naturalism's domain.
Scholarship that ignores God as the foundation for proper inquiry will go in the direction that man’s fallen reason takes him. This scholarship overtly overlooks both finitude and man’s fallen nature as it puts an impossible encumbrance on man's reasoning. Indeed, reason is a necessary but insufficient tool required for historical examination and inquiry. But naturalistic methodology makes it the locus of preeminence. No sane man should speak against human reason inasmuch as one must use it while rebuffing it. But only God provides the necessary a priori conditions for the universal functioning aspects employed in the reasoning process.
The Boundaries of Human Reason
Reason is limited by the finitude and sinfulness of mankind. People lack the ontological capacity to understand and experience all the potentialities within the cosmos—there are knowledge and ontic realms he cannot experience at all. His rational ability is inadequate to account for the tools of reason employed to investigate the resurrection of Christ. People cannot understand everything they encounter and know. All the combined minds of humanity throughout all history could not understand complete reality, yet selected scholarship stresses that we should understand God’s word by naturalistic presuppositions. The consequence is an incoherent and unbiblical view of Christ as well as a jaundiced understanding regarding the meaning of His life, death, and resurrection. The atheistic presupposition about the reliability of naturalistic concepts makes it and not revelation their ultimate locus. The logic of these assumptions ends up excluding Christ from a discussion about His own life, death, and resurrection.
In an analysis of Christ’s resurrection, naturalistic assumptions must give way to the foundation of intelligibility: God. Naturalistic thought is principally void of any genuine notion of truth or knowledge. The alternative is a thoroughly scripture-based worldview, which alone provides the universal necessities required for historical exploration and analysis.
God (y) is a necessary condition for the possibility of historical analysis (x)—since x is the case, it logically follows that y must be the case.
In this way skepticism, regarding Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection, is overturned using arguments from ultimate criteria (immutable foundation with universal reign: Christianity; the Christian worldview vs. a non-theistic worldview which has a mutable non-universal foundation).
The skeptic accepts the reality of historical analysis, the necessary condition of which is God.* This problem seems to be disabling for the semi-skeptical positions of Boghossian, Aslan, Ehrman, and other trendy critics. This is the case not merely because of skepticism’s dubious coherence, but because of its ontological limitation—it lacks a source that is lofty and majestic enough to provide universal immutables utilized in historical analysis. In rational pursuits, including historical investigation, there is no ontic cheating: you either have the goods or you do not. If one’s worldview lacks the resources to account for the universal operating features of reason, it is incapable of underwriting such an enterprise.
The Assured Resurrection of Jesus
No amount of belief makes something a fact (James Randi).
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).
He observed that it was not possible for the apostles “to continue to reaffirm the truth time after time, if in fact Jesus wasn’t resurrected from the dead” (Simon Greenleaf, onetime skeptic; Law School professor at Harvard: wrote the long-used text book for ascertaining legal evidence).
Facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1. Numerous eyewitnesses testified under the threat of death that they saw the risen Jesus, including 500 people at one time (1Cor. 15).
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
2. All the apostles, except John, died a horrible death knowing they observed Jesus alive from the dead. Hundreds more died because they would not recant the fact that they had seen the risen Jesus. Not one apostle recanted to save himself from a torturous death.
3. The resurrection was proclaimed in the city of Jerusalem where the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection took place. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, his enemies only had to produce his body and this new religion that they hated would be terminated before it started.
4. The conversion of the opponents of Christianity, including many Jewish Priests and Pharisees (Acts 6:7, 15:5, 20:21), can best be explained by the resurrection of Christ. The risen Jesus converted many of those who executed Him because of the overwhelming evidence of His resurrection and His many appearances.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee” (Luke 24:1-6).
5. Ancient hostile sources and extra-biblical writers record the matching facts of Christ’s death and empty tomb including Josephus in his Testimonium Flavianum recorded below:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.3
6. The continuous defense of the resurrection in front of Roman government officials from Paul to Tertullian was unchallenged by Rome and all ancient historians. No plausible explanation, other than the resurrection, existed or the precise government records could have been employed to refute the Christian claims.
I don’t think that there’s any good reason for thinking that the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is not best explained by the resurrection (William Lane Craig).
7. Jesus’ tomb was secured and guarded by well-trained Jewish and Roman guards. The tomb had a Roman seal to prevent tampering, with the threat of execution for breaking the seal, yet the tomb was empty. Every ancient historical source that discusses the subject verifies that the tomb was empty.
Gary Habermas concerning the uniqueness of Christ: “The reports of Buddha and Krishna come hundreds of years afterward [after the Resurrection of Christ]. No other major religious founder in ancient times was ever crucified. Further, it cannot be demonstrated that there is even a single pagan resurrection account prior to Jesus, whether mythological or historical.”4
The only logical explanation for these historical events that can be given is that God resurrected Jesus (George Eldon).
The Genuine Battle
God has never left himself without a witness to men. He witnessed to them through every fact of the universe from the beginning of time. No rational creature can escape this witness. It is the witness of the triune God whose face is before men everywhere and all the time. Even the lost in the hereafter cannot escape the revelation of God. God made man a rational-moral creature. He will always be that. As such he is confronted with God. He is addressed by God. He exists in the relationship of covenant interaction. He is a covenant being. To not know God man would have to destroy himself. He cannot do this. There is no non-being into which man can slip in order to escape God’s face and voice. The mountains will not cover him; Hades will not hide him. Nothing can prevent his being confronted “with him with whom we have to do.” Whenever he sees himself, he sees himself confronted with God.5
It makes more sense to believe first century Jewish eyewitnesses than twenty-first century occidental skeptics. Matthew wrote the following, as a witness, two decades after the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you” (Matthew 28:5-7).6
Secure Proof for the Existence of God
Faith … is belief without supportive evidence (atheist Victor Stenger).
- p: The God exists.
- ~p: Presupposes atheism q.
- ~p--> q): If God does not exist, there is no intelligibility since God is the truth condition for the immutable operational features required for intelligibility.
- ~q: Intelligibility.
- ~ ~p: God does not not exist.
- p: God does exist.
It appears difficult to remain logical if one denies the foundation for intelligibility while presupposing it. It is beyond challenging to deny intelligibility while assuming it within that denial itself. Only the Christian worldview accounts for intelligibility. In addition, affirming or rejecting this argument presupposes intelligibility.
The knowledge pursuit is not merely about knowledge of material objects but of the necessary a priori conditions essential for our cognition of objects—the a priori factors in human knowledge are fundamentally more significant than knowledge of material objects.
Human knowledge is not limited to experience within mere matter in motion—the experience of some definite, individual physical thing which is only experienced in conjunction with of other material things. Rather it is knowledge that relies on a basic mode of being which is prior to and permeates all experience. God necessarily exists as the truth condition for human knowledge and being. God grounds human knowledge and experience. God is the infinite reference and foundation required for intelligibility. Man does not and cannot stand at the center of the epistemic process since humanity is finite, mutable, and imperfect.
Capability, Capacity, and Proof: God
The issue isn’t only about evidence for the Bible and God. The sure proof for the Bible is that without God’s word, one cannot account for evidence. This is the case because God is the precondition for unchanging logical norms that must be utilized in marshaling and pondering evidence. Non-theistic systems of thought fail to supply the necessary a prior conditions for logical norms. Humanity and the physical world are in a constant state of flux. A changing, material-only conglomeration of the sum of human intelligence cannot provide the needed a priori conditions for the unchanging laws of thought. The laws of thought require a transcendent and unchanging foundation.
There is nothing a skeptic can assert without ultimately relying on theism, since theism furnishes the preconditions for fixed logical norms. God is the preexisting foundation for all deliberation and assertion.
I. Examination and analysis of evidence presuppose the universal operational features of rationality (including logical norms).
