Saturday, September 6, 2008

Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Chapter 10, part 2

This section deals with circumstances at the tomb of Christ.

Pre-Resurrection scenario
  • Jesus was dead. Crucifixion was the worst means of death. See, again, the JAMA article (PDF).
  • Tomb: plenty of textual evidence locating and describing it. Consider the events - why would each (e.g. Joseph of Arimathea asking for the body) have happened if there had been no tomb?
  • Burial. Prof. Edersheim tells of burial customs.
  • Stone: needed several men to move.
  • Seal: a cord secured at both ends by sealing wax.
  • Guard: faithful soldiers to Rome; neglecting their job meant death; probably 4 men total; no other dead prisoner was guarded like this!
  • Disciples: scattered because they didn't expect a resurrection at all.
Post-Resurrection scenario
  • The tomb was irrefutably empty.
  • Grave clothes were neatly folded in two piles.
  • The seal was broken.
  • A Roman guard wouldn't have intentionally deserted or slept at its post.
  • Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus alive backed up apostolic witness. Over 500 people (see 1 Corinthians 15) saw Him.
  • Silence of enemies - they couldn't produce the body, no matter how much they wanted to.
Established historical fact
  • No one could refute the Resurrection by producing the body - because it wasn't there!
  • Yet many still refused to believe.
Established psychological facts
  • Disciples' lives were transformed; their accounts stand under cross-inspection.
  • 1900 years of history; see chapter 12 in particular.
  • Verdict: these facts count as subjective evidence for the truth of the Resurrection.
Established sociological facts
  • Christian Church: founded on the Resurrection (see many passages in Acts).
  • Worship: Sunday, not Saturday (a huge change from Judaism).
  • Sacraments: Communion (celebrating His death - yet joyful because of the Resurrection) and Baptism (vs. circumcision - see Romans 6:1-6).
  • Persistence of the Church through many centuries.
Next up (the final section of this chapter!): hypotheses cooked up to explain away the Resurrection as presented in the Scriptures, and why and how each fails to consider all of the evidence.

No comments: