Resurrection

Some preliminary considerations

The resurrection is one of the best arguments for a specifically Christian metaphysics. It can get you from a generic theism to Christian theism. A very succinct and easy-to-understand case for the Resurrection can be (predictably) found in the work of William Lane Craig and so I’m going to be drawing heavily from his work on this subject. Craig’s case for the Resurrection is normally broken up into three or four facts that can be established about the life of Jesus through historical scholarship (and on which most New Testament scholars agree). Craig then shows how the best explanation for these facts is the resurrection. Some readers might be skeptical of the fact that New Testament documents are used here as historical sources, but this is not really disputed in academia. The gospels have always been mined for historical information. Even the most skeptical historians, in this field, use the New Testament for historical information, even if they disbelieve a good deal of what it says. Likewise, in order to make a good case for the Resurrection, we don’t need the gospels to be completely true – we only need the parts of it to be true (which are relevant to the case for the resurrection). And New Testament historians have various ways of determining which parts of a narrative is probably reliable (including things like attestation, and the criteria of dissimilarity and embarrassment). Also, there is sometimes the assumption among skeptics, sometimes in academia, but in popular intellectualism as well, that the New Testament is “guilty until proven innocent.” That is, we should assume it is false until it is proven true. But this is just as irrational as assuming it is true, until proven false. You should not make an a priori judgment at all in order to be fair to the text.

It is also important to note that the Resurrection is not necessarily an argument for the existence of God. It is more commonly used as evidence which establishes Christianity, after a generic monotheism has been established through natural theology. However, it can be framed as an argument for the existence of God. If the Resurrection were not carried out by God, it is surely a fantastic coincidence that the most compelling historical miracle just happened to concern a person who claimed he was the messiah or the Son of God. And he just happened to live in a culture where Resurrection is seen as a vindication by God of one’s righteousness. At this point, you can come up with alternative hypotheses, but the probability will be against those hypotheses, precisely because the God hypothesis fits the evidence much more naturally than any rival hypothesis you could conjure up. The threshold of evidence is higher (because the prior probability is lower) if we are going to regard the resurrection as an argument for the existence of God and if we don’t assume the existence of God. If we do assume the existence of God, because the arguments of natural theology has satisfied us that some form of monotheistic God exists, then the threshold of evidence is lower (because the prior probability is higher). Richard Swinburne explains how we should think about probability with relation to the Resurrection: “If we knew that there was no God, we would know that the laws of nature are the ultimate determinants of what happens; and so that there cannot be a violation of a law of nature and so the Resurrection cannot have occurred. But if there is at least a moderate probability that there is a God, then there is a moderate probability that there is someone able to violate the laws of nature with reason occasionally to do so, and in particular to do so in order to put his signature on the life of God Incarnate… So, although we certainly need historical evidence…in order to make it probable that the Resurrection occurred, we don’t need nearly as much of it as we would if we had little reason to believe that there is a God or that the life and teachings of Jesus were of the right kind.”[i]

Skepticism and unfalsifiability

It is common for atheists to accuse Christianity or the concept of God of being unfalsifiable. Events like the Resurrection, which are historically falsifiable, count decisively against such an accusation. However, such atheists rarely consider whether their own naturalistic understanding of the world is not unfalsifiable as well. Some people think that skepticism is automatically, regardless of context, more reasonable than credulity. But this is clearly false. When you have enough evidence for a claim it is just as irrational to continue disbelieving it as it is to believe it without evidence.  In response to the historical evidence for the resurrection and modern reports of miracles, atheists often commit themselves to a radical skepticism of eyewitness testimony or memory, which they would never apply to themselves or their peers and which has absurd consequences. They would disbelieve reports of miracles from several sources. Even if they saw the risen Christ themselves, they would dismiss it as a hallucination. But this is tantamount to unfalsifiability. If nothing you can see can convince you of it, then your position is unfalsifiable. Also, it is facile to demand that God reveal himself exactly on your own terms. This would be a lot like someone demanding to see a fully completed fossil record before they can believe in evolution. If the evidence you demand is possible but extremely unlikely, your position is as good as unfalsifiable. If you have good enough evidence already, even if God has not performed supernatural tricks to your satisfaction, then you are still irrational to disbelieve. For example, in the Oxford Union debate on the existence of God, Peter Millican claims, “One point John Lennox made, appealing to the Resurrection, was to say that if the Resurrection is true, there’s a God. That doesn’t follow at all. All that follows at most, is that there is some supernatural being capable of performing a physical resurrection on a human being. Why should that be omnipotent? Why should that be omniscient? Why should that be perfectly good? It could be a being who’s doing it in order to dupe loads of us into having belief in a false religion.”[ii]

