The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being.
The Christian Church is based on the belief that Jesus Christ rose again three days after he was crucified. For many liberal believers, the resurrection had nothing at all to do with his body. What happened was Jesus was brought back to life but as a spirit and his body was not raised up. For moderate believers, God took a seed from the corpse and made a new semi-physical body that could change shape and go through walls and which had no need of food and drink. This body can even change its appearance. Jesus can look like Brad Pitt today and Orlando Bloom tomorrow. This body is called a spiritual body for it has the powers we attribute to ghosts and spirits and is like them. Other moderate believers believe that the entire human body of Jesus was turned into this kind of spiritual body. The extreme view is that Jesus’ body was physically raised from the dead and is physical though Jesus has the power to keep it alive forever and make it appear here and there like it came out of nowhere.
Which view does the Bible teach?
The evidence that the body of Jesus could be touched is dreadful. Thomas didn't believe that Jesus rose. So Jesus appeared to him to to show that he ought to believe. Though Jesus asked Thomas to touch his wounds after the resurrection it is not actually stated that Thomas did so. Jesus told Thomas that he believes because he has seen Jesus and those who do not see and who believe are blessed. This implies that Thomas made do with seeing. The New Testament may say that people touched the risen Jesus but it does not have any instances of anything like, "Jesus appeared to me and I touched him." It gives us no direct testimony. The twelve apostles were the twelve official and essential witnesses of Jesus. Not one of them to our knowledge ever claimed to have touched the risen Jesus. Indeed the way the Thomas story is laid out is meant to make people think they read that Thomas did touch him but a careful reading shows that that is not said at all. It shows the gospeller knew as we did that witnesses to a being who says he rose bodily from the dead are not witnesses at all to this resurrection if they have never touched him. It is like saying that you have witnessed a magician produce a live rabbit out of an empty hat when you have not taken a closer look at the rabbit to make sure it really is alive. Your testimony then becomes false and irrelevant and ineffective.
The problems show that the apostles were not as objective as Christians would like you to think! Thomas for example said he did not believe but he wanted to believe when he settled for just looking at the risen Jesus as evidence that Jesus rose. He wouldn't even touch him.
Most Christians hate the idea that Jesus rose spiritually from the dead for that makes the resurrection less believable. For example, occultists and mediums claim to routinely cause spiritual resurrections and the world is full of ghost stories in which people died and no body was ever found but they seemed to be back in bodily form after their deaths. But if the Bible doesn’t teach the resurrection these Christians want, nothing is to be gained by pretending different.
The apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:50, "Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them." He is not referring to death for if we die food will still be around. He is referring to what happens in the resurrection. He writes about resurrection in that chapter. If there will be no food in Heaven and when we are resurrected and we don't even have a stomach then clearly the earliest Church did not believe that the resurrection of Jesus was the resuscitation of a dead man's body but the person of Jesus returning in a magical new body. Ghost was the best way to describe the risen Jesus. Paul denies that the historical Jesus promised to drink wine with his disciples in his kingdom, shortly before he died and rose. The gospels of course choose to differ. They contradict Paul. The Church argues that the risen body will have the stomach done away with as necessary but it can have a stomach and food if it wants. This is just trying to get around what Paul wrote. It contradicts the plain sense of his words. If there will be no stomachs or food in Heaven then there would hardly be any sex either. If there is sex and we recall that Jesus said there is no marrying in Heaven is Heaven really a big orgy where anything goes? Who in their right mind would want this sterile Heaven? Christianity urges people to suffer on earth for the sake of gaining a Heaven that is simply an improvement over Hell but not much of a reward.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 that the body is not meant for fornication but the Lord and the Lord is for the body. He adds as if to prove this that God will raise us up as he did Jesus. This does say the body is to be used for God and it says we need a body. But even if you suppose your body dies and rots and God raises you up by making a magical body for you you could still talk the way Paul does. What he says has nothing to do with the idea that the body dies and is revived. The Lord is for the body. That is what he says. What an odd thing to say! The Lord he means is Jesus. He can't mean that God is for the body for God is for himself and there was a time he was making no bodies. He indicates that Jesus is Lord but is not God. Jesus was given to us for the body by God. Paul says the Church has the spirit of Jesus therefore it is his body. The Lord is for the body means that the Lord Jesus turns the Church into himself - literally. If Jesus can achieve something so absurd then Paul would agree that the resurrection of Jesus could be mystical and beyond understanding too and can only be known of in mystical experience.
Read 1 Corinthians 15. The idea that the resurrection of Jesus implies that the body was not stolen when the tomb was found empty but totally restored to life is wrong. The Bible does not state that the body of Jesus was never stolen. And if Jesus had been stolen that wouldn’t stop him rising again from the dead in his human body. The Bible says that that the old body was used to provide the SEED for the resurrection body.
That the resurrection of Christ
was not physical was made plain in the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
15, a part of the Christian scripture.
Paul was writing to those Christians in
So Paul thinks that the resurrection is essential for survival. Now a physical resurrection is not essential for survival after death for you could come back as a bodiless spirit or something. If Paul says it is he seems to think that there is no spirit that lives on after death and you need a resurrection of some sort. This is proven by verse 32 where he says that if there is no resurrection you may eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. So the resurrection is the only hope for life after death. He must be thinking of spiritual resurrection for physical isn’t necessary and has nothing to do with his argument. Incidentally, he would reject Catholic devotion to the saints as heresy for the saints are not raised yet.
Paul then says that there will be those who ask what kind of body the resurrected dead would have and he calls them fools (v 36). In answer, Paul said that the seed has to die – bad science – meaning cease to exist and having rotted away for the plant to come. Christians say Paul meant that it only looks as if the seed dies. Then why did he not say so? We should take him literally for he could have meant it literally.
You don’t know a seed is dead until it rots. He says that the seed is not the body that will come after it but only a kernel of it (15:37). It is possible that Paul is thinking that the plant only seems to come from the seed. What happens is the seed dies and by some miracle a plant grows in its place so the only connection between the seed and the plant is that the plant just grows where the seed was but was not caused by the seed. This view would imply that Paul believed in the resurrection of persons and not of bodies. It would imply that the new body of Jesus had nothing at all to do with the body that died on the cross. The new body is only a body in the sense that Jesus can materialise it into a temporary body. Strictly speaking it is a spirit. It is only called a body because it houses the person.
It is possible as well that the seed for Jesus’ resurrection body if a seed was used could have come not from his corpse but from the dead cells and body matter that Jesus lost when he was alive. There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that it mattered about his corpse that was put in the tomb.
The seed is totally different from what grows out of it.
He was making it clear to those who found it impossible to believe that corpses can come back to life that they were right about that. His answer was that the new body is totally different from the corpse which provides its seed. Thus he eliminated the later gospel lies about Jesus raising Lazarus and the widow’s son and Jesus’ empty tomb and the story of the apostles raising the dead as fairytales - but added that the resurrection is the creation of a complete new and different thing. Why else would he say that the body we have cannot rise again as it is but needs to rot and become the material for a new body which may mean fully or partly rot or both? (Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till). It is possible that Paul believed that the body of Jesus decayed a bit before he rose again and the more he rotted the more substantial his new resurrection body became as matter was transformed and spiritualised. Paul says that Jesus rose three days after his burial. Some would say that Jesus was incinerated after the crucifixion. This would refute the gospels. Others would say he miraculously rotted to nothing in three days. This would refute the authenticity of the Turin Shroud.
Paul also said that you have the glory of the sun and the stars and the glory of the earth which are totally different and the same difference exists between the nailed corpse of Jesus and his new risen self. If Paul was not saying that the difference between the human body and the risen body is radical his contrasting the seed and the plant and the things of earth and the sky for the purpose of showing the analogy that the corpse was wholly unlike the risen body would collapse and be unintelligible. God could raise you by using one cell from your corpse while it remains intact in the tomb.
