WHERE WE ARE
In Chapter 8 of the Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA) Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli attempt to prove that God raised Jesus from the dead. A key premise in their case for the resurrection is their claim to have refuted the Swoon Theory. However, Kreeft and Tacelli have FAILED to refute the Swoon Theory, so their case for the resurrection of Jesus also FAILS.
Through a series of blog posts here at The Secular Frontier, I will carefully evaluate each of their nine objections against the Swoon Theory to show that they have FAILED to refute the Swoon Theory and thus FAILED to prove that God raised Jesus from the dead. (For clarification about what the Swoon Theory implies, see my post “Careful Argument Analysis of Objections to the Swoon Theory“. )
In Part 2 of this series, I presented a clarified version of Objection #2 by Kreeft and Tacelli. In this post, I will begin to evaluate that objection against the Swoon Theory.
THE CORE ARGUMENT OF OBJECTION #2
Here is what I take to be the core argument of Objection #2 against the Swoon Theory:
5a. The Roman soldiers were sure Jesus was dead while Jesus was still on the cross.
C. IF the Roman soldiers were sure Jesus was dead while Jesus was still on the cross, THEN Jesus died while Jesus was still on the cross.
D. IF Jesus died while Jesus was still on the cross, THEN the Swoon Theory is FALSE.
A. The Swoon Theory is FALSE.
The logic of this core argument is fine, so the only significant question here is whether the premises are true or false (or probably true or probably false).
EVALUATION OF UNSTATED PREMISES (C) AND (D)
Kreeft and Tacelli offer no arguments or evidence in support of premise (C) or premise (D). Premise (D), however, is obviously true, based on the content of the Swoon Theory, so there is no real need for an argument to support (D).
Premise (C), on the other hand, is questionable on its face, so this core argument FAILS as it stands, because Kreeft and Tacelli have not given an argument in support of this questionable premise. Furthermore, there is a good reason to believe that (C) is FALSE, so there is a good reason to believe this core argument is UNSOUND and thus that this objection FAILS.
Roman soldiers were NOT medical experts. Scientific medicine did not exist two thousand years ago, and even highly trained modern medical doctors sometimes mistakenly diagnose a patient to be dead when the patient is actually still alive. Therefore, there is good reason to doubt the “diagnosis” of the death of Jesus by Roman soldiers.
Here are a few relevant facts about Roman soldiers who lived two thousand years ago:
- they did not know that human bodies and human organs are composed of microscopic cells
- they did not know that the heart acts as a pump to circulate blood through the human body
- they did not know that the lungs remove carbon dioxide from blood and take oxygen from air and add it to blood in the human body
- they did not know that the circulation of blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells that make up a human body
- they did not know that the cells of the human body require oxygen and nutrients to stay alive
- they did not know that the death of most of the cells in a human organ constitutes the death of the organ
- they did not know that the death of the human brain constitutes the death of a human person
- they did not know that most diseases are caused by tiny microscopic organisms, like bacteria and viruses
- they did not know about thermometers and how to measure the temperature of a human body using a thermometer
- they did not know about stethoscopes and how to detect or evaluate the heartbeat of a human using a stethoscope
- they did not know about sphygmomanometers and how to measure blood pressure of a human using a sphygmomanometer
- they did not know about electrocardiograms and how to detect or evaluate the heartbeat of a human using an electrocardiogram (ECG)
- they did not know about electroencephalograms and how to detect or evaluate electrical activity in a human brain using an electroencephalogram (EEG)
In short, Roman soldiers who lived two thousand years ago were completely ignorant of modern medical knowledge and scientific knowledge about the human body. Thus, we have good reason to doubt the “diagnosis” of the death of a crucified person made by Roman soldiers two thousand years ago. Thus, premise (C) is FALSE, and the core argument for Objection #2 against the Swoon Theory FAILS.