How do we know the Resurrection is true?
Although it goes against our scientific era, we must remember that seeing
the risen Jesus was not an experience of empirical data; it was an
experience of faith. The mortal Jesus-the Jesus before his death-could, like
the mortal Lazarus, have been experienced as a fact of empirical data; the
risen Jesus, however, could only be experienced by faith. For resurrection
is not returning from the dead. It is a leap beyond death to an entirely
different kind of existence. Such a leap cannot be empirically verified.
The Resurrection cannot be proved. This is not to deny that it is perfectly
reasonable to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. Clearly there is
good evidence that God did so. And for me the evidence is overwhelming. But
it is still something I believe. It is a matter of faith, reasonable faith I
am convinced. It makes a great deal of sense for us to share the faith of
the first disciples. But I don't think I can prove the Resurrection to
someone who would not be open to such a faith experience.
What happened when Jesus was raised from the dead? It is noteworthy that
none of the Gospels attempt to describe the Resurrection. They do describe
the crucifixion, for that is something that humans did to Jesus and as such
it is a part of human history and therefore capable of being verified
empirically. The Resurrection, on the other hand, is something that God did
and therefore not a part of human history in the same sense. It is something
that truly happened, but it is a trans-historical event, that is, a divine
intervention into human history, and therefore an event that the historian
as historian can neither prove or nor disprove.
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