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Helsinki Interview with William Lane Craig

Resurrection of Jesus

Time : 00:40:42

Prof. William Lane Craig was interviewed by Leif Nummela in Café Nya Vinden, Helsinki, Finland on Friday, April 13, 2012. They discuss the evidence for and the implications of the resurrection of Jesus. Craig also answers some questions from the audience. The interview preceded the Veritas Forum event "Can the Universe Exist Without God" (at Uni. Helsinki on following Monday). (Veritas Forum Finland website: http://www.veritasforum.fi )

Transcript

Leif Nummela: Welcome to Finland, William Lane Craig.

Dr. Craig: Thank you very much.

Leif Nummela: I know you have been flying through the night. How do you feel?

Dr. Craig: I don’t know why they always schedule these international flights to be overnight. It seems like they make it as difficult as they can for the traveler. But I’m feeling great. We had a wonderful dinner tonight. Fantastic food. If that’s representative of Finnish cuisine, then I am feeling very good about our time here. And then had a chance to lie down this afternoon, so I’m feeling pretty fresh. Thank you.

Leif Nummela: And you’re staying downtown, just in the center of Helsinki. Is that a good place for you?

Dr. Craig: Yes, yes. It’s perfect. Thank you.

Leif Nummela: Okay, now we will dig right into some heavy stuff here, because as we heard in the introduction, you have done some very profound studies academically in especially two subjects. The first is the cosmology proof for the existence of God, and the second one is on the resurrection of Christ. And tonight we will focus on the resurrection of Christ, because we can’t cover all the subjects in this short time.

Now, let me just go straight to the point. Why on earth should anybody care what happened to a first-century well-known preacher like Jesus Christ?

Dr. Craig: I think that the answer to that question is that this first-century Jewish prophet or preacher made some astonishing claims about himself. So that the resurrection can only be understood in its proper significance when you look at it in the religious and historical context in which it occurred. And that is as the climax to the unparalleled life and claims of Jesus of Nazareth. Here is a man who thought of himself as the Jewish Messiah, the King of Israel. He believed himself to be the Son of God in a unique sense that set him apart from Jewish kings and other religious people, and he thought of himself as the divine human Son of Man prophesied by the prophet Daniel.

Now, if this man was not who he claimed to be, then he was a blasphemer. And it was for these blasphemous claims that he was condemned by the Jewish Sanhedrin and then handed over to the Romans for execution. If this man has been raised from the dead, then that means that the God of Israel whom he allegedly blasphemed has confirmed and vindicated those claims for which he was crucified. So I think that the resurrection matters because it reveals to us the true identity of who Jesus of Nazareth really was.

Leif Nummela: Let me see if I understand you right. I mean, it would be astonishing for anybody to come back from the dead. But in this case, you have someone walking around saying, “I am practically God.” And then this one is raised, so it has a special significance.

Dr. Craig: Exactly. If someone were to rise from the dead, say, in one of our hospitals somewhere, it would be difficult to see what religious or theological significance there would be in that event because it lacks a significant religio-historical context. But in the context of the life and personal claims of Jesus of Nazareth, the resurrection takes on this incredible significance as the divine confirmation or vindication of those allegedly blasphemous claims. And that’s why I think the resurrection is so significant.

Leif Nummela: So is it like God saying, “This is someone special”?

Dr. Craig: “This is my beloved son. Listen to him.” That’s, in fact, what the resurrection says.

Leif Nummela: Okay, what about the resurrection, the proofs of the resurrection? Because, I mean, we hear about some extraordinary preacher saying they have raised a couple of dead here and there, and then we find out that they have faked it, and so forth. And now we have this Jesus Christ, who is at the place that he was raised from the dead. What’s the proof? What’s the proof that even today can make you convinced?

Dr. Craig: I think there are two steps in constructing a historical case for Jesus’ resurrection. First would be establishing the facts of the matter to be explained.[1] The second step, then, would be figuring out what is the best explanation of those facts. Now, with respect to that first step, what astonished me as a result of my work under Pannenberg in Munich, is that the facts of the case are generally agreed upon by the majority of New Testament critics today. These do not represent beliefs that are just held by conservative scholars or evangelical scholars. Rather, these facts are accepted as historical by the wide majority of New Testament scholarship today.

