The Resurrection — Historical Event or Theological Claim?

The logical consequences of accepting Jesus as God

Prudence Louise

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Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

The resurrection of Jesus is offered as evidence for his divinity. In his latest article in the discussion on reforming Christianity, Gerald says, “Traditional Christianity lives or dies on the fact of the resurrection.”

In support of the truth of the resurrection, Christian’s offer historical evidence. Anyone who wants to research the historical evidence for the resurrection has plenty of work ahead of them.

A reasonable person would agree we should do this research to make a fair and objective judgment on its truth. It isn’t a whimsical claim, and it’s an event which is said to decide our eternal welfare, so the importance of it’s truth couldn’t be greater.

However, I’ll argue it’s not necessary to research the historical evidence, because even if we grant all the historical events as factual for sake of argument, it’s still insufficient to establish the truth of both the resurrection and Jesus being God.

The inherent unreliability of historical claims

Historical evidence is by its nature unreliable. We only have access to a slim view of events which are both distant in time and culture. We’re necessarily restricted to information that was recorded and preserved, we don’t know what was left unsaid. Historical documents are never fully objective, they consist of testimony, anecdote and hearsay.

While historians have various methods to overcome these difficulties and can make reasonable suppositions, historical evidence will always be flawed. Different historical documents have differing evidential strengths. One consideration is the intent of the author and their likely bias. This doesn’t make their recording invalid, but it needs to be taken into consideration when interpreting the text.

The Bible was composed by devotees so I expect it to be primarily aimed not at recording historical fact, but an interpretation of historical facts intended to inspire all those who follow that spiritual path. I also find it plausible it’s been redacted and edited since the Church was for so long synonymous with power.

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Prudence Louise

Writing about things that interest me. Which means I’m probably writing about philosophy, religion or spirituality. Visit my website at www.prudencelouise.com