In the last post, we looked at two objections to Jesus’ resurrection, namely the Conspiracy Theory and Resuscitation Theory. In this post, we will cover two more theories that attempt to shed doubt on the resurrection of Jesus.
This was a very popular theory against the resurrection, and has made a comeback in recent decades. This theory simply states that all the appearances of Jesus alive after his crucifixion were due to hallucinations on the part of the observers. This, it would seem, cuts the legs out from under the resurrection claim. People thought they were seeing Jesus, when, in fact, he wasn’t really there.
A few problems arise from this theory. First, hallucinations are limited individual occurrences. People do not hallucinate for the sake of hallucinating. They occur within an individual’s mind, and no one can share the exact same hallucination. In the case of Jesus, no one expected to see him alive, so five hundred people seeing Jesus alive at the exact same time throws quite a wrench into the gears of this theory.
Second, hallucinations are not real, but projections created by the individual. We are told in the Bible that not only did Jesus eat meals with his disciples, but Thomas was able to touch his crucifixion wounds (John 21:12-15a; 20:24-29). Remembering the first point, how could the disciples have all hallucinated Jesus eating with them? Also, just as a thought, what happened to the bread and fish they all ate? Was Jesus’ portion left there, or did he eat it?
Third, we find the descriptions of Jesus as actually being risen from the dead. There are plenty of people in the Bible who had visions, yet they were adamant that Jesus was not a vision. There would not have been any shame if they were having visions of Jesus, but they knew this was no vision. The writers recorded exactly what they saw and what was reported to them. Because there would have been no negative consequences because of seeing a vision, we can only assume the observers saw the risen, physical Jesus. They would have no reason to lie.
The Wrong-Tomb Theory
Another famous objection is the Wrong-Tomb Theory. This states that the empty tomb is easily explained: everyone went to the wrong tomb. This can be weakened with a few thoughts. First, were the guards guarding the wrong tomb? Second, did the Romans and religious leaders forget where Jesus was buried? Third, did Joseph of Arimathea forget where his family tombs were? With just three quick questions we can see that, like the Hallucination Theory, this theory requires the leaders and most of the city to suddenly come down with a bad case of amnesia. If the women and disciples had gone to the wrong tomb, once they claimed Jesus had risen, the religious leaders would have pointed them to the right tomb to crush their hopes. This theory requires us to believe more than the resurrection does.
There are many other theories out there to try and explain away the resurrection of Jesus. I encourage you to research them yourself to see if any dismantle the resurrection claim. What we find time and time again is that these theories require more faith than the resurrection itself. Instead of shattering the Christian faith, they only raise more questions.