origin of the church. Resurrection, as an evidence, depends on the existence of the church which proclaims it.?
(e) The resurrection of our Lord. Jesus Christ ? by which we mean his coming forth from the sepulchre in body as well as in spirit ? is demonstrated by evidence as varied and as conclusive as that, which proves to us any single fact of ancient history. Without it Christianity itself is inexplicable, as is shown by the failure of all modern rationalistic theories to account for its rise and progress.
In discussing the evidence of Jesus? resurrection, we are confronted with three main rationalistic theories:
I. The Swoon theory of Strauss. This holds that Jesus did not really die. The cold and the spices of the sepulchre revived him. We reply that the blood and water, and the testimony of the centurion ( <411545>Mark 15:45), proved actual death (see Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1839:228; Forrest, Christ of History and Experience. 137-170). The rolling away of the stone, and Jesus? power immediately after, are inconsistent with immediately preceding swoon and suspended animation. How was his life preserved? Where did he go? When did he die? His not dying implies deceit on his own part or on that of his disciples.
II. The Spirit theory of Keim. Jesus really died, but only his spirit appeared. The spirit of Jesus gave the disciples a sign of his continued life, a telegram from heaven. But we reply that the telegram was untrue, for it asserted that his body had risen from the tomb. The tomb was empty and the linen cloths showed an orderly departure. Jesus himself denied that he was a bodiless spirit: ?a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me having? ( <422439>Luke 24:39). Did ?his flesh see corruption? ( <440231>Acts 2:31)? Was the penitent thief raised from the dead as much as he? Godet, Lectures in Defense of the Christian Faith, lect. i: A dilemma for those who deny the fact of Christ?s resurrection: Either his body remained in the hands of his disciples, or it was given up to the Jews. If the disciples retained it, they were impostors but, this is not maintained by modern rationalists. If the Jews retained it, why did they not produce it as conclusive evidence against the disciples?
III. The Vision theory of Renan. Jesus died, and there was no objective appearance even of his spirit. Mary Magdalene was the victim of subjective hallucination, and her hallucination became contagious. This was natural because the Jews expected that the Messiah would work miracles and would rise from the dead. We reply that the disciples did not expect Jesus? resurrection. The women went to the sepulchre, not to see a risen Redeemer,
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