So, the Resurrection doesn’t imply the existence of God simply because it doesn’t show that God is omniscient or omnipotent or perfectly good. But we can also say that it implies a being that is sufficiently close to what we ordinarily understand to be God to make it probable that the cause was God. A being that could cause a physical resurrection has power to break the laws of nature, and so must be very powerful (even if not omnipotent). It must also be supernatural, because it is not beholden to the laws of nature. It also seems probable that it is at least familiar with Jewish cultural beliefs and Jesus’s life, which suggests that it is personal (because it takes an interest in human lives and beliefs). Also, it just happened to cause this miracle in the life of a man who claimed to be the messiah and the Son of God and in a culture where resurrection was seen as a vindication by God of righteousness (even if this was normally only believed to happen to all the righteous at the end of the world). All of this makes it very probable that that supernatural being is God, and a denial of that looks like a desperate appeal to deductive uncertainty (especially Millican’s appeal to a supernatural being conspiratorially trying to deceive us into believing a false religion). The mere fact that all of God’s attributes don’t follow perfectly, does not imply that God is not the most probable explanation. This, combined with the context and Jewish beliefs about the resurrection, makes it likely that it was God. So Millican’s position here comes close to unfalsifiability, because he requires deductive certainty, when probability will do just fine to establish the truth it. More importantly, it is impossible to achieve deductive certainty for an explanation when dealing with empirical data like the data we find in historical research. Thus, demanding deductive certainty for an inference based on historical data makes the skepticism he expressed unfalsifiable.

Crucifixion and Death

It is universally acknowledged among New Testament scholars that Jesus did die on the Cross as the gospels report.[iii] This is important, because one of the theories attempting to explain the resurrection naturalistically is that Jesus was not really dead when he was buried (called the swoon theory or apparent death theory). This is one of the weakest naturalistic theories, because it is just very improbable that someone would survive a full Roman crucifixion. There is only one account from Josephus that reports someone surviving a crucifixion, and it couldn’t even be called a “full” crucifixion. Timothy and Lydia McGrew explain:  “On an errand for Titus Caesar, Josephus sees some of his old acquaintances being crucified; he tells Titus, who orders that they be taken down and have the greatest care taken of them. Two die under the physician’s care; one recovers.”[iv] In other words, these people did not even undergo a “full” crucifixion; they were taken down prematurely. Jesus would not have received medical treatment either. Nevertheless, even given that they were taken down prematurely and given medical treatment, most of them still died. Moreover, if Jesus did survive, the response of the disciples would certainly not be claims of resurrection. Jesus would still have been severely wounded and barely mobile. Also, it can barely be denied that Jesus would not have been able to walk around, much less roll away a tomb stone and fight off a Roman guard. He would have been immobile for weeks at least, with the type of wounds that crucifixion inflicted on you. We will also see why it is implausible to suggest that the disciples could have rescued him from the tomb. And how could the disciples have known that he was alive so that they would know to rescue him?

Burial and the Empty Tomb

The empty tomb is attested by multiple, early and independent sources, which represents a gold standard of historical credibility.  Craig explains that if the account of the burial, found in the gospels, is reliable, then it is very likely that reports of an empty tomb is reliable as well. If the burial account is reliable (and we will now see why it is), then the site of the burial was well known. The disciples would not have been able to preach the empty tomb if it were not true, because their opponents could simply point to the tomb and say that it’s not empty. But this is in addition to the more obvious point that the disciples themselves would probably not have believed in the Resurrection if the tomb was not empty.[v] One of the reasons for this is that, as N.T. Wright has comprehensively argued, the Jews who lived in Jesus’s day (among them, his disciples) would not have believed that resurrection meant anything other than bodily resurrection.[vi]Paul, writing only about twenty years after Jesus’s death, provides testimony of both the burial and the empty tomb. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:3) There is good reason to think that what Paul is here summarizing is a message that goes back further than his writing of it. He says that he “received” this message and in 1 Corinthians 15:11 he says that all the apostles preach this message.[vii] This gives us reason to suppose that the original disciples (who are among the apostles) preached this message. Thus, this tradition is much older than Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians, and probably dates at least to A.D. 36, when Paul visited Peter and James in Jerusalem three years after his Damascus road experience.[viii] (To put this in perspective, Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30). Some atheists contend that this is not evidence for an empty tomb because Paul does not explicitly say that the tomb was empty. This seems like a very weak objection, since the fact that Jesus was buried and then raised implies an empty tomb. Any legs this objection still has to stand on is cut off by N.T. Wright’s point, already mentioned, that “being raised” in this context would not have meant anything other than bodily resurrection. This means that an empty tomb is strongly implied by the passage. You can’t have bodily resurrection without an empty tomb or grave. Another point is that an empty tomb is part of the source material of Mark, not simply Mark’s gospel itself. This is implied by the fact that Jesus’ burial, crucifixion and resurrection is a continuous narrative, whereas other stories in the gospels often seem disconnected. “That suggests that the narrative is all of one piece and already existed before the gospel writers sat down to write their gospel.”[ix] Mark was writing thirty to forty years after Jesus’s death (although some scholars date it earlier), but if the burial account is part of Mark’s source material, then it would be older than that.

