Proof of God – Ressurection Series

Proof of the Resurrection

TIME FOR GOD’S TESTIMONY

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory .In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says:

“The first man to speak in court always seems right until his opponent begins to question him” (Prov.18:17)

Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, skeptics propose 3 theories to try and refute it and explain why Jesus’ tomb was empty. Their best efforts have come to be known as:

1 )The theft theory

2) The wrong tomb theory

3) The swoon theory.

However a wise man makes a decision based on wisdom which means examining all sides of the spectrum of evidence and knowledge.

“Wise men store up knowledge”. (Prov. 10:14)

THE THEFT THEORY

According to Matthew 28:11-15, the earliest Jewish claim reported regarding Jesus’ empty tomb was for the Jewish leaders to say that the disciples of stole the body.

“ And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”

If Jesus’ body had still been in the tomb, there would have been no need for this devised plan, for both Jewish and Roman authorities knew where Jesus’ tomb was, (for He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea) and all that was needed was for them to produce the body and the Resurrection uproar would of ended. Thus in their confusion all they could come up with was this scheme to bribe the guards at the tomb to say that the body had been stolen by the disciples. Thus this Jewish claim regarding Jesus’ resurrection to say the disciples stole the body was an INDIRECT ADMISSION that the body was unavailable for public display.

Consider also:

  • · The disciples would have been incapable of overpowering the Roman guards posted at the tomb.
  • · When Jesus had been arrested, the disciples forsook Him and fled showing their cowardice. Peter, just hours earlier had proved himself to be a coward in order to save his own skin by denying Jesus to a servant girl. One must ask what could have happened to Peter and the disciples within those few hours to change them from cowards to men willing to rush out to fight Roman soldiers?
  • · The Jewish authorities were the ones in the first place who ordered the Romans to make the tomb as secure as possible out of fear that the disciples would go and steal the body and then claim a Resurrection. ( Matt. 27:65)

Solomon says “What the wicked fear most will overtake him” (Prov. 10:24)

  • · The guards couldn’t have fallen asleep because such an offense was punishable by death. Even if they did fall asleep, would they be able to sleep through the noise made of several men trying to break through a large well sealed tomb and then carrying away the body.
  • · What would motivate the disciples to even consider such a theft knowing that their leader Jesus who had promised them so much had now “failed” them since He had now been publicly executed as a criminal?
  • · Could the Jewish authorities have taken the body? No, since they were the ones who ordered the tomb to be made as secure as possible and the last thing they would have wanted was a proclamation of the Resurrection, especially the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead.
  • · Could the Romans have taken the body? No because their objective was to keep the peace in Palestine, and stealing Jesus ’body wouldn’t accomplish this objective. False prophets and false Messiahs were not the business of the Romans.
  • · Consider also Saul of Tarsus (persecutor of the Christians) and James (brother of Jesus who prior didn’t believe in Jesus and who thought he was out of His mind). Later, both had their lives radically changed not because of any empty tomb but by Jesus’ appearances to them.
  • · MOST IMPORTANTLY, if the disciples did steal the body as claimed by the Jewish leaders, would the disciples have so willingly endured the tortures, imprisonments and their deaths in the following years for something they knew was a hoax!

WRONG TOMB THEORY:

This claims that in the dark, early that Sunday morning, the women followers of Jesus and then everyone else simply went to the wrong tomb which was an empty one. Jesus’ tomb, with His body inside was elsewhere.

Consider:

  • · This is based on a careless reading of scripture, for the burial site was known by the women and the others. Matthew 27:61 and Mark 15:47 tell us that the women had seen where Jesus’ body had been laid. The evidence suggests that the tomb location was known because Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well known man – Joseph of Arimathea, who was a rich man, allegedly on the Sanhedrin which was the highest ruling body in the time of Jesus, therefore making him a public figure.
  • · Even If the disciples had gone to the wrong tomb, they would have noticed this mistake when morning light came and then simply just went to the right tomb.
  • · Out of all the people who went to the tomb, surely one of them must have noticed it was the wrong one.
  • · Did the Angels also make a mistake and go to the wrong tomb?
  • · Women in 1st Century Palestine were considered of such low social standing and their testimony regarded so worthless, that they weren’t allowed to serve as legal witnesses in a Jewish court of Law. So four male writers (one of them a doctor) testifying that the empty tomb was discovered by women supports the stories authenticity.
  • · If the tomb wasn’t empty, then it would have been impossible for a movement founded on belief in the Resurrection to have come into existence in the very same city (Jerusalem) where its Leader had been publicly executed and buried , especially when the tomb site was known.
  • · MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Jewish leaders and Roman authorities would have ended the whole Resurrection uproar by just going to the right tomb and publicly producing the body. This would have been in their best interest for it would have ended the new movement instantly which was a threat to their beliefs.

SWOON THEORY

States that Jesus didn’t die but that He only passed out or appeared to die. When He was placed in the tomb, He was revived by the cool air of the tomb and got up and left.

Consider:

  • · When one understands the process of scourging the Romans used on their victims before their crucifixion (which killed some of its victims before they could be crucified), then being nailed to a cross as a proven method of execution, then having a spear thrust into your side, then one would realize that this is physically impossible.
  • · Asphyxiation (the inability to breathe) was the cause of death by crucifixion.
  • · The spear thrust into Jesus’ side described in John 19:34 where blood and water are described as flowing from His body were due to the rupturing of the sac that surrounds the heart (Pericardium). This would produce the water and if the right side of the heart was pierced, blood would likewise flow. No question remains concerning the state of the victim afterward. That the Gospels record the water and blood in a time where there was no medical knowledge for this condition (physical stress of the heart, producing water and blood) is itself a testimony to the truth of the Gospels.
  • · This was a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy as stated in John 19:34.

