Hi! I am Per Holbo - Welcome to The Corner Kick
Lately on The Corner Kick we've been through several series about Christianity
The purpose of these series is to build an accumulative argument that Christianity is true
We've asked some important questions about truth, the existence of God and miracles
We've been looking at the gospel accounts status as eye witness statements
And now we've reached the essence of it all
We've arrived at the only question that really matters:
A question that calls for an answer
A question that can only be answered with either a "yes" or a "no."
And this "yes" or "no" is definitively determining weither Christianity is true or not
To be blunt: a "yes" to this question can only lead
to the conclusion that Christian faith is true
And a "no" to this question is a definite rejection
A "no" simply means that Christianity can NOT be true
A "no" means that Christianity is not worth the
paper that The New Testament is written on
Now, what is this question that can be so determining?
Well, it is simply this: Did Jesus raise from the dead?
If you've been watching all the previous videos in these series
It should be very clear to you that there are quite strong arguments for three foundational claims:
First that truth must be objective
and can therefore to some extent be known through observation and logic
Secondly that the most obvious explanation for the existence of anything at all
is the existence of a creating God
And thirdly that the existence of a creating God not only
makes miracles possible, but even very likely to occur
With these three basic claims firmly established:
That is: Obejctive Truth, A creating God and Miracles being plausible
Our examination of the ressurection of Jesus can be done from an actual objective basis
Because now we cannot ignore the ressurrection as an explanation
based on the assumption that the dead could never come alive
instead we can now consider the ressurrection as a possible explanation
There are 5 historical facts about the ressurrection of Jesus
Facts that are important when we consider if Jesus really did rise from the dead
1: Jesus was crucified by the Romans under the rule of Pontius Pilate
2: Jesus was buried in a tomb placed in a public location
3: Afterwards the tomb was empty
4: The Apostles were convinced of the ressurrection of Jesus to
such an extent that they were willing to die for their conviction
And 5: Saul of Tarsus was an aggressive persecutor of Christians, but was suddenly converted
to Christianity because he believed that he had seen the ressurrected Christ Jesus in a vision
Now, you should notice that these 5 facts are agreed upon
by some of the most critical scholars of The New Testament
These facts are not specifically Christian in nature
But are on the contrary facts well established in the academic world
These are historical facts to the extent that any
historical review can place anything as a historical fact
Take for example Bart Ehrmann, who is a scholar with an extremely negative view of The New Testament
Bart Ehrman is a part of "The Jesus Seminar," a group of scholars
with the clear goal to disprooving the reliability of the Gospel
And Bart Ehrman says this:
"It is a historical fact that some of Jesus followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead
soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name;
one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death.
Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus,
not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection."
In another quote he states this:
"It is undisputable that some of the followers of Jesus came to think that he had been raised from the dead,
and that something had to have happened to make them think so.
Our earliest records are consistent on this point, and I think they provide us
with the historically reliable information in one key aspect:
the disciples belief in the resurrection was based on visionary experiences."