We also know that the burial of Jesus and many of the details surrounding it is probably historical. For example, the fact that Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea is probably historical. This is because it is unlikely that the disciples of Jesus would have made up a story that a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin helped Jesus. They give him a name and identify that he came from a nearby town. This would have been difficult for the disciples to do, because the members of the Sanhedrin were well known and so if it was a deception, it would have been easy for them to be called out on it.  As a result, even the most skeptical scholars recognize this fact.[x] In addition, this account is confirmed by other details in the gospels. The type of tomb that Joseph of Arimathea provides is consistent with his social station. The gospel of Matthew reports that he was a rich man, and we know that tombs of this kind would have only been available to people with high social status (such as members of the Sanhedrin).[xi] Joseph of Arimathea is identified as some form of follower of Jesus in more than one gospel, which is supported by the care taken by him to bury Jesus.  It also seems somewhat unlikely that the disciples would invent a member of the Sanhedrin to help Jesus, because the Sanhedrin are always presented as the villains and antagonists of Jesus. Based on the gospels’ description, the tomb would probably be an acrosolia or a bench tomb, and near the traditional site for Jesus’s tomb, acrosolia tombs from Jesus’s time period have been found.[xii] As Craig notes, that all these details surrounding the gospel burial accounts can be established historically is significant, because it cannot be coincidence. But it is also implausible to suggest that it can be intentional, since the details are “incidental and offhand.”[xiii] It can also be established historically that the empty tomb was discovered by women, as the gospels report. In the Jewish society of Jesus’s day, women were not regarded as credible witnesses and their testimony could not be used in a court. They were also second-class citizens. This makes it very implausible that the empty tomb was made up by the disciples, because if they made it up, they would have had male disciples discover the empty tomb, instead of female ones. This point is made even stronger by the fact that the women were the main or principal witnesses of the empty tomb.

Also, the empty tomb is assumed by early Jewish polemic against the Resurrection. Matthew 28:11-15 contends that the chief priests attempted to explain the empty tomb by saying that the disciples stole his body. But they wouldn’t have needed to explain the empty tomb if the tomb wasn’t really empty. Whether or not you believe the chief priests really met and conspired to explain the empty tomb in the way reported by the story, it remains undeniable that the story “was aimed at a widespread Jewish allegation that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body…”[xiv] Why make up a story like this if the Jewish elites were not claiming that the body was stolen? It would only have created a chance for the author to be discredited, especially given his claim that this story has been “spread among the Jews to this day.” This would have meant that an early reader of Matthew could have checked whether some Jews really do believe that the body was stolen. The fact that the story is not made up by Matthew is also supported by “non-Matthean linguistic traits” in the passage. And according to John Meier (a very respected New Testament Historian) and Craig, the passage has clear marks of a controversy between early Christians and Jews. This is partly because the idea that the Jewish elites bribed the guards is unnecessary to reply to the idea that the disciples stole the body. The Christians only need to say that the tomb was guarded. But the fact that they say that the guard was bribed means they were definitely responding to a claim by their opponents that the guard fell asleep.[xv] If these were not really claims by their opponents, the Christians would literally be having an argument with themselves and would have raised doubts about the credibility of their own story by responding to non-existent polemics. This seems ridiculous, especially in light of claims by some atheists (including Richard Carrier) that the gospel writers were zealous propagandists. If they were really such zealous propagandists they certainly would not have raised doubts about their own story, unless they were responding to real claims made by their opponents. So the empty tomb is presupposed by early Jewish polemics. Even the enemies of the resurrection story recognized the truth of an important component of the case for it.