“Not one of his bones will be broken” (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 4:12, Psalm 34:20)

“They will look on the one they have pierced” ( Zechariah 12:10)

  • · The Romans had seen hundreds of men executed by crucifixion and to them it was routine to know when a victim was dead.
  • · Peter and John went to the tomb and saw strips of linen lying by themselves. (John 20:5-9)
  • · MOST IMPORTANTLY, even if Jesus had survived the torture, the crucifixion and the spear thrust into His side, do you really think He could then just get out of the tightly wound grave clothes, then remove a massive stone to exit the tomb (which had been ordered to be as secure as possible), then fight off or evade the guards and then walk towards Emmaus (about 7 miles from Jerusalem) on nail pierced feet and then convince and inspire hundreds of people in this mutilated state that He is the Risen Prince of Life who conquered the grave? Would Peter, a witness to the Resurrection, then write about his longing for a Resurrected body?

It is important to understand that faith is also based on the rational understanding of the historical record as well as insight into human nature. One needs to examine ALL THE EVIDENCE as well as truly seeking God. Like Solomon says you need to listen to the questions raised by the opponent that challenge him and not just listen to the first man, irregardless of how much a fine sounding argument he presents.

Section 2

How does one explain the “seeming contradictions” in the Resurrection passages?

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory. In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says:

“Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance” (Proverbs 13:16)

Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, skeptics try to refute it by pointing out that the four Gospel narratives of the Resurrection event contain “contradictions”. In comparing the four accounts of the Resurrection, a number of “apparent differences” can be highlighted on a first and superficial reading of the texts.

Here is a list of these “apparent contradictions” the skeptics propose.

  • · Differences in the number and names of the women arriving at the tomb.
  • · Mark’s account has the women coming to the tomb at the rising of the sun, while John states that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb when it was dark.
  • · Differences in the number of Angels at the tomb and the nature they appeared in.
  • · Differences in the dialogue or instructions the Angels gave to the women.
  • · To whom did Jesus appear first?
  • · Did the disciples believe or disbelieve the reports from the women about proceeding to Galilee?
  • · Which disciples went to the tomb? Peter alone or Peter and John?
  • · In what order did Jesus appear to which disciples?
  • · Where did the Ascension take place?

We shall look at each in turn.

Consider:

  • · Matthew doesn’t say that only Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb.
  • · Mark doesn’t say that only the 3 women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb.
  • · Luke doesn’t say that only the 3 women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James went to the tomb.
  • · John doesn’t say that only Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.

The exclusion of any names does not mean they didn’t go to the tomb.

The key is found in Luke 24:10. “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.” This shows that others had gone to the tomb, hence Salome, the other Mary (wife of Cleopas), and possibly others.

All writers include Mary Magdalene in their accounts. She obviously must have been the key figure in visiting the tomb event so for this reason she is emphasized by all writers.

2) Regarding the women’s time of arrival at the tomb in comparing John’s (dark) with Mark’s (day), one needs to understand that the women had to walk some distance in order to reach the tomb, since they stayed in Jerusalem or Bethany (There were no cars then). So it would have been still dark when they left their point of departure, but when they arrived at the tomb, the Sun was beginning to shine. Therefore John is speaking of their departure, while Mark is speaking of their impending arrival. The key word in Mark is that “they were on their way” meaning they hadn’t arrived yet.

3) Matthew and Mark relate one Angel addressing the women at the tomb, while Luke and John say that 2 Angels were at the tomb. Both Matthew and Mark don’t say that there was only one Angel at the tomb. They only say that one Angel spoke to the women. This does not contradict Luke and John. All that Matthew and Mark do in their passages is specify that one Angel spoke to the women, but they do not say that only one Angel was present. So here a sensible person would consider that perhaps one of the Angels served as a spokesman for the two Angels, thus one of the Angels was emphasized.

*The Bible in both Old and New testaments tells us that Angels take on human forms. Therefore it isn’t a contradiction if one writer addresses an Angel as an Angel, and another writer addresses the Angel as a man, especially if the person hadn’t realized at first that the man was really an Angel.

4) In all Gospels regarding the account of the Angels speaking to the women, all agree that the Angels said “He is not here, He is Risen”. We can reason that the conversation was probably extended only that Matthew and Mark emphasize the instruction about going to Galilee, whereas Luke emphasizes prophecy fulfilled. John doesn’t mention the Angel accounts, however he mentions other accounts that the other writers don’t mention, such as the appearance by the Lake of Tiberias. Again the exclusion by one writer doesn’t mean that the event didn’t happen.

5) Since Mark tells us that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) and since Matthew and John also emphasize Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene after the visit to the empty tomb (irregardless of which other women were there), then we can conclude that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene. The exclusion of this appearance in Luke doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, especially since no other name is substituted in Luke’s Gospel for this particular appearance at that particular time to suggest otherwise.

6) Mark and Luke report the disciple’s disbelief because this disbelief takes place immediately after the women return from the tomb and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive. Therefore such disbelief is expected in such a short time span. The key is in Luke’s Gospel that states Peter gets up immediately to go investigate the tomb himself. Matthew however leaves out the details regarding the immediate return of the women from the tomb, (which is why the guards report has been put there) therefore not giving us the initial reaction of the disciples (which was disbelief) as soon as they are told about the empty tomb. He then leaves out other details that happened in the meantime meaning that they had believed by this time when going to Galilee since this occurred sometime afterward.

7) Luke doesn’t say that only Peter went to the tomb, but chooses to write only about Peter. This is in no contradiction to John’s Gospel which says the same things regarding Peter at the tomb, only that he includes John as well.

