Reasons to Believe

Addressing Resurrection Alternatives (Part One)

Listening to people’s reasons not to believe sometimes opens doors that might otherwise remain shut.

During my years of interacting with American college students, I’ve seen the benefits of hearing them out, then inviting them to consider my comments and observations. On the topic of Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection, this approach may be the only one that keeps conversation going.

I’d like to help you prepare for some thought-provoking discussions by outlining the six most popular alternative (natural) explanations of what happened to Jesus’ body after his execution and burial. Then, in a series of future articles, I’ll present carefully considered responses. First, here’s a list of the six familiar detours around the Resurrection:

1. The disciples stole the body to perpetrate a hoax.
2. Jesus’ followers went to the wrong tomb.
3. Jesus didn’t really die but only appeared dead.
4. The grieving disciples hallucinated.
5. Jesus had a twin brother, unknown to others, who impersonated him after his death.
6. The story of the Resurrection is merely a legend or myth that emerged over time.

Before reading my extended commentary in upcoming issues of Reasons, I hope you’ll start developing a set of your own potential responses. Reflect on what your key points might be and, as my articles arrive, compare notes with me. For further reading on the Resurrection, see my book Without a Doubt or review my article, “If Christ Had Not Been Raised,” found online at http://www.reasons.org/articles/if-christ-has-not-been-raised-reasoning-through-the-resurrection.

Subjects: Resurrection

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that “all truth is God’s truth.” As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity’s truth-claims. Read more about Kenneth Samples.