In this bulletin series we’ve been looking at the common objections to Christianity. This week I want to look at the objection that Jesus couldn’t possible have risen from the dead.
If someone denies that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead, they certainly cannot be a Christian. Paul writes ‘And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:17). If you don’t believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, there is no point being a Christian because how do you know that you will be raised to eternal life if Jesus wasn’t raised.
But the resurrection is not easy to accept. Resurrections are not common events and people are often very sceptical about anything that they haven’t witnessed themselves. But just because something happens just once and you didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. As everyone cannot witness everything, our society depends upon the testimonies of only a few to function properly. Many murderers have been either executed or imprisoned for the rest of their lives on the basis of only a small number of testimonies. So all it takes is a couple of eyewitnesses to a single event to change someone’s life.
And it’s the same with Christianity. True, Christianity does make some incredible claims that we are expected to stake our lives on – not just for this life, but for the rest of eternity! But Christianity doesn’t make these claims without evidence. Jesus’ resurrection is backed up with solid historical eyewitness accounts contained in the New Testament. These accounts are internally reliable (they don’t contradict themselves) and externally reliable (they don’t contradict evidence outside the Bible, e.g. archaeological evidence). They are reasonably written and do not come across as propaganda pieces. Thus the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not as unbelievable as some would like to make out. The trouble is, people who complain about the resurrection being unbelievable are usually those who are not willing to examine the evidence. This indicates that their problem is not so much with the resurrection, but with surrendering their lives to Christ.
Do you reject Jesus’ resurrection simply because it is such an unusual event, or are you willing to examine the evidence for unusual events regardless of your own agenda?