5 Questions on the Resurrection: The Burden of Proof for Skeptics
Christians have had good answers for the historical, literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ for 2000 years, even if skeptic types act like we don’t. But it is a mistake to assume all the burden of proof rests on Christians. After all, you have some ‘splainin to do too! The historical existence and rise of the Church must be accounted for somehow. The resurrection of the Son of God is the best explanation. But if you disregard that, how do you explain the origin of the church, historically and feasibly? How, plausibly, did this all go down?
5 Questions are a subset of this question:
1. How do you account for a bunch of Jews who believed in, at best, a future resurrection suddenly believing they had seen one?
2. How do you account for strict monotheists suddenly believing they had witnessed the Son of God, and worshiping him as such?
3. How do you account for the lack of refutations of something so public?
Early Christianity is utterly unlike, say, Mormonism, whose early history is completely shrouded in secrecy– “we’ve got some golden tablets, and a secret message, but you can’t see them. Only certain people can.” No, this was out in the open. This was verbally and written in public documents–with eyewitnesses! (Bauckham). The Gospels offer an invitation: “Do you doubt us? Then go look it up. Look the witnesses up!”
4. How do you account for the change of heart and behavior of the disciples? What was their motivation to perpetuate a lie at loss of their lives?
5. How do you account for the rapid spread of Christianity, despite severe persecution?
Finally, as Tim Keller states in The Reason for God, (and this isn’t an argument, but more of an appeal), even if you have a hard time believing the resurrection to be true, you should still want it to be true. Do you care about the plight of the poor, about injustice, about oppression, hunger, and disease? Do you want to see those ills alleviated? Does the removal of shame and guilty sound like good news? That’s what the resurrection offers! And it is why people, both back then and today, continue to embrace it as historical and current reality. That’s what billions of people will be celebrating tomorrow. Jesus is Risen!