bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 14: The Guards at the Tomb

WHERE WE ARE
Peter Kreeft believes that he can prove that Jesus rose from the dead by refuting four skeptical theories that provide alternative explanations to the standard Christian view that Jesus rose from the dead.  One of those skeptical theories is The Swoon Theory.
However, refuting The Swoon Theory (and three other skeptical theories) will NOT work to establish the resurrection, because The Swoon Theory is only one particular version of a more general theory that Kreeft must refute: The Survival Theory (hereafter: TST), the view that Jesus SURVIVED his crucifixion and so was able to appear to some of his followers after the crucifixion, which led to the mistaken belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.
In Chapter 8 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Kreeft raised nine objections against The Swoon Theory, and I am critically examining those objections to determine whether they are sufficient to refute The Survival Theory (TST), the more general theory that Kreeft must refute in order for his case for the resurrection to succeed.
In previous posts in this series, I have shown that at least six out of Kreeft’s nine objections against The Swoon Theory FAIL to refute The Survival Theory (TST): Objection #1, Objection #2, Objection #3, Objection #4, Objection #5, and Objection #8. So, at least 2/3 of Kreeft’s objections FAIL.  Given the consistency of FAILURE so far, it seems likely that Kreeft’s remaining three objections will also FAIL. We shall see.
 
OBJECTION #6: THE GUARDS AT THE TOMB 
Objection #6 focuses on the presence of guards at the tomb of Jesus:

How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse?  Or by unarmed disciples?  And if the disciples did it, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels, and we are into the conspiracy theory, which we will refute shortly.  (HCA, p.183)

The three sentences in this objection can be broken down into four main points:

The Women at the Sepulchre (The Angel at the Tomb of Christ) – Benjamin West

 

P1. The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by Jesus (by himself).

P2.  The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by the disciples of Jesus. 

P3. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels.

P4. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, that implies the conspiracy theory, which Kreeft refutes.

There are significant problems with each of these four points, so I am just going to present an outline of some significant problems with these points for now.  I plan to provide further support for my various objections in later posts.
 
PROBLEMS WITH POINT 1
P1. The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by Jesus (by himself).
A. The guards-at-the-tomb story is probably fictional.
B. It is unclear whether the guards were Roman soldiers. The guards may have been Jewish temple guards rather than Roman soldiers. William Craig argues that it is more likely that they were Jewish temple guards.
C. It is unclear how many guards were protecting the tomb. There might have been only two or three guards, and there could have been just one guard placed right next to the tomb (for a shift), while the other guards slept a short distance away.
D. Overpowering is NOT the only way for Jesus to get past the guards.
E. Kreeft’s wording of this point refers to Jesus as a “swooning corpse” implying that Jesus would have been weak and hardly able to move because of a number of serious wounds and injuries.  This is a questionable assumption, as we saw in my critique of Kreeft’s Objection #5, the Sickly Jesus Objection.
 
PROBLEMS WITH POINT 2
P2. The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by the disciples of Jesus. 
A. The guards-at-the-tomb story is probably fictional.
B. It is unclear whether the guards were Roman soldiers. The guards may have been Jewish temple guards rather than Roman soldiers. William Craig argues that it is more likely that they were Jewish temple guards.
C. It is unclear how many guards were protecting the tomb. There might have been only two or three guards, and there could have been just one guard placed right next to the tomb (for a shift), while the other guards slept a short distance away.
D. Overpowering is NOT the only way for the disciples to get Jesus past the guards (distraction, sexual favors, bribery, threats, deception, drugs, alcohol, and the guards might have fallen asleep).
E. There were at least eleven male disciples in the inner circle of Jesus’ followers, and there were other men who followed Jesus but were not part of the inner circle, and there were women who followed Jesus.
F. It is NOT clear that Jesus’ disciples would have been “unarmed”. Jesus told them to purchase swords (Luke 22:35); they had at least two swords that they were carrying around (Luke 22:38), and one of Jesus’ followers had a sword and used it when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:43-47, Matthew 26:47-51, and Luke 22:47-50).
G. Jesus and his inner circle of disciples are NOT the only people who might have helped Jesus to leave the tomb (there were also male disciples outside the inner circle, and there were women who followed Jesus, and there were anti-Roman Jewish rebels who might have been happy to help beat up or kill some Roman soldiers).
 
PROBLEMS WITH POINT 3
P3. If the disciples removed Jesus from the tomb, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels.
A. Lying about how Jesus got out of the tomb does NOT imply lying about Jesus rising from the dead. The disciples could have removed Jesus from the tomb AND also believed that God had miraculously raised Jesus from the dead.
B. No Gospel was written by one of the twelve disciples who made up the inner circle of Jesus’ followers.
C. Even if the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of John was written by a disciple of Jesus, that does NOT mean that either Matthew or John LIED about how Jesus got out of the tomb; it is quite possible that OTHER disciples removed Jesus from the tomb, and that Matthew and/or John was not told by those disciples that they had removed Jesus from the tomb.
D. Knowingly lying about how Jesus got out of the tomb would have been a fairly minor deception compared with knowingly lying that Jesus had risen from the dead, if they knew that Jesus actually died and stayed dead.
 
