Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino
Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.
Question #25 – How Can We Be So Certain That Christ Really Rose from the Dead?
The resurrection is the most important of all Christian doctrines; it is the center of our Christian faith.
With it everything stands or falls. Therefore, skeptics through twenty centuries have aimed their largest guns at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In all my years of studying the resurrection I have found that it is like an island guarded by all sorts of reefs in concentric circles.
Any skeptic ship that has attempted to get through to destroy that island has been grounded on one or another of those reefs. One of the more recent unsuccessful attacks took place back in 2007.“In all my years of studying the resurrection I have found that it is like an island guarded by all sorts of reefs in concentric circles.”
Based on the assumptions: (1) that an earlier find of the tomb of Jesus’ brother James was “factual,” and (2) the theories postulated in the Da Vinci Code by James Brown – that Jesus married and had a family – geologists calculated that the probability they uncovered the actual bones of Jesus was an astonishing six hundred to one.
Therefore, they concluded, since they found the bones of Jesus buried on Earth, they disproved the most central tenet of Christianity.
Of course, every one of those assumptions proved to be false. Also, the scientific standards geologists should have used before disclosing their uncovering of the “tomb” were ignored.
I was privileged to comment in April 2007 (on a local TV channel in Orlando, FL) on that particular geological finding by noting that the geologists presented their “evidence” to the general public first, instead of to the academic community for examination and study.
Less than two months later, scholars destroyed the conclusion that the tomb held the bones of Jesus. The geologists problem was greed. They wanted to market their “find” immediately to the public before it could be rightly investigated by scholars.
The evidence for the resurrection has been examined more carefully than the evidence for any other fact of history. The fact of the resurrection rests on several indisputable facts.“The evidence for the resurrection has been examined more carefully than the evidence for any other fact of history.”
There is the fact of the Lord’s Day. For thousands of years the Hebrew people held to their Sabbath doctrine.
Then suddenly we find a group of Jewish Christians changing the day of worship, from the seventh to the first day.
What could account for their abandoning something to which they held so tenaciously? Nothing other than such a monumental event as the resurrection of Christ which took place on the first day of the week; His appearance to His disciples on the first day of the week; and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church at Pentecost on the first day of the week.
There is the fact of Easter which was a replacement of the Jewish festival of Passover. Why did the Jews who held Passover to be the most significant event in their history abandon it in favor of the celebration of Easter? What fact other than the Resurrection can explain the festival of Easter.
There is the fact of our Christian sacraments which point to His death and suffering as well as to His resurrection and power.“It is an indisputable fact of history, that the largest institution in the world began in A.D. 30 in Jerusalem when the apostles began to preach that Jesus Christ arose from the dead.”
There is the fact of hymnology, as from the earliest days of the Christian church hymns were sung to the resurrected Christ.
There is the fact of the Christian church which is five times larger than the Roman empire at its greatest extent. How did such an institution come into existence?
The Christian church can be traced back to the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 30, the time of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It is an indisputable fact of history, that the largest institution in the world began in A.D. 30 in Jerusalem when the apostles began to preach that Jesus Christ arose from the dead.
There was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament (prophecies fulfilled by Jesus that were beyond His human control) that He would be taken, scourged, crucified and on the third day would rise.
There was the empty tomb, that rock upon which many a theory has gone aground. There were the grave clothes, and the eye witnesses including some who touched Him.“My advice to skeptics – is, give up. You can never find His body nor His bones – because: the tomb is empty!”
The twelve different occasions when Christ appeared to people, with more than 500 who saw Him risen. The tremendous transformation of the apostles from fearful, timid cowards to bold proclaimers; most of whom sealed their testimony with their blood.
The tremendous conversion and transformation of the apostle Paul; from Saul the persecutor and murderer of Christians, to Paul the greatest apostle of Christianity.
My advice to skeptics – is, give up. You can never find His body nor His bones — because: the tomb is empty!
Christ is risen indeed. He is alive as He said.
Have a Happy Easter.
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