These would include things like Jesus’ crucifixion under Roman authority at the time of the Passover in Jerusalem, his burial in a tomb by a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea, and the discovery of that tomb being empty by a group of his women followers on the Sunday morning after his crucifixion. Thereafter, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus, alive from the dead. And finally, number five, the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe that God had raised Jesus from the dead, despite every predisposition to the contrary. And one can go into the multiple lines of evidence that support each of those five facts. But those five facts represent the majority conclusions of New Testament criticism today with respect to the historical Jesus.

Now, the second step of the argument, then, would be to ask, “What is the best explanation of these five facts?” And what I would argue is that, when assessed by the ordinary criteria that historians use in assessing historical hypotheses, what I call the resurrection hypothesis – which is “God raised Jesus from the dead” – the resurrection hypothesis is the best explanation of those five facts. And therefore, we have good grounds for believing in that hypothesis.

Leif Nummela: Let’s walk through those again just to focus on them. You say the first one is Jesus was crucified under the Romans. Is this something that almost everybody agrees on?

Dr. Craig: Yes, the only persons who would disagree with that would be Muslims. Muslims deny that Jesus was crucified. But they do that not on historical grounds; they do that on dogmatic grounds because the Qur’an denies that Jesus was crucified. The Qur’an says, “They did not kill him, neither did they crucify him.”[2] And so the orthodox Muslim view is that Jesus was not crucified. But this has no historical foundations whatsoever. It’s something that arose six centuries after Christ had lived and so no modern historian would deny the crucifixion of Jesus under the direction of Pontius Pilate.

Leif Nummela: So when some popular book is published that denies even the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, you are telling us that is just out of the mainstream?

Dr. Craig: Yeah, that’s not even on the radar screen, so to speak, of New Testament scholarship. That is so marginal that it isn’t even taken seriously. And for those of you who read English, which I think is most everyone here tonight, there’s a new book that’s just come out by a man who is a radical sceptic about Jesus, namely Bart Ehrman. And Bart Ehrman has just written a book called Did Jesus Exist? in which he exposes the follies of what he calls the mythicists who say that Jesus of Nazareth was just a myth. So this is something that doesn’t, again, represent just the consensus of scholarship. Even those far on the left of contemporary scholarship don’t regard these mythological views as even serious contenders.

Leif Nummela: The second line of proof you mentioned was Jesus being buried by Joseph of Arimathea. What would make someone convinced of that?

Dr. Craig: Well, I think one of the most important pieces of evidence for the burial is its multiple, independent attestation.[3] One of the most important earmarks of historicity is to have early, independent witnesses to a certain event. And in the case of the burial of Jesus, we have around five independent sources, some of which are among the earliest in the New Testament, like the tradition that Paul hands on in 1 Corinthians 15, or the pre-Markan passion story that Mark used in writing his gospel. And all of these attest to the burial of Jesus, and it’s unanimous that this was done by a member of the Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea. So we actually know the name of the man who was responsible for the interment of Jesus.

Leif Nummela: I could imagine that it’s quite easy to come along this far for someone. To say, “Okay, I believe Jesus existed. I believe he was buried.” But then you are saying something interesting. You’re saying that the majority of those people who have really looked into these questions, who are experts, are really claiming that the tomb was empty.

Dr. Craig: Yes, it’s remarkable, isn’t it? But that is right. And notice that that is not itself a miraculous claim—the fact that a man’s tomb was found empty. For example, after President Lincoln was assassinated in the United States, there was actually a plot to steal Lincoln’s body from the tomb in Springfield. Now, any historian of the American Civil War would want to know: Was that plot successfully carried out? Was Lincoln’s body missing from the tomb? Did the thieves succeed? This is a question that any historian can ask.

[At this point in the audio, it appears some of Dr. Craig’s comments were deleted and skipped.]

. . . by a group of his women followers Sunday morning.

Leif Nummela: What are the specific reasons that convince people of that?

Dr. Craig: Well, there are quite a number of them. The evidence for the empty tomb is really very good. One of them, again, would be multiple, independent attestation. The empty tomb tradition is found in at least six independent sources. Some, again, of which are among the earliest sources in the New Testament. Another would be the fact that women are the discoverers of the empty tomb.

Leif Nummela: Why is that important?

Dr. Craig: This is very interesting, because in first-century Palestine, the witness of women was regarded as very low in its credibility. So that any later legendary account may have made male disciples discover the tomb empty—people like Peter and John. No later legendary account would make women discover the tomb, because their witness was absolutely worthless and would be dismissed as such. So the fact that it is women who are the principle witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb is best explained by saying these were the discoverers of the empty tomb and the Gospels record what, for them, was a rather embarrassing and awkward fact.