PROBLEMS WITH POINT 4
P4. If the disciples removed Jesus from the tomb, that implies the conspiracy theory, which Kreeft refutes.
A. I have already shown that Kreeft’s objections to the conspiracy theory FAIL to refute that theory. So, if the hypothesis that the disciples removed Jesus from the tomb does imply the conspiracy theory, that still would not lead us to a refutation of The Survival Theory.
B. Furthermore, removing Jesus from the tomb does NOT imply any deception on the part of any one of Jesus’ disciples, and does NOT imply the conspiracy theory. The Gospel stories about the empty tomb might well NOT be based on claims made by Jesus’ disciples. Jesus disciples could have BOTH removed Jesus from the tomb alive AND sincerely believed that God had miraculously raised Jesus from the dead.
 
PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION
Based on the above significant problems with each of the four points made in Objection #6, it looks to me like Objection #6 is going to fail, just like all of the previous objections we have critically examined.  In future posts, I plan to provide additional support and explanation for some of the above problems that I have pointed out about Objection #6, in order to make it clear that this objection FAILS.

bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 13: The Sickly Jesus Objection

WHERE WE ARE
Peter Kreeft believes that he can prove that Jesus rose from the dead by refuting four skeptical theories that provide alternative explanations to the standard Christian view that Jesus rose from the dead.  One of those skeptical theories is The Swoon Theory.
However, refuting The Swoon Theory (and three other skeptical theories) will NOT work to establish the resurrection, because The Swoon Theory is only one particular version of a more general theory that Kreeft must refute: The Survival Theory, the view that Jesus SURVIVED his crucifixion and because of that was able to appear to some of his followers after the crucifixion, which led to the mistaken belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Kreeft must refute not just The Swoon Theory (which specifies that the Roman soldiers willingly released the body of Jesus because Jesus had fainted and because they mistakenly inferred from his death-like appearance that he had died), but Kreeft must refute the more general explanation: The Survival Theory (hereafter: TST), which does NOT specify that the Roman soldiers willingly released the body of Jesus, NOR that Jesus fainted on the cross, NOR that the Roman soldiers released the body of Jesus because they mistakenly believed Jesus to be dead when he had in fact only fainted.
(If the Roman soldiers were drunk, or drugged, or bribed, or threatened, or distracted, or tricked so that they released the body of Jesus knowing that Jesus was still alive or  so that they let the body of Jesus be taken away without their authorization, The Swoon Theory would be FALSE, but The Survival Theory would be, or could be, TRUE.)
In Chapter 8 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Kreeft has raised nine objections against The Swoon Theory, and I am critically examining those objections to determine whether they are sufficient to refute The Survival Theory (TST), the more general theory that Kreeft must refute in order for his case for the resurrection to succeed.  So, far I have argued that Objection #1 FAILS, Objection #2 FAILS, Objection #3 FAILS, Objection #4 FAILS, and Objection #8 FAILS.   It seems likely, given the consistent FAILURE of his objections so far, that the four remaining objections will also FAIL to refute TST.
 
OBJECTION #5: THE SICKLY JESUS OBJECTION (SJO)
I am very familiar with Kreeft’s Objection #5, and am confident that it, like all the previous objections,  FAILS.  So, right now I am confident that at least six of Kreeft’s nine objections (at least 67% of his objections) FAIL to refute TST.
Here is Peter Kreeft’s fifth objection against TST:

Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens

 

The post-resurrection appearances convinced the disciples, even “doubting Thomas,” that Jesus was gloriously alive (Jn 20:19-29). It is psychologically impossible for the disciples to have been so transformed and confident if Jesus had merely struggled out of a swoon, badly in need of a doctor. A half-dead, staggering sick man who has just had a narrow escape is not worshiped fearlessly as divine lord and conqueror of death. (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 183)

This is one of the most common objections raised against The Swoon Theory.  I call it the “Sickly Jesus Objection” or SJO.
This objection comes from the skeptical and influential Jesus scholar David Strauss, and when Christian apologists make this objection, they often quote the following passage from Strauss:

It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to his sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life, an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry.  Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which he had made on them in life and in death, at the most could only have given an elegiac voice, but by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.  (The Life of Jesus for the People, Volume 1, 2nd edition, 1879,  p.412)

Some Christian apologists use SJO, but fail to attribute the objection to David Strauss:

  • Ronald Nash in Faith & Reason (1988).  See footnote 25 at the bottom of page 268.
  • Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks in When Skeptics Ask (1990).  See pages 122 and 123.
  • Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in Handbook of Christian Apologetics  (1994). See page 183.
  • Murray Harris in 3 Crucial Questions about Jesus (1994).  See page 37.
  • Norman Geisler and Frank Turek in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (2004). See  page 305.

Some Christian apologists use SJO and attribute the objection to David Strauss, but don’t quote from Strauss:

  • Gary Habermas and Terry Miethe in Why Believe? God Exists! (1993, reprinted 1998).  See page 264.
  • Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ (1998).  Interview of Dr. Alexander Metherell in Chapter 11; see page 202.
  • Hank Hanegraaff in Resurrection (2000).  See pages 20 and 21.
  • Gary Habermas and Michael Licona in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (2004).  See pages 102 and 103.