In fact only one of the previous mentioned claims are not agreed upon by "The Jesus Seminar"
although it is agreed upon by the vast majority of scholars
And that is the empty tomb
Therefore I'll bring two arguments for the empty tomb
The first argument is that the gospel accounts have all
been written no later than 65 years after the crucifiction
in addition to this all letters by Paul were written no later than 35 years after the crucifiction
This means that all of this has been written while most of the people who could verify
or object to this story are still alive to do so
And remember that this applies for both adherents and opponents of the Christians
Not a single source that we know of exists that claims the tomb was NOT empty
or that Jesus was not buried in a tomb
On the contrary we have plentiful sources confirming the tombing
and confirming that the tomb was afterwards empty
Secondly it is rather peculiar that the gospel accounts all
claim that the first to witness the empty tomb were women
In those days in that culture, the testimony of a woman was per definition deemed untrustworthy
Woman weren't even allowed to testify in the justice system
According to the Rabbinic tradition there's even a prayer
where you thank God for not creating you as a woman
But never the less the first to witness the empty tomb are women
If someone were to invent the tale of the empty tomb
it would be a rather strange idea to place women as the first witnesses
that would be something to avoid
and yet this is the very claim of the gospels
That fact strengthens the truthfulness of the story
Now that we have established these 5 facts as very probable
we can use them as a base for examining wiether Jesus really rose from the dead
The Apostles claim the ressurrection
Bart Ehrmans claimis that the apostles had some kind of visual experience,
but he doesn't get any closer than that
So let's take a closer look at why Bart Ehrman and others with him come to the conlusion that
the apostles must have hadsome kind of visual experience
First of all Jesus was crucified by the Romans under the rule of Pontius Pilate
What we generally know about the Romans and about how they executed by crucifiction
tell us that Jesus most certainly died as a result
Through history the so-called "swoon theory" has been proposed
This theory was probably set forth for the first time by a german by the name of
Karl Friedrich Bahrdt in 1780
and in other versions by frenchman Karl Venturini around the 1800's
German Heinrich Paulus from 1802 forward
and german Friedrich Schleiermacher in the 1830s
There are several different versions of the theory, but they all circle around the idea
that Jesus was only apparently dead or in a coma
and that the Essenes, a secret order of jews
scared away the Roman guards and rescued Jesus from the grave
There are several problemswith the woon Theory
First of all the Roman soldiers were well trained in execution
they knew exactly what they were doing
Secondly if the soldiers did not perform their duties properly
they themselves would take the place of the person they were meant to execute
That would be a quite strong incitement to make sure the prisoner actually IS dead
Thirdly the gospelaccording to Matthew says that the soldiers punched Jesus in His side with a spear
which resultet in water and blood coming out of the womb
Back then they didn't know what this meant
And we know for sure they didn't know, because the church fathers attempted all sorts of explanations for this detail being in the gospel
They even attempted to exlain it by suggesting it had asymbolic meaning
That the water and the blood symbolised babtism and communion
So we know they weren't aware of the implications of this
Today we know that if blood and waterflows out of a wound in the side
It's a clear sign that Jesus was in fact dead
And not only do we know that Jesus was dead
We also know the cause of His death
When someone dies by strangulation the inner and outer mebranes of the lung will part
which makes blood and water slide down in between them
and end in a bulk in the side
Fourthly Jesus was put in a cold and moisty tomb,
which certainly wouldn't improve is chance of survival
if He was indeed in a coma
In front of the grave there was a stone weighing about a ton
and a group of soldiers placed to prevent anyone from stealing the body
It really is a very peculiar and highly unlikely theory
Another row of theories circle around the disciples, the Romans
or the Jewish authorities having stolen His body
And there's no doubt that all three of these groups would have good reasons to do so
The Romans and the Jews because they would have reaosns to fear the disciples stealing his body
so that they could afterwards claim the ressurection
And obviously the disciples because then they could claim the ressurection
But if either the Romans or the Jews had indeed removed the body it would be rather obvious
for them to arrange a procession showing the body as soon as the disciples began preaching
the risen Jesus
This would have been a very easy and most effective means
to thwart the Jesus movement at its birth
"They say he has risen? - well, look. Here he is!"
So that's not very likely either...
What then about the disciples?
Well, let's imagine the situation that would have been the background for such a conspiracy:
Jesus has just died on the cross. The disciples are talking about it all...
They are scared silly...
Outside they can hear the Roman soldiers tromping around...
They are afraid of what the Jewish counsil might be up to
Because when Jesus, the leader of their movement, has just died...
They know who is likely to be targeted for whatever comes next
And this is when one of the disciples proposes an idea:
"Hey! I know! What about... we steal the body of Jesus..."
"And then we just claim that he has risen from the dead..."
The disciples discuss the idea and after a while they reach a conclusion:
If they do this, their families would still disown them
They would life as poor and persecuted people
They would still be under pressure from the Jewish Counsil
And they would be in constant risk of being whipped or in other ways punished
And finally they would be in constant fear of stoning or other forms of lynching by mobs
In short, they would have a crappy life...
all built on a lie, they themselves have come up with
This talk would then end up in them all coming to an agreement:
"Great idea! What a fantastic crappy life to live! Let's do this!"
