Historical Proof of Zombie Jesus?
Today we are debunking Lee Strobel’s 4 reasons why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is historical. Strobel has the worst evidence for this nonsense that I’ve heard. Prepare for both an argument from authority and an argument from false authority. He also uses faulty methods for determining historical events. He actually goes against the grain on mainstream scholarship while at the same time saying it’s crazy to question anything about Jesus based on scholarly consensus.
1. Jesus Died After Crucifixion
This piece of evidence isn’t really evidence when you think about it. Basically, Strobel is saying that medical professionals given unconfirmed information about the death of Jesus can confirm he died from crucifixion. If the medical professionals are given bad information to start with, then there is no way they can come to an actual conclusion on the matter. The crucifixion of Jesus is only attested in the Gospels, which they are considered one source, and they only reference scriptures as their sources. They don’t reference anyone that saw the events happen. We have no records from the Romans about the crucifixion either.
But I do agree that if Jesus was crucified at all, let alone in the way the Gospels described, he would have died. That does not entail that he would have resurrected. This has no bearing on his actual resurrection.
This is not proof a resurrection.
2. Early Tradition of the Resurrection
This is a reference to a 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 where Paul seems to be reciting a sort of pocket gospel that he may or may not have inherited from earlier oral traditions.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
There is a lot of discussion surrounding what parts of this creed are original, which are paul’s invention, and which are interpolated. Regardless, I do agree that this creed has its origins in the 30’s AD but the mere belief that Jesus was resurrected doesn’t mean that he was actually resurrected. A resurrected Messiah has roots in Judaism so you would need stronger evidence to overcome a prior belief in resurrection.
Also, Paul never cites any earthly source for his view on Christ (Rom. 16:25-26, 1 Cor 15:1-9, 1 Cor 11:23-25). He only ever trusts scriptures and visions. So even if he got this creed from oral tradition, he only trusts it because it comports with his own visions and reading of scripture.
Another resurrection proof failure.
3. Empty Tomb
The empty tomb is not really evidence either. The only reference to an empty tomb is in the Gospels which come at least 40 years after the events supposedly happened. Paul doesn’t even report an empty tomb, just that Jesus resurrected. The finding of the empty tomb has a lot of symbolism surrounding it. The accounts of the empty tomb parallel the Book of Daniel and even use the exact same wording as it. The empty tomb is structured this way because it didn’t actually happen and the Jews only had scripture to turn to as a source of information.
Also, the original ending of Mark says that the women who found the empty tomb ran away and told no one:
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
So how was this account written or any of the other accounts for that matter. They wouldn’t have been written.
This is not proof of a resurrection.
4. 9 Ancient Sources for the Resurrection
This is simply false. Most of the sources only reference the current Christian theology of the first or second century. They don’t actually cite eyewitness testimony or anything that can be traced back to an eyewitness. The earliest source you can cling to is Tacitus but even if that source was 100% written by Tacitus, which is heavily contended with good evidence to support it, all it does is repeat the portions of the Gospel that already existed and confirm that Christians were in Rome during the burning of Rome. Tacitus could have gotten this information from Pliny the Younger whom he regularly communicated with.
Tacitus is one of many “sources” that apologists like Lee Strobel will cite as actual evidence but the actual evidence simple doesn’t support their conclusion that the Resurrection actually happened.
These sources are not proof of a resurrection. Only proof of Christians existing.