Many Christian apologists use SJO and quote all or part of the above passage from Strauss:

  • William Milligan in The Resurrection of Our Lord (1st edition: 1881, 2nd: 1883, 3rd: 1890, 4th:1894, reprinted 1927).  See page 77 and quote in note #36 on pages 264 and 265.
  • James Orr in The Resurrection of Jesus (1908).  See page 43.
  • W.J. Sparrow Simpson in The Resurrection and Modern Thought (1911).  See page 44.
  • Frank Morison in Who Moved the Stone? (1930, paperback edition published in 1958).  See page 96; footnote #1 at the bottom of the page contains the quote.
  • Josh McDowell in The Resurrection Factor (1981).  See pages 98 and 99.
  • William Craig in The Son Rises (1981). See pages 39 and 40.
  • Tim LaHaye in Jesus: Who is He? (1996). See page 272.
  • Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman Jr. in 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists (2002).  See page 224.

Two of the current leading defenders of the resurrection of Jesus are William Craig and Gary Habermas. Both of these apologists are Christian philosophers and they both think very highly of SJO:

…one liberal scholar ended up decimating the swoon theory.  The German scholar D.F. Strauss wrote that it was not plausible that… (The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, p.102)

David Strauss administered the death blow to the swoon theory… (Why Believe? God Exists! by Gary Habermas and Terry Miethe, p.264)

Strauss’s critique really put the nails in the coffin for the apparent death theory [i.e. the swoon theory]. (The Son Rises by William Craig, p. 40)

Don’t get your hopes up, though.  SJO clearly FAILS, just like all of the previous objections presented by Peter Kreeft.
 
THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH THE SICKLY JESUS OBJECTION
The main problem with SJO is that it assumes that Jesus appeared to his disciples on the first Easter Sunday, less than two days after he was crucified. Consider the time element in the following sentences from Kreeft’s Objection #5:

It is psychologically impossible for the disciples to have been so transformed and confident if Jesus had merely struggled out of a swoon, badly in need of a doctor. A half-dead, staggering sick man who has just had a narrow escape…  (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 183, emphasis added)

Kreeft is assuming that Jesus left the stone tomb early on Sunday morning, less than 48 hours after Jesus was crucified, and that Jesus met up with his inner circle of disciples that same day.  The importance of this assumption can be more easily seen in the statement of this objection by a couple of other Christian apologists.
Murray Harris states the objection this way:

If Jesus merely swooned on the cross from exhaustion and loss of blood and later revived in the cool tomb, how are we to account for his rapid recovery after the Roman scourging (Mark 15.15) and crucifixion (Mark 15.24) and the lance thrust (John 19.34) so that he appeared to his disciples some 40 or so hours later as someone in no need of medical attention? (Raised Immortal, p.59, emphasis added) 

Tim LaHaye states the objection this way:

How does a weakened and emaciated Christ, a man who would have taken weeks to recover, inspire His disciples to go out and proclaim His resurrection in power?  (Jesus: Who is He?, p.272, emphasis added)

We can see from the above reasoning that SJO is based on the fact that human bodies require more than 40 hours to recover from multiple serious wounds.  But this means that SJO is based on the ASSUMPTION that the first appearances of the “risen” Jesus to his disciples took place in Jerusalem on a Sunday, less than 48 hours after Jesus was crucified.  This assumption, however, is dubious, which means that SJO is a WEAK objection, and that SJO thus FAILS to disprove or refute TST.
It is more likely that the first appearances of the “risen” Jesus to his inner circle of disciples took place in Galilee, which means those appearances took place at least one week after the crucifixion of Jesus, and might well have happened two or three weeks after his crucifixion.  In that case, Jesus would have had significantly more time than just “40 hours or so” to recover from his wounds, making SJO a WEAK objection.
Reginald Fuller is an NT scholar who is an expert on the resurrection of Jesus, and his view is that the first “appearances” of Jesus took place in Galilee:

Mark, generally regarded as the earliest Gospel, originally contained no appearance stories, but merely pointed to subsequent appearances in Galilee (16.7).  (“Resurrection of Christ” in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, p.648, emphasis added)

There is also indication that the disciples verified the women’s discovery [of Jesus’ empty tomb] (Luke 24.12, 24; John 20.3-10).  Probably this followed the disciples return to Jerusalem, after their visions in Galilee; they must have welcomed the empty tomb as congruous with their Easter faith, which they had already arrived at through the visions. (“Resurrection of Christ” in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, p.648, emphasis added)

The Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John portray the verification of “the women’s discovery” by Jesus’ male disciples as taking place on the first Easter Sunday, but Fuller rejects this chronology in favor of what is clearly implied by the earlier Gospel of Mark, namely that the first “appearances” of the risen Jesus took place in Galilee.  Fuller believes those appearances were “visions” rather than physical bodily visits of Jesus to Galilee, but the main point here is that Fuller, a leading expert on the resurrection of Jesus, has concluded that the first “appearances” were in Galilee, not in Jerusalem.
E.P. Sanders is a leading Jesus scholar and he agrees with Fuller on this point.  In the chapter on the resurrection in his book The Historical Figure of Jesus, Sanders points out the contradiction between Matthew (and Mark) and Luke about where Jesus’ disciples went when Jesus was crucified:

According to Matthew (hinted at also in Mark) Jesus appeared to the women [in Jerusalem on Sunday morning when they went to the tomb where they expected to find Jesus’ dead body] and then later to the disciples in Galilee.