Another factor in favor of the empty tomb is that the earliest Jewish polemic presupposes that the tomb was empty. In Matthew chapter 28, we find the earliest Jewish response to the disciples’ proclamation, “He has risen from the dead!” And what Jews were saying was not “His body is still there in the tomb” or “These people are crazy.” Instead, they said, “The disciples stole away his body.” Now think about that: “The disciples stole away the body.” The earliest Jewish response to the resurrection was itself an attempt to explain why the tomb was empty. So here we’ve got evidence not from the Christians, but from the very opponents of the early Christian movement that the tomb was, in fact, empty. So for these and numerous other reasons, most scholars concur that the empty tomb narrative is historically credible.

Leif Nummela: Correct me if I’m wrong, but is it so that the empty tomb in itself would not yet convince the disciples that Jesus is the Messiah who is risen from the dead?

Dr. Craig: That seems to be the case. When you look at the accounts of the resurrection in the New Testament, the empty tomb left them puzzled and wondering what had happened, but didn’t yet evoke belief that he was risen from the dead. It was the next factor mentioned that seemed to tip them over the edge, and that was the appearances—that there were these experiences, on the part of both individuals and groups of people, of seeing Jesus alive after his death that convinced them that he was, in fact, risen.[4]

Leif Nummela: Now, something that you hear or read quite often is that maybe they were deluded. Maybe they had some extraordinary experience that they thought was the resurrected Jesus appearing to them. Maybe they were hallucinating. What are you saying about that?

Dr. Craig: Now, it’s very important in constructing a case for the resurrection that we keep our thinking clear. The hallucination hypothesis is not a denial of that fourth fact: that individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. That is an attempt to offer an alternative explanation of that fact. So this is an alternative hypothesis to the resurrection hypothesis, which would be discussed when we come to the question: “What is the best explanation of the facts?” But it doesn’t deny the fact of these appearances. On the contrary, it admits them. All New Testament scholars admit this, that they had these experiences. The question is: How do you best explain them? And there I think that the hallucination hypothesis fails in a number of respects to be the best explanation. For one thing, it has very narrow explanatory scope. It is an attempt to explain the appearances, but it says nothing about the empty tomb. In order to explain the full scope of the evidence, you’ve got to conjoin to the hallucination hypothesis an independent explanation of the empty tomb. And therefore, this hypothesis does not have the same explanatory scope as the resurrection hypothesis and is inferior to it in that respect.

It also doesn’t explain very well that fifth fact, which is the origin of the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection. Visionary experiences of Jesus—hallucinatory experiences of Jesus—would be in line with Jewish beliefs about the afterlife. And what Jews believed is that when a person died, his soul went to be with God in paradise. And so if the disciples were to hallucinate visions of Jesus, they would see heavenly visions of Jesus in glory in Abraham’s bosom, where the righteous dead went. But that wouldn’t have lead to belief in his resurrection from the dead. At the very most, that would’ve lead to belief in his assumption into heaven. And that’s a very different category than resurrection from the dead. For the Jew, the resurrection from the dead will not occur until the end of the world, on Judgment Day. So, at most, hallucinatory experiences would’ve led to belief in his assumption into heaven, but not his resurrection. So, the hallucination hypothesis has narrow explanatory scope; it has weak explanatory power with respect to the origin of the Christian belief.

I would also say it’s highly implausible. There’s nothing in the psychological casebooks about hallucinations that is comparable to the series of appearances of Jesus after his death. What critics have to do is cobble together independent stories of hallucinatory experiences and then construct a composite picture, which only goes to underline that there is really nothing comparable to the series of appearances of Jesus to individuals and groups alike—to people at different locals, different circumstances, different people, believers and unbelievers as well. There’s just nothing like that in the psychological casebook. So, for all these different reasons, I think this explanation is not as good as the resurrection hypothesis.

Leif Nummela: Before we go into the question of what all this means for us personally, when you have presented these five facts and these historical reasons for the resurrection of Jesus around the world in debates, as you have with some of the toughest radical theologians on earth, what is the response you are getting?

Dr. Craig: Well, most of them aren’t really able to deny those five facts, because those are very well attested. I think that, for the most part, the scepticism arises because of a philosophical assumption that miracles are impossible. And obviously, if the resurrection occurred, it would be a nature miracle of astounding proportions, and if you don’t believe that miracles are possible, then you will simply not allow the resurrection hypothesis into the pool of live, explanatory options.[5]

Leif Nummela: So what’s your answer?

