Was Jesus raised from death by God?

“Yes, after all…
  • Jesus's body went missing

    detective with magnifying glass examining body outline

    After Jesus was crucified and taken down from the cross, his corpse was laid to rest somewhere (tomb or not), and wherever that location happened to be, Jesus's body was shortly after regarded as missing from that location.

    This page explores these 5 arguments:

    Jesus's body going missing is evidence that Jesus rose from the dead because there is no good alternative explanation for the fact. Specifically, no easy naturalistic explanation presents itself; all naturalistic explanations are arguably more improbable than God's miraculously choosing to raise Jesus from the dead (as long as God exists and plausiby might choose to raise Jesus).

    But so what if it went missing? Plausibly…

    • Jesus's body was stolen and so all that would remain is the empty tomb; no resurrection needed.
    • Jesus survived and left the grave on his own (having survived crucifixion), in which case the tomb would be empty but not because of the resurrection.
    • Humans transferred Jesus's body to a different grave. In this case, the body would be considered missing to most people, but no resurrection is required to explain that fact.
  • People/groups insisted “He visited us!”

    a surprised crowd with a speech bubble containing jesus with arms open

    Shortly after Jesus’s crucifixion, a variety of different persons/groups began to testify that Jesus appeared to them alive from the dead.

    This page covers these 7 examples:

    This is relevant if there are no plausible alternative explanations for their experience. To the degree that their interpretation of their experience has the most power to explain their experience (over rival explanations), to a corresponding degree it is evidence for Jesus’s actually appearing to them alive from the dead, and therefore his resurrection.1

    But so what? Plausibly…

    • They were lying, saying Jesus visited them when they knew he had not.
    • They were fooled: by Jesus who faked his death, so that they were not lying, but were sincerely mistaken in their belief that a risen Jesus appeared to them alive from the dead.
    • They were fooled: by a look-a-like impostor of Jesus, who deliberately deceived people into thinking Jesus had been raised from the dead and was appearing to witnesses.
    • They were fooled: by hallucination(s) of Jesus, be they grief hallucinations or some other kind.
    • They were fooled: by aliens (e.g. a hologram), who for whatever reason want to deceive people and successfully did so.

    And keep in mind…

      • 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.]
“No, after all…