Happy Easter everybody—I hope you all have prepared your colored eggs for Astarte, the pagan fertility goddess, and have filled your house with other fertility symbols like rabbits and such. Remember, Astarte is the reason for the season (and even gave it her name, slightly misspelled).
Oh yeah, and some guy died too. I suppose we ought to remember him. So here, by way of holiday celebration, I present the Top Ten Ways the Bible Tells Us Jesus Did Not Literally Rise From The Dead.
- If Jesus had been literally and physically raised from the dead, the tomb would not be empty—there would have been a living Jesus in it.
- If Mary had seen an angel fly down from heaven, roll away the stone, and tell her that Jesus had been raised from the dead (Matt 28:1-5), she would not have run to the disciples weeping over the missing corpse (John 20:1-2).
- If Jesus had been physically raised in a physical body, he would not spontaneously appear and disappear and change his shape to fool the disciples (Luke 24:28-36) and would not have needed to “prove” that he was not a spirit (Luke 24:36-43) by showing him his hands and feet and by eating their food—which angels and the pre-incarnate Jehovah can also do, even though they are supposedly spirits (Gen. 18:1-11).
- If Jesus had been physically raised from the dead, still bearing the wounds from his beatings, his crown of thorns, his crucifixion, and the spear thrust in his side, people would have noticed him walking to the room where his disciples were hiding, and he would not have been able to enter the room while the door was shut and/or locked (John 20:19, 26).
- The Sanhedrin would not have put a guard on the tomb because they had no reason to expect Jesus to rise from the dead (Matt. 27:62-65, cf John 2:19-21 and John 20:9—even the disciples were surprised!).
- If the priests found out Jesus had risen from the dead, they would have worried about Jesus, not about the empty tomb (Matt. 28:11-15).
- If Jesus had risen from the dead, the priests would have plotted to kill him again (John 12:9-11) instead of plotting to tell lies about the tomb.
- If the priests were going to bribe the guards to tell a lie, they would not have picked an obvious falsehood like “The disciples stole the body while we slept.” (Matt. 28:11-15.) If they were asleep, how would they know? Duh!
- If Jesus had literally and physically been raised from the dead, Paul would not have insisted that the body that was raised was a spiritual body rather than the body that was buried, and would not have expanded on this claim by insisting that the “last Adam” (i.e. Jesus) “became a life-giving Spirit” (I Cor. 15: 42-48).
And the number one way we can know, from the Bible, that Jesus did not literally and physically rise from the dead:
- If Jesus were alive, he’d still be here.
The whole point of the incarnation was that Jesus wanted to save us because he loves us so much. His absence not only deprives the church of his presence, but also leaves it vulnerable to the heresies and divisions that have splintered the church and turned aside many who might otherwise have been saved. Such great love would not casually turn the Cross into futility by abandoning us just when we need him the most (which is basically forever).
This Easter, remember not just the empty tomb, but the empty world as well. He is not here, because he has not risen.