8) In order for anyone to understand the order of Jesus’ appearances after the Resurrection and then during the 40 day period before the Ascension, one needs to do a careful reading of all the Gospels and giving particular attention to the Time clauses. Then reading the different pieces from the different writers can one then put the puzzle together in order to see the whole picture rather than jumping to conclusions only on a first and superficial reading of the texts. On a careful reading, one should get a picture looking something like this.

On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus appears:

  • · First to Mary Magdalene . Mt 28:8, Mk 16:9, Jn 20:14
  • · To women returning from the tomb. Mt 28:9,10
  • · To Peter later the same day. Lk 24:34, 1 Co. 15:5
  • · To the Emmaus disciples. Lk 24:13, Mk 16:12 “Now that same day”
  • · To the Apostles without Thomas Lk 24:36-43, Jn 20:19-24 “On the evening of that first day of the week.”

The following Sunday Jesus appears to:

  • · The Apostles with Thomas present. Jn 20:26-29 “A week later”

Sometime later (during the 40 days) Jesus appears:

  • · To the 7 by the Lake of Tiberias. Jn 21:1-23 “Afterward”
  • · To a multitude of 500+ believers on a Galilean mountain. 1Co. 15:6
  • · To James 1 Co. 15:7
  • · To the 11. Mt 28:16-20, Mk 16:14-20, Lk. 24:33-52, Acts 1:3-12
  • · At the Ascension. Acts 1:3-12

9) Regarding the Ascension, Luke is the only writer that gives us specific names for the place where the Ascension occurred. In Luke he says it took place in the vicinity of Bethany, and Acts tells us (which he also wrote), on the Mt. of Olives. Since Bethany is a small village on the Mt. of Olives and since the Ascension occurred on the eastern slope of the Mt. of Olives, then there is no contradiction.

It is clear that all four gospel writers relate the Resurrection event differently. This should be expected from four unique individuals giving an account of an event, each through their own perspective. Realistically no four witnesses of any event or series of events would write up in exactly the same way, just as no four artists who were each asked to paint the same scene would provide the exact same details in their paintings. The general scene would be the same, but the details would differ, FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL PERSON PERCEIVES DIFFERENT THINGS AT DIFFERENT TIMES, FOR DIFFERENT REASONS.

Ultimately the differences in the Resurrection event confirm its realistic truthfulness rather than refute it for reasons we will look at.

Consider:

When people say that there are contradictions, what they may really mean is that there are passages that they can’t figure out because in many cases they haven’t set aside valuable time to read the passages carefully, correspond them to similar passages, ask God for Wisdom, and then try to put the whole picture or puzzle together.

Many people assume what they themselves can’t explain is therefore unexplainable. This is rooted in pride or in an unwillingness to receive an explanation, especially if the explanation threatens their mindset.

Problems in understanding the language, intent and style of the writer.

One must understand that different people with different personalities will emphasize different points. So it would be fitting for someone like Luke a historian to emphasize historical points of a story.

John tells us that Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. Therefore from this statement one should understand that the Gospel writers would agree on the core events of Jesus life while at the same time include or exclude many of these other things.

The exclusion of an event by one or more of the writers does not mean the event didn’t take place.

The problem with some people is they try to apply their 21st century mindsets (especially in the West) to the way things should have been done in 1st century Palestine.

If the differences in the Gospels concerned the main and vital points of the Resurrection, then one could be justified for doubt. However the core of the story is the same in all four gospels.

Jesus was dead. Joseph of Arimathea takes Jesus’ body and puts it in his tomb, the tomb is visited by a small group of women followers of Jesus early on the Sunday morning following His Crucifixion, and they find the tomb empty. They see two Angels saying that Jesus is Risen. The Risen Christ appears to the disciples over a period of 40 days after the Resurrection. The Resurrection is proclaimed in Jerusalem. Jesus ascended into the heavens. This suggests a historical core to the story that is reliable and can be depended on, irregardless of the variations in the secondary details.

All these agreed facts put forth by the Gospel writers make up a powerful argument for the validity of the Resurrection story. When there is agreement on these obvious and vital points by all writers, then the insignificant differences only add to rather than subtract from the validity. It is these details which when correlated together supply the larger picture of the Resurrection.

One must also take into account the fact that the Gospels were written about 20-40 yrs after the Resurrection event had happened. Two of the Gospels were written by two immediate disciples of Jesus, while the other two were written by two that hadn’t been with Him. So we have four different writers, all writing at different dates (between 30-40 yrs later), and from different places, and having different priorities coming to mind. It is only reasonable and realistic to expect variances from the writers or to allow the Holy Spirit to work as He willed in each of their work.

A Word from the Lord God Almighty

“The Gospels and the Historical events concerning the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ have all been devised by God in such an infinite and wise way that no allowance is left for refute by the inferior ‘wisdom’ of mankind”

Section 3

ILLUSION, DELUSION, HALLUCINATION!

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory. In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says:

“What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?” (Prov. 25:8)

Some skeptics propose that Jesus’ followers suffered hallucinations, or that the appearances of the Risen Lord after the Resurrection were a type of vision. This view states that the witnesses just saw what they wanted to believe.

To understand these phenomena, look at the two pictures below. Which centre dot is larger?

The centre dot in b) appears to be.

However this is an illusion, because a distorted perception is caused by the size of the surrounding dots. But if you measure both centre dots, you will find that they are exactly the same size.

Therefore an Illusion is – A deceptive appearance of something that is already there.

Suppose now that you have measured the centre dots, you have 20 other people also measure them, and everyone comes to the same conclusion that the centre dots in a) and b) are the same size. If in spite of the indisputable evidence you still hold to your belief that the centre dot in b) is larger, then you are experiencing a delusion.