[…]

According to Matthew and Mark, the disciples went to Galilee and saw Jesus there; according to Luke, they did not leave the environs of Jerusalem. (The Historical Figure of Jesus, p.276)

Clearly, Sanders does NOT believe that the accounts of where the disciples initially experienced appearances of the “risen” Jesus in Matthew and Luke are both historically accurate.  At least one of those accounts must be mistaken.
Two pages later, Sanders indicates that although it is difficult to arrive at conclusions about details of what really happened in relation to the “appearances” of the “risen” Jesus, he does conclude that Matthew’s account (and Marks’ account) is more likely to be correct than Luke’s, in terms of where the disciples initially experienced appearances of the “risen” Jesus”:

Faced with accounts of this nature–sharply diverging stories of where and to whom Jesus appeared, lack of agreement and clarity on what he was like…–we cannot reconstruct what really happened.  Throughout this book I have offered suggestions about what lies behind passages in the gospels.  On the present topic, however, I do not see how to improve on the evidence, or how to get behind it.  I have views about parts of it, such as the movement of the disciples: they fled to Galilee and then returned to Jerusalem.  Luke’s view, that they never left the environs of Jerusalem, is explained by the ‘Jerusalemo-centric’ character of his two-volume work, Luke-Acts.    (The Historical Figure of Jesus, p.278, emphasis added)

So, the contradiction between Matthew and Luke on this point is resolved by Sanders in favor of Matthew, and Luke’s account is rejected by Sanders, on this key point.
The location of the first “appearances” of the “risen” Jesus to his inner circle of disciples is important because this is a BIG CLUE as to the span of time between the crucifixion of Jesus and the occurrence of those first “appearances”.  It takes several days to walk from Jerusalem to Galilee, so it would have taken Jesus’ disciples several days to return to Galilee.  That means that if the first “appearances” of the “risen” Jesus took place in Galilee, then those appearances took place at least a week after the crucifixion, and might well have taken place two or three weeks later.
Therefore, it is PROBABLY FALSE that the first “appearances” of the risen Jesus to his inner circle of disciples took place “40 hours or so” after the crucifixion, and it might well be the case that those first “appearances” took place two or three weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus.  Therefore, Kreeft’s Objection #5, the Sickly Jesus Objection, is a WEAK objection, and it FAILS to disprove or refute TST.
 
DAVID STRAUSS HIMSELF REJECTED THE SICKLY JESUS OBJECTION!
It should be noted that David Strauss himself argued that the first “appearances” of Jesus took place in Galilee several days or even weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus.  Read The Life of Jesus for the People, Volume 1, “50. Time and Place of the Apostolic Visions of Christ” on pages 429 to 440.   Strauss himself rejected the traditional Christian assumption that the first “appearances” of Jesus to his inner circle of disciples took place on Sunday less than 48 hours after Jesus was crucified.  Strauss himself rejected the basic assumption that the Sickly Jesus Objection rests upon.
I don’t believe that Strauss was contradicting himself.  His point in the passage that Christian apologists frequently quote, was NOT that the Swoon Theory was FALSE.  His point was, rather, that:

IF one assumes that the Gospels provide historically reliable information about Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and about the post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus, THEN the Swoon Theory should be rejected.

(This is not a quote from Strauss; it is my interpretation of Strauss.)
But Strauss himself was striving to promote the view that the Gospels DO NOT provide historically reliable information about Jesus.  So, the objection that Strauss raised to the Swoon Theory was an AD HOMINEM argument; it was an argument based on premises that rationalist supporters of the Swoon Theory in Strauss’ time believed (i.e. the Gospels are historically reliable), but that Strauss himself rejected.
Strauss’ actual point was that the rationalist supporters of the Swoon Theory were logically inconsistent in accepting the historical reliability of the Gospels while maintaining the probability of the Swoon Theory.  Once one follows Strauss’ lead, and rejects the historical reliability of the Gospels, his Sickly Jesus Objection against The Swoon Theory FAILS, and it also FAILS as an objection against The Survival Theory.
 
OTHER SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH THE SICKLY JESUS OBJECTION
There are a number of other serious problems with the Sickly Jesus Objection (SJO) that are basically the same as the problems with the second bullet of The Entombment Objection (TEO) that I covered in the previous post, Part #12 of this series.
Here is the second bullet point of The Entombment Objection (TEO):

  • Jesus bleeding from various serious wounds, without any medical treatment, for 36 hours

Norman Geisler specifies various alleged wounds of Jesus in When Skeptics Ask (see pages 120-121):

  • Jesus “had been beaten and whipped repeatedly…with a Roman scourge”
  • A “crown of thorns had been pushed onto” Jesus’s head
  • Jesus “suffered five major wounds” on the day he was crucified [four nail wounds and one spear wound]

NONE of these alleged wounds is an historical FACT, and each of these alleged wounds is questionable and subject to reasonable doubt (see my discussion of this in Part #12).
Furthermore, each of the alleged wounds could occur with different degrees of severity (no whipping or light whipping or moderate whipping or severe whipping, and no crown of thorns or relatively harmless crown of thorns or harmful crown of thorns, and no nailing or nailing of hands but not feet or nailing of feet but not hands or nailing of hands and feet, and no spear wound or moderate spear wound or  severe spear wound).
The fewer of the alleged wounds that were actually inflicted on Jesus and the less severe the wounds that were inflicted on Jesus, the weaker the Sickly Jesus Objection would be.  Since NONE of the alleged wounds is an established historical FACT, and since the severity of each wound is also NOT an established historical FACT, that means that SJO is a WEAK objection, and thus SJO FAILS to disprove or refute The Survival Theory.
 