Resurrection Appearances

Several independent documents attest that Jesus appeared to several individuals following his crucifixion. In the pre-Pauline narrative that we looked at for the empty tomb (1 Corinthians 15:3 – 8), Paul mentions that Jesus “appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he also appeared to me.” As we saw in our consideration of the evidence for the empty tomb, this narrative did not originate with Paul, but is probably a confession of the Jerusalem church, which is much older than Paul’s letter to the Corinthians ( which is already only 20 years removed from Jesus’s death). But in addition to this, many of these appearances are independently attested in other sources (which we’ll look at shortly). The appearance to Peter (Cephas) is recorded here. It is rendered plausible by the fact that Paul had contact with Peter and other apostles in Jerusalem three years after his conversion. His personal contact with the apostles also gives credibility to his claim that Jesus appeared to “all the apostles.”[xvi] Apart from this, the appearance to Peter is also attested in Luke 24:34.  This credibility of the story is supported by the “awkward way in which it intrudes into his narrative of the Emmaus disciples.”[xvii] The appearance to the Twelve is the best attested of the Resurrection appearances, since it is reported in the letter to the Corinthians, Luke and John ( and so has a good deal of independent attestation). The fact that Jesus appeared to disciples in Galilee is independently attested in Matthew, Mark and John. The appearance to the five hundred is not found in other documents. However, this is not necessarily reason to dismiss it. It would have been awkward for Paul to mention this fact if it didn’t really happen, since he specifically claims that many of these people are still alive, and so are available to be questioned.[xviii]The appearance to James is particularly significant, because both Mark and John claim that none of Jesus’ brothers (including James) believed that he was the messiah during Jesus’ lifetime. But Acts reports James’ intimate involvement with the Jerusalem Church and Paul implies that James is an apostle (and a respected one) when writing to the Galatians. According to Josephus, James even died for his belief in Jesus at the hands of the Sanhedrin.[xix]So, how should this dramatic shift be explained? From the information we have, it makes most sense that this dramatic shift was caused by the reported Resurrection appearance to James.[xx] Finally, Jesus appeared to his women disciples and this is independently attested by Matthew and John, and further support is given to it by the fact that women were not regarded as credible witnesses in Jewish culture of the time (through the criterion of embarrassment).[xxi]

Further support is given for the Resurrection appearances by the ancient cultural beliefs surrounding resurrection of the dead and ghosts. The gospel accounts of the appearances seem clearly to imply that Jesus was physical, not some ghostly apparition. He ate with the disciples and asks the disciples to touch  his wounds as proof that it really is Jesus. “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39) Paul also seems to teach that the resurrection body is physical, especially in 1 Corinthians. It is useful to note here that the idea of “spiritual” is not juxtaposed by Paul with the physical, even though it may seem that way sometimes. To see the spiritual as some substance apart from the physical is a Greek idea, later imported into Christianity. Jewish beliefs and those of early Christians did not see the spiritual and physical as contradictory or contrasted in this way. Another important fact is that visionary experiences of the dead were accepted as perfectly normal both among the Greeks and the Jews, but this would have been seen as evidence of the person’s death, not that he had been resurrected.[xxii] This gives further support to the idea that resurrection appearances had a distinctively physical quality, because the disciples would simply have concluded that Jesus was visiting them as a ghost and so had been assumed into heaven, if it had not been physical. They would certainly not have concluded that Jesus was physically resurrected. This is strengthened even further by the fact that Jews had no concept of messiah who rises from the dead or of anyone being resurrected before the end of the world.[xxiii] Thus, the disciples would not have expected a physical resurrection of Jesus, and so would not have simply believed this because they really wanted it to be true. They would have had to be sure that it really was a physical body and not some ghostly presence. This is also one of the reasons why the Hallucination Hypothesis is implausible.

