How would you feel if you were to find out that the resurrection of Jesus was somehow a hoax, or at least a misunderstanding?
In his book, Philosophia Christi, Gary R. Habermas responds to some “suggested alternative scenarios” posed by Dale Allison concerning Jesus’s resurrection. You can read part of the response at www.garyhabermas.com, but for now, here’s a quick look at some of those alternative scenarios:
Veridical Apparitions—This is just a fancy way of saying that what everyone witnessed was a ghost. And while there are some intriguing biblical examples of apparitions as well as some global fascination with ghosts (and thus many claims of having seen one or more), none of these experiences, real or imagined, have the qualities associated with Jesus’ post resurrection appearances.
Sorcery—Yes, you read correctly. Some have suggested that a sorcerer/necromancer stole Jesus’ body. Given the fact that Egypt’s sorcerers were able to perform some pretty nifty tricks (albeit inferior compared to those of Moses), the theory does make for a riveting fictional plot for, say, a new Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Empty Tomb, anyone?).
The Truly Shocking—Both Allison and Habermas find these theories comical, but they are, nonetheless, actual theories. First, there’s the idea that Jesus’ dead body simply turned to dust and blew away. Another states that an aftershock from the Crucifixion earthquake opened up a crack in the earth and swallowed Jesus’ body, then resealed itself without a trace. And let’s not forget those who say aliens abducted Jesus’ corpse, inserted a new brain, and created a “better body” for Him.
Despite the foolishness of these theories, they do raise an important question: Is the Resurrection story, as presented in God’s Word, critical to the Christian faith? If someone were to say to you, “What does it matter” how would you respond?