As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, if Christ has not been raised then: Our proclamation has been in vain; Our faith has been in vain; If Christ has not been raised then our faith is futile; and you are still in your sins; those who have died in Christ name have perished.

The resurrection is of critical importance because it completes our salvation.  Jesus came to save us from our sin and its consequences, death.
The Gospel or “Good News” means essentially the news of Christ’s resurrection.  A man who claimed to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world had risen from the dead.

reserrectionWhat is Resurrection?

It means Jesus rose from the dead.  His body was not the old one but a new and very real body.  St Peter in 1 Corinthians 15:40. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

  1. The resurrection is not a ghost. He had a new real body and he ate real food.
  2. The resurrection is not resuscitation like the resuscitation of Lazarus. Lazarus body was his old body.  Lazarus eventually had to die again.
  3. The resurrection is not a reincarnation. Reincarnation like resuscitation (supposedly) only gives you another normal body.
  4. The resurrection was not simply evidence of immortality of the soul. It was a new body that was eventually recognized by his friends.
  5. The resurrection was distinct from enlightenment.  The resurrected Jesus was a very distinct embodied person.
  6. The resurrection was not a vision. He was seen by many people, was touched and ate food.
  7. The resurrection was not a myth. It was dated to a very specific time and certified by eyewitnesses.
  8. The resurrection was not merely the faithful thinking of the disciples.  They would have never experienced a resurrection of faith and hope without a literal resurrection.  If not for a risen Jesus who transformed them and converted the world?

Swoon Theory (past out or fainted)

  • Jesus could not have survived the crucifixion. Roman procedures were very careful to illuminate that possibility.
  • They did not break his legs which hastens death because he was already dead.
  • St John and eyewitness certified that he saw blood a water gush forth from his pierced heart.
  • How would a half-dead man have moved a great stone door of the tomb?
  • The body was not removed after the Roman soldiers fell asleep, because the penalty for a Roman solder allowing a prisoner to escape was instant execution of the guard.

Conspiracy Theory

  • If Jesus did not raise and appear to them, who would have made them all spend the rest of their life preaching of his resurrection and all but one were tortured /died for him?
  • No one week or strong, Christian or heretic ever confessed that the whole story was a fake.
  • The apostles where simple honest common peasants not conniving liars. They willingly died for this conspiracy?
  • What would have been a motivation for such a lie? There is no selfish motivation. They where hated, scorned, persecuted, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded disembowel and even fed to the lions.

Hallucination Theory

  • There were too many witnesses
  • The witnesses were qualified.  Simple honest moral people with firsthand knowledge.
  • Five hundred people saw Christ together at the same time.
  • He was seen for forty days.
  • If it was a hallucination, where was the corps? Why would some one hide it from them?
  • Not even the disciples believed it at first until they talk with him, touched him and ate with him. Hallucinations do not eat with you.

Myth Theory

  • The Gospels do not fit the style of myth writing at the time.  There are no overblown, exaggerated, or spectacular, instead everything fits in and is meaningful.
  • There was not enough time for a myth to develop.
  • The first eye witnesses were women.  At that time women were a low class and had no legal rights to serve as a witness. There testimony was considered worthless in a court. Why would someone start a myth with these eye witnesses?
  • The sincerity of the Apostles’ belief in the Risen Lord in undeniable.  How else to explain their behavior?  One day they’re scattered and afraid, denying they even know Jesus (Matthew 26:74); a few days later they’re willing to die horrific deaths in His name.  How to explain this change?  According to them it was because they had seen and touched the Risen Lord.  See CCC 641 & 642; 1 Cor 15:4-8, Acts 1:22.

Conclusion
No alternative to a real resurrection has yet explained: the existence of the Gospels, the origin of Christian faith, the failure of Christ’s enemies to produce a corps or the more than 500 eyewitness of his post-resurrection appearances.

Learn more about the Spirit that resurrected Jesus Christ.

Source: Some excerpts from Handbook of Christian Apologetics Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tracelli
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