CONCLUSION
The strength of SJO depends upon a number of ASSUMPTIONS made by Christian apologists.  One key ASSUMPTION is PROBABLY FALSE, namely the assumption that:

The first “appearances” of the “risen” Jesus took place less than 48 hours after Jesus was crucified. 

Because this key assumption is PROBABLY FALSE, SJO is a weak objection.
Other ASSUMPTIONS about Jesus’ alleged wounds are required in order for SJO to be a strong objection:

  • Jesus was severely whipped with a Roman scourge prior to being crucified
  • a harmful crown of thorns (with long sharp thorns pointing inward) was shoved forcefully onto Jesus’ scalp prior to his crucifixion
  • both of Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross
  • both of Jesus’ feet were nailed to the cross
  • Jesus received a deep and severe spear wound to his side while he was still on the cross

Because NONE of these assumptions about the alleged wounds of Jesus is an established historical FACT, and because all of these assumptions are questionable, SJO is a weak objection.
We have good reasons to conclude that SJO is a weak objection, and thus that SJO FAILS to disprove or refute the Swoon Theory, and that it FAILS to disprove or refute The Survival Theory.

bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 12: The Entombment

WHERE WE ARE AT
In his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Peter Kreeft attempts to refute The Swoon Theory, as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus.  But in order for his case for the resurrection to have any chance of success, he actually needs to refute the more general view that I call The Survival Theory (hereafter: TST), the theory that Jesus survived his crucifixion (i.e. Jesus did NOT die on the cross).  I am examining Kreeft’s nine objections against The Swoon Theory, to see whether they refute TST.  So far, I have shown that Objection #1, Objection #2, Objection #3, and Objection #8 all FAIL to refute The Survival Theory.
I am part way through a critical examination of Kreeft’s Objection #4, the “Winding Sheets” objection to TST:

The body was totally encased in winding sheets and entombed (Jn 19:38-42).

In Part 11 of this series, I pointed out that there are two elements in this objection: the winding sheets and being entombed, and that the winding sheets part of this objection has three different possible interpretations, and that the winding sheets element of the objection FAILS on all three interpretations.
However, we also need to consider the second element of this objection: the claim that Jesus’ body was entombed, placed into a stone tomb, and a stone placed to block off the entrance to the tomb.  That is what we will do in this current post.
 
REASONS WHY ENTOMBMENT IS BELIEVED TO BE RELEVANT

Peter Paul Rubens, The Entombment (1611/12)

 
As with the “winding sheets” element, Kreeft does not bother to provide any indication or explanation of WHY the entombment of Jesus’ body is RELEVANT or SIGNIFICANT in relation to TST.  So, his objection FAILS as it stands.  (That is the sort of problem that happens when one provides an IDIOTIC one-sentence apologetic argument.)  But I am going to go the extra mile, and look at what other Christian apologists have had to say about the entombment of Jesus’ body and WHY this is relevant to TST.
 
Josh McDowell indicates that the entombment is relevant because of the temperature and humidity of the tomb:

The cold damp air of the tomb, instead of killing Him [Jesus], healed Him [according to the Swoon Theory].(The Resurrection Factor, p. 98)

McDowell is expressing skepticism about TST here, so he implies that staying in the “cold damp air of the tomb” for a significant period of time would have killed Jesus off, even if Jesus had survived the crucifixion.
Norman Geisler specifies the duration that Jesus was in the tomb, and Geisler focuses on the problem of Jesus bleeding from his wounds:

…how could a badly injured and bleeding man still be alive thirty-six hours later?  He would have bled to death in that cold, damp, dark, tomb.  (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p.305)

For Geisler, the cold and the dampness merely add to the bleakness and misery of Jesus’ circumstances; it is the bleeding from wounds while in the tomb for 36 hours that would have caused Jesus’ death, if Jesus had survived crucifixion.
John Ankerberg and John Weldon also specify a duration of Jesus’ stay in the tomb, but they suggest a different reason WHY this is relevant to TST:

After three days without food or water, He unwrapped himself…”(The Passion and the Empty Tomb, p.185)

Ankerberg and Weldon don’t spell this out, but being without food or water for three days would be hard on a healthy person, so it seems that Ankerberg is implying that being trapped in a stone tomb for three days would have killed a badly injured Jesus, if Jesus had survived crucifixion, because Jesus would have gone without food or water for three days.
The “three days” is an exaggeration, however, because the generally accepted Christian view is that Jesus was buried on Friday evening just before sunset, and the tomb was found empty early on Sunday morning, around sunrise, so Geisler’s “thirty-six hours” more accurately represents the generally accepted Christian view of the duration of Jesus’ entombment.
Hank Hanegraaff makes a point that is closely related to Geisler’s point:

It [the swoon theory] would entail believing that Jesus survived three days without medical attention…  (Resurrection, p.20)

If he had survived the crucifixion, one might claim, Jesus would have bled to death in the 36 hours he remained in the stone tomb, because he would not have received any medical attention for his wounds while remaining alone in the tomb.
Tim LaHaye combines McDowell’s concern about the temperature and humidity of the tomb with Hanegraaff’s concern about the lack of medical treatment while Jesus remained in the tomb:

…if the crucifixion hadn’t killed Jesus, the tightly wrapped grave clothes, the cold, damp, sealed tomb and three days without treatment certainly would have.  (Jesus: Who is He?, p.271)

