Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?

Review of Religion has published its March 2012 volume on this theme. Here is the Editorial:

The person of Christ is not only important to Christians, but is also significant to Muslims and Jews. For Christians, Easter is the most important and holiest festival of the year when Jesus(as) rose from the dead, three days after the crucifixion. They believe him to be the literal son of God, who will return at the end of times. The majority of Muslims believe that Jesus(as) was a noble Prophet of God who was neither crucified nor killed, but was raised bodily to heaven, and someone who appeared like him was crucified instead. They await Jesus’(as) descent as the Second Coming of the Messiah. Jews, on the other hand, believe that Jesus Christ(as) was a false Messiah. He was crucified on the cross, and according to Deuteronomy, one who is hanged on the cross dies an ‘accursed death,’ hence Jesus(as) could not have been the awaited Messiah. Thus, Muslims and Christians eagerly await the Second Advent of Christ, whilst Jews are still in anticipation of the first appearance of the Messiah.

Sepulchre of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

Two thousand years have passed, yet adherents of Islam, Christianity and Judaism differ regarding even the basic aspects of Jesus’(as) life. Author of Christianity: A Journey From Facts to Fiction, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh) (1928-2003), Fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community, explained that, ‘If these powerful religions were to unite in one common understanding about the nature of the person of Christ, his first and promised advent, then such an understanding would lead to the resolution of many problems confronting mankind today.’ While the passage of two millennia has seen the divide in opinions increase and fierce rivalry in beliefs of these aspects, we now have the benefit of modern scientific, medical, archaeological and historical evidence, which may help us resolve these issues. Modern research strongly indicates that Jesus(as) did not die on the cross; rather he survived, and travelled East in search of the Lost tribes of Israel, to fulfil his mission. An increasing number of esteemed commentators, historians, scholars, doctors and archaeologists have started to provide evidence that supports this theory. We have seen documentaries on the BBC and other international TV channels, as well books published by respected authors on this topic. The first, however, to provide complete evidence of Jesus’(as) survival from the cross and travels eastwards was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian in his ground breaking treatise, Jesus in India, after which others started seriously considering and researching these theories. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) has provided a compendium of compelling evidence that completely shatter the mainstream Christian belief in the resurrection. St Paul had declared the resurrection as the most fundamental part of the faith of a Christian. However, in this Edition, taking inspiration from Jesus in India, based on Biblical, historical, medical and genetic evidence and research, we aim to prove that the resurrection did not occur according to the commonly held Christian belief. We do not intend to offend or insult anyone, but merely to present real facts and credible evidence, which we urge our readers to reflect on in an unbiased manner.

Some may start to question their faith in the resurrection after reading through our articles, which is why Jesus in India extracts conclude our Edition, as it provides hope for those seeking Truth.

Read different articles in the volume online.

The Resurrection: Sistine Chapel

Categories: CHRISTIANITY, Islam

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2 replies

  1. The so called facts about resurrection are merely contradictory hearsay
    Christian apologists try to use the label of ‘facts,’ to create credibility for the hearsay evidence that they present for resurrection. But, the facts of one apologist differ in some ways from the facts of another apologist and in this comparison we can see that all the evidence mounts to no more than hearsay.

    The first apologist that I want to bring here as a witness is Michael Licona. He debated Prof. Bart Ehrman and was trying to prove the historic validity of resurrection, he had the first opening statement. He suggested three (so called) facts to make the sum total of his thesis:

    1. Jesus’ death by crucifixion.
    2. Sighting of Jesus by the Apostles after Crucifixion.
    3. Sighting by Paul.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyHA3K_6H0g&w=420&h=315%5D

    It turned out that the first fact was a red herring and had no relevance to the debate, as Ehrman simply mentioned that Jesus did not have to be crucified but could have been drowned or died of cholera and could have been raised from the dead. So the first fact goes away fairly quickly and the other two facts are in fact only one fact as these imply witnessing by certain people including Paul. So much for the three facts of Licona. We will return to his only remaining fact some other time but let us move to the facts of William Lane Craig and address one of his facts in this comment. He makes a big deal out of the so called fact of the empty tomb and its relevance to resurrection. His fact is easily negated by a little quote from the chief apologist, Pope Benedict XVI:

    “Jesus traveled the path of death right to the bitter and seemingly hopeless end in the tomb. Jesus’ tomb was evidently known. And here the question naturally arises: Did he remain in the tomb? Or was it empty after he had risen?

    In modern theology this question has been extensively debated. Most commentators come to the conclusion that an empty tomb would not be enough to prove the Resurrection. If the tomb were indeed empty, there could be some other explanation for it. On this basis, the commentators conclude that the question of the empty tomb is immaterial and can therefore be ignored, which tends also to mean that it probably was not empty anyway, so at least a dispute with modern science over the possibility of bodily resurrection can be avoided. But at the basis of all this lies a distorted way of posing the question.

    Naturally, the empty tomb as such does not prove the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene, in John’s account, found it empty and assumed that someone must have taken Jesus’ body away. The empty tomb is no proof of the Resurrection, that much is undeniable. Conversely, though, one might ask: Is the Resurrection compatible with the body remaining in the tomb? Can Jesus be risen if he is still lying in the tomb? What kind of resurrection would that be? Today, notions of resurrection have been developed for which the fate of the corpse is inconsequential. Yet the content of the Resurrection becomes so vague in the process that one must ask with what kind of reality we are dealing in this form of Christianity.

    Be that as it may: Thomas Soding, Ulrich Wilckens, and others rightly point out that in Jerusalem at the time, the proclamation of the Resurrection would have been completely impossible if anyone had been able to point to a body lying in the tomb. To this extent, for the sake of posing the question correctly, we have to say that the empty tomb as such, while it cannot prove the Resurrection, is nevertheless a necessary condition for Resurrection faith, which was specifically concerned with the body and, consequently, with the whole of the person.”

    So, the punch line is that the empty tomb does not prove resurrection hypothesis but may be necessary for considering such a hypothesis.

    Ref: Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection. Ignatius Press, 2011. Pages 253-254.

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