The fundamentalist tome, When Critics Ask, deals with the problem of how Paul can say Jesus had a spiritual body after the resurrection if other Bible texts say his body was spiritual (page 466). The solution it gives is that the spiritual body means a body that is ruled by the spirit inhabiting the body and so which has spiritual powers. It says it does not mean an immaterial body. Like spirit, this body is immortal and imperishable. But despite this, spiritual body could mean an immaterial body or one that was nearly immaterial. If the spirit has all that power over the body then it could make it immaterial. Christians who believe that Jesus could pass through walls and vanish in one place and appear in another are saying the spirit can diminish the materiality so that this can happen. If the spirit of Jesus can make the body immaterial and then material again then it follows that it is annihilating and creating matter to do this. So if Jesus created a body when he appeared to Thomas and asked him to put his hand in his side, it follows that Thomas had very right to disbelieve. It was not Jesus' body he was touching but a replacement one. If a body turns into spirit and into a body again then the result is a new body. So Jesus lied to Thomas when he asked Thomas to put his hand in the side of the body that died on the cross. Also the body is not immortal at all and is not imperishable. The body dies and perishes when it is annihilated. It is not supernatural or powerful for it is the spirit that is powerful and supernatural for it can manipulate it as it pleases. People think of souls and spirits as ghosts or kinds of bodies. Paul was using that imagery when he said Jesus had a spiritual body. In reality, Jesus was a spirit not a combination of spirit and body. The thinking in When Critics Ask is just Christian gobbledegook based on making the New Testament contradictions fit together. The apostles didn't need to do that so Paul would have believed that Jesus couldn't be physical after his resurrection. In fact, his stating that the spiritual body was imperishable would indicate that his own visions of Jesus and those of others did not involve Jesus walking through walls and floating up above the clouds if he also believed that body was material. This would refute the resurrection accounts as we have them in the gospels. Paul wrote before them and is the only eyewitness whose writings we are sure we have.
The book argues on page 467 that Paul uses the word spiritual to talk about a spiritual rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) from which Israel got spiritual drink. The Old Testament speaks of a literal rock that water came out of to nourish the people. The manna from Heaven that Israel ate was called spiritual food (1 Corinthians 10:3). Paul spoke of living men as spiritual men (1 Corinthians 2:15). So the book concludes that when Paul called material things spiritual he could have meant that Jesus was material when he said Jesus had a material body. Paul said too that Israel was baptised into Moses by walking through the waters of the Red Sea that had been parted and the cloud (1 Corinthians 10:2). This shows that Paul intended to talk metaphorically. The manna symbolised spiritual food, the water and the rock symbolised spiritual drink and the walking through the cloud and sea symbolised baptism into Moses for it was not a baptism at all. Israel went through the sea dry. So Paul was using material things to picture spiritual things. What he wrote then cannot have anything to do with proving that the spiritual body was material. He speaks of living men being spiritual men. But he is using the word spiritual here to describe what these men are like not what they are. He uses spiritual body to refer to what Jesus's body is. Its a different situation. Nothing refutes the notion that Paul was describing an immaterial "body" when he said Jesus had a spiritual body. With the tendency in Corinth and other places to believe that Jesus was just an apparition who did not rise from the dead for he never died, Paul would not have used the expression unless he really did believe Jesus was an immaterial being after he rose. He would not wish to encourage such people. Docetism, the heresy that Jesus was a vision that only looked like a man but was not a man threatened to destroy the Church in the first century.
In 1 Corinthians 15:28-29, Paul says that God will save us and will be all in all to us. Then he stated revealingly that if the dead are not raised for this to happen then why are people baptised for the dead? But the fact is that you can be baptised on behalf of the dead even if there is no resurrection for there are other ways to survive and be happy beyond the grave. Paul knew this from the Greeks so he must have meant survival by resurrection or resurrection was his word for survival in a good state after death. If you come back as a ghost or your body comes back to life that is resurrection.
People being baptised for the dead does not imply that they expect a bodily resurrection but it does imply they expect survival. Paul says that if people are baptised for the dead then the dead must rise. So Paul is saying they should believe in the implications of what they practice. Had Paul meant a physical bodily resurrection he would have said so. And especially when he used the concept of life after death and the concept of resurrection interchangeably.
He would have used the word resurrection for bodily resurrection had he believed in it. It is a mistake to say that Paul is on about pagan baptisms for the dead here for he would not be silly enough to argue that the resurrection must be true when pagans believe in it though he is saying that it is true because Christians believe in it. The baptisers were Christians, heretics maybe, but Christians. So the original sense in which Paul and the apostles used the word resurrection did not necessarily imply coming back from the dead in your physical body. So Jesus could have been a vision. Paul’s Jesus must have been an intangible vision because he meant survival by resurrection whereas if he had meant bodily resurrection he would have used the word resurrection for that alone.
Paul also uses the word ophthe which is a passive form of the verb for “to see” in relation to the appearances of Jesus being seen. It does not necessarily mean that Jesus was being physically seen for the word was used to refer to imagined visions and visions of immaterial beings such as angels etc (page 90, The Virginal Conception and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus). So if you get a very strong mystical impression that makes you think you almost see something that would be covered by ophthe. The dative construction used with ophthe indicates that rather than translating anywhere that Jesus was seen we should translate Jesus appeared.
