Did Jesus rise from the dead?

“Yes, after all…
  • Jesus's body went missing
  • People were saying, “He appeared to us!”

      The Apostles, Paul, Mary, etc. proclaimed that “We physically met with Jesus after he died!”

      This full article gives 7 examples.
      Specifically, “He appeared…:
      • …to me” says Peter.
      • …to me” says Paul.
      • …to me” says Mary.[These others forthcoming]
      • …to me” says James.
      • …to me” says Cleopas and companion.
      • …to us” (together) say the 12 apostles.
      • …to us” say the 500.

      This is relevant because their belief has no easy naturalistic explanation.1(Note: this is what distinguishes the case for Jesus's resurrection from competing miracle claims of other religions. In the case of other miracle claims, easy plausible naturalistic explanations abound which cannot be ruled out.)

      But so what? Plausibly…
      • …they were lying?
      • …they were fooled…
        • …by Jesus himself who faked his death on the cross?
        • …by a look-a-like impostor of Jesus?
        • …by hallucination(s) of Jesus?
        • …by aliens or a hologram?
        • …by a convincing false-memory of seeing/talking with Jesus?
        • …by an objective/divine vision?

      And keep in mind…
      • …God would have Jesus appear to more than just the apostles.

      Stephen Davis: “The disciples were prepared neither psychologically nor theologically for the idea of the resurrection of the crucified Messiah, and the fact that they arrived at this idea so early and so confidently needs explanation.” [Risen Indeed(Eerdmans, 1993), 184.]
      Edward Schillebeeck: “[the disciples underwent] a process of repentance and conversion which it is no longer possible to reconstruct on a historical basis.” [Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (Crossroad Publishing Co., 1979), 387.]

  • People were saying, “a resurrection!”

      The Apostles/Paul/Mary/others publicly maintained “Jesus eschatologically resurrected (c. AD 30/ºEaster)!”

      For 4 example…
      • …“he's resurrected,” says Peter.
      • …“he's resurrected,” says Paul.
      • …“he's resurrected,” says Mary.
      • …“he's resurrected,” says James.

      This is relevant because, for 1st century Jews, non-eschatological interpretations of Jesus's returning would make more sense.1 On the other hand, if Jesus rose and presented himself as having eschatologically resurrected, then the disciples' otherwise wild belief makes sense.

      But so what? Plausibly…
      They hallucinated Jesus and mislabelled it a resurrection?

      1. Markus Bockmuehl: “why should first-century Jews find themselves compelled to use the distinctive language of resurrection in the first place? After all, the walking dead were a well-known phenomenon until the advent of modern medicine. [...For example,] Apparitions of Moses and Elijah, both believed to have been bodily assumed to heaven, attended later Jewish teachers from R. Aqiba in the second century to Shabbetai Tzvi in the seventeenth...” [Cambridge Companion to Jesus, ed. Bockmuehl (Cambridge, 2001), 111-112.]
  • “No, after all…
  • Dead people always stay dead

      Humans who die always naturally stay dead.

      We can discuss 2 reasons to agree:
      We see an unbroken trend of humans staying dead.1
      • Natural mass cell revival is wildly improbable (violating entropy).2

      This is relevant because Jesus is a human who died.

      But so what? Plausibly,…
      • …God exists and had special reason to resurrect Jesus.1

      1. Jesus stands out (in history, character, etc.) as a chosen representative of God might. While God may have little reason to raise most individuals spontaneously in the middle of human history, He might nevertheless have reason to raise Jesus―to vindicate Jesus and his message. See Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne's The Resurrection of God Incarnate (Oxford, 2003). He covers this question in depth and concludes that becoming incarnate and resurrecting is a kind of thing God might plausibly do if God existed.
      2. By way of response, however, the hypothesis is not that Jesus rose naturally from the dead. That, all parties agree, is absurd.
  • Jesus had not died on the cross
  • Jesus was resurrected by aliens
  • Jesus never existed