Myths of the Resurrection
- Sunday, April 10, 2011
Let's face it. The Resurrection is hard to believe. After all, we're speaking of a man who endured horrible beating, cruel impalement, and heartbreaking death, then came back to life and appeared to scores of people. Doubt is understandable. But because something is hard to believe, it does not follow that it is false.
Early medical practitioners had trouble believing that creatures invisible to the eye could be responsible for infection and disease. In 1872, Pierre Pachet, professor of physiology at Toulouse said, "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." Today we call those germs bacteria and viruses.
Some things stretch the imagination too much. Tom Watson, chairman of IBM in 1943, said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Naysayers abound, and the stories of their failed predictions are legendary. The Beatles were told guitar music was on the way out. Fred Smith was informed by his Yale University professor that his concept of overnight delivery was not feasible, but Federal Express was founded anyway. Alexander Graham Bell was told the telephone was impractical.
These are doubts about technology, society, and business, all of which pale in comparison with what people are asked to believe about the Resurrection. Still, the facts are there, and the Resurrection is beyond doubt to those who take the time to look at the evidence.
Yet, every few years someone publishes "proof" that the Resurrection never occurred. Most of these have the same credibility level as urban myths.
Doubters are not new; they can trace their philosophical lineage back to the first century. The apostle Paul addressed a batch of them in the Corinthian church:
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, "There is no resurrection of the dead"? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. (1 Cor. 15:12-19)
The Resurrection and the appearances of Christ were the center of apostolic preaching. Christian preaching is an empty thing without the Resurrection. So those doubters in the Corinthian church had heard the message time and time again, yet it rubbed their sensibilities the wrong way. Some may have accepted the resurrection of Christ but denied that the Christian will also be resurrected at Christ's coming.
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