Part 4 – Critics
Critics have tried to find fault with Jesus’ resurrection, pointing to the differences in the details by the four gospel writers, like the number and names of the women who arrived at the empty tomb.
But differences in details don’t disturb historians, when the CORE of the story is the same, which it is in all four gospels. When the Titanic sank, for instance, some eye-witnesses said it stayed in one piece, others said it broke in two. Either way, it doesn’t change the core of the story that the Titanic sank. Police at an accident or crime scene never expect eye-witnesses to totally agree either, but disagreement in the details doesn’t mean the accident or the crime never happened.
Differences in details are typical of personal eye-witness reports. If the details were exactly the same it would suggest collusion or deliberate tampering with the evidence, so the four gospels not agreeing in the details makes their witness more convincing, not less.
Other critics say the gospels were simply borrowed from previous pagan myths of gods rising from the dead. But even if a pagan myth does appear to be similar to the resurrection story, how does that prove the resurrection story was borrowed? In 1898, for instance, fourteen years before the Titanic sank, a novel titled The Wreck of the Titan was written about an unsinkable passenger liner hitting an iceberg and sinking 400 miles from the coast of Newfoundland. But do the amazing similarities between that fictional story and the actual sinking of the Titanic mean the Titanic was just a myth borrowed from the novel?
It’s like saying the plane that ploughed into the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001 between the 79th and 80th floors was just a myth too, borrowed from an amazingly similar story in July 1945 when a B25 hit the Empire State building between the 79th and 80th floors killing everyone on board and hundreds of others in the building. Was 9/11 just a myth borrowed from a previous event, then, just because it’s so similar to it? No historian worth his oats would support that.
The question has to be asked of critics, therefore, “When is enough evidence enough evidence?” Especially when the rules of scholarship for historians have all been adhered to. But if it still isn’t enough evidence – there’s more to come.…(continues tomorrow)