So, for LaHaye it is the combination of the cold and the dampness in the tomb PLUS the lack of medical treatment for Jesus for a period of “three days” (or more accurately, for 36 hours) that would have killed an already badly injured Jesus, if Jesus had survived the crucifixion.
There is also the problem mentioned by Frank Morison in the title of his book: Who Moved the Stone?  In order for Jesus to appear to his disciples in Jerusalem (or in Galilee), Jesus must first EXIT the tomb, but how could Jesus have “single-handedly rolled away an enormously heavy tombstone…” in order to escape from the tomb? (Hanegraaff, Resurrection, p.20).  This concern, however, is  covered by Kreeft in Objection #7, so this is presumably NOT what Kreeft has in mind in Objection #4.
We can, similar to LaHaye’s version of this objection, COMBINE the various considerations above to formulate a single explanation WHY the entombment of Jesus is believed to be RELEVANT and SIGNIFICANT evidence against TST:
=========================

The Entombment Objection (TEO)

Being in a stone tomb for 36 hours would have killed a badly injured Jesus, if he had survived the crucifixion, because that would involve:

  • Jesus being in cold and damp air for 36 hours
  • Jesus bleeding from various serious wounds, without receiving any medical treatment, for 36 hours
  • Jesus having no food or water for 36 hours

=========================
THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH THE ENTOMBMENT OBJECTION
There are problems with each of the three bullet points here that make TEO a weak objection.  However, there is one obvious and very serious problem that applies to each of the three points:

We DON’T KNOW how long Jesus remained in the tomb.

Specifically, we DON’T KNOW that Jesus’ body remained in the tomb for 36 hours.
First, it is simply NOT A FACT that Jesus’ body was placed into a stone tomb after the crucifixion.  The Gospels CLAIM that this is what took place, but none of the Gospels was written by one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, nor by an eyewitness of the crucifixion or burial of Jesus.  Furthermore, none of the twelve disciples of Jesus were present at the crucifixion or the burial of Jesus, according to the Gospel accounts.
An honorable burial was extremely important to first-century Jews, so there would have been a strong tendency for the followers of Jesus to BELIEVE that Jesus had received an honorable burial, whether this was what actually happened or not.  The Gospels were written BY Christian believers and FOR Christian believers, so they are NOT neutral and objective sources of historical information, particularly on such a sensitive issue as “Did Jesus have an honorable burial after he died?”
Second, if Jesus was still alive after being removed from the cross, and if Jesus’ body was prepared for burial in a stone tomb, as the Gospels assert, then it is likely that someone involved in preparing his body (or who was watching the preparation) would have noticed signs of life in Jesus.  If that was the case, then this person would likely have either taken Jesus away from the tomb immediately to get him to a home where he could recover and be cared for, or this person would have returned a short while later (like an hour after Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb) to transport Jesus to a nearby home where he could recover and be cared for.  So, if Jesus was still alive after being removed from the cross, then it is LIKELY that his body did NOT REMAIN IN THE TOMB for 36 hours.
All three bullet points in TEO assume that Jesus remained in a stone tomb for 36 hours.  This assumption is NOT a FACT; it is a questionable assumption.  If Jesus was actually only in the tomb for an hour or two, then this objection would be insignificant.  If Jesus was actually only in the tomb overnight and left the tomb (or was carried away from the tomb) on Saturday morning, then this objection would be weak and not at all decisive.
In fact, Christian apologists firmly believe that Jesus remained in the tomb for 36 hours because they firmly REJECT the Survival Theory.  If they took the Survival Theory to be a serious possibility, they would have doubts about the assumption that Jesus remained in the tomb for 36 hours.  If Jesus had still been alive when he was removed from the cross, then it is LIKELY that he would have left the tomb (or been taken away from the tomb) on Friday evening or Saturday morning.  So, their confidence in the assumption that Jesus remained in the tomb for a 36-hour duration involves a subtle BEGGING OF THE QUESTION AT ISSUE.  This one problem, this one questionable assumption, makes TEO a weak objection to TST.
 
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE FIRST BULLET POINT
Here is the first bullet point of The Entombment Objection (TEO):

  • Jesus being in cold and damp air for 36 hours

One problem to note right away is the VAGUENESS of this point.  HOW COLD was it in the tomb?  60 degrees? 55 degrees? 50 degrees? 45 degrees?  40 degrees? 35 degrees? WE DON’T KNOW what the actual temperature was in the tomb at the time Jesus was placed there.  It makes a BIG DIFFERENCE whether the temperature was 60 degrees as opposed to 40 degrees.
Nobody had a thermometer and took a temperature reading when Jesus was placed in the tomb:

In 1714 Dutch scientist and inventor Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first reliable thermometer, using mercury instead of alcohol and water mixtures. In 1724 he proposed a temperature scale which now (slightly adjusted) bears his name.  (“Thermometer” article in Wikipedia)

