Note: There are so many questions here that the question and answers are interspersed. Hopefully, this will make sense.,John Oakes,Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. There’s some elements of psychology that prove that a false memory can be planted in someone’s mind by repeated reinforcement. Police witnesses can produce varying accounts of what happened in certain circumstances when questioned at different times. This is why after an incident in a professional context we are always encouraged to write it down immediately. The mind is excellent at filling in gaps when it believes that something should be the case. Add to this the fact that people naturally exaggerate.Were the witnesses to Jesus’ being resurrected the same as those who saw him die? ,Yes, some of them were–for example Peter, John, Mary and Martha, as well as others. Those in the best position to know who it was who was crucified and who it was who was later seen alive is. Of course, many of the 500+ eye witnesses to the resurrection were not present at Golgotha when Jesus was executed.,If it were different people, could the dates have been mixed up? ,It is not rational or believable to think that Jesus’ mother or his best friend could have been confused about when he died. If you want to propose rational arguments around the resurrection, a proposal that people were confused about when he was killed is NOT a good one!!!!!,How long was he alive for after the crucifixion? ,If the writer of Luke is to be believed (personally I believe that he was a very careful and reliable historian), Jesus appeared a number of times (at least 5 times) over the course of a little less than 49 days. This number comes from the fact that the events of Acts chapter one preceeded the events of Acts chapter 2 by an unknown but small number of days.,Was it the apostles who questioned the witnesses? ,As Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 15, it was common knowledge through Palestine that the Christians claimed Jesus rose from the dead. The apostles WERE the witnesses, so I am not sure what you mean when you ask if they questioned the witnesses. If I witness an event, I do not normally ask others skeptically if they witnessed it. I do not think I am insane. I believe my own testimony.,Did they look for confirmation of what they believed they had seen rather than objective accounts? ,Good question. One should at least consider this possibility. You should ask this for yourself. I have thought about this very carefully for a long time. I conclude that the apostles did not expect the resurrection. They were as blown away as anyone else to see Jesus alive after the event. Yes, this possibility must be considered. I have considered it and rejected it as inconsistent with what I know. If you want more detail on this, you can get a copy of my book Reasons For Belief ( where I expand at fairly good length on the arguments surrounding your important question.,Did they assume that the witnesses would agree with what they thought they had seen? ,same question as above.,How certain are we that Jesus was even dead before being buried? ,Extremely. Again, see my book, but I believe we are as certain that Jesus was dead as we can possibly be. The “Swoon Theory” is so far fetched that even the Jews rejected this idea. The thought that the Roman soldiers were mistaken about Jesus being dead, given that he had hung lifeless on the cross for quite a while is ludicrous. Remember that when a crucified person stops pushing up on the nail through the feet, that person will suffocate within just a few minutes. It is not possible for a person to appear dead on a cross without actually being dead within just a few minutes. Besides, after Jesus was already as dead as one can possibly be, the soldier stabbed through to the pericardium (or perhaps the heart itself) with a sword. Surely this sword thrust would be lethal to anyone–never mind the fact that Jesus was already dead.,A slightly far fetched version of events could have been Jesus being wrongly declared dead. I’m conscious of my gaps in gospel knowledge here, but were people other than the Romans allowed access to his body before burial? Who did declare him dead? Was it a medical professional? Even then, the doctors couldn’t have been as they are now. The man had been crucified, it would be natural to assume that he hadn’t survived the ordeal. ,No, medical officers were probably not consulted. In the case of death by crucifixion, such advice is completely needless. I would say that the world experts on death by crucifixion would be the Roman Legionaire. The Romans were not the only ones to touch the body, but apparently Roman guards accompanied the body. I believe the scenario you are pursuing here does not make sense. You should decide for yourself, of course.,I actually have a feeling that Mary Magdalene held his body and was the first witness to resurrection. ,I know of no evidence Mary held the body, but she was a witness on Sunday of his resurrection. Yes, she was VERY surprised!!! I would have been as well. She was so shocked, she thought she might have seen a ghost. Then she touched Jesus.,I also seem to recall that she didn’t immediately recognise him and was a prostitute before meeting him for the first time… Is that right?Why can the concept of lying be easily refuted? ,Lying is a possibility which ought to be pursued. Here is why I reject it. Peter, John, Lazarus, James and the other witnesses had nothing to gain by this lie, except perhaps a lifetime of persecution and suffering. It is conceivable that one of the 500 eye-witnesses would lie, but the thought that 500+ “eyewitnesses” were all conspiring to pretend Jesus was raised from the dead is not a rational one. These men and women were not liars. Even if they lied, it is possible that all these conspirators would keep the lie to the death, even if the death was the result of the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead? No, the lie hypothesis does not work. Besides, the tomb was empty. Even if they wanted to lie, where was the body?,Is this again by looking for matches between the gospels? The apostles were a close bunch, surely they would have talked about what happened before committing it to paper, subconsciously adapting their own version of events.,A possibility to consider. Note that their stories have slightly different details–not evidence of a decision to create a false story. Nevertheless, this is a reasonable question. You ought to consider it. I conclude that it is possible that they might have checked facts on some details, but that the idea of the resurrection is WAY too big an idea to be corrected by a little after-the-fact story adaptation. No, this is too big a thing for them to create after the fact. This idea does not make sense. I can imagine subconsciously changing a minor detail or even a significant detail. However, I cannot imagine subconsciously making someone alive who was in fact dead.,It seems that there’s a lot of potential explanations, all more plausible than the idea that a man rose from the dead by divine intervention. ,I agree that the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected is hard to swallow. The evidence for such a surprising thing must be extremely strong. I agree that it is reasonable to consider all other options first. Very good point. I have done so very very carefully, and concluded that as fantastic as it may seem, the only reasonable conclusion is that Jesus was, indeed, raised from the dead. There is the matter of the empty tomb and the hundreds of eye-witnesses that eliminate all other possibilities.,I don’t mean to misuse Occam’s razor and claim that this means that the latter isn’t true, but surely its wise to look at these kind of explanations very carefully before accepting the incredible.,I agree.,Lots of questions, and I hope that they are skeptical rather than cynical. I’d imagine that you could answer at least some of them. Cheers, Anon,Hope it helps.,John Oakes

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