Dr. Craig: Well, then I think, “This is not a matter of historical evidence; this is a matter of philosophical presupposition and argument.” And what you need to do, then, is go all the way back to square one and start over again, talking about the existence of God—because if God exists, then clearly miracles are possible. As the Australian philosopher Peter Slezak said in our debate, “For a God who was able to create the entire universe, the odd resurrection would be child’s play.” So the real question is, is there a personal creator and designer of the universe who is distinct from the world? And therefore, that philosophical question, I think, needs to be settled first, before you begin to broach the topic of miracles.

Leif Nummela: I’d love to go into that, but we don’t have the time tonight. But if someone is interested, they can even read your book, On Guard in English and Valveilla in Finnish. There you go through these evidences, these arguments for the existence of God.

Dr. Craig: Yes, and let me just add that anyone who is planning on attending the debate with Kari Enqvist would, I think, be well advised to read the chapters in the book first on the existence of God, because these are technical arguments that are difficult to understand even if you’re a native English speaker.

Leif Nummela: And this book is sold here tonight, by the way.

(laughter)

Dr. Craig: And I’m not saying that to sell books.

(more laughter)

Leif Nummela: I know, I was saying it.

Dr. Craig: Okay, alright.

Leif Nummela: But let’s get back to the resurrection. Let’s suppose that someone says, “Okay, these facts—these historical facts—make it at least very possible, and I’m ready to consider the chance that Jesus is risen from the dead.” What would the significance for someone personally be? What’s the meaning of it all? So what?

Dr. Craig: I think that the resurrection is tremendously existentially significant, because it means that Jesus holds the key that unlocks the door to eternal life. The threat of death and of non-being at the end of our days is a tremendous existential threat that puts a question mark behind everything in life. What is the meaning and the significance of my life if, no matter what I do, it’s doomed to end in death? What’s the meaning and significance of the human race at all, given that it’s in a universe that is doomed?

[At this point in the audio, it appears some of Dr. Craig’s comments were deleted and skipped.]

The resurrection of Jesus provides an answer to that, because it says that death is not the end. That through faith in Christ, we can have eternal life with him; and that just as he is raised from the dead, in advance, so we have the hope of resurrection and immortality. And that means that the things we do now in this life are filled with an eternal significance. Every day you wake up, you know that the things that I do today matter for eternity, because the grave is not the end.

That’s just one aspect of the resurrection that is existentially important. Another is that it means that we have hope for deliverance from the shortcomings of this finite existence. Hope for deliverance from aging, disease and physical infirmity. From your bad back to horrible disabilities like cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. The resurrection says that we will someday have supernatural, transformed, immortal, powerful bodies that will be free from the debilitating effects of aging and disease. And not only that—not only full physical healing—but full emotional and psychological healing as well.

Every one of us, I think, is a broken person, psychologically. Even the most healthy of us carry the emotional scars from disappointments and hardships in childhood.[6] And every one of us, I think, struggles emotionally with certain facets of your personality that you wish were different. And the hope of the resurrection is that someday we will be not only physically, but psychologically whole, transparent, healthy people who relate to one another in love forever. So, the resurrection provides tremendous hope for the shortcomings of this finite existence that we have now.

Leif Nummela: Am I right to think that this hope is very much connected to the fact that the resurrection is a bodily resurrection we are talking about?

Dr. Craig: Clearly, and especially that first point that I mentioned about physical healing. Yes, the remarkable thing about the Jewish hope and immortality is that unlike the Greek hope, it wasn’t a disembodied existence. Not the release of the soul from the prison house of the body. Rather, it’s the redemption of the body. It’s a tremendous affirmation of the value of human physicality and materiality that our bodies will be raised from the dead, and that immortality is an embodied existence.

And this is shown in the resurrection of Jesus. The incarnation of the second person of the Trinity was not some temporary state of about 30 years. He is risen from the dead and ascended in his body, so this is a permanent condition of the second person of the Trinity. He carries his human nature into eternity, and that is a tremendous affirmation of the value of the physical world and human corporeality or physicality.

Leif Nummela: Before we turn it over to the audience here to ask some questions—after studying this question of the resurrection of Jesus for years, for tens of years—what is the most meaningful and precious thing for you personally in this whole thing?

