Is it true that the Bible's accounts of Christ's resurrection are full of contradictions?
The Gospels admittedly take a little effort to reconcile. But this “problem,” as it is typically framed, is vastly overstated.
It is commonly held that, since the Gospels differ from one another in emphases and detail, there must have been invention somewhere. Yet such an interpretation is not required! Reporters to any event (secular or religious), following all standards of accuracy and integrity, will each edit their stories differently with their eyes on what is relevant to their readers. Therefore, the rigid demands of the hyper critics that all four Gospels be exactly alike are arbitrary and artificial. Dr. Sayers states:
"One is often surprised to find how many apparent contradictions [in the Gospel Resurrection accounts] turn out not to be contradictory at all, but merely supplementary… Divergences appear very great on first sight… But the fact remains that all of [the Resurrection accounts], without exception, can be made to fall into a place in a single orderly and coherent narrative, without the smallest contradiction or difficulty and without any suppression, invention, or manipulation, beyond a trifling effort to imagine the natural behavior of a bunch of startled people running about in the dawn-light between Jerusalem and the garden."
SIX SKEPTICAL OBJECTIONS most frequently leveled by critics of Christ's resurrection
Christ's resurrection is a myth, not history. Answer
The Resurrection stories are full of contradictions.
Miracles are not possible. Answer
The body was stolen. Answer
Jesus only fainted and then recovered from his wounds. Answer
The witnesses were just “seeing things.” Answer
Author: Rev. Gary W. Jensen, M.Div. Editor: Paul S. Taylor, Christian Answers. Used by permission.
REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES
- Dorothy Sayers, The Man Born to be King (Harper and Brothers, 1943), p. 19f. Her comments are in her introduction to the radio plays on the life of Christ she prepared for BBC Radio. Also see: G.E. Ladd, I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus (Eerdmans, 1975), p. 79f. John Wenham, Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Accounts in Conflict? (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992). He says NO!
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