When a man from Macedonia who was just a vision appeared to Paul (Acts 16:9) and when the three apostles saw the non-resurrected Moses and Elijah appear at the transfiguration of Jesus the word ophthe, appeared, was used which was the same word used to describe the appearances of Jesus following the resurrection. The use of ophte indicates that Jesus may not have appeared physically but may have appeared just as a vision.
There is nothing to indicate that the body of Jesus seen after the resurrection was seen physically or that it was a physical body.
Paul stated in Romans 8:3 that God sent his Son Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh. This verse has been used by many theologians and heretics such as Marcion to argue that Jesus Christ was a phantom and not a real man for flesh was bad. The Christians say he only means that Jesus was like us sinners in all things but not sin. That is a strained interpretation. Paul clearly meant that Jesus did not have a body like ours for the body as we have it is bad.
1 Corinthians 15 says that the resurrection body is a spiritual body for which the physical body is only the seed. To be called that it is mainly like spirit so there is little matter in it or it might be something that the body or part of it is transmuted into. It says that Jesus has a body like this and even says he is spirit now. It might be possible to make this body seem more natural by materialising which Jesus may have done in Luke 24.
He said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
An orthodox Catholic book says that Paul “clearly rejects the idea that it is a physical body that is risen. But what does this mean? In its glorious state, the resurrected body would be transformed in such a way that, unlike a physical body, it would not longer be bound by the limitations of space and time. In its transformed state, then, it would not have extension, and so the body would not be in itself tangible” (page 66, The Jesus Event). “It would be correct to assert the resurrection of the body in Jesus’ case, even if the tomb were not empty, for by the resurrection of the body, Paul means the identity of the risen Christ with the historical Christ - the same person in both cases” (page 68, The Jesus Event). Body or soma to Paul means the whole person (same page and page 74). It was his word for person. Paul knew that the body replaces itself when alive so the whole person can be restored without reviving a dead body. The person of Jesus died on the cross so the body which was not Jesus anymore for it was not a person. Jesus rising from the dead means the return of the person Jesus but not necessarily using the dead body to do it. Pages 67-68 state that Jesus could have risen without the body being raised and that this is acceptable to Bible believers. Pages 86-89 of The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus say that Jesus had a body but not one as we know it. It says that it is best to deny that the resurrection body is physical and that Paul implies it is no longer flesh and blood (page 128).
Fundamentalist tripe, He Walked Among Us, argues that Paul uses the word soma which means physical body for body as we know it so he viewed the resurrection as the return of the whole body to life (page 280). This is nonsense for he says that it is a spiritual physical body and if a body was barely physical it would still be physical but not a body as we would know it. He said that the man who wondered how the dead could be raised and what kind of body they could have was a fool for the seed dies and then becomes completely changed. He then drew our attention to there being different kinds of flesh hinting that the new body is different from the old. He said that the new body is incorrupt and is spiritual. We could have the same kind of flesh we have now and be incorruptible but we cannot have the same if it becomes spiritual. The difference then is like the difference between the seed and the tree it becomes, completely different.
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (page 84) claims that when Paul said that we have to be buried in baptism and rise to a new life like Christ that it proves that he believed that the body had gone from the tomb. But this baptism is only a rough picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus. For instance, the living person is buried in water and rises up out of it. But with Jesus a dead person was buried and a living one rose. Baptism would fit a Jesus who went into a grave and had the clay all around him and touching his body and then rose again far better than a Jesus who was put into a cave. What Paul wrote fits the idea of Jesus been laid in a real grave and not a tomb.
The book also says that the references to Jesus being the firstborn from the dead say the body was entirely raised (Romans 8:29;1 Corinthians 15:23). However, these verses do make a link with the body but do not say it need all be revived. And to say that Paul meant that the whole body was resurrected and that Jesus was the first is to say that the resurrections of the dead reported prior to his in the Bible were fakes.