The Hallucination Hypothesis is a relatively popular way to explain the Resurrection appearances from a naturalistic point of view. And it is, because it is implausible to suggest that the disciples were lying. The Resurrection appearances are independently attested by multiple sources, making deception improbable. The more elaborate the conspiracy has to be to account for the facts, the more unlikely it is that there was any conspiracy. You would have to say that all the writers of these independent sources, who wrote at different times (sometimes decades removed from one another) all conspired together to report falsehoods or that all the disciples and apostles conspired to lie about their resurrection appearances. But, more importantly, we know that many of the disciples were horrifically martyred for their beliefs, and apart from that, they faced many dangers and hardships as a result of their evangelism. Would people who fabricated the Resurrection be willing to dedicate their lives and their happiness and undergo so much suffering, all for their own lie? The disciples were dejected and disappointed at the crucifixion, because they thought it signified that their master was not really the messiah. This means that the only reason they would have had to become committed to their master once again is if their belief was vindicated in some way (through the Resurrection). Having their beliefs discredited by the crucifixion, and then fabricating a lie for which they were willing to suffer and die, is simply a ridiculous explanation for the accounts of the Resurrection appearances.

So we can’t say that the disciples were engaged in willful deception. But then it must be admitted that they actually had an experience of someone they identified as the risen Jesus. If they were not lying, and if they really had this experience, the only option left for the skeptic is to claim that they were hallucinating. As we’ve already seen, the Hallucination hypothesis is rendered implausible by cultural beliefs around visionary experiences of the dead of that time. The disciples would not have concluded that resurrection took place merely by seeing a vision of Jesus. They would have had to see something extra, something really special, in other words, for them to conclude that it was resurrection. This is why the reports of the gospels that Jesus physically interacted with the disciples are important. William Craig explains, “If all the appearances were originally non-physical visions, then one is at a complete loss to explain the rise of the Gospel accounts. For physical, bodily appearances would be foolishness to Gentiles, and a stumbling block to Jews, since neither, for different reasons, could countenance physical resurrection from the dead but would be quite happy to accept visionary appearances of the deceased.”[xxiv]Some skeptics attempt to explain the resurrection appearances by appeal to bereavement hallucinations (where, for example, spouses of the deceased regularly have hallucinations of their dead partners). But the bereaved do not  typically come to believe that their dead partners had come back to life as a result of such hallucinations. They still know that their loved ones are dead.[xxv]In addition, the data of the Resurrection appearances cannot be explained by hallucination, because there is no type of hallucination that covers the variety of the appearances. “Jesus appeared not just one time, but many times; not at just one locale and circumstance but at a variety of places and circumstances; not to just one individual, but to different persons; not just to individuals, but to various groups; not just to believers but to unbelievers [James] and even enemies [Paul].”[xxvi] There is nothing in psychological research that can render hallucination a plausible explanation of the variety and scope of these appearances.

The Origin of Christianity

It is difficult to account for the rise of Christianity without admitting that the early followers of Jesus at least believed that he had been resurrected. We’ve already covered some of the material that makes this compelling. The Jews believed that the messiah would be a victorious leader and national ruler, not an itinerant preacher executed as a criminal. This is why the crucifixion would have been such a defeat for the disciples, and a vindication of the Sanhedrin. A person who met such an end could not have been the messiah. The Jews also didn’t believe that the messiah would be resurrected. Resurrection only took place for all the righteous, and only at the end of the world. Somebody rising from the dead alone and before the end of the world, would have been a foreign idea to a Jew of that era. Although, it can hardly be denied that if Jesus had been raised from the dead, this certainly would have made them reconsider the messiahship of Jesus. The beliefs in Jesus’ Resurrection goes back to the earliest Christians, and this is known partly because of the old summary of the gospel recited by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. If you deny that belief in the Resurrection was the impetus for the rise of Christianity, you have to explain it with reference to other cultural beliefs. It was common at one point in academia (and is still a vestige of pop intellectualism) that Christianity developed from pagan influences. Typically, reference is made to dying and rising pagan gods. But none of these are resurrection in the sense reported in the gospels. Some of these are stories of divinization, such as in the case of Hercules and Romulus. “Still others are seasonal symbols for the crop cycle, as the vegetation dies in the dry season and comes back to life in the rainy season (Tammuz, Osiris, Adonis). Some are political expressions of Emperor worship (Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus). None of these is parallel to the Jewish idea of resurrection from the dead.”[xxvii] And, even if it was, we don’t have evidence that the early disciples would have known about many of these stories, or that they had a strong influence on the early disciples (strong enough that they would die for the story). We’ve already seen that Christianity could not have originated through Jewish influences, because Jewish beliefs about the messiah and about the resurrection of the dead contradicts early Christian beliefs. Thus, early Christian belief in the resurrection would be supported by the criterion of dissimilarity.

