Is believing in the resurrection ridiculous?
Paul Perkin, St Mark’s Church
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I was studying Physics when I first investigated the claims that Christians made about Jesus. And I think I would’ve said something just like that - it must be ridiculous, a man rising from the dead. I assumed all Christians had taken leave of their senses.
That was until I actually came across some Christians who weren’t stupid, and they really believed it. So I started to look at the evidence, and quickly realised that the centrepiece of the jigsaw was this claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Without it, Christianity collapses.
So isn’t it ridiculous? Well, a scientific approach can come to our help at this point. Of course a man rising from the dead breaks the normal laws of nature - but those laws don’t say what has to happen, they merely describe what normally does happen. When you go to unusual circumstances like down to absolute zero temperature, or up to the speed of light, or back to the beginning of time, those are very unusual circumstances, and different laws apply.
So I came to realise that if God had stepped into the world he’d created and become a man, that would be a pretty unusual, in fact (I think you’d agree) unique, set of circumstances.
Under those conditions, different laws would apply - and it would be no surprise if God's entrance into the world and the departure from it broke all the normal laws of life and death. Perhaps a virgin birth - perhaps rising from the dead. So maybe it’s not so ridiculous after all—maybe it’s reasonable that if Jesus was and is God, that he must have risen from the dead.
But of course, just because a resurrection could happen, that doesn’t mean it did happen. What is the evidence?
Well first of all, of course Jesus did really die. The Romans knew their job—they were experts at crucifixion.
And his body really had gone from that grave - the tomb was empty. Even his enemies had to admit it, and they couldn’t produce the body.
And then there were the resurrection appearances. Many people on different occasions, amounting to hundreds altogether, claimed that they’d seen Jesus alive after his resurrection.
And then there was the transformation of the disciples, from cowards to the most courageous men, who were not only prepared to die for their faith - most of them did, for believing this truth, that Jesus had risen from the dead.
So maybe it’s not ridiculous - maybe it’s quite reasonable. Maybe it’s ridiculous to believe that they would have been prepared to die for something they knew to be false.
But don’t take my word for it - have a good look at the evidence for yourself. Why not look at the Go deeper section under this answer? Why not read the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection for yourself? Why not go and investigate the claims for the resurrection with others in a local church?
And decide for yourself whether the resurrection is ridiculous - or real.
This section points you to some other resources you might find helpful if you want to keep thinking through this crucial issue.
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