The Greeks saw the body as an island that interacts with other islands. It is John and not Pete. Paul would have accepted the traditional Hebrew view that a body is not like this but is a communion with other people. In other words, you are your family (page 89, The First Easter). This is silly I know but that is how they thought and Buddhists often think in the same way (page 97, The First Easter). Paul’s doctrine of the Church members being one body and part of the body of Christ proves he thought like them for the community being the body of Jesus Christ is not a metaphor but a fact according to the theology of Paul (page 66, The First Easter). In 2 Corinthians 4:10 we are told that we carry the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus may be seen. This text tells the Church to show the resurrection by being the resurrected Saviour. Paul said that the body is a member of Jesus Christ a part of his body so that was why it would be so terrible for a Christian to have sex with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:14-20). He did mean all this literally. Romans 12:5 says we are parts of Jesus’ body so we belong to one another. If Paul just meant that we are one family then why did he say body? The unity in a body is stronger than unity even in a family. Paul was too serious to exaggerate by saying body when he should have said family. It is not surprising that he is taken to be saying that the Church is the resurrection body of Jesus and that Jesus would cease to exist anymore without it (page 69, The First Easter). I would correct this to say that it would mean Jesus lost his body and would cease to be a resurrected person. He might be a spirit. If the Church is the risen Jesus then it follows that there was no need for visions or a missing tomb at all. All was necessary was a sense of communication with the Holy Spirit that Jesus was alive and physically the Church. When Jesus appeared it would then not have been as a vision but in a way that can only be described as a vision for it was the mystical experience that the Church was the risen Jesus through which he speaks and works and lives. Intellectually and spiritually it was a vision though there might never have been physical appearances of Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-6 Paul writes that when we give up our earthly tent we will get a habitation in the Heavens not made by human hands. Some say that this means that our home on earth built by human hands will be given up for a better one in Heaven not built by human hands. But Paul is speaking of the body which is the tent for the real person. By saying its made by human hands he is metaphorically referring to the human work of sex that produces our body. The new body will not have a bodily origin and human hands can’t make it for it is not physical. It is a different body. In Hebrews 9:11, 12 the greater tabernacle Jesus went into is apparently his resurrection body. That tent in 2 Corinthians is a metaphor for body is proven from the context which in verse 6 says that when we are in the body we are away from the Lord. Also Paul said that salvation was indescribable and different from earth so he wouldn’t encourage the idea of houses to live in in Heaven. It is perishable bodies that need houses and he says what is saved is imperishable. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 5 that we yearn for the heavenly dwelling to cover us up so that what is mortal may be absorbed by life. He means the heavenly dwelling makes you immortal for it is an immortal body for us to live in. He uses the metaphor as well that to get this dwelling we must not be naked but clothed. He means clothed by the power of Christ. This tells us that the passage is metaphor for you can’t mix metaphor with what is not metaphor if you want to make sense. To speak of us losing our tent below and getting a house in Heaven would not be metaphor. It would be metaphor if the tent was the body we live in on earth and the house was the new body. He says we get this house when our tent is destroyed. That proves it is not literal tents for God will save you when you die if you are qualified regardless of whether your tent exists or not. The tent that is destroyed is the body. Paul does seem to be saying that you rise again when you die but invisibly and by your consciousness being switched at the moment of death from your body to your new body. Or perhaps the new body is prepared at death but not inhabited until the second coming?
Paul said in Romans 8 that if the spirit of God who raised Jesus is in us he who raised Jesus will also raise our mortal bodies. Paul said just before that that we are dead when we are baptised so he means that God will raise our mortal bodies from spiritual death to spiritual life. He is not on about a real resurrection here.
Paul avoided using the word anastasis which means physical resurrection. He used a word signifying to wake up. The word is eigiro. The word was used to waking up out of sleep (Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?) in Romans 13:11. All this is very important.
The Second Letter of Peter recounts the transfiguration of Jesus and the writer says he witnessed it and heard God saying Jesus was his son. Yet he said that the word of the Old Testament was even more sure than this! He had reason to believe that he had had an illusion albeit a possibly divinely inspired illusion. When what he hinted was a doubtful miracle was all he could present as evidence for Jesus it shows that there was nothing. And this coming from a tradition of Peter the rock Jesus supposedly built his Church on! When he thinks the Old Testament is the sole source of reliable truth he is against the production of any gospels and stresses that we must listen to this word of God until the new dawn of resurrection morn comes (2 Peter 1:19). The early Church thought that post-resurrection visions and the empty tomb of Jesus were not important reasons to believe in Jesus compared to the Old Testament saying Jesus would rise from the dead. Second Peter thought so little of empty tombs and rising bodies that he eliminated the evidence for a physical resurrection.
