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God new evidence

GOD: new evidence

Contents

After Life?

What's in the series?

(1) Why does it matter whether Jesus rose from the dead?

What really happens after we die? At the heart of the Christian message is the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. This is the defining moment of history. It confirms the reality of God, and the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, and it means we can know that there is life after death.

 

(2) Does science make it impossible that Jesus rose from the dead?

If Jesus really did rise from the dead, it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened. But many people today think that what we know about the world scientifically rules out any possibility that he did. We don’t even need to think about whether the historical evidence is any good. So is it scientifically impossible that Jesus rose from the dead?

 

(3) Can we know about history so long ago?

Something very unusual certainly happened in the Middle East two thousand years ago – something that gave birth to the largest spiritual movement the world has ever seen. The central claim of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead. His tomb was empty, and his followers encountered him alive again after his death. But can we know what really happened 2000 years ago?

 

(4) Legends?

At the heart of the Christian message is the claim that Jesus rose from the dead - a claim that we can investigate historically. If it happened, it is the most important event ever – the turning point of history. If it did not happen, we have look for alternative explanations for the evidence.  For example, perhaps Jesus was just a travelling teacher, and the stories about him rising from the dead were legends that built up over hundreds of years after he died. 

 

(5) Borrowed from pagan myths?

It’s often said that in the ancient world there were many myths about dying and rising gods. People sometimes claim that Christianity borrowed the story of Jesus rising from the dead from these pagan myths. Is this what happened?

 

(6) Did Jesus really die, or did he just pass out?

Was Jesus raised from the dead? Did he really die, or did he only pass out? The central claim of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead. This confirms that God is real. It confirms who Jesus is – the Son of God. And because of this, we can know what will happen when we die. But is it possible that Jesus never really died on the cross? That he just became unconscious, and revived later?

 

(7) A hoax by Jesus's followers?

Did Jesus rise from the dead, or was it a deliberate deception by his followers – a hoax? The claim that Jesus rose from the dead was not a legend that built up later, or a story borrowed from pagan myths. It goes right back to his first followers. So they are the people we need to investigate. They claimed that they had seen him, alive again, after his death, and that his tomb was empty. But is it possible that they were lying? That it was a massive hoax?

 

(8) Hallucinations by Jesus's followers?

Did Jesus rise from the dead, or were the reports hallucinations by his followers? The historical records of Jesus rising from the dead go back very close in time to the original events. They were not later legends or borrowed myths. It was not a deliberate hoax by Jesus's followers – they themselves believed it was true - believed it enough to die for it. But if they were not hoaxers, could they have been deluded? Could the appearances of Jesus have been hallucinations?

 

(9) Was Jesus's tomb really empty?

Was Jesus really raised from the dead? Did Jesus’s followers really find his empty tomb?  When Jesus' first followers encountered him alive again after his death, could these encounters have been visions or mystical experiences? Against this, there is the evidence that his tomb was empty. His body really had gone. (And surely, if his body had still been in the tomb, the authorities would have produced it when the stories started to circulate that he had risen.)

 

(10) Are there contradictions in the accounts?

The central claim of the Christian message is that Jesus rose from the dead - a real event in history. There is good evidence that his tomb was empty - his body really had gone, and that his followers saw him alive again after he died. However, skeptics often point to apparent contradictions between the accounts of Jesus being raised in the different Gospels. For example, the names of the women who discovered the empty tomb are different. So what are we to make of these discrepancies?

 

(11) What difference does it make?

At the heart of the Christian message is the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead. This is the central moment of history. It confirms God's reality. It confirms that Jesus is the Son of God, and it confirms that there is life after death. In these videos, we have explored the evidence for this claim, and we have looked at the alternative explanations that are offered for this evidence. The people we have talked to in these videos have spent their lives studying the evidence. We asked them what difference it makes to them personally.

 

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‘If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the Universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present state.’ - Professor Stephen Hawking