Therefore a Delusion is – a false belief that is held with the conviction that it is true, in spite of evidence that invalidates its truth.

Say now that you haven’t slept for a few days and you are suffering sleep deprivation, and you now see a new set of dots. You would be experiencing a hallucination.

Therefore a Hallucination is – a false perception of something that is not there in the first place.

Points to consider about Hallucinations:

  • · Ancient people also used, like many in modern society, wine and drugs etc to sooth emotional pain. Too much of either one might cause people to see things that are not there.

However, hallucinations like dreams are private occurrences that occur in the mind of an individual, not to a whole group. No two people can have the same hallucination as the another, nor is it possible to induce a hallucination on somebody else. This means that a group of people who are hallucinating, would experience a hallucination on an individual basis, and it would be different to everybody else. In the Resurrection event, the appearances came to groups of people, with each person seeing the same thing. This is not how hallucinations work.

  • · There are too many personal variations, for Jesus appeared several times to many people in different groups and situations over a period of 40 days.

Consider:

1. To Mary Magdalene

2. To the women returning from the tomb

3. To Peter later in the day

4. To the Emmaus disciples

5. To the Apostles without Thomas

6. To the Apostles with Thomas present

7. To the Seven by the Lake of Tiberias

8. To a multitude of 500 plus believers on a Galilean mountain

9. To James

10. To the 11

11. At the Ascension

After the 40 days:

12. To Paul

13. To Stephen

14. To Paul in the Temple

15. To John on Patmos

So is it possible that all these people, many who were in groups had all been hallucinating the same thing at different times and over different time spans? This would be like getting over 500 people to see the same dream over a 40 day period at least!

  • · Hallucinations either recur more frequently until a point of crisis is reached, or they recur less frequently until they fade away. If the appearances of the Risen Saviour were hallucinations, why did they stop so suddenly – 6 weeks after the death. Why didn’t these hallucinations become chronic after the Ascension especially after over 500 people had been a witness to this?
  • · The creed of 1 Corinthians 15:5 (which was written earlier than the Gospels and by Paul who before this didn’t want to believe in Jesus) states that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people. Surely they could not have all been hallucinating the same thing!
  • · Ancient Jews believed that the righteous dead went to Heaven to await a general resurrection at the end of time. Their so called hallucinations would not have imagined Jesus returning to them in a resurrected form, because that belief was not their theology.
  • · Hallucinations are rare events that occur to people who expect them .People who hallucinate need a fertile mind of expectancy or anticipation. The disciples accepted Christ’s departure and were not expecting Jesus to appear which is why they had lost all hope and simply returned to their fishing business. But these appearances came to them as surprises not expectations.
  • · Since hallucinations occur to people who expect them, women going to a tomb with spices to anoint a dead body are obviously not expecting to find that body risen from the dead.
  • · Hallucinations don’t explain Paul’s conversion for he was in no frame of mind to hallucinate. Before his conversion he was against both Jesus and His followers and he believed it was God’s will to kill them.
  • · Paul saw a bright light and heard Jesus speak. There were bystanders there who also fell to the ground in fear, saw the light and heard the voice but didn’t understand the words. Since others were included in this event, Paul’s experience wasn’t subjective as a hallucination.
  • · Hallucinations don’t explain James’ conversion. Mark 3:21 tells us that James thought Jesus was deluded. As a pious Jewish unbeliever, he would have viewed his crucified brother as a false Messiah who would have been cursed by God. This makes it highly unlikely that he would be in any frame of mind to hallucinate something so powerful that motivated him to change his religious beliefs in an area he believed would cost him his eternal soul if he was mistaken.
  • · Hallucinations don’t explain the empty tomb. Even if the disciples, did experience hallucinations, Jesus’ body would still be in the tomb.

Points to consider about delusions:

  • · People who are candidates for delusions believe something that overrides their logic. The disciples may have wanted Jesus to be with them thus being in the frame of mind for this, however Paul and James weren’t. Paul was having Christians killed, and James was committed to the Jewish law. Therefore this doesn’t explain both their conversions.
  • · Delusions don’t explain the empty tomb. If the disciples were deluded, the body would still have been in the tomb.

Points to consider about Visions:

  • · Usually skeptics who suggest these eyewitness accounts the Resurrection as visions cannot give you a solid definition or specify to you what they mean by a ‘vision’.
  • · There are two types of visions. Objective and Subjective.

Objective visions are real (not imaginary), are seen without the use of natural senses, there is reality and cause of the phenomenon outside the mind.

Therefore such a vision would confirm that Jesus rose from the dead.

Subjective visions are products of our minds. They have no reality or cause outside the mind, so they are like a hallucination or a dream. If the appearances were subjective visions, this would mean they were the result of some sort of hallucination. Yet hallucinations are not acceptable. See hallucinations.

  • · A phantom can just fade away, but an objective entity must go somewhere. Something must happen to it, and in Jesus’ case we see Him eating with the disciples and going from place to place.
  • · When God creates something, everyone can see it. Its objective not subjective.
  • · Any vision still doesn’t explain the empty tomb.
  • · The nature of Jesus’ Resurrected body testifies against a vision, because His Risen body is described as occupying space and time.

Section 4

IS A PHYSICAL RESURRECTED BODY FATHOMABLE?

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory .In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says

“ …..fools die for lack of judgment.” (Proverb 10:21).

