A top ten list

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.



  1. N. Nescio says

    It’s Eastertide in the small town I live in, and over the past week I’ve been getting visits from some of the local godbotherers of the 8 or so churches in the area. I’m not at my friendliest when my sleep is disturbed early in the morning, and especially less so when it is done in order to try and convince me of absurd religious ideas.

    Recently, I’ve been having some fun asking my uninvited guests the following:

    If Jesus literally physically resurrected (and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Christian who denies this), and appeared to his disciples in the flesh, when he bodily ascended into the clouds as described in Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-11, where did He go, exactly?

    Given the belief at the time that ‘the Heavens’ were located somewhere above the earth (Genesis 1:6-8, Psalms 148:4), thus necessitating an ascent in order to enter bodily, just how high did Jesus have to go? At around 26,000ft the extreme difficulty of breathing would be fatal, if he didn’t die of hypothermia first. Further, if Jesus made it past the Troposphere, the UV radiation would have done a number on his resurrected flesh. So where did Jesus’ body go?

    The best ‘answer’ I’ve heard is that when Jesus went behind the cloud he somehow transformed into invisible-spirit-form-Jesus and that settles matters. I enjoy pointing out that this is merely post-hoc handwaving away of the fact that the authors of the Gospels did not know that human bodies cannot survive at extreme elevations without breathing assistance and insulating clothing, because if they had known this, they would have taken it into account.

    I like to use the uncomfortable silence to wish them a good morning, and politely suggest they shake the dust off their feet on their way out.

  2. geocatherder says

    Damn, I’m gonna have to come up with something more interesting than a smiling “We’re atheists here, but thanks for invitation anyhow”, followed quickly by a closed door. The thing is, I really don’t want to interact with them. I should; I should think up interesting things to say that might, just might, plant seeds of doubt; but I just dislike interacting with them.

    For the first year in quite awhile, the neighborhood Baptists didn’t come around this year and invite us to their Easter service. Did they finally get the message, or did the outreach miss my block this year? I suspect the latter.

  3. Observer says

    Not sure I agree with #10. Why expect a risen Jesus to hang around the tomb?
    If you can get angel to roll the stone away, why wouldn’t you get out of a claustrophobic place like that?

    • Deacon Duncan says

      The key word is physical. If Jesus’ physical body were raised from the dead, but the stone was still there, he’d have to wait for someone to come let him out. According to Matthew, the women were already at the tomb when the stone was rolled away, so they should have seen him still in there.

  4. says

    I always wondered if there is a Jesus/God, why send missionaries with such incredibly poor understandings of both their myths and the reality they expect the myths to trump? You want me to accept you as my personal savior, stop by for a beer and we can talk, don’t send a friend of a friend of a friend. You want to be worshiped as a king of kings, show your power, blow some shit up, unite some nations and bring peace, or anything along those lines. Don’t burn your likeness vaguely into a tortilla so that the image looks like either a bearded somebody (Dennet? PZ?) or two dogs sharing a tree.

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