Sunday, April 7, 2013
A "Twelve Facts" resurrection logic puzzle
I am studying "the twelve facts" and want to get down what I've got so far. After the facts are displayed, we're going to turn the whole thing into a logic puzzle. Added: Scroll down to the red lettering to work on this puzzle yourself. Share this thread on Facebook.
Here are the 12 Facts:
1. Jesus died by Roman crucifixion. 
2. He was buried, most likely in a private tomb.
3. Soon afterwards the disciples were discouraged, bereaved and despondent, having lost hope.
4. Jesus’ tomb was found empty very soon after his interment.
5. The disciples had experiences that they believed were the actual appearances of the risen Christ.  [Note that this belief persisted despite Jews believing the resurrection does not happen to 'one' person in the 'middle' of history.]
6. Due to these experiences, the disciples' lives were thoroughly transformed. They were even willing to die for their belief.
7. The proclamation of the Resurrection took place very early, from the beginning of church history.
8. The disciples' public testimony and preaching of the Resurrection took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before. [Jerusalem, filled with Jewish people; see number 5.]
9. The gospel message centered on the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
10. Sunday was the primary day of worshiping and gathering.
11. James, the brother of Jesus and a skeptic before this time, became a follower of Jesus when he believed he also saw the risen Jesus.
12. Just a few years later, Paul became a believer, due to an experience that he also believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.
More information on 5 of the 12 facts here.
Relevant books I really need to read about this:
Dr. Habermas' book, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. College Press Publishing Company, Inc.; Subsequent edition (June 3, 1996). [ Update: I am now reading this. ]
Dr. Habermas’ book, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope. New York, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: 2003.
I am taking Biola's distance certificate in apologetics [ update: I have now completed this ], and my favorite part so far (I have only completed the first of three modules at the time of writing) is a hand-out to accompany Craig Hazen's lecture "Evidence for the Resurrection". It has a list of the twelve facts on one side, and on the reverse side a list of thirteen competing theories regarding the resurrection.
This is where the "logic puzzle" comes in. The question on the "resurrection theories" side of the hand-out reads "Which theory best fits the data about the resurrection claims?" and by 'data' it means the twelve facts on the reverse side of the hand-out. At this point you could do a logic puzzle and test each theory by seeing how well it accounts for each fact.
Here William Lane Craig touches on some of those theories briefly and shows that they are ruled out by only three of those twelve facts and utilizing methods accepted by historians. This logic puzzle only deals with the "explanatory scope" requirement used by Dr. Craig.
If you want to do this yourself, research these theories and test them with the facts: unknown tomb (body thrown in common pit grave unknown to disciples), wrong tomb (women went to wrong tomb), legend (resurrection a fabrication developed over many years), twin (Jesus' long lost twin brother showed up after Jesus died), hallucination (all the post-resurrection 'appearances' were hallucinations), existential resurrection (Jesus rose, not in history, but in our hearts), spiritual resurrection (Jesus came back as a spirit), disciples stole the body (earliest Jewish polemic), authorities hid the body (to prevent problems), swoon (or 'apparent death' because Jesus didn't actually die but revived in the tomb), passover plot (disciples made the whole thing up that Jesus resurrected), alien (Jesus was an alien), bodily resurrection (the orthodox view).
Worksheet & Answer sheet! Here is a Google drive doc for those who want to actually work on this puzzle. These are rough drafts, so feel free to offer critique:
12 Facts Resurrection Logic Puzzle worksheet and answer sheet (see Puzzle & Answer tabs bottom left corner)
Don't keep reading unless you don't want to do the logic puzzle on your own.
The hand-out provides the answers to the puzzle.
The Unknown Tomb theory does not explain facts 4-12.
The Wrong Tomb theory does not explain 5-12.
The Legend theory does not explain any of them.
The Twin theory does not explain facts 4 or 11.
The Hallucination theory does not explain facts 5, 11 or 12.
The Existential Resurrection and the Spiritual Resurrection theories do not explain facts 4, 5, 11 or 12.
So much for the 'occupied tomb' theories.
Natural empty tomb theories:
The Disciples Stole Body theory does not account for facts 5, 6, 11 or 12.
The Authorities Hid Body theory does not explain 5-12.
The Swoon theory leaves 1 and 6 unexplained.
The Passover Plot theory leaves 5, 6, 11 and 12 unexplained.
The Alien Jesus theory explains all the data.
Supernatural empty tomb theory:
The Bodily Resurrection theory explains all the data.
So--if you really value following where the evidence leads...you can conclude either that Jesus was an alien, or that he was bodily resurrected.