The prophet Hosea also said “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6)

Regarding the nature of the Resurrected body that Jesus had, skeptics try to refute it by saying that the body that Jesus appeared in after the Resurrection was not a physical one. Critics claim that the body that rose from the grave wasn’t the same body that was crucified and buried, but was only a spiritual body. Others say that since Paul was an eyewitness to the Resurrected Lord but had seen Him as a blinding light, and since his writings were written earlier than the Gospels, then the story of His bodily Resurrection as found in the Gospels was the result of embellishments added thus reflecting a tradition that developed over time.

However for anyone to understand or believe in a physical resurrected body, it is essential to understand Dimensions.

Dimensions can be described as: the extent in which something is permitted in a given space in order to allow for its functioning and bring about its intended purpose.

Everything in creation works because of Dimension. Two examples will be given to explain this. One from maths and one from music.

In Maths :

a) One dimension (line) deals only with length.

b) Two dimensions (square) deals with length and width.

c) Three dimensions (cube) deals with length, width and depth.

In Music:

a) A C major chord consists of the notes: C E G one dimension

b) A C7 chord consists of the notes: C E G and Bb two dimension

c) A C9 chord consists of the notes: C E G Bb and D three dimension

d) A C11 chord consists of the notes: C E G Bb D and F a new dimension, etc.

All dimensions in creation function on these laws:

  • · When moving up to a higher dimension there is always increase or the addition of a new thing.

E.g Both C major and C7 chords have the notes C E G. But C7 is a new dimension therefore there is the addition of the note Bb.

  • · The things that exist in any given dimension will still exist in the next dimension up, meaning that every dimension controls and encircles its preceding dimension. So:

The 1St dimension is contained in the 2nd dimension and controlled by the 2nd dimension.

The 2nd dimension is contained in the 3rd dimension and controlled by the 3rd dimension, etc…

E.g. A line (1st dim.) is found in a square (2nd dim.).

A square (2nd dim.) is found in a cube (3rd dim.).

Therefore we can reason that a cube must be found in something new.

In dealing with the issue of matter occupying space and time, these laws are also to be expected. So when one looks at the nature of Jesus ’ Resurrected body, one should expect to find a natural body that is like ours in what it looks like and in what it can do, but there should also be an addition of new things that our bodies don’t have because His body now belongs to a new dimension.

The scriptures are in agreement with the laws discussed. We see that Jesus after the Resurrection like us:

  • · Had a physical body: (Luke 24:39-40, John 20:27)
  • · Ate: (Luke 24: 42-43)
  • · Spoke: Matthew 28:9-10, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:17, John 20:15-16, 21:5-6)
  • · Heard: Luke 24:22-27
  • · Saw: John 21;5-6
  • · Felt: John 20:17
  • · Walked: Luke:24:15

However, to the above a new dimension was added for now Jesus could:

  • · Transcend the present laws of physics and /or travel in some way we are now not capable of. John 20:19 and 26 tells us that He transcended locked doors.

Luke 24:31 tells us that He disappeared from the sight of the two disciples at Emmaus.

  • · Defy gravity as he left the earth and ascended into the air. (Acts 1:9, Luke 24:51)

Another thing needs to be mentioned. We see in scriptures such as Luke 24:13-24 and John 21:4-5 that even though Jesus appeared so earthly and normal, there must also have been something about Him that caused the disciples not to recognize Him instantly. This is to be expected because when a person has been exposed to a particular dimension, then the appearance of the new dimension added to the known dimension can prevent one from recognizing the glory of it, even though the known dimension is contained within that new dimension.

As an example, listen to the sound of a C major chord, and then listen to the sound of a C9 chord. Even though both chords contain the notes C E G, the added 2 notes of Bb and D, in the C9 chord will transform the C chord and cause one who isn’t familiar with this new chord not to recognize that it is just an extended and transfigured version of a C major chord!

“…..the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21)

“ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

If mortal mankind who was created in the image of God can design and build machines that can transcend laws of Nature (e.g rockets going into space) , how much more can Immortal God Almighty prepare a Resurrected body for us.

Regarding Paul seeing the Resurrected Lord in a different form:

Consider:

  • · The disciple’s experiences occurred before Jesus’ ascension to the throne of God. Paul’s experience occurred after the Ascension. A Post Ascension glorified Jesus appearing to Paul explains why Paul’s experience was different than those of the disciples.
  • · The creed of 1 Corinthians 15 written by Paul was written before the Gospels, therefore the Gospels cannot reflect later tradition on this matter.
  • · Reading Paul’s writings such as 1 Cor. 15, Philippians 3:21, Romans 8:11, Colossians 2:9,and Acts 13: 34-37, we see that Paul doesn’t view Jesus’ Resurrected body any different to the disciples. Many go through these scriptures trying to work out what Paul means or doesn’t mean. One doesn’t have to do a theological study on Paul in order to understand the simplicity and reasonability of a physical resurrected body in terms of understanding dimensions.
  • · Irregardless of the form Jesus appeared to Paul in, this doesn’t explain why the tomb was empty. If the Resurrected body were only spiritual, then what happened to the physical body that was in the tomb?
  • · Jews of the time believed in the oneness of a person, the unity of body and spirit. The idea of resurrecting one part of the person (the spirit) and not the other part (the body) didn’t occur to them and wasn’t their theology.

Section 5

IS THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE RESULT OF LEGEND?

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory. In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says

“In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” (Proverbs 22:5)

Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, some critics claim that it originated as a legend. There are at least three legend theories they use in order to try and refute it.

These are 1) Embellishments, 2) A non historical literary style, and 3) Myths in other religions.

However a wise man makes a decision based on wisdom which means examining all sides of the spectrum of evidence and knowledge.