Dr. Craig: Well, I think it would’ve been the first point that I mentioned: meaning. As a non-Christian, I felt deeply the darkness and the despair of an atheistic—well, not an atheistic, but a world without any sort of connection with God. That if God existed, he really didn’t matter. That my life was doomed to end in death. And therefore, as I say, life just seemed meaningless to me. And when I became a Christian, this just changed everything, because now my life had an eternal significance.

So, many times, people will say that the difference Christ has made in their lives is the joy that it brings, or the love, or the peace that it brings. And I have experienced all of those things. But for me, I think the most significant would be the deep, deep sense of meaning that it brings to life. And so that would be the most precious thing to me, I think, about the doctrine of the resurrection.

Leif Nummela: Thank you. Now we will turn over the chance for you in the audience. I think it’s fair if everybody gets one question. (audience laughs) We won’t go very long, because we have to consider two things: Dr. Craig has flown through the night and he needs a good night sleep, because there’s a tremendous day tomorrow. We have a record number of people coming to the mission center, about 400. He will lecture two times and answer questions there, so we have to be a little bit human and let him have a night’s sleep. But we have something like 15-20 minutes, so you can ask in any language, preferably in English. Otherwise, I’ll try to make the question understandable in English. And maybe we’ll start with the first man eagerly waiting for a question here.

Audience member #1: I’d like to ask 10 long questions, but I’ll ask one short one, as you requested. [There is a famous Finnish theologian] non-believer, like the Bart Ehrman of Finland, and he’s written a book about the origins of Christian belief, and basically his main point is that in the historical religious context, the resurrection, as you said, for the Jews was a general resurrection, right? If Jesus resurrected, then the general resurrection didn’t happen, so the Christians thought, “Okay, he’s the start of the general resurrection. Maybe it will happen soon in our lifetime, in the first generation.”[7] But it didn’t happen again. And so his point is that it’s sort of part and parcel of this eschatology—the full package that goes together with the general resurrection. Since that didn’t happen, it’s sort of meaningless anyway. It’s not very credible, since the general resurrection didn’t happen, that Jesus would have risen from the dead.

And I’ve heard you say in a podcast there’s evidence for sort of a longer period [inaudible] in addition to those passages where it seems to talk about a very fast second coming. But it seems to reinforce his point that there are just some contradictory lines of thought in the New Testament, and so it’s not really a unified picture. What would be your response?

Dr. Craig: Well, I guess this is what I would say: Suppose you’ve done an investigation of the evidence and you come to the conclusion that I have—that the best explanation of the evidence is that God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. Now, that means that God exists; that Jesus was who he claimed to be: the unique Son of God, the divine human Son of Man; and that his resurrection provides hope for our resurrection. Now, suppose on that basis you conclude, “Well therefore, the general resurrection is probably going to happen very soon. It’s going to happen in my lifetime.” And you see that that doesn’t happen; that people around you begin to die off, maybe you’re very, very old and it doesn’t look like the general resurrection is going to happen very soon. Well, what would you conclude? It seems to me that what you would conclude would be, “Gosh, I must have been wrong in thinking that his resurrection implies that the general resurrection would happen soon. That maybe it will be a long time.”

And then you might go back and look at some of the parables of Jesus where he talks about how the bridesmaids didn’t have oil for their lamps because the groomsman was delayed. Or where Jesus says, “No one knows the time of my return. Not even I myself know when it will occur.” Or other parables where the man goes on a long journey and doesn’t come back for a long time, and the people are to take care of the money while he’s away. And it seems to me that what you would do would be to say, “Well, I guess I was probably mistaken in inferring that the general resurrection was going to happen soon.” That would seem to me to be the logical conclusion.

And if you did go back and look again at the evidence for the burial, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances and the origin of the disciples’ belief, and you don’t have any good naturalistic explanation of those events, then it still seems to me you’re justified in saying that the best explanation is that God raised Jesus from the dead. So it seems to me that he’s questioning the wrong assumption—that the assumption that would be called into question would be this inference that the general resurrection is going to happen soon.

Audience member #1: Of course, that goes together with denying all kinds of other things like the empty tomb…

Dr. Craig: Ah, okay, well that’s very different, then—if he denies the facts of the case, fine. But I’m assuming that we can establish those facts, and that the best explanation is the one that I said. That just brings it back to that, and that’s fine. That’s where the debate ought to occur. Not on the assumption that the general resurrection is going to happen soon.

