The evidence for the claim that Jesus was alive and walking around on the first Easter Sunday is weak. Overall, the evidence indicates that the first post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus probably occurred in Galilee several days after, perhaps several weeks after, the crucifixion of Jesus.
Although there probably were some sort of ‘resurrection’ experiences or visions or dreams by some of Jesus’ followers, it is difficult to determine what those experiences consisted in based on the skimpy, unreliable, and third or fourth-hand evidence that we possess now.
But we all know that a true resurrection is physically impossible, and thus would require some sort of supernatural intervention into the normal operation of the laws of physics and chemistry. If God, a being who is omnipotent and omniscient and perfectly good, exists, then the resurrection of Jesus would be possible, for the laws of physics and chemistry can certainly be overruled by an omnipotent and omniscient being.
The evidence for the existence of God, however, is far from compelling. But, I like to grant as much as I can to the other side, to see whether such generosity will allow for a strong case to be made for a Christian or religious belief. If we grant, for the sake of argument, that God exists, would that allow the case for the resurrection of Jesus to be strong and compelling?
An important, but often neglected, aspect of the issue of the resurrection of Jesus is the motivation(s) of God. We can observe the behavior of human persons, and form hypotheses about their tendencies, habits, goals, and motivations, and then test our hypotheses by making further observations of the person. If we spend enough time with a person, and if we carefully and thoughtfully observe his/her behavior, it is possible to make some predictions about what that person will or would do in certain circumstances with some degree of probability.
But we cannot observe the behavior of God in this way, and God, although a person, is clearly not very similar to a human person. God is omniscient and God is perfectly good, and no human being is omniscient or perfectly good, so we have no actual experiences of such a person to use as the basis for formulating hypotheses about what God will or would be likely to do in certain circumstances.
Nevertheless, since God is by definition both omniscient and perfectly good, this gives us some (admittedly thin) basis for drawing conclusions about how God, if he exists, will or would likely behave. Apart from some such assumptions, the mere existence of God does little to support the claim that Jesus rose from the dead, or the closely associated claim that God raised Jesus from the dead. One must establish a likely motive for God to raise Jesus from the dead in orderto use God’s existence as part of the case for Jesus’ resurrection.
Furthermore, one must also be able to disprove or discount any alleged motivations that God might have which would make God opposed to the resurrection of Jesus. That is where a big problem for Christian believers comes into view.
There are many reasons why an omniscient and perfectly good person would be opposed to the resurrection of Jesus, and thus even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that God exists, the existence of God can actually be used as an argument AGAINST the alleged resurrection of Jesus.
If you have read some of my posts on Jesus and Jehovah, you can probably guess one of my favorite reasons why I think that God would be opposed to the resurrection of Jesus:
Jesus was a false prophet because he taught his followers to pray to and worship a false god (i.e. Jehovah).
This one reason, it seems to me, is sufficient to show that the existence of God would be a strong reason for believing that Jesus did NOT rise from the dead.
But there are several other reasons that point in the same direction:
- Jesus did not object to the slaughter of men, women, children, and babies by his namesake Joshua.
- Jesus did not object to slavery nor to the approval of slavery by Jehovah.
- Jesus was a sexist who did not object to the sexist ideas and laws of Jehovah.
- Jesus did not advocate logic, critical thinking, careful argumentation, but rather advocated faith over reason.
- Jesus was an otherworldly “pie in the sky” thinker, rather than a this-worldly practical-minded thinker.
- Jesus believed in and taught that diseases could be healed by faith, and was an advocate of the practice of faith healing.
- Jesus believed in and taught the existence of angels and demons and advocated the practice of exorcism.
- Jesus believed and taught the doctrine of eternal punishment, and thus he believed that the use of torture can be morally justified and that purely punitive punishment can be morally justified.
- Jesus believed and taught that the world was about to end and he discouraged long-range planning.
- Jesus believed and taught that the Jews were God’s chosen people, thus putting his stamp of approval on the sociocentric delusions of the Jews.
- Jesus was opposed to efforts to violently overthrow or rebel against the Roman oppressors of the Jewish people in Palestine.
In conclusion, an omniscient and perfectly good being would be opposed to the resurrection of Jesus, because the resurrection of Jesus would provide a divine stamp of approval upon: the worship of a false god, mass murder, slavery, sexism, cruelty, injustice, irrationality, superstition, sociocenrism, pacifism (i.e. tolerance of oppression) and other evils.
Christian believers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If there is no God, then the resurrection of Jesus would be unlikely because true resurrections are contrary to the laws of nature and thus require a supernatural intervention by God or a god-like being. If there is a God, then the resurrection of Jesus would be unlikely because God, an omniscient and perfectly good person, would be opposed to the resurrection of Jesus. Either way, the case for the resurrection fails.