As we look ahead to Easter on Sunday, it is worth remembering that there is good historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ. Here’s an article I wrote in college (since posted to the DG site) summarizing some of the best of that evidence.
The article looks at three facts that virtually all critical scholars accept, and argues that the resurrection is the best (and only, really!) plausible explanation for them. These three facts are:
- The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion.
- Jesus’ disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ.
- As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.
Here’s what I find stunning: These are not three marginal facts. They include the empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances. It is remarkable that the evidence for these realities is so good that even most critical scholars accept them. And, as I show in the article, if you accept these two realities, the only solid explanation is that Christ actually rose from the dead.
For further resources on evidence for the resurrection and Christianity, I would recommend William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Craig is one of the best apologists out there and gives a much more complete look at these facts in his book.
Of course the ultimate ground for our faith is not historical evidence, but the self-authenticating testimony of Scripture. But since the Christian faith is a historical faith, such that if Christ was not resurrected there is no Christianity (1 Corinthians 15:14), we should look at and be aware of the testimony of history. It is very encouraging as believers to see the strong historical evidence, and also helpful to share with those who are investigating the claims of Christianity.