There were no such things as thermometers in the first century.
We could now, in the 21st century, take temperatures inside of various stone tombs in Jerusalem in April for a number of years in order to have some actual FACTS upon which to base an estimate of the temperature of Jesus’ tomb, but the temperature readings would be different in different tombs, and on different days, and at different times of day, and on different years.  So, what we would end up with is a RANGE of actual temperatures inside of various tombs in Jerusalem in April.  We might even end up with a range of temperatures from 30 degrees to 70 degrees.
If we were very lucky the range would be smaller, say 40 degrees to 60 degrees.  But then this would NOT give us a high level of confidence that, for example, the temperature in Jesus’ tomb was less than 50 degrees.  So, actual empirical FACTS about the temperatures inside of stone tombs in Jerusalem in April (which no Christian apologist has ever bothered to determine) would probably NOT do much to avoid the VAGUENESS and WEAKNESS of this point about the air in Jesus’ tomb being “cold”.
The same problem of VAGUENESS applies to the degree of dampness or humidity of the air in the stone tomb.
A second problem is that it is not clear WHY cool air would cause Jesus to die.  None of the apologists who make this point provides a medical explanation for WHY cool air would be deadly to Jesus.  The apologists don’t have the medical expertise and authority to simply assert this to be so, yet they provide ZERO medical evidence to support the claim that cool air (or damp air) would have been deadly for Jesus.  This is one more example of EVIDENCE-FREE Christian apologetics.
Not only do Christian apologists have no clue about how to provide historical EVIDENCE to support an historical claim, but they also have no clue about how to provide medical EVIDENCE to support a medical claim.  Plus, they have no shame in making bold assertions about things that they merely WISH were true, but about which they have no actual knowledge.
In the case of cardiac arrest, it is now common for the patient to be treated by cooling down their body temperature.  This helps to avoid the often deadly problem of reperfusion injury.  When the brain is deprived of oxygen for several minutes (or longer), because of cardiac arrest, resumption of normal heartbeat and circulation reintroduces oxygen-saturated blood to the brain and this often CAUSES biochemical responses where cells in the brain self-destruct, leading to brain damage and/or death.  But lowering the temperature of the patient’s body can help to avoid or reduce such dangerous biochemical responses when oxygen-saturated blood is reintroduced to the brain:

The 2013 ILCOR and 2010 American Heart Association guidelines support the use of cooling following resuscitation from cardiac arrest. These recommendations were largely based on two trials from 2002 which showed improved survival and brain function when cooled to 32–34 °C (90–93 °F) after cardiac arrest. (“Targeted temperature management” in Wikipedia)

 So, if Jesus had experienced cardiac arrest on the cross, then a tomb filled with cold or cool air would have been just what the doctor ordered!
A third problem is that this first bullet point works AGAINST the third bullet point.  If it had been VERY HOT inside the tomb, then that would have caused a living Jesus to sweat profusely and to become dehydrated more quickly.  But if the tomb was in fact cold or cool, then a living Jesus would not have lost much water by sweating, so he could go significantly longer without water without becoming dehydrated.  So, a cool tomb (asserted in the first bullet point) undermines the problem of being without water for 36 hours (asserted in the third bullet point).
A fourth problem is that the first element of Objection #4 (the winding sheets element) works against the significance of this first bullet point concerning the second element of Objection #4 (the entombment element).  If the first element reflects what actually occurred, if Jesus was actually wrapped up in winding sheets to prepare his body for placement in a stone tomb, then that UNDERMINES the significance of being in cool or cold air while in the tomb.  The winding sheets would have acted like clothing or blankets and would have helped Jesus to stay relatively warm, and to avoid hypothermia.
 
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE SECOND BULLET POINT
Here is the second bullet point of The Entombment Objection (TEO):

  • Jesus bleeding from various serious wounds, without any medical treatment, for 36 hours

The first problem here is again that of VAGUENESS: “bleeding from various serious wounds”.  How MANY wounds?  WHERE were the wounds located on Jesus’ body?  HOW DEEP and LARGE was each wound?  HOW MUCH BLEEDING was occurring from each wound?  There are ZERO details provided by most Christian apologists on these important questions concerning Jesus’ wounds.
Norman Geisler does better than most apologists on this point in When Skeptics Ask (see pages 120-121).  He focuses on the issue of blood loss, and specifies various wounds:

  • Jesus “had been beaten and whipped repeatedly…with a Roman scourge”
  • A “crown of thorns had been pushed onto” Jesus’s head
  • Jesus “suffered five major wounds” on the day he was crucified [four nail wounds and one spear wound]

A second problem arises concerning these details provided by Geisler:

None of these alleged wounds are historical FACTS. 

There is NO EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT of Jesus’ crucifixion, and most of the details in the passion narratives can be explained as prophecy historicized, as being based on interpretation of Old Testament passages rather than being based on eyewitness testimony.
The scourging of Jesus, for example, could have been created on the basis of this OT passage:

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5, New American Standard Bible, emphasis added)

None of the synoptic Gospels states that Jesus was NAILED to the cross.  The word “nails” appears in only one passage in only the Fourth Gospel (John 20:25).   Victims of crucifixion were often TIED or BOUND to their crosses, rather than being nailed to the cross.  The use of nails in the crucifixion of Jesus might have been created on the basis of this OT passage:

For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
(Psalm 22:16, New American Standard Bible, emphasis added)

None of the synoptic Gospels state that Jesus was speared in his side, nor that the risen Jesus had a wound in his side.  The spearing and the wound in the side of the risen Jesus are mentioned ONLY in the historically dubious Fourth Gospel.  This detail might have been created on the basis of this OT passage:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.            (Zechariah 12:10, New American Standard Bible, emphasis added)

