Myths of the Resurrection
- Sunday, April 10, 2011
In the burial chapter we discussed two men: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. If Jesus were alive, these two men would have known it. They wrapped Jesus' body, making it improbable that such a severely wounded man could have freed himself without help.
The passover plot/swoon theory starts off weak and deteriorates from there.
As difficult to accept as the plot/swoon theory is, what Robert Greg Cavin of Cypress College offers is even more ludicrous. He suggests that Jesus had a twin whom he calls Hurome. In a nutshell, Jesus and his twin were separated soon after birth. Hurome arrived in Jerusalem in time to see his twin brother Jesus crucified. It seemed a good idea to him to take Jesus' place as Messiah. He, therefore, stole the body and picked up where Jesus left off.
William Lane Craig of the Talbot School of Theology calls this the Dave theory after the movie. (In the movie Dave, a presidential look-alike is pressured into masquerading as the recently deceased president.)3
Why doesn't this work? First, it requires there was a twin in the first place. Nowhere in the biblical text, extrabiblical texts, or history is found the mention of Jesus' twin. It would be something Mary and Joseph might have noticed.
For this to have even a shred of credibility, the New Testament must be gutted of its historical testimony. The Gospels not only relate the account of the crucifixion and resurrection but the unique nature of Jesus' birth, his miracles, his teaching, and much more.
Not only must there have been a twin for this theory to work, but he had to be a unique individual; for he arrived in Jerusalem, saw the tortured, battered body of Christ with a placard over his head that read "King of the Jews," and then considered it prudent to pick up where Jesus left off. It seems unlikely someone seeing the horrific, garish image would think it wise to try the same thing.
This, and other theories, require that we dismiss Jesus' prophecies about his death and resurrection. Actually, we have to dismiss much of the Bible.
Further, this bizarre concoction demands the disciples were gullible enough to be fooled by a twin. As the father of twins, I can say that no matter how much twins look alike, they have readily discernible distinctions, especially adult twins. And if not gullible enough to be fooled, then the disciples would have to have been participants in a fraud—a fraud for which they all suffered imprisonment, beatings, and martyrdom.
Hurome would have to have been a very clever man, for he had to, as an imposter new to the scene, know how Jesus spoke and what he taught, including the use of catch phrases and "reminder acts," like the breaking of bread with the two Emmaus disciples.
He had to be more than clever; he had to be powerful to work the postresurrection miracles that so impressed the disciples: walking into a closed room, miraculous catch of fish, appearing and disappearing before witnesses.
Lastly, this concept requires that Jesus' twin ascended into heaven before a band of Jesus' witnesses.
Supporters of this theory would quickly say, "None of those miracles happened either." If that is their belief, wouldn't it be more academically and intellectually ethical to say so? Why concoct such a nonsensical, groundless theory? Why suggest that Jesus had a twin? If it is an attempt to explain away the appearances of Christ, why not just call those fabrications as well?
Big Cover-Up Theory
We love a good conspiracy tale, so it's not unusual that some folk believe the Resurrection is nothing more than a fine-tuned fabrication—fiction contrived for personal gain.
The story goes like this: After Jesus' death and burial, the disciples got together and devised a scheme that would make the world think that Jesus rose from the dead as he said he would.
Thinking that the last three years of ministry were better than fishing or tax collecting, they conspired to keep things going. They stole the body and buried it elsewhere, then told people they'd seen Jesus alive again and witnessed him rise into heaven forty days later. Now they're the leaders, and the fame that had been Jesus' would now be theirs.
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