Did the Author of the Gospel of Mark make up the Empty Tomb Story?

the Rhinoceros Hornbill

Christian blogger

Gary, apparently I wasn’t sufficiently clear in my last comment. When I said, “anything’s possible regardless of how remote,” I meant that it is possible that a new species of web-footed, pigeon-toed, feathered rhinoceros will spontaneously generate in my kitchen sink at 3:26 pm this afternoon. Yes, it’s possible, but it isn’t the least bit likely. So, when you now ask, “But would you agree that it is also possible that Paul had never heard of such a claim (the Empty Tomb Story)?” my response is that it is about as likely as having that new species of web-footed, pigeon-toed, feathered rhinoceros spontaneously generating in my kitchen sink at 3:26 pm this afternoon.

When you say that Paul mentions the resurrection quite a bit and in great detail, you seem to assume that in speaking about the resurrection he would necessarily be required to talk about the empty tomb. I don’t see that as necessary at all. The empty tomb was described by the authors of the Gospels because they were giving a narrative of what they observed (or what the people who they learned the account from observed). Paul isn’t giving a narrative. As you acknowledge, Paul knows Jesus resurrected from the dead, and he is not trying to detail the reasons to believe that Jesus resurrected. And if he is preaching Christ resurrected, isn’t it obvious that he also believes that Jesus died? Does he need to give the details? I don’t think so.

Moreover, you seem to believe that because he didn’t talk about the empty tomb that he somehow didn’t know about it. I may be mistaken, but I believe I have written well over 200 posts on this blog. In all of that time, I have never mentioned the evidence that Amenhotep II is identified by some as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Does that mean that I don’t know it? I mean, I have reason to raise it because this is an apologetics blog that defends the truth of the whole Bible (Old and New Testament). I would argue that I have more reason to raise it than Paul had to speak about the empty tomb given the direction of his ministry. So, I don’t believe that you are even remotely correct in your belief that Paul’s decision to focus on the resurrection and not the tomb somehow means he didn’t know about the tomb.

I could respond to several of the other comments you have made that appear to be directed at Joe, but I don’t think there is much point to it. This is a small blog and few people read the comments anyway. If you want to have a conversation (as you suggest at the end of your final post), I am willing to talk about one or two things at a time. I don’t have the time or the desire to spend hours responding to 50 questions.

Gary:

Instead of looking at the evidence and letting the “chips fall where they may”, you are hunting for evidence from fringe sources to support your world view.

Bottom line: It is possible that Mark invented the Empty Tomb Story and it is possible that he did not.

We will never know for sure. But based on cumulative human history, the chances that a three-day-brain-dead first century corpse came back to life, exited his sealed rock tomb, hung out with his former fishing buddies for forty days, and then flew off into outer space where he sits today on a golden throne at the edge of the universe, ruling as King of the Cosmos, is just as likely to be true as that a web-footed, pigeon-toed, feathered rhinoceros will spontaneous generate in your kitchen sink at 3:26 PM this afternoon.

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