Jesus' resurrection after his death is the ultimate and defining proof of Jesus' divinity. Just about everyone knows the story, which is summarized in the Apostles' Creed. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
There is only one way for Jesus to prove that he rose from the dead. He had to appear to people. Therefore, several different places in the Bible describe Jesus' appearances after his death:
Being like Paul
When we look at these Bible passages, there is a question that comes to mind -- why did Jesus stop making these appearances? Why isn't Jesus appearing today?
It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefitted from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions.
So... Why doesn't Jesus appear to everyone and prove that he is resurrected, just like he appeared to Paul? There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you. And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. If Paul needed a personal visit from Jesus to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why wouldn't you?
It is an important question for the following reasons:
Praying to Jesus
What if we pray to Jesus like this: "Dear Jesus, please appear to us, as you did to Paul and the 500 brethren, so that we can see the evidence of your resurrection. In your name we pray, amen." Here is what Jesus has promised us in the Bible:
Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
Isn't it odd that Nothing happens, given the fact that Jesus promises us that something will happen? Isn't it odd that nothing happens when, supposedly, Jesus is right here with us already, and materialization would be trivial for him?
We have created an unambiguous situation where coincidence cannot "answer" the prayer. The only way for this prayer to be answered is for Jesus to actually, unambiguously, materialize.
As you think about this, you will realize that Paul's story in the Bible must be false. Simply look at Paul's story like any judge in a courtroom would. What Paul's story in 1 Cor 15 is suggesting is entirely unprecedented - a man dead three days with mortal wounds came back to life. Yet:
Given this evidence, rational people would automatically conclude that Paul's story in the Bible is untrue. There is zero evidence to support Paul's story, zero reason to believe it, a motive to lie and plenty of alternative explanations. There is also the fact that much of the rest of the Bible contains provably false stories. Plus the fact that it would be trivial for Jesus to provide the evidence that Paul needs to confirm his story by reappearing on earth. Add to that the fact that Jesus has promised to answer our prayers but refuses to materialize when we pray to him. The only thing to do is to reject Paul's story. Every bit of evidence points to the fact that the resurrection story is a myth, nothing more.
Given that the resurrection story is clearly a myth, it means that Jesus (if he existed at all) was a normal human being, not God. The resurrection clearly did not happen.
And with that, we can see that God himself is imaginary. If God actually did exist and was playing any role whatsoever on this planet, there is no way that he would allow an imposter like Jesus.
Many believers will try to rationalize Jesus' absence by pointing to his famous statement in the Bible, "Happy are those who have not seen yet still believe."
If you think about this statement, what you realize is that it creates the perfect cover for a scam. Let's say you are Jesus, you are a normal human being, you realize that you are going to die and you want to cover for this fact. Here is what you would say: "Happy are those who have not seen yet still believe." What you are saying is, "I exist, and the way I am going to show you that I exist is by not showing that I exist." For every other object in the universe, the way that we know it exists is because the object provides evidence of its existence. If there is no evidence for an object's existence, we call it imaginary (e.g. Leprechauns). But with Jesus, the lack of evidence is turned into evidence. Quite clever, but obviously a scam.
You simply need to look at the evidence and accept what it is telling you. If the resurrection were true, then Jesus would be answering prayers as he promises in the Bible. He would also appear when people pray to see him. The fact is, as we saw here and here, there is definitive evidence that prayer accomplishes nothing. It is also obvious that Jesus is not appearing on earth today.
While we are on the topic of the resurrection, have you ever thought about how odd the whole crucifixion story is? Imagine the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven. He looks down onto earth and says to himself:
Since I am all-knowing I know exactly what the humans are doing and I understand exactly why they commit each sin. Since I created the humans in my own image and personally programmed human nature into their brains, I am the direct author of all of this sin. The instant I created them I knew exactly what would happen with every single human being right down to the nanosecond level for all eternity. If I didn't like how it was going to turn out, I could have simply changed them when I created them. And since I am perfect, I know exactly what I am doing. But ignore all that. I hate all these people doing exactly what I perfectly designed them to do and knew they would do from the moment I created them...
So here's what I am going to do. I will artificially inseminate a virgin. She will give birth to an incarnated version of me. The humans will eventually crucify and kill the incarnated me. That will, finally, make me happy. Yes, sending mself down and having the humans crucify me -- that will satisfy me. I feel much better now.
Last updated by Morgan Matthew Aug 20, 2008.