II. The universal operational features of rationality presuppose God.
III. Examination and analysis of evidence presuppose God.
Facts Concerning Christ’s Resurrection
The resurrection is more impressive than any by the religious competition7 (former atheist Anthony Flew).
It is more than a bit interesting that all known ancient documents that refer to Christ's grave report an empty tomb. Even though the manner in which one accepts or rejects the evidence, on the historicity of the ancient documents and other papyrus, is controlled by one’s presuppositions. Yea, the facts are mighty. The evidence is there, and it is impressive.
Resurrection Evidence Is Magnificent
If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead (Timothy Keller).
We see the evidence of God’s fingerprints in every corner of the universe. Mankind discovers the proof and affirms many of the facts that the Bible records and announces. The greatest miracle is the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is alive! He is the only religious leader in history to rise from the dead. He is the only one who promised a resurrection, and He kept His promise. You can visit the tombs of all the deceased religious leaders and find their remains still in the grave.
Dovtastic shares his visit to Muhammad’s grave: “During my trip this year on Hajj I had the great honor to visit our Prophet Muhammad’s … grave in the Ottoman front portion of the Masjid Al Nabawi. This beautiful masjid holds one million people in Medina and when the grave is open for visitation, 1000s of people are passing through every minute.”8 This man and millions others have seen the occupied grave of Islam’s founder, proving that Muhammad remained dead. You can visit the graves of leaders like Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, and David Koresh from your computer by watching a video of their grave sites on Youtube. They and all the others died and stayed dead; their occupied tombs attest to it. Jesus, however, is alive. His grave is empty. When people visit His grave it’s vacant.
Jesus said, “All power on earth and heaven has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). No force could have kept Him down. The Romans killed Him, put Him in a cave tomb, and placed huge boulder at a downward angle in front of the cave, pasted Caesar’s seal on the crypt, and posted Roman guards to protect the tomb. They were only trying to prevent the inevitable. Jesus had the power to rise, and nobody could stop Him. God used Christ’s resurrection and His appearances before His disciples, and He used the subsequent preaching of the apostles, to win many of Christ’s enemies to salvation. The Bible tells us that “the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Scripture also records that some Pharisees converted to Christianity (Acts 15:5
For more unique arguments and proof see my book
or Risen: The Evidence for the Resurrection HERE on Amazon
1. Richard Fuller. Dictionary of Burning Words by Brilliant Men.
2. John Piper. The Passion of Jesus Christ.
3. Flavius Josephus. Antiquities 18.3.3.
4. William Craig. God is Good.
5. Cornelius Van Til. The Defense of Faith.
6. Peter Thiede. Eyewitnesses to Jesus.
7. Anthony Flew. There is a God.
9. David Limbaugh. Jesus is Risen: Paul and the Early Church.
Also see God's Paradigm: The Ancient Foundation That Makes Christianity True HERE on Amazon
or Risen: The Evidence for the Resurrection HERE on Amazon
my paperback God Does Exist! HERE on Amazon
*God furnishes all the a priori essentials; the necessary epistemic equipment utilized in all analytical pursuits. God has the ontic attributes of omniscience, immutability, and omnipotence (He has universal range and influence) enabling Him to be the ground for the universal and immutable laws of logic that are utilized in all thought and analysis. Any position that rejects the true God, as the epistemic (knowledge) base, not only leaves an unnerving fissure, but hopelessly fails. Consequently, whatever evidence one discovers must be discerned and processed with the rational implements that arise from Christian theism and the worldview that emanates from God. The true God is the elemental requirement for all investigation, proof, evidence, and analysis. He is the a priori verity condition for the intelligibility of reality. The immaterial, transcendent, and immutable God supplies the indispensable pre-environment for the use of immaterial, transcendent, universal, and immutable laws of logic (law of identity: A = A; law of non-contradiction: A~~A). Atheistic thought, because it rests upon mutable and non-universal ground, cannot furnish the necessary preconditions for the immutable universal laws of logic; therefore it results in futility because of its internal weakness.