The gospel of Mark denies the physical resurrection for it has the women who discovered the tomb empty being told by the men in white that Jesus has risen as in eigiro not anastasis the word for physical revival from death (page 201, Jesus Lived in India; Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?). The rest of Mark which has Jesus appearing is a forgery. Mark implies that God let something destructive happen to the body – perhaps he let thieves take it and burn it – in order to prevent the witnesses of the tomb from thinking that Jesus physically came back to life in his complete old body. Most people in the past considered things like cremation to be attacks on the power of God to raise the dead for they assumed that bodies that were cremated could not be revived which was why the disappearing body act was necessary. These naïve women at the tomb might have accepted much the same idea.
In the synoptics, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus when asked if a woman marries seven men whose wife will she be when they all rise again in the resurrection. Jesus says there is no marriage in Heaven or giving in marriage for the dead when they rise are like angels. Some say he just means the risen just lose their sex drive but are not like angels any other way. Some say he means that since angels are spirits the dead are like spirits and have bodies that are barely physical. The latter would mean that his own resurrection did not require the revival of his crucified body. Jesus does not say anything about sex in the context but only says there is no marrying in Heaven and marriages are terminated by death. Marriage can exist without sex. The spiritual body interpretation is the correct one. It proves that the gospels do not actually say that Jesus’ entire body was raised though it did vanish.
There is no deception in Jesus having stigmata in his new body if it was made from a few cells for it is the same person. They are marks of an experience. There is no fraud any more that if the old body had been used and was changed into something very different. It would have been deceptive or more deceptive if Jesus’ new incarnation had had no stigmata for they are a part of his identification. And if there had been an integrity problem with the wounds it might only mean that the writers never realised that if Jesus rose spiritually the wounds were not the same ones. However, it is undeniable that if Jesus came back in a body that could pass through walls, live forever and levitate into Heaven then the problem arises is, “Is this really the same Jesus or same person or is it just a copy?” When he is too different you cannot know if it is him. Christians say he can even change his appearance and turn into a dove if he wants.
The friends of Jesus were told that Jesus was not in the tomb anymore but had been raised which seems to say the whole body was raised. We call John’s corpse John and we still say that John meaning his spirit is in Heaven. We might say, “John is not in that coffin anymore for he is a ghost standing by that fireplace”.
If Jesus’ body had showed up after the resurrection it would not have harmed the Christian Faith. They could have just reinterpreted their dogma of Jesus’ return.
Even if the early Christians believed Jesus was a physical body after the resurrection that they experienced in apparitions and even touched, they did not believe that this body was made of flesh. Paul speaks of spiritual bodies like the one Jesus had at his resurrection and says it differs from flesh like the heavenly substance of the sun and moon and stars differs from flesh (1 Corinthians 15: 37-50). If Jesus needed a new body from stardust, then it suggests that the early Christians had no concern for the one he lived in as a human being.
Matthew never says that the disciples did not take the body. He only reports what he believes happened and that the Jews blamed the disciples for the missing body.
John 2 has Jesus saying he will demolish the temple, his body, and raise it up in three days. Just like bits of the old temple might be used for the reconstruction so it will be with his body.
Acts has Peter quoting Psalm 16 to argue that Jesus rose and it says God will not leave somebody’s soul in the grave or let him see corruption or rotting. It could fit the idea that the person was raised and then not allowed to corrupt alive or by dying again. All bodies corrupt alive and shed dead cells.
It is reported in John that the disciple believed in an unspecified something when he saw the empty tomb and says he did not know the scripture that Jesus must rise yet. What he believed was that the tomb was robbed of the body for he had been told that happened and that was why he ran to the tomb. There is no hint that he simply believed that the body was missing. That is out of the textual context. Attempts to reconcile John with the rest have it that the disciple knew by then of the women claiming to have met Jesus so the unspecified something was the resurrection. But John never said anything about that so that must be rejected. John could not have meant a resurrection was believed when he never mentioned the reports. He also said the disciple did not know the scripture that Jesus would rise which is only worth mentioning if the disciple did not believe in the resurrection. If the disciple believed that Jesus rose bodily there is no hint given that he was right which is important. Also, John just wants to say that Jesus rose and does not go into what kind of resurrection it was.
If the Risen Jesus was not a body then if the women and the apostles saw in their hearts that Jesus was alive they could talk as if they had visions or locutions though they saw nothing with their physical or mental eyes or heard nothing with their ears or inside their heads. Books that say the resurrection could be a myth are not contradicting themselves when they do not impute lies to the witnesses. But people will think they are when they are not told how stories of visions and voices are necessary to express what they experienced.