Even if someone could have managed to arrange this kind of elaborate conspiracy plan
to make it look like Jesus had risen from the dead
it would have called for a collaboration of so many people that sooner rather than later
someone would have broken ranks and revealed the entire conspiracy
To give a more modern comparison think about the Watergate scandal
Here there were about twelve very powerful men involved in a conspiracy
to cover up the truth of what had really happened
but at the moment everything went public the entire house of cards crumbled
These powerful men practically qued up to reveal the truth
in an attempt to minimise the consequences for themselves
To compare this with the apostles, we know they were so convinced about the ressurrection
that they were willing to pay for that conviction with their lives
This means that at least we cannot claim that the apostles were part of some crazy
You can lie about something if the lie gives you some sort of advantage, but...
who would keep telling something they know is a lie if the price of such a lie is death?
and neither would you keep lying if the lie does not give you an advantage
but rather is quite disadvantageous
which we know is the case with the apostles
Another line of theories is that of mass hallucinations or
what is called cognitive dissonance
These two theories say somewhat the same:
That the disciples had somekind of visual experiences
based on the massive grief they must have been in after His death
But here too there are huge problems
First of all mass hallucination is an idea within psyciatry
that has been utterly rejected by the experts
Mass hallucinations simply are impossible
And there has never been any documentation of it
The reason is that hallucinations of any kind happens inside your head
This means that even if a group people run each other up
They never see the same things
They see things that build on top of other people claim to have seen
but they never see the same things
The fact that hallucinations is something happening inside your head also means that
the person hallucinating can see and hear and sometimes even smell the hallucination
but they are never able to touchtheir hallucinations
When it comes to cognitive dissonans, which are not to be understood as the same as hallucinations
but rather as imagining something that you tell yourself is real
some of the same things apply
You can't touch what you think you have seen
And you never imagine what others imagine
but rather build on top of what other people have talked about
In addition cognitive dissonance is very fragile
in explanatory power for the one experiencing it
If even one or two of your friends question the validity of what you think you have seen
You are prone to reject it instantly
This is very well known among veterans returning from a war zone with PTSD
Both with mass hallucinations and cognitive dissonance it applies that
the more situations where someone believes to have seen something
and the more locations involved in these sightings
the less likely these explain the truth
Regarding the ressurrection of Jesus we have many different experiences
in many different locations and experienced by many different people
We even have testimonies from locations so far apart that the people experiencing them
would have no chance of being able to talk to each other about it between these experiences
And finally we have Saul of Tarsus
who imparts a serious death blow to all of these theories
Saul was an aggressive persecutor of the Christians
but then he became a Christian himself because he believed to have seen the risen Jesus
Now this really calls for a rather special explanation
These theories are quite weak with regard to the experiences of the disciples
but when it comes to Saul of Tarsus these
theories are hopelessly ineffective in their explanatory power
He had absolutely no interest whatsoever in giving up his pursuit for power
in the jewish society
He had it all:
The acknowledgement of the counsil
temple soldiers and enough money to live a life in luxury
why in the world should he have a burning wish to have a vision of the risen Jesus?
None of these theories hold for further inspection
and especially Saul of Tarsus is a determining factor that forces even Bart Ehrman
to conclude that the apostles must have seen something...
It could not just have been hallucinations or cognitive dissonance or a conspiracy
They did see something that changed their lives
The claim of the apostles is that they have seen the risen Christ
The claim of Bart Ehrman and likewise sceptics is that they have seen something
They have no suggestions as to what it could have been, but still they seem to hold on to
a claim that it certainly could NOT have been a ressurrection...
And the argument for it not being ressurrection?
Well... just that miracles are impossible...
This brings us back to the fact that everything is based on a presupposition:
Does God exist?
If not... miracles are impossible...
But if He does exist... miracles are not only possible...
they are even likely to occur
and if miracles ARE possible
Then the ressurrection is by far the most likely explanation of
what happened after the death of Jesus
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