Some feel the Old Testament is largely fiction. Whales, arks, towers to heaven, Satan singling out Job, and more. Some feel the resurrection isn’t possible. Not historic. Same with other scriptures and miraculous events.
Removing some of the often-present confusion on this topic of historicity, Ben Spackman articulates the Bible has multiple genres.
In Ben’s own words: “Often times when reading scripture, the assumption is made that the text is either literal or figurative, but these two categories are insufficient to describe the different genres of scriptures.
It would be more helpful to approach the Bible as if it were a library that contained books of many different genre instead of being all the same type of writing. No Christian would presume to label all scripture as parable. Likewise all scripture should not be labeled as history. The Bible contains books of satire, law codes, poetry, parables, myth, conquest narratives, and prophetic revelation among other things…”
A special focus on Book of Mormon historicity below:
Brant Gardners 2004 FAIR conference lecture, A Case for Historicity: Discerning The Book of Mormon Production Culture.
Frank Turek raises some significant objections to the resurrection of Christ, but his guest is none other than the foremost expert in the topic, Dr. Gary Habermas.
They discussed common objections:
everyone hallucinated: agnostic scholars support the evidences supporting groups seeing Jesus
extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: not true. Simple evidence can build a case. It’s not extraordinary to say someone is alive.
miracles don’t happen: ask them if they have proof naturalism is true. They don’t.
don’t all religions have resurrection and miracle claims? – only Jesus has sources for resurrection and miracles within 1-2 years after his life
why doesn’t the resurrected Jesus appear right now? What good would God gain by coercing belief?
Gary finishes with a discussion on doubt. Most doubt is not factual. It’s emotional.
Gary describes in the video below his minimal-facts approach to the resurrection. He only uses the New Testament and other data that atheist scholars agree to. From that agreed-upon data he can still argue for the resurrection.
Was Jesus really resurrected? Or was his resurrection merely a trick, an illusion or the result of an incorrect conclusion drawn by followers who looked in the wrong tomb? In this episode of Religion Today, which originally aired on KSL Radio on March 31, 2013, Martin Tanner discusses evidence for the resurrection and the nature of the resurrection.
Mormons must understand this topic. The resurrection is what caused Jesus’ early followers to spread his message throughout the world.
3 (False) Major Objections to Jesus’ Resurrection
Jesus is mythical figure: Did Jesus really live? YES.
Wrong tomb: Was the empty tomb that of someone other than than Jesus of Nazareth? NO.
Jesus only fainted: Did Jesus faint from loss of blood, then revived, and seen again by his apostles later? NO.
Martin Tanner discusses papyrus, early New Testament manuscripts, and the resurrection:
I’m not sure it’s accurate to say the facts presented in this video absolutely “prove” Jesus rose from the dead. But these 4 historic facts certainly provide very, very strong evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
In addition to this evidence, the Spirit testifies that Jesus rose. In my view, we should understand the best evidence and add that to our spiritual witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.
I’m watching quite a few videos on Easter this week. I thought this was a good one. For the LDS Church to be true, Christ had to be resurrected. I believe He was!
William Lane Craig is a passionate defender of the Christian faith. I don’t agree w/ all his positions (he’s an evangelical & I’m LDS), but he is a strong debater and faithful believer in Jesus’ resurrection.
Some believe that Jesus’ resurrection was not literal. Some even believe Jesus never lived.
Truth comes to us in 2 forms: from faith (trust based in experience, in this case spiritual) and reason. Virtually all New Testament scholars — both religious and atheist — are as sure of Jesus’ life as they are that Alexander the Great lived. So, when someone says Jesus is a legendary figure, such as Robin Hood or Sir Lancelot you now know better.
So, not only did Jesus live, but he also rose from the dead. I found this video by Gary Habermas (wonderfully tough Evangelical Christian) to be awesome. Gary shows that by accepting only parts of the New Testaments that even the skeptical scholars trust as historical, one can still demonstrate that Jesus rose the 3rd day. In addition, one can be sure that the New Testament (despite what some critics say) is trustworthy and authoritative.
You may want to watch this video a few times. I had to do so to fully understand what Gary was talking about.
So, what does this have to do with the LDS Church? Well, if we don’t have a resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, we don’t need a Joseph Smith to restore His Gospel after an apostasy. You probably already believe this event. I simply don’t think it hurts to understand more scholarship to reinforce your beliefs! After all, more and more folks neither believe in a literal Jesus nor a bodily resurrection.