“Wise men store up knowledge”. (Prov. 10:14)

EMBELLISHMENTS- This theory states that Jesus’ disciples never claimed He rose from the dead. Rather as the story of Jesus and his teachings spread over time, they were embellished with supernatural details, changing the original message. The question is “Did the legend creep into Christian tradition before they were put into writing?

Consider:

  • · The Resurrection event has to do with the real experiences of the original apostles. If embellished details were added so that the ending of the story became the Resurrection of Jesus, then the original story told by the disciples would not have included Jesus’ Resurrection.
  • · Paul and James both historical figures came to Christ through personal experiences. Both their conversion experiences date very early. Both had been pious Jewish unbelievers. One was zealous to persecute Christians, and the other thought that Jesus was out of His mind and didn’t believe in Him. Mere legend wouldn’t explain their conversions. So here one must provide valid reasons for their conversions from unbelief which occurred after the Resurrection.
  • · What is the historical evidence that such embellishments were added?
  • · This theory doesn’t explain the empty tomb. If the Resurrection were only a legend, the tomb would be filled.

A NON-HISTORICAL LITERARY STYLE- This theory states that the disciples did not literally mean that Jesus rose from the dead but rather through the use of literary style invented a fable about His rising and assigned Him divine attributes in order to honor Him and communicate a deeper message.

Consider:

  • · Any literary style does not explain why Jesus’ tomb was empty. In order to explain Jesus empty tomb, an additional theory must be used.
  • · A fable would not have convinced Paul that Jesus rose from the dead. His hostility towards Jesus and Christians together with his own Jewish studies, he would have probably considered the Gospel to be a poor attempt to imitate the Jewish fables that later came to be known as Midrash. Paul as an educated man would surely have been familiar with non-historical genre. With all these credentials, a fable would not have convinced him to follow someone he himself considered to be a false Messiah who was cursed by God. He definitely would have feared such apostasy from true faith, for it would jeopardize his soul.
  • · If educated people in the 1st century knew about non-historical genre of literature, then they were also familiar with historical genre. The existence of non-historical literature at the time of the Gospels is not evidence that these authors were using that genre.
  • · The language used by the Apostle’s in the New Testament regarding the Resurrection event and the historical events that surrounded it, indicate that the accounts are meant to be understood as historical and not mythical. The use of names such as Pilate, King Herod, Caesar Augustus, Felix etc… support the historical authenticity of the New Testament as confirmed by other historical writers such as Josephus in their works.

THE RESURRECTION EVENT IS A VARIATION OF MYTHS IN OTHER RELIGIONS- This theory states that since miracles abound in other religions including stories of risen saviors such as Osiris, Adonis, Tammuz, Attis and Marduk, Then the questions raised are 1) What makes Jesus’ Resurrection more credible than these, 2) Did Christians copy or get inspiration from these pagan accounts, 3) Why believe the Christian account of the Resurrection while rejecting similar accounts in other religions?

Consider:

  • · The risen saviors of all other religions and mythologies were a shadow of the true Savior that was to come. Mankind throughout history has understood the need of a Savior. Thus one can say that these other resurrections were a cry out for the real thing that was to take place in human history. All mythologies are derived from the human imagination. The human imagination is derived from the facts of nature (e.g observance of plant and animal life-something such as a seed descends only to re-ascend).The facts of nature are derived from her maker God. This pattern of risen saviors exists in nature because it was there first in God. So through this observance and understanding of natural events, civilizations have applied it to form religions and mythologies. This mechanism of risen saviors is repeated in many cultures only under the guise of different names.
  • · All other religions/mythologies that have risen gods also have many other gods for other things (polytheistic). A god of wine, a god of fertility, etc…etc…etc… Yet the irony is that despite these other numerous gods, they all had the ability to reason that in addition to these many gods, some other god had to be a “ruler” over these other gods. Hence a Zeus or a Jupiter.
  • · The enactment of Jesus as a dying and risen savior took place among the very people (Israel) to whom and to whom alone the idea of a “dying God” was completely foreign.
  • · All other religions/mythologies leave us ignorant about a detailed genealogy or actual time of existence of its risen saviors. Only in Christ Jesus can we trace the lineage historically throughout Israel’s history, going all the way back to the first man, and whose death and year of death are proven historically.
  • · The first account of a dying and rising god that somewhat parallels the story of Jesus’ Resurrection appeared at least 100 years after the reports of Jesus’ resurrection. The earliest versions of the death and resurrection of Adonis appeared after 150 A.D. Accounts of Attis appear early in the 3rd century or later. Therefore one cannot accuse the disciples of molding their stories to fit a stereotyped form of pagan ‘divinization’, since there is no literature contemporary to the disciples indicating that this was a genre of that period.
  • · The accounts of ‘risen saviors’ in other religions/mythologies are conflicting and questionable. There are uncertainties regarding their life, death, resurrection. For e.g, the Egyptian cult of Osiris is the only account of a god who survived death that pre-dates Christianity. However there are several versions to this story.
  • · It is questionable that these ‘risen saviors’ were brought back to life on earth and seen by as many people as Jesus was.
  • · The ‘risen saviors’ in these other religions/mythologies are not even the heroes of the story, but someone else who restores these ‘saviors’ to life. For e.g Persephone restored Adonis to life, and Isis restored Osiris to life.
  • · One needs to understand the difference between mythology which comes from the human imagination and historical proven fact.
  • · Jesus prophesied that false christs and false prophets would come and deceive others, therefore competing resurrection claims in other religions should be expected.
  • · Claims of resurrections in other religions do not explain the evidence that exists for Jesus’ resurrection on a historical, archeological or spiritual level.