Objections

The disciples stole the body

Once again, if the disciples stole the body, it wouldn’t make sense for them to say that women discovered the tomb, for reasons we already covered. Matthew’s guard isn’t yet present in the pre-Markan tradition. It seems that, if the disciples had stolen the body, they would have wanted to cover their tracks by claiming that a guard was present from early on. Once again, stealing the body implies that the whole thing was a conspiracy. It would also mean that the disciples themselves would be sure that Jesus didn’t bodily rise from the dead (which is what resurrection would have meant to them). This means they all suffered and died for what they knew to be their own lie, which is pretty implausible. It is also implausible to say that they made up the empty tomb, but that they really believed Jesus appeared to them. For reasons we’ve already covered (under Resurrection appearances) resurrection to the disciples meant bodily resurrection. They would have known that Jesus’s body was still a corpse, because they stole it. This means they would have assumed that these appearances were reasons to believe that Jesus had been assumed into heaven, not that he had been resurrected. This means that even if they really believed Jesus appeared to them after having stolen his body, they would have known that to claim resurrection is false. This means that they still suffered and died for their lie, which is implausible. The conspiracy hypothesis is also implausible, because it required many people to conspire together and agree to lie, over a very long time period, and facing many hardships and dangers as a result of the lie. In other words, their will to keep lying would have been tested to the utmost degree, and it would all ultimately be for nothing! It is very likely that at least one of them would have broken under the pressure and confessed. Conspiracy is ad hoc as well in explaining the evidence, because it contends that the real explanation is behind what appears to be the case, and there is no independent reason for thinking that anything like a conspiracy took place. “Specifically, it postulates motives and ideas in the thinking of the earliest disciples and actions on their part for which there is not a shred of evidence. “[xxviii]

Wrong tomb

According to this hypothesis, the women disciples stumbled upon the wrong tomb that Sunday morning. It was empty and somebody told them that the man they were looking for was not there (reasonably enough, since it is not his tomb). This is implausible, because it would have been a mistake fairly easily corrected, especially when the Christian movement started to claim left and right that Jesus had been resurrected. It would only have taken some of their opponents or other disciples, wanting to make sure about the claim, to have checked the right tomb and seen that it was still occupied by Jesus’s body. “Certainly the disciples themselves would have wanted to verify the empty tomb. The state of the actual tomb could not have remained a matter of complete indifference to a movement in the same locale based on belief in the resurrection of the dead man interred there.” The theory also assumes as historical only what fits with the theory and rejects what does not.The man at the tomb tells the women that Jesus is not there, but he also adds that Jesus is risen. Why regard the first part of what he says as historical but not the second part? The theory regards the story of the women disciples going to the tomb as historical but does not regard the location of the tomb assumed by the narrative as historical.[xxix] Similarly, as claimed by another hypothesis, if Joseph of Arimathea had moved the body later on to the criminals’ graveyard, without the disciples knowing, then you would need to explain why Joseph and his servants did not correct the disciples’ error when they started claiming that his tomb was empty. Plus, why would Joseph go through so much trouble to give Jesus a first-class burial only to move him to a criminals’ graveyard later, especially when that graveyard was close to the crucifixion site in the first place? Jewish law prohibited moving the body except to the family tomb, and once again, there is no evidence that Joseph did any of this.[xxx]

[i] Richard Swinburne, Was Jesus God? (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) 126

[ii] “Professor Peter Millican: God does NOT exist.” Youtube Video, Posted by OxfordUnion December 21, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcHRRjsttOc 6:33

[iii] Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, “The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, ed. J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) Loc. 15803, Kindle Edition

[iv] Ibid.,

[v] William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 1981) 46

[vi] N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God Vol. 3, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003)

[vii] William Lane Craig, The Son Rises, 46

[viii] Ibid., 47-48

[ix] Ibid.,  51

[x] Ibid., 53

[xi] Ibid., 54 – 56

[xii] Ibid., 56

[xiii] Ibid., 56-57

[xiv] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008) 369

[xv] Ibid., 369 – 370

[xvi] Ibid., 378, 380

[xvii] Ibid., 378

[xviii] Ibid., 379

[xix] Ibid., 379

[xx] Ibid., 380

[xxi] Ibid., 381

[xxii] Ibid., 385

[xxiii] Ibid., 392-393

[xxiv] Ibid., 383

[xxv] Ibid., 385

[xxvi] Ibid., 385

[xxvii] Ibid., 390

[xxviii] Ibid., 371-372

[xxix] Ibid., 374-375

[xxx] Ibid., 376