So, there might well have been NO NAIL WOUNDS in Jesus’ hands or feet, or perhaps his hands were nailed but not his feet, and there might well have been NO SPEAR WOUND at all in Jesus’ side.  If a Roman soldier had used his spear on Jesus’ side, this might well have been a small poke to see if Jesus reacted in pain, rather than a deep thrust of the spear intended to immediately kill Jesus.  Jesus might not have been scourged at all, or he might have, as indicated by the Fourth Gospel, received only a minor whipping, not the more severe scourging that Christian apologists all assume Jesus received.  There might well have been no crown of thorns at all, or there might have been a crown of thorns, but the thorns pointed OUTWARD, not inward towards Jesus’ scalp, so that there would not have been any significant wounds from the placement of the crown on his head.
In short, Christian apologists HABITUALLY IMAGINE a worst-case-scenario concerning the wounds and injuries of Jesus, but they do not, and CANNOT, prove any such wounds or injuries to be historical FACTS.  They don’t even ATTEMPT to do so. Each such alleged serious injury is merely speculation based on various dubious details in one or more of the passion narratives found in the Gospels, none of which was written by an eyewitness of the crucifixion of Jesus.
A third problem with the second bullet point is that IF Jesus had been profusely bleeding from a number of major wounds, that would have been fairly obvious evidence that he was still alive, thus INCREASING the PROBABILITY that one of the persons involved in preparing his body for burial would have noticed this as a sign of life, and then taken steps to get Jesus to a nearby home where he could recover and be cared for.
A fourth problem with the second bullet point is that ALTHOUGH Jesus would not have received “medical treatment” of his wounds while his body remained locked up inside a stone tomb, according to the other element of the “Winding Sheets” Objection:

[Jesus’] body was totally encased in winding sheets…

What sort of “medical treatment” would Jesus have received for his various alleged “serious wounds” that would have helped to stop or reduce blood loss from those wounds?  A common and ancient medical treatment for serious wounds is BANDAGING.
Many Christian apologists quote the exact same passage from David Strauss, a supposed objection against the swoon theory.  Here is a part of that often-quoted passage:

It is impossible that one who had just come forth from the grave half dead, who crept about weak and ill, who stood in need of medical treatment, of bandaging, strengthening, and tender care… (quoted by LaHaye in Jesus: Who is He?, p.272, emphasis added)

Immediately after mentioning “medical treatment”, Strauss specifies the primary sort of treatment that Jesus presumably would have needed: “bandaging”.
But if Jesus’ body “was totally encased in winding sheets”, then basically all of his wounds were bandaged by that action!  Thus, the first element of Objection #4 (the winding sheets element) undermines the second bullet point related to the second element of Objection #4 (the entombment element).
If the first element reflects what actually occurred, if Jesus was actually wrapped up in winding sheets to prepare his body for placement in a stone tomb, then that UNDERMINES the significance of Jesus failing to receive proper “medical treatment” while in the tomb.  The winding sheets would probably have performed the same function as bandages.  The most critical “medical treatment” was, in effect, given to Jesus BEFORE the tomb was closed up with Jesus inside.
 
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE THIRD BULLET POINT
Here is the third bullet point of The Entombment Objection (TEO):

  • Jesus having no food or water for 36 hours

The first and most obvious problem here is that people can live for WEEKS without eating any food, so going for one-and-a-half days (i.e. 36 hours) without food is NOT a significant point. That would NOT be likely to cause Jesus to die.  Water, however, is more critical to staying alive in the short term, so that part of this point is more significant.
The second problem is that people can sometimes survive for up to a week without water, and people commonly survive for three or four days without water, so being without water for one-and-a-half days (i.e. 36 hours) is something that most people can do in most circumstances:

The maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week…

But one week is a generous estimate. Three to four days would be more typical, especially in difficult conditions like broiling heat.

“You can go 100 hours without drinking at an average temperature outdoors,” Claude Piantadosi of Duke University told Fox. “If it’s cooler, you can go a little longer. If you are exposed to direct sunlight, it’s less.”

(“Here’s how many days a person can survive without waterBusiness Insider)

Since most people can go 100 hours without water, the possibility of Jesus surviving for 36 hours without water would NOT be at all extraordinary.  Thus, this third bullet point is a weak objection, at best, and not in any way a strong or decisive objection to TST.
A third problem with this bullet point was mentioned above.  The first bullet point works AGAINST the third bullet point.  If it had been VERY HOT inside the tomb, then that would have caused a living Jesus to sweat profusely and to become dehydrated more quickly (i.e. in less than 100 hours).  But if the tomb was in fact cold or cool, then a living Jesus would not have lost much water by sweating, so he could go significantly longer without water without becoming dehydrated.  So, a cool tomb (asserted in the first bullet point) undermines the problem of being without water for 36 hours (asserted in the third bullet point).  In cooler temperatures, a person can survive for longer than 100 hours without drinking any water.
 
CONCLUSION
Kreeft’s Objection #4 has two basic elements:  the winding sheets and the entombment.  In Part 11 of this series, I considered three different versions of the winding sheets objection, and found all three to be WEAK objections (the third version actually supports TST).
In this current post, I have examined an interpretation of the second element (i.e. The Entombment Objection), and have shown this to also be a WEAK objection, because (a) the basic assumption that Jesus remained in the tomb for 36 hours is dubious, and (b) each of the three bullet points of The Entombment Objection has a number of other problems that further weaken that objection.  Therefore, Kreeft’s Objection #4 FAILS to show that TST is False, just like the other objections that we have previously examined (Objection #1, Objection #2, Objection #3, and Objection #8).
Given Kreeft’s consistent FAILURES so far, one would reasonably expect his other objections against The Survival Theory to FAIL as well.  We shall see.