Section 6

SCIENCE AND THE RESURRECTION

When asked by God to name whatever blessing he most desired, King Solomon asked only one thing: WISDOM to know how to best govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, Israel experienced its greatest years in prosperity and glory .In one of his proverbs, King Solomon says

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, some skeptics believe that scientific research is the only way of achieving new knowledge and they assert that miracles like the Resurrection of Jesus Christ don’t pass the test of the scientific method.

Here is a list of the main objections that skeptics use in order to try and refute the Resurrection.

  • · Only what science can prove is true.
  • · Science proves that dead people don’t come back to life.
  • · Science can explain everything, so we don’t need God.
  • · If God exists, He cannot intervene in Natural laws.
  • · Science must assume a natural explanation for everything.
  • · Even if the miracle of the Resurrection occurred we would never know it was a miracle.
  • · Miracles occur in other religions so why only rely on Christian miracles?
  • · The probability of an event being an act of God is minimal.

We will look at each in turn.

a)Only what science can prove is true.

Consider:

  • · Science can only workwithin the limits of what can be observed and tested. Therefore science is limited. There are occurrences outside the scientific realm that science simply doesn’t know or cannot prove.

For e.g. Science cannot:

– Tell you how long you will live.

– The exact date you will die.

– What will be the cause of your death.

– Measure love with any equipment.

– Make you re-live a certain era in history such as the dinosaur era.

Therefore we see there are mysteries in life that science cannot solve. This is why they are called mysteries because they are unexplainable. One must therefore ask at whose mercy these mysteries in life are at?

  • · Just because something cannot be seen or observed in the natural, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. How can a scientist who claims that the supernatural doesn’t exist prove it? How does one prove the non-existence of something if it doesn’t exist in the first place?
  • · Scientists also make mistakes.
  • · History shows us that some things that were not so well understood in science in the past are better understood now. The same applies today. There are things not clearly understood today that will be better understood in the future. This clearly shows that science will always have the element of procrastination of absolute truth. How can one put their trust in this procrastination of truth and jeopardize their eternal destiny. For e.g. 100 years ago science hadn’t introduced computers. The absence or presence of those computers 100 years ago didn’t affect the eternal destiny of the people living at that time. Likewise today the absence or presence of advanced science won’t affect were you will spend eternity.
  • · To claim that truth is only found in what science can prove is self-refuting. It is unscientific to claim that science is the only way to know something, and no scientist can prove that only what science proves is true. So science fails its own test and is therefore illegitimate to require that God’s activity be proved in a test tube.
  • · To require a historical event like the Resurrection to be predictable or repeatable is just another way of saying that science is the only way to know something. As seen, this again is self refuting.
  • · Since science cannot always measure God’s activity, there is no reason why one cannot consider the non-supernatural evidence concerning the Resurrection.

One must ask questions like

– Did Jesus die?

– Was He seen alive after His death?

– Who saw Jesus after His death and are their reports credible?

– What other historical evidence exists regarding the Resurrection? Both secular and non-secular, Jewish and non-Jewish sources?

– Archeological evidence.

– Spiritual signs accompanying those who have turned to Jesus Christ.

A true scientist will examine all spheres of information.

b)Science proves that dead people don’t come back to life.

Consider:

  • · Science only shows that people don’t rise from the dead by natural means. This doesn’t apply to Jesus because the claim is that He didn’t come back to life naturally but that it was GOD who raised Him from the dead: Acts 5:30, 10:40, 13:30
  • · What about Resurrections from the dead that are occurring today, if you go online and type ‘people raised from the dead’ you will see some interesting sites where people have been raised from the dead ! Scientists, Psychologists and just normal people who didn’t believe in God died, or were taken to the afterlife, then came back to life !
  • · The Resurrection is not an isolated event. It occurred in a context that was interconnected religiously and historically making it significant and appropriate. The disciples, Paul (persecutor), James (skeptic), were all overwhelmed by the evidence. Therefore one must consider the possibility that God was at work.

This includes

Jesus’ claims to Divinity

His miraculous deeds

His predictions that He would rise from the dead.

The Messianic prophecies throughout Israel’s history.

c)Science can explain everything, so we don’t need God.

Skeptics say that “God” has been used as a way to fill in the gaps in current knowledge or to explain the things that a culture can’t understand. This is known as the God of the Gaps theory. For example before science could understand weather phenomena like lightning and thunder, these events may have been described as the audible and visible indication of God’s anger. But since science can explain more today than in the past, then there is a good chance that in the future science will explain everything, including Jesus’ Resurrection and there will be no more need to appeal to the God of the gaps theory.

Consider:

  • · The reality is that science cannot explain everything. See point a).
  • · This just shows that there is always the element of procrastination in absolute truth in science. Since no-one knows how long they have to live on this earth, wouldn’t it be foolish to wait around until science has come out of her procrastination. You will probably be dead by then anyway.
  • · Apart from the exceptions, most scientists don’t care about people’s eternal destinies. They just do their job. It foolish to put your eternal destiny in jeopardy by having it at the mercy of someone who is just doing their job.
  • · God of the gaps explanations of the past don’t weaken current arguments for God anymore than discarded scientific theories and medical beliefs weaken today’s science and medicine.
  • · The problem is that it attacks the origin of the view instead of the view itself which could still be correct. Just because science can explain more today about weather phenomena, this doesn’t mean that God still isn’t the source behind these phenomena. The role of good science is to understand how God’s creation functions.
  • · The irony is that it is the very things that we do know from medical science, science history, psychology etc… and then putting all this information together regarding the Resurrection, that precisely causes the truth about the Resurrection to be so compelling. It is these very factors from science that disprove any natural explanations of the event.
  • · Skeptics cannot make judgments when they themselves cannot provide adequate evidence upon which to make a decision.
  • · Even though science is very useful, it still procrastinates in revealing absolute truth. It is therefore unwise for anyone to put their complete trust only in science and in the process put their eternal destiny in jeopardy. The fact that science is always advancing, improving and even making mistakes shows that it is imperfect to start off with. How can one completely trust their life and destiny to the imperfect?

d)If God exists, He cannot intervene in Natural laws.

