“Jesus didn’t Rise”

Over the past few months I have heard more and more comments (via the blog-o-sphere) that Christians are “fooling themselves” into thinking that Jesus rose from the dead – miracles are “not real and are a product of human beings trying to ease their anxiety of death.”

 How does one counter these arguments?  In most cases, individuals who make such statements about Christians come from a strict, blinders up, “science knows all” background.  Truth is, Christians around the world know how difficult in can be to explain the truth of Jesus Christ, it’s a knowing so deep that the finest tuned, state-of-the-art scientific instruments could never be able to explain it.  As I have said before, religion is the domain of theology.  Science helps make the case of a creator (such as astronomical constants and mathematical impossible probabilities)… but in reality, outside of our hearts, we search in vain.

So were the first century Christians spreading a lie?  Did they believe that Jesus was the Messiah but upon His death realize their mistake?  Wow, can you imagine the embarrassment that would have caused?

I am confident that the first disciples were not lying.  Consider Paul (formerly Saul).  Paul was a very well-established Pharisee who persecuted Christians relentlessly.  Upon his conversion, Paul began to champion the religion, and to help it spread at an incredibly fast rate to all the nations (as Jesus predicted).  Friends, Paul was deeply invested into God – it’s safe to say he would do anything for Him (even become a Christian!).

Was Paul lying in his proclamation – probably not.  Consider what he says in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19…

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up; if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

Paul believed whole-heatedly in God; he dedicated his life to God before he even knew of Jesus.  Therefore, for Paul to testify a false doctrine against the God he loved and worshipped would be unthinkable!  It would be spreading a lie on behalf of the Creator!  If Christ was not raised, Paul wouldn’t just be betraying his fellow humans, he would be betraying the one and only God – a strong, spiritually convicted man such as Paul would never commit such horrific blasphemy!

So was Paul lying about Christ’s victory over death to promote an alternate agenda?  Common sense would tell us ‘No’.

(picture from lavistachurchofchirst.com)

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5 Responses

  1. Did he rise? Concrete thinkers are held captive by this concept. I choose to see beyond the words in hopes of embracing a bigger thought….

  2. Justin sez:
    “So was Paul lying about Christ’s victory over death to promote an alternate agenda? Common sense would tell us ‘No’.”

    Justin, there have been many prophets through the ages, all proclaiming things which you may or may not agree with. Many have died for their particular belief.

    Consider Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. I don’t know what your particular beliefs are, Justin, but I do know that most Protestants consider Mormonism to be a heretical perversion of their own religion. With that said, consider this from Joseph Smith:

    On June 27, 1844, at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated by enemies of the Church in the county jail at Carthage, Illinois. John Taylor, severely wounded at the same time, later called the Smith brothers “martyrs of religion” and declared that the Restoration of the gospel had “cost the best blood of the nineteenth century.” These faithful souls personified the Savior’s teaching: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    “God is my friend,” wrote Joseph Smith to his wife in 1832. “In him I shall find comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me, only to do his will.” Days before his death in 1844, the Prophet reiterated: “I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people.”

    quoted from josephsmith.net, sources cited therein.

    With this example, what does common sense tell us about any alternate agenda of Joseph Smith? What objective reason is there for believing that Paul’s did not “die for a lie”, yet Joseph Smith did?

  3. Hi HIS,
    I understand that there are people who believe whole-heartedly in J. Smith. I however, do not, citing Jesus’ warning of false prophets (determined by examining the fruits that they produce as well as Deuteronomy 18:22).
    Therefore, in my view, what he attested to was never legit in the first place.

  4. Justin,
    That is my whole point. When I was a Christian, I considered Joseph Smith and mormonism in general to be heretical to the Christian faith. Yet, Smith and his followers were also persecuted for their beliefs, and in many cases they were martyred. In fact, there is more historical evidence for the martyrdom of the early Mormons than for the Christian apostles.

    So your original question asked, “So was Paul lying about Christ’s victory over death to promote an alternate agenda?”

    Ask yourself this instead: “So was Joseph Smith lying about Christ’s victory over death to promote an alternate agenda?”

    If your answer in regards to Paul is “obviously not”, what is stoping us from having that same answer in regards to Joseph Smith? The only thing stopping you is that you happen to agree with Paul and not Joseph Smith. Is there a more objective reason? If there is not, your argument in this article will not work on anyone other than those who already agree with the claims of Paul.

  5. Ah okay, I understand what you are saying. I suppose you could say the same thing then with ‘Heaven’s Gate’. The major difference (in my opinion) is that Paul did not deviate from scripture while J. Smith did. This is probably due to the different roles that each individual took upon himself (Paul as a teacher; Smith as a ‘prophet’).

    Of course, discussing denomination differences always leads to problems. The most important thing is that Jesus did conquor death (as even Smith would say), affirming the biggest theme of Paul.

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