Sunday, July 17, 2016

Is the Resurrection of Christ a historical fact?


This has always been an interesting question to me. And it is not a question I want to take on faith. After all, either the Resurrection was a historical fact or it wasn’t. If the Klingons had recording devices that recorded details of this event, and they showed that the Resurrection were faked, I wouldn’t believe it occurred.

A few days ago, someone asked me if I think Christ actually turned water into wine. I said that I didn’t know, because the Gospels weren’t necessarily written to be historically precise, but rather to make important points. But in any case I love that story. And he certainly could have turned water into wine, but there is not enough evidence for me to take it as near certainty.

The Gospels were written decades after Christ lived. And there are some fairly minor discrepancies between them, as would be expected.

That said, I’m almost certain that the Resurrection was a historical fact.

There are a number of good books that go into detail about this, including, “None Dare Call it a Conspiracy”.

I’m not going to give all the details here, so let me present four main points that indicate it did actually happen.

·      Many of the Apostles were afraid and went into hiding at the crucifixion. But within a few days, they seemed to be convinced he had Resurrected.

·      All of the Apostles and disciples went to their deaths, and some were tortured, and not one recanted the Resurrection. No conspiracy, no mass hypnotism, no wishful thinking could account for this.

·      In all four Gospels, it was women who first discovered the empty tomb, and were told by an Angel (or a man) that Christ had risen. At the time of the Gospels, Jewish women were held in very low regard. It is almost inconceivable that the writers of all the Gospels would have placed women at what could be the most important event in history, unless the event actually happened.

·      The post Resurrection accounts of Christ are rather unusual. At one time, he told one of the women to not touch him, because he had not completely risen. What? Frequently, he would show up somewhere, and the Apostles didn’t recognize him immediately. Why would the Gospel writers write such things if they were trying to convince others that Christ had risen? Also, he would show up in closed rooms - something he had never done before. These things seem to indicate that his Resurrected body was somehow different than his previous body. Again, this is not something the Gospel writers would make up if they wanted to convince readers that the Resurrection was real.

The bottom line is that of all the miraculous events that occurred in the Gospels, the Resurrection is the one that is almost certainly a historical fact.

And anyone who comes to that conclusion, would be well to read the Gospel of St. Matthew. You won’t be wasting your time.

And you might well decide to listen and apply what Christ exhorts us to do.

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Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas, and a former Professor of Mathematics. The views expressed herein are those of the author. One of his main interests is the reconciliation between science and spirituality. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at tfarage@hotmail.com.