The Pharisees understood resurrection to be the revival of the whole dead body (page 103, The Resurrection Factor) and it is thought that Jesus had to rise fully because of that. But the earliest record sees Jesus’ resurrection as different. Jesus was not what they expected the Messiah to be so why should he rise again in the way the Pharisees thought it should be done? What matters is what the Christians thought and it was not hard to make up the idea of a ghost style resurrection body. Christians have no business bringing irrelevant material into the equation. That is one of their favourite apologetic tricks.
The Gnostic Treatise on the Resurrection comes from the late second century AD and it relates that Jesus rose from the dead and it is more fitting to say the world is an illusion than that Jesus’ resurrection was. This is used in books like He Walked Among Us to defend the resurrection (page 96). But Gnostics saw the resurrection not in physical but spiritual terms. For the Gnostic, Jesus’ resurrection was principally Jesus rising from ignorance and material existence into enlightenment and spiritual existence. The spiritual is the only real or important thing in Gnostic theology. That is why the Treatise prefers a person to deny the existence of the world for it is less real or important than spirit. The Treatise really destroys the resurrection. It says it is better to deny the world than to deny the resurrection. It means in this that the spiritual is more real than the physical. The resurrection then cannot be a physical event but a spiritual one.
The resurrection of Jesus is less convincing when one realises that nobody was ever saying the body rose entirely. It seems to have provided the seed for the new body which was more like a ghost or an apparition than a body. There have been countless ghostly resurrections in the world similar to it. It’s not unique. Scientist William Crookes testified that Katie King had been raised from the dead at Florence Cook séances. We know the man and who he was better than any of those mysterious New Testament writers. Makes more sense to trust him than them - though I am not saying we should.
Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
The First Easter, What Really Happened? HJ Richards, Collins/Fount Glasgow, 1980
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montifiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve Falcon, London, 1976
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Illinois ,1992
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM
Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,
Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection, Brian Marston
This site argues that somebody unknown stole the body to stop the apostles stealing it or venerating it and lost it and argues that the witnesses of the risen Jesus were lying because no effort was made by them to preserve first hand reports of what was seen and how and when. It argues that since the apostles had followed Jesus at great personal sacrifice and now he was dead they invented the resurrection to save face. Also the inclination of people at the time to believe in dying and rising gods may have overwhelmed them and made them lie to themselves that Jesus had risen. He answers the objection that a lie like that would need a large-scale conspiracy for lots of lies start off with a small group of people and if the lies are attractive other people will believe them. Plus he says that Jesus could have rigged events to make sure he would fulfil Old Testament prophecy so the Christians should not be saying the gospel story is true for it fits old prophecy. I would add that owing to the total absence of evidence that Jesus was nailed to the cross and the fact that the gospels never say any of his friends were close to the cross that Jesus might have been tied to it and the Christians later assumed he was nailed because the psalm seemed to say so.
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?
Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story, A Reply to William Lane Craig by Jeffrey Jay Lowder
The Resurrection, Steven Carr
Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner
Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb by Amos Kloner
Who Moved the Stone? Review by Steven Carr,
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/stone.htm This tells us that if you assume that two contradictory books are true in all they say and try to make them fit you will manage it but the result will be contrived. You are really still assuming they are true and have no proof for it. This observation should be a warning to the fundamentalist Christians who say there are no contradictions in the Bible. They have no faith in the Bible at all for they are only assuming it is right. If they really believed, they would not need to work out and produce laughable far-fetched ways of reconciling Bible contradictions. They wouldn’t do that with anything else but the Bible.
Morison claims that Peter’s clever and unbiased mind was behind the first Gospel, that of Mark. But Morison only assumes this for there is no evidence that the gospel is clever and unbiased or that Peter had much if anything at all to do with it. Morison then tries to make out that the claim of Luke that the apostles waited seven weeks before saying Jesus had risen from the dead is too detrimental to the evidence for the resurrection to be true. In other words, the evidence for the resurrection is right and any evidence against it is wrong! That is bias if I ever seen it. He then makes out that these things which undermine the pro-resurrection evidence prove it happened. So the evidence against the resurrection makes the evidence for it stronger! How ridiculous.
Wednesday, 02 January 2008