It’s Easter! That means it’s time for resurrection theories, chocolate, alleluias and awesome infographics, right?
One thing that could destroy Christianity would be to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was not true. The Apostle Paul says so in 1st Corinthians 15:14. If the resurrection were not true, we would be the most foolish of people to continue believing what we believe and living how we live.
However, I believe that the resurrection of Jesus really did happen… When it comes to the resurrection we ask hard questions and learn the facts. Once we know the facts we can draw very plausible conclusions based on these known facts.
What I love about this infographic is that it shows how the alternate theories of the resurrection don’t match up with the known facts.
[Scroll down for the infographic or click here for a high-res version.]
The Known Facts
To give you the quick run-down, these are the known facts:
- Jesus was tortured and crucified on Friday afternoon. His death was a public event.
- Jesus was buried in a tomb. Many people knew its location.
- Jesus was not in the tomb on Sunday morning. His body was gone.
- His disciples, at great personal cost, preached that He had been raised bodily from the dead and appeared to them and many others.
- His enemies, despite great incentives, could not produce the body.
- His believers professed and died for the belief that Jesus had been raised bodily from the dead.
So what happened?
The five best naturalistic explanations are:
- The Swoon Theory says that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, He just “swooned” and “revived” in the tomb.
- The Hallucination Theory says that the disciples hallucinated Jesus’ resurrection.
- The “Spiritual Resurrection” Theory says that it was just a “spiritual resurrection”, a symbol of new life and new faith in… what exactly?
- The Theft Theory says that the disciples stole the body.
- The Wrong Tomb Theory says that the disciples just got the tomb mixed up.
The problem is that each of these theories clashes with the known facts.
The Swoon Theory denies that Jesus died. The Hallucination Theory and the “Spiritual Resurrection” Theory both deny the historical fact of the empty tomb. The Theft Theory doesn’t fit with the disciples’ transformation or their willingness to die for this belief. The Wrong Tomb Theory forgets that a mistake like that is easily fixed — all the authorities had to do was point out the real tomb.
The Best Explanation
The most plausible explanation is the only explanation that fits all the facts.
It alone explains why the tomb was empty and why the disciples believed and died for the belief in the bodily resurrection. Jesus really did die. He really did rise bodily from the dead. He really did appear to his disciples and many others.