We have evidence of resurrection appearances, we don’t have evidence for any of the other theories [for Jesus’ empty tomb]. Independent sources, like the M material, L material, Paul and John’s independent material.
–Christian reader of this blog
Must one have confirmatory evidence for a suspected explanation for an odd event before including this suspected explanation in one’s list of most probable explanations for the odd event? No. Crime detectives do this all the time. What is necessary, however, is to include only those possible explanations which are consistent with the available evidence. Why can’t Christians understand this simple point??
Just because we have no confirmatory evidence that a human being(s) moved the body of Jesus of Nazareth from his tomb does not preclude exactly that explanation as the cause of his empty tomb! The explanation that someone moved the body does not contradict the available evidence.
“Hold on right there!” object Christians. “We have the eyewitness testimony of over 500 people claiming to have seen Jesus alive again after his public death. Your hypothetical explanation that his tomb was empty due to someone moving his body does conflict with the available evidence!”
Is this true, dear Readers?
If Christians could demonstrate that they truly do possess multiple, confirmed, corroborating, uncontested, eyewitness accounts of people claiming to have seen a walking/talking resurrected body, then Christians would be correct. The problem for Christians is that they do NOT have even one confirmed, uncontested, eyewitness account of anyone claiming to have seen a walking/talking resurrected corpse!
Let’s look at an analogy:
On July 2, 1937 the plane of Amelia Earhart disappeared in the South Pacific.
Within weeks after the disappearance of her plane and presumed death, stories began to spread among villagers of several islands in the South Pacific that the dead Amelia Earhart had appeared to multiple people in some fashion. Most of the reports involved Earhart appearing to individual persons, most often chiefs and other elders among the natives. But some reports included stories of Earhart appearing to groups of hundreds of people.
Several decades later, an anonymously authored book surfaced in South America giving a detailed account of Earhart’s crash, death, and hints of post-death appearances to villagers. The book quickly became a sensation among devoted followers of Amelia Earhart. The book claimed that shortly after her crash and death, a supernatural being appeared to a group of women villagers, telling them that Amelia Earhart would soon be appearing to the villagers, giving them a divine message from the gods. Ten years later, two other books were published about the Earhart mystery, both again anonymously written. These books included detailed accounts of the dead Earhart appearing to groups of people, talking to them, eating with them, and even levitating into the clouds in front of large crowds. A couple of decades later, a fourth anonymous book on the subject was published. In this book, the villagers are able to touch the body of the dead Earhart to examine her injuries from the plane crash!
Since the publication of these four books, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have come to believe that Amelia Earhart came back from the dead and appeared to hundreds of villagers on several islands in the South Pacific.
Question: Is any of this sufficient evidence for any intelligent, educated person to believe that the dead Amelia Earhart really did appear to hundreds of villagers in the South Pacific over 80 years ago?
Of course not!
End of post.