I run a “myspace” for Christianity and I had my first tough post. I don’t
know how to respond to it. Where did Jesus first appear to the eleven
disciples after the resurrection? Here is the comment I got at my site:
;Where did Jesus first appear to the eleven disciples? oh wait i know the
answer… its uhhh … its….;OH WAIT…there are TWO answers???!!!! how
can that be?? sounds like a contradiction if you ask me. ;On a mountain
top in Galilee.;Matthew 28:16;Then the eleven disciples went away into
Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw
him.;In a room in Jerusalem.;Mark 16:14;Afterward he appeared unto the
eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and
hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after
he was risen.;Luke 24:33-37;And they rose up the same hour, and returned
to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were
with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of
them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in
the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.;John 20:19;Then
the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors
were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came
Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto
you;Posted by The Infidel of Guitarists on Sunday, September 10, 2006 at
yes, please refrain from quoting the bible, seriously, come up with
something a little more original. Don’t quote a book written by men who
are susceptible to the evil likes of your satan if I follow your religion
correctly. ;Maybe if you had evidence…oh wait….thats right,
Christianity doesn’t have evidence, only a book of fairy tales.
Thanks for your help.


It is a common claim that the Bible is self-contradictory and that it,
therefore, is not inspired by God–that it is the product of human not
divine wisdom. You should be aware that the vast majority of such
supposed inconsistencies come from people who look for an appearance of
contradiction, but who are not interested in asking the hard questions
about whether or not there is a true contradiction. It is very easy to
tell from the sarcastic tone of the person who wrote to you the he or she
is not interested in asking careful questions. Rather, this person is
looking for dirt to throw around, whether or not the evidence is
legitimate. Bottom line, the gospel accounts are independent accounts
from eye-witnesses to the events or from authors who interviewed
eye-witnesses. Having been a member of a jury, I am aware that different
eye-witnesses to an event will report different details which can seem to
contradict, but which do not when one thinks carefully about the testimony.

I believe this is the case with the supposed inconsistencies in the gospel
accounts of the resurrection. If one simply gives the benefit of the
doubt to the scriptures, it is actually quite easy to see how the
different accounts can be justified with each other. This is the case
with the post-resurrection appearances. Matthew 28:1-20 reports Jesus
appearing to the two Marys. He chooses not to mention some of the other
appearances, including the visit of Peter and John to the tomb and the
appearance in the upper room. Next, Matthew chooses to report one of the
appearances of Jesus to the apostles in Galilee, where he had told them to
go and wait for him to come and speak with them. It is worth noting that
Luke reports in Acts that Jesus appeared to the apostles several times
over forty days. None of the gospel writers mentions all of these

Mark 16:1-3 agrees with Matthew about the two Mary’s visit to the tomb.
An angel tells them that Jesus was to appear to the apostles in Galilee.
He also reports his appearance to the two on the road to Emmaeus, as well
as his appearance to the apostles in Galilee. Where is the contradiction

Luke also mentions the visit of the women to the tomb, as well as that of
Peter and John. He mentions the visit to the two on the road to Emmaeus,
consistent with Mark. In addition, Luke mentions Jesus’ appearance to the
apostles in Jerusalem, at which time he showed them the wounds in his
hands and feet. Luke does not mention the visits of Jesus with the
apostles later in Galilee. What he does mention is that the apostles
later returned to Bethany, which was where Jesus ascended. This makes
sense, as very soon afterward we know that the apostles were in Jerusalem
on the day of Pentecost, which was a Jewish tradition. This account from
Luke is found in Acts chapter two. Where is the contradiction here?
There simply is none.

When one reads John, one gets the sense that he often chooses to insert
things left off by the other gospel writers. Almost certainly his account
was written after the other three. He reports the visit of the women to
the tomb, as well as the appearance of Jesus to the apostles in Jerusalem,
consistent with Luke. Additinally, John reports the appearance of Jesus
to the disciples in Cana in Galilee, consistent with Matthew and Mark, as
well as an additional appearance to Peter and John at the Sea of Galilee.

It is easy to say that the biblical accounts of the resurrection
contradict. It is much harder to prove that they contradict. In fact,
they do not. We should take with extreme skepticism the claims of those
who do not even read the Bible carefully, but who cruise the scripture to
find what, at first glance, appears to them to be contradictions. The
fact that the different gospel accounts mention different, but
non-contradictory facts is evidence of independent witness, which is
precisely the condition which provides the strongest support for belief
that the accounts are accurate history.

The second comment from this person does not deserve a response. He seems
to think that when we defend the accuracy of the Bible we are not allowed
to quote the Bible. This is a spurious argument. The claim that the
Bible is full of fairy tales is proof positive that your opponent has not
read the Bible carefully. What fairy tales is he/she talking about?
Please do not be intimidated by people who simply throw around angry
comments. Remember the words of Jesus, “If they persecuted me, they will
persecute you also…. They will treat you this way because of my name,
for they do not know the One who sent me. (John 15:20-21)

John Oakes, PhD

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