This is usually the position of deists (people who believe that God created the world then set it to run on natural laws, but then from that point on doesn’t interfere), and also the position of people who think that God is unable to overrule His laws. They believe that since God doesn’t intervene in history, then He didn’t perform Jesus’ Resurrection.

Consider:

  • · People who say this make the assumption that Natural laws are apart from God.
  • · One must ask who created Natural laws in the first place, and give proof of this. If God did and then can’t or chose not to intervene or overrule these laws, then he can’t be a powerful God who works miracles and then can’t be revered.
  • · What is the proof that God can’t intervene in natural Laws?
  • · If man can intervene, re-arrange or produce a new edition on something he has created, then how can one assume that God can’t do the same. For e.g. mankind can invent a piece of machinery that works on certain laws in order for it to function. However, simultaneously mankind isn’t subject only to the machine he created to get the job done. The job can still be done manually! So if man who is created in the image of God can find other ways to get something accomplished, why is it so hard to believe that God can’t do the same.
  • · If God who worked miraculously to create the world and the universe in the first place was able to make something out of nothing, then how much more possible, easy and certain would it be for Him to work further in an already existing creation.
  • · History shows us that God is above any law and can still fulfill His purposes without it. “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath”. Romans 4: 13-14

e)Science must assume a naturalistic explanation for everything.

  • · Problem with this view is that it keeps scientific reasoning in control of the explanation to avoid the idea of Divinity superseding nature.
  • · Natural causes should be considered, but supernatural causes should also be considered when ALL natural theories fail and there is credible evidence in favor of Divine intervention. One has to seriously consider the problem with man’s presumption. Many times mankind is filled with too many textbooks, science and reasoning which result in wrong presumption, blinding them from considering simple and alternative reasons for something.
  • · The laws of nature are no match for an omniscient, omnipotent God who chooses to work by superseding those laws. The problem with the entire naturalistic mindset is that it misses the forest for the trees.
  • · Miracles of the past have left signs for science to prove that they did actually take place. For e.g. Egyptian chariot wheels having been found in the Red Sea, Noah’s Ark in the region of Ararat in Eastern Turkey. Therefore if God exists, we have very good reason to consider that there is a link between some events and a Divine cause.
  • · Many times when a believer in God presents their position about Jesus and the Resurrection, they are often criticized for being arrogant, gullible, having no proof etc….Our modern and technological scientific society won’t tolerate them. However when a person insists that all events must be interpreted naturally, then the irony is in its own intolerance, which isn’t scientific at all. So their hypocrisy is exposed by their own intolerance. The danger is in the rejection of the possibility of truth, because the starting assumption of this view is that no absolute truth exists except only that which can be explained naturalistically.

f)Even if a miracle occurred, we could never know it was a miracle.

  • · A historical event could never be labeled as a miracle without additional criteria. Jesus’ Resurrection gives us these pointers such as :

– The empty tomb

– He was known as a powerful miracle worker by both religious and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish sources.

– He claimed that how people responded to Him would determine where they would spend eternity.

– Messianic prophecies regarding His Resurrection years before it happened.

– His own claims that He would rise from the dead before it happened.

– The lives of people changed such as the disciples, and even those who didn’t want to believe in Him like Paul (persecutor) and James (skeptic).

– The religious and historical context of His claims to Divinity.

  • · How does one explain the unexplainable such as –The empty tomb, conversion of Paul and James.
  • · Never in history has there been such a unique orchestration and combination of events that have been devised by God Almighty in such an infinite and wise way that no allowance is left for refute by the inferior “wisdom” of mankind.

g) Miracles occur in other religions so why rely only on Christian miracles?

  • · God is not limited and can act supernaturally among unbelievers in order to draw them to Him. An example of this is seen in the healing of Naaman’s leprosy. However, scripture also tells us that there are those who have the ability to perform counterfeit wonders or counterfeit illusions designed to confuse people.
  • · Miracles in other religions tend to lack solid proof. Their questionable factuality as historical events cannot rule out the possibility that a real miracle with good evidence could occur.
  • · Miracle stories involving founders of other major world religions such as those of Buddha, appear centuries after the events they are said to record. The accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection are unique.
  • · Miracles of other religions can easily be dismissed when confronted with reasonable opposition. Opposing theories fail to answer the facts regarding Jesus’ Resurrection.

h)The probability of an event being an act of God is minimal.

This objection usually comes from people who don’t believe in the miraculous usually because of evidence against miracles from past experience, or because they themselves just don’t believe in miracles.

Consider:

  • · If God exists as described in the Scriptures, then there is no reason to reject the possibility of miracles as the explanation of events for which no natural explanation exists. Especially if science shows that.
  • · If we have limited experience in this world, then we will have limited knowledge, and our decisions will be made from this limited knowledge. The world has much to offer people, but many times people don’t want to fish in larger waters and see what’s there because this means coming out of comfort zones, or fear of facing the truth for this would demand a radical change in lifestyles they may not wish to surrender.
  • · There is justified proof that shows there is more to reality than the physical world we see everyday. Near death experiences reported by thousands of people worldwide are a major challenge to naturalism. Many of the reports from these experiences are so well documented that even naturalists have been forced to take them seriously, causing them to admit to life beyond the grave.
  • · There are atheist philosophers who have experienced near death experiences that they themselves couldn’t explain in natural terms.
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