Let’s Play Family Feud: Name the five most probable explanations for the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth

Image result for image of empty tomb

Name the five most probable explanations for the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth:

Ask a Christian friend to play this game and here is my prediction:  Unlike the question in our previous round, Christians will assert that a supernatural explanation for the empty tomb of Jesus is the most probable explanation, over and above all possible natural explanations.  Why??

Dear Christians:  Why assume a supernatural explanation as the most probable explanation for a first century empty grave, but when it comes to the most probable explanation for everyday “mysteries” such as waking up and finding your keys missing, you never include supernatural explanations in your list of probable explanations.  It makes no sense!


Here are my answers as to the five most probable explanations for the empty tomb of Jesus:

1.Pilate changed his mind about burying a traitor to Caesar in a marked grave.  During the Sabbath, the stone was rolled back, the body removed and buried in an unmarked dirt grave.

2. The Sanhedrin only buried Jesus in a rock tomb as a temporary measure.  Saturday evening, after the Sabbath and in the cloak of darkness, they moved the body to an unmarked dirt grave.

3. Members of the family of Jesus who were not believers in his divine origin moved his body sometime Saturday night.

4. Mary Magdalene was not just a Jesus follower but a mentally-unstable fanatic.  She had previously spent an astronomical amount of money to anoint the body of Jesus while he was still alive.  After he was executed, she decided she wanted his body all to herself.  She and her servants moved the body Saturday night to her secret burial chamber where she used expensive concoctions to preserve his body.  She never told anyone about her deeds.

5. Teenagers, playing a prank, stole the body and dumped it in a ditch.


Point:  All of my explanations are much more probable than the Christian supernatural explanation that an ancient Middle Eastern deity named Yahweh spoke some magic words, which restored a brain dead corpse to life, allowing it to exit its sealed tomb, eat a broiled fish lunch with its former fishing buddies, and later fly off into outer space.

What are Christians smoking???

Image result for image just say no to superstitions

7 thoughts on “Let’s Play Family Feud: Name the five most probable explanations for the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth

  1. Do you have any proof of these alternative explanations?
    Must we just take it on faith?

    Also none of these “explanations” explain why the disciples, those closest to Jesus, would be convinced that he rose bodily from the grave.

    Also interesting: you take it as historical fact that Mary Magdalene did spend a fortune anointing Jesus while alive, while dismissing the resurrection, even though both of these events are recorded in the same source?

    But carry on working so hard to convince yourself that it didn’t happen Gary. Blessings


    1. When you are considering all the explanations for your missing car keys, must you have evidence for each of the most probable explanations to include them in your list of possible explanations??

      Maybe the disciples came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus based solely on their alleged appearance experiences. Maybe the original resurrection belief had nothing to do with an empty tomb.


    2. It’s a story, written decades after the supposed events by people who weren’t there.
      It’s a story that evolved until it bore little or no resemblance to what had actually happened; Paul seems to know nothing about an empty tomb. It appears only years later.
      One or two of Jesus’ followers thought they’d seen him again after his death; they hadn’t really, but others wanted to believe them.
      Jesus’ body was thrown in a common grave as was the custom for executed criminals but his followers invented a better, more triumphant ending to the story.
      Jesus had promised his disciples they were going to rule the Earth with him. They didn’t want to give up on that dream so they convinced themselves he must have defeated death and left an empty tomb.

      And please, Liam, don’t say ‘the disciples wouldn’t have died for lie’; we don’t know how the majority of them died and equally we don’t know why. It’s just as possible those few who were martyred were killed because of their insistence that the Romans would soon be overthrown and they would rule instead. That, after all, is why Jesus was executed.

      Bottom line? It’s a story.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Also none of these “explanations” explain why the disciples, those closest to Jesus, would be convinced that he rose bodily from the grave.

      This objection is really not much different than a fundamentalists who insist that evolution can’t be right because it doesn’t explain the origin of life. Perhaps the answer is that these explanations were never meant to explain what you want it to explain.


  2. Let’s see, what are my top five?
    One: The original disciples didn’t want to admit to themselves that their cult leader had died. So they started the “Elvis Jesus isn’t dead” story. This story grew in the telling over the years, into the various versions that were later written into the gospels.
    Two: The story was a later development resulting from the theological changes to the religion from the teachings of Paul and other Greek church founders. This story also grew in the telling and was written into the gospels.
    Three: (Assuming an actual empty tomb) Pilate hadn’t actually given his permission for burial, and ordered that the body be put back on the cross and left to rot, as it was supposed to.
    Four: (Assuming an actual empty tomb) The Sanhedrin moved it as in Gary’s entry above.
    Five: (Assuming an actual empty tomb) Jesus was only mostly dead. He came out of his coma on Saturday, yelled for help to move the stone, and staggered off to try to find the disciples. The disciples were thrilled and proclaimed it a miracle, only to have Jesus die from infection forty days thereafter. (Which was conveniently changed to “ascended into heaven” because it was really awkward to say that their miraculously raised messiah was dead again.)

    Any of these is more likely than “goddidit”.

    Liked by 2 people

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