Leif Nummela: Okay, thank you. Now we go to the next question, please.

Audience member #2: Can I ask about something else than the resurrection?

Dr. Craig: Yes.

Audience member #2: Okay, thank you. We’ve had Dr. Dennis Alexander of Faraday Institute here with us for a few days, and he just left a few hours ago, actually. And he and many others have written these theologies of evolution. I was Googling you on what your stand is on the issue, and I found some video where you said that you’re kind of agnostic on the issue, but you might fall somewhere between progressive creationism and theistic evolution. Well, my question is about these theologies of evolution. Do you think they are able to do justice to the biblical understanding of God and creation?

Dr. Craig: Yeah, I do think that they’re able to do justice to the biblical understanding of God and creation. My reservations about the contemporary neo-Darwinian theory of evolution would be scientific, not theological.[8] I think once you give up the idea that the Bible requires you to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days 10- to 20,000 years ago, that then the door is wide open for an interpretation of how God brought about biological complexity that the Genesis narrative just . . .

[At this point in the audio, it appears some of Dr. Craig’s comments were deleted and skipped.]

It seems to me that Genesis is patient of a wide range of interpretations of how God brought about biological complexity on this planet. So, that means it’s really a scientific question, and there you correctly characterize my attitude. I’m rather agnostic about the current paradigm in evolutionary biology.

It seems to me that it involves extrapolations that are enormously beyond the evidence. Extrapolating from very limited cases of evolutionary change through mutation and natural selection, to saying that the whole grand evolutionary story can be explained in terms of those same explanatory mechanisms. And I don’t see any good reason to think that that extrapolation is justified. I don’t know of any evidence that would justify the extrapolation that say a bat and a sponge are descended from a common ancestor by genetic mutation and natural selection.

So for me, the jury is still out on this theory, and I suspect very strongly that it will be radically revised by the end of this century. I think, already, evolutionary biologists are recognizing the explanatory inadequacy of the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection. And they’re looking for additional explanatory mechanisms, extra-genetic factors that would supplement these to try to explain the development of biological complexity in so relatively short a time. So for me, it’s really a scientific, not a theological question.

Leif Nummela: Thank you. So, let’s go to the next question.

Audience member #3: Yes, Doctor. Going back to the resurrection, because otherwise we’ll be sitting here tomorrow morning. What would you say to those people who say that Christ was only on the cross only for a very short period, that the other people crucified at the same time were not dead, and yes, they did stick a spear in him, but it’s possible that he wasn’t dead, because at that time in history, people didn’t have the wherewithal to reliably tell if somebody was dead. Because some people say that he was just kind of almost-dead, and then he woke in the cool tomb. What would you say to those people?

Dr. Craig: This is the so-called, in German, Scheintod, or apparent-death theory. This was popular around the late 1700s and early 1800s, and then it was absolutely buried by David Friedrich Strauss in his book The Life of Jesus: Critically Examined. What Strauss pointed out was that not only is the theory medically and biologically absurd to think that a man like Jesus, who had suffered his torture and crucifixion, wouldn’t have died on the cross or immediately in the tomb without medical . . .

[At this point in the audio, it appears some of Dr. Craig’s comments were deleted and skipped.]

The appearance of a half-dead Jesus to the disciples, desperately in need of medical care and bandaging, would not have elicited in them the belief that he was the risen Lord and the conqueror of death. It would have just led them to believe that he had somehow managed to escape the executioner and he was still alive. So it’s just utterly, explanatorily inadequate with respect to why the disciples came to believe that Jesus was risen from the dead. Not to mention its medical and biological implausibility. And so, virtually no one holds to this theory today. It’s a relic of history.

Audience member #3: So it’s been dismissed nowadays among scholars?[9]

Dr. Craig: Right, it hasn’t been a factor since the early 1800s, really, after Strauss wrote. It’s remarkable to me how much the unbelieving community on the internet is out of touch with the last 100 years of critical historical scholarship with regard to Jesus.

Audience member #3: Yes, so as I said, you still sometimes see these things.

Dr. Craig: Yes, yes you do, on the internet and places like that, but it’s not one that would be seriously put forward by a historian.[10]



[1] 5:05

[2] cf. Qur’an sura 4:157

[3] 10:03

[4] 15:16

[5] 20:14

[6] 25:08

[7] 30:08

[8] 35:05

[9] 40:05

[10] Total Running Time: 40:42