Did Christians dishonestly report that Jesus's body was gone to help prove he rose?
Clarifying the question
Did Christians proclaim that Jesus's body was gone or missing as a kind of invented proof for his resurrection. Did the create missing body stories in order to help prove that God raised Jesus from the dead, all the while not believing at all what they were saying? Perhaps getting gratuitously specific, dhristians invent Jesus's empty tomb to prove Jesus rose?
“Missing body” evidence wasn't appealing
Early Christians did not care much to use/acquire such an argument that “Jesus's missing body proves he rose”. [Full page].
This is relevant because people generally do not try convincing others of a lie when they lack motivation.1
- Thomas Reid's “Principle of Veracity” is best interpreted as “If A says p, A believes p” [Jennifer Lackey, Ernest Sosa, The Epistemology of Testimony (Oxford, 2006), 51.]. In his Inquiry into the Human Mind, Reid introduces it by noting our “propensity to speak the truth and use the signs of language, so as to convey our real sentiments. … even in the greatest liars; for where they lie once they speak truth a hundred times.… Lying,… is like taking physic, which is nauseous to the taste, and which no man takes but for some end which he cannot otherwise attain.” (p. 428) Mental hospitals exist for true skeptics of this principle.
The lie was overtly falsifiable
Any Christian would have known that a lie saying “Jesus's body is gone” was stupidly falsifiable.1 This is relevant because Christian liars would not choose to tell a stupidly falsifiable lie.
- This should be granted. After all, most/all would-be inventors of the report would expect the Jerusalem church to have ultimately seen whether Jesus's body was gone from the tomb, and the Jerusalem church's feedback on gospel-history reports like “Jesus's tomb was empty” was easily accessible (after all, they were well-networked[Forthcoming] and their feedback strongly desired[Forthcoming].
Clearly better lies were available
Christians were not spinning tempting lies which would have clearly been equal or better for “proving” that Jesus resurrected.1 This is obviously relevant because, if the goal was to support Jesus's resurrection, one of those more tempting lies would have been use instead.
- There were many alternative/superior/additional evidences they could've invented. Here are two straightforward examples: #1 “Upon arriving at Jesus's grave, the women witnessed his body disappear/resurrect in front of them!” or #2 “After Jesus breathed his last on the cross (and/or after having been speared), he disappeared/resurrected in front of everyone!”