The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an improbable event. Highly unlikely. Even exceedingly unlikely. I say this speaking as a human being. I have been aware of many people dying in my lifetime but never have I similarly been aware of any of them rising from the dead. I don’t have any problem saying that from a human perspective, resurrection is exceedingly improbable.
Just because the resurrection of Christ is improbable, however, does not mean that it is impossible. I have to admit this because I am not omniscient. I can’t make a categorical statement that Jesus was not raised from the dead because I can’t make categorical statements about things outside of my knowledge. Nevertheless, I can say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is possible, but highly improbable…and therefore, for all practical purposes, impossible. Saying something is practically impossible, however, is very different from saying categorically that it is impossible.
Some people radicalize their assumption about the great odds against the resurrection and, whether consciously or subconsciously, change their assumption to the categorical statement, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is impossible.” They have no basis for doing so, but they do it nonetheless. Therefore, when evidence of Christ’s resurrection is presented to them, they, without a moment’s extra thought, can rationalize it away because they “know” that Jesus Christ could not possibly have risen from the dead.
Because I am only willing to say that Christ’s resurrection is highly improbable and not willing to say that it is impossible, then I can objectively assess evidence of His resurrection that is presented to me.
The New Testament is a collection of 27 independent documents which individually and collectively testify that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an historical event. The Old Testament is a collection of three times that much documentary support for the idea that Jesus would rise from the dead – all written before He was ever born! Without going further into all the details of the New and Old Testaments and what they say in confirmation of Jesus Christ rising from the dead (which is considerable and which is foundational to my faith), I can say that, based on this extraordinary compilation of testimony, I have ample reason to adjust my assessment of the probability of Jesus’ resurrection from exceedingly unlikely to highly likely. In fact, I have become as certain as I could possibly be without having actually put my fingers in His hands and in His side.
Thus, I have been moved by the evidence from seeing the resurrection of Christ as practically impossible…to probable…to, for all practical purposes, certain.
I do not object, therefore, to anyone saying that the resurrection Christ is improbable, because that is the conclusion to which experience and logic would lead any rational adult in the absence of any compelling evidence to the contrary. That’s what the Bible is: an over-sized file folder bulging with evidence.
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