On the plausibility of resurrection

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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I typed “resurrection” into my DuckDuckGo search engine and up popped a television series from 2014-2015. It apparently didn’t last long and I don’t wonder since I’ve never heard of it. The site said, “The lives of the people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when their deceased loved ones return.” It’s available on Amazon if you’re interested…

Henry and Lucille Langston are shocked when their son Jacob comes home 32 years after his death. Immigration agent Bellamy brings him home from China; and then more and more people “come back.” A couple of the reviews read, “too implausible to sustain itself” and “an assault on human intelligence.” People die and that’s the end; they don’t come back!

Resurrection or “anastasis” is the word used to describe “coming back to life after death.” And the fundamental question is, “How can we prove it happened?” Or is it even possible? The first proof would be observation. Another would be a convergence of the evidence; the legal language is a preponderance of the evidence. Still another is internal validation which is more personal; I like dark chocolate better than milk chocolate. And still another proof is historical validation.

Those who don’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection would say, “We ought to choose the probable over the impossible.” Therefore Jesus didn’t rise from the dead and there are other explanations for the stories. As a scientist, I might have agreed with them.

Those who do believe in the resurrection would say, “There are lots of eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after he died and was buried in the tomb. They have no reason to lie; in fact many of them died rather than deny they’d seen him alive. In fact, there was every reason to lie and say he didn’t rise from the dead even if he did.” So Jesus was observed alive after his death. There is also a convergence of the evidence which led to the creation of the Christian church. There is also an internal and personal validation by those who believe in the resurrection. And finally, there are books upon books filled with historical validation.

Luke writes in Acts 1:1-3, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

I think the best evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is what happened after his resurrection; it was recorded in the book of Acts if you want to read about it. And it’s a continuing story, even up to and including today, as people’s lives are transformed by their faith in him… and I’m one of those continuing stories.