EVEN if we assume as fact that the Judeo-Christian God, Yahweh, is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe; and EVEN if we assume as fact that the supernatural is a reality; and EVEN if we assume as fact that Yahweh occasionally intervenes in the world using supernatural acts (miracles); the fact remains that prior to Jesus, Yahweh had never intervened into the laws of nature to resurrect any other person!
Therefore, based on probability, the odds that the early Christian belief in the Resurrection of Jesus was based on a literal resurrection is still much lower than any natural explanation for an empty tomb and alleged sightings of a dead person!!!
I assert that Christians assume a higher probability for the literal Resurrection based on an illogical form of reasoning: Begging the Question!
When discussing the Resurrection, Christians assume that Jesus was the Son of God and therefore they assume that of course Yahweh (the Father) would raise him from the dead. But this is begging the question. Why? Answer: It is the Resurrection that confirms the divinity of Jesus. If Jesus was not resurrected, he was a false messiah; a pretender.
Christians cannot beg the question by assuming the divinity of Jesus when calculating the probability of a once in history resurrection.
I realize that Christians believe that the chances of anyone moving the body of Jesus from the tomb are very low, but can you really claim that it NEVER happened in all of history? No. So how often in Second Temple Judaism did Jews move a dead body from one tomb/grave to another? Remember, we are talking about a period of over 600 years and millions of dead Jewish bodies! Even if moving a dead Jewish body (not just the bones) happened only TEN times during that 600 year period of time, that is TEN times more than a resurrection!
Therefore, based on probability, a Second Temple Jew moving a dead body is TEN times more probable than a resurrection.
And what about the alleged post resurrection appearances of Jesus?
Christians claim that first century Jews would know the difference between reality and a vision/dream and since none of the alleged appearances to the disciples are referred to in the Bible as dreams or visions, we must therefore assume that they were real, literal events. But this is a VERY big assumption. We know that Paul had a vision and believed that he had seen Jesus, so why couldn’t the same have occurred to the disciples?
But let’s go with the Christian claim that it is highly unlikely that any Second Temple Jew would claim to have seen a dead person—alive again—and in reality it was only a dream or vision. So out of the millions of Jews who lived during the 600 years of Second Temple Judaism can Christians really be 100% certain that a Jew NEVER confused a dream with reality?? Isn’t it much more probable that at least a few Second Temple Jews, out of several million, mistook a vivid dream for reality?? I think that most reasonable people would say, yes. So let’s say that out of several million Second Temple Jews, TEN Jews had visions that they confused for reality. That would mean that the probability of any Second Temple Jew confusing a vivid dream is TEN times more likely than a once in history resurrection.
You see, dear Christians. EVEN if we accept as reality that the Christian God is who Christians say he is. Even if we accept the reality of miracles. Even if we accept as reality that the Christian God sometimes intervenes into the laws of nature and performs a miracle, IT IS STILL MORE PROBABLE THAT THE EMPTY TOMB AND THE ALLEGED POST-DEATH SIGHTINGS OF JESUS WERE DUE TO NATURAL EXPLANATIONS THAN DUE TO A LITERAL RESURRECTION!
It’s math, folks. Simple math.