WHERE WE ARE
I have carefully analyzed and evaluated the nine objections that Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli present against the Swoon Theory in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), which was published in 1994. I have concluded that all nine objections FAIL because they are BAD ARGUMENTS.
My Christian friend David Diaz suggested that I examine more recent critiques of the Swoon Theory, so I am looking at four books by Christian apologists that were published in the 21st century, and comparing the objections against the Swoon Theory in those books with the nine objections raised by Kreeft and Tacelli in HCA. I will determine how much of the more recent critiques use the same objections as Kreeft and Tacelli, and I will identify any other objections that were not made in HCA.
In Part 1 of this series, I looked at the objections against the Swoon Theory in William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith (3rd edition), which was published in 2008. Almost all of Craig’s objections corresponded to objections presented by Kreeft and Tacelli in HCA. However, I did find ONE objection that was not in HCA, and there was an emphasis on medical analysis that was not clearly present in HCA.
I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST BY GEISLER & TUREK
Here is another book of Christian apologetics that was published in the 21st century:
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, published in 2004.
Most of the objections against the Swoon Theory presented by Geisler and Turek correspond to the objections raised by Kreeft and Tacelli in HCA:
- The first objection by Geisler and Turek is that “enemies and friends alike believed Jesus was dead.” (p.304). They go on to make a few different points in support of this claim, and those points correspond to objections found in HCA. Roman executioners “plunged a spear into his side” (p.304). This corresponds to Objection # 3 (Blood & Water) in HCA.
- Another point made in support of their first objection is that “They didn’t break his legs to speed death because they knew he was already dead…” (p.304). This corresponds to Objection # 2 (Break Their Legs) in HCA.
- The second objection by Geisler and Turek concerns the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial: “…Jesus was embalmed in seventy-five pounds of bandages and spices.” (p.305). This corresponds to part of Objection #4 (Winding Sheets and Entombment) in HCA.
- The third objection by Geisler and Turek is about Jesus being placed into a stone tomb: “…how would 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.” (p.305). This also corresponds to part of Objection #4 (Winding Sheets and Entombment) in HCA.
- The fourth objection by Geisler and Turek includes more than one point. First, they mention the problem of Jesus getting out of the tomb: “…how would he unwrap himself, move the two-ton rock up and away from the inside of the tomb…?” (p.305). This point corresponds to Objection #7 (Who Moved the Stone?) in HCA.
- Another point in the fourth objection by Geisler and Turek concerns the Roman guard: “…how could he…get by the elite Roman guards…?” This corresponds to Objection # 6 (Who Overpowered the Roman Guards?) in HCA.
- Another point in the fourth objection by Geisler and Turek is about how the disciples would react when they saw Jesus after he survived his crucifixion: “Jesus would have been a battered, bleeding pulp of a man whom the disciples would pity, not worship.” (p.305). This corresponds to Objection #5 (Sickly Jesus Objection) in HCA.
However, the last two objections put forward by Geisler and Turek are not found in HCA:
- The fifth objection by Geisler and Turek concerns the conversion experience of Paul: “…the swoon theory cannot explain Jesus’ bright-light appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus.” (p.305)
- The sixth objection by Geisler and Turek is about non-Christian references to the death of Jesus: “…several non-Christian writers affirmed that Jesus had died by crucifixion.” (p.306)
I don’t think that either of these is a strong or solid objection against the Swoon Theory, but they are different than any of the objections put forward in HCA.