Bottom Up Argument For Jesus’ Resurrection
He is a 2010 graduate, the floor, school of preaching. And he is one of the ministers at the north Lakeland church of Christ. And I guess he has been pretty much since that time he graduated, but anyway, we, he will lead us in a prayer and just a moment. And he can really also cook some really nice ribs and baked beans.
And just to let you know, another way, the school has helped out and encourage and supported throughout the year. Of course, the north Lincoln church Christ does support a student and does support the school also. But he also, usually the first Monday of every semester, he will provide lunch for the students and staff church and the school. And it’s usually nice,
big fat, juicy barbecued ribs with a baked beans, those baked beans, you can make a meal out of, they have meat and everything else in them. And this year, since he did that, just the day before or two, we had chili. So it was great. And he used to be a fireman. So he knows how to,
he knows how to cook. All right. But anyways, you see from your program at this session, brother, George meals has a lesson titled the bottom up argument for the resurrection of Jesus. Yesterday. This time he gave us a top down argument, one’s deductive, one’s inductive. And so, and he’ll explain all that later, but both in,
you know, no matter how you look at it, it’s impossible for Jesus not to have risen from the dead. And so he would deliver some lesson on that. And so we’ll have brother Richard lead us in a prayer and then we’ll invite George to come up and deliver his lesson. Right after that prayer Let us pray our kind of righteous heavenly father.
We’re thankful for the time we’ve been spared to assemble ourselves together, to read and study of the resurrections that took place, especially the resurrection of Christ. We’re thankful father for you sending your son that through his blood and his life, we might have the redemption of our sins debt that we could not pay. One that he did not owe. And for that,
where you’re totally grateful. We’re thankful father for the Florida school of preaching, which has been turning out preachers now for more than 50 years. And we pray for this entity as well as they might continue to turn out preachers until the day the Lord returns in Jesus’ name. We pray. Amen. No Well, good morning, everyone. The resurrection of Jesus becoming current with resurrection scholarship as was indicated,
this is a two-part lecture prior one yesterday, the top down argument for the resurrection of Jesus this morning. Part two, the bottom up argument for the resurrection of Jesus. Maybe we could say a top-down argument. One could say more and a bottom up argument, but the point of part number two is that it beats the critics at their own game. And we’ll explain that God willing as we proceed.
So we just, by way of review, the resurrection of Jesus is central to biblical Christianity and Paul, for example, in first Corinthians chapter 15, a key text on the resurrection of Jesus says this in verse 14, if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in, is empty or in, in vein of some translations, have it. And your faith is also empty.
So if in fact Jesus was not raised from the dead, then the preaching that we’ve been hearing for example, today and yesterday and through the week is in vain. It’s empty. Zilch doesn’t mean anything. Furthermore, not only is that the case, but consistent with that, it would also follow that your faith is in vain. On the other hand,
verse 20, but Christ is written risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. The expression. The first fruits is conveying the idea of the first produce of the season. The initial results of something and a Christ then is the first fruits. Then that means that you, if you are in Christ also will be raised from the dead.
And again, verse 20 Christ is written risen from the dead continuing by way of review. And by the way, I have about 32 slides and I’ve got about 30 minutes. I’m going to watch that clock. I’ve been asked then to examine the resurrection of Jesus from these two perspectives top down, bottom up. Now, why do we call it a top down argument?
As it was indicated yesterday, the, the argument called top down establishes the entire biblical belief system first, and then narrows down specifically into the proposition that Jesus was raised from the dead in the other direction. The bottom up here, we begin with specific data as I’ll explain in a moment. And then from there, we build up to the resurrection of Jesus as being the best explanation of that data.
That sequence is intended, that is established, first of all, the top down argument, which is a deduction that is concluding with certainty, that Jesus was raised from the dead. And then the particular formulation of the bottom up argument that I’m going to be presenting is more inductive. And again, I’ll explain that in a moment a bit more. And however,
if having established the resurrection of Jesus as a matter of certainty, then it would also follow that, that it is the best explanation, which again is the focus this morning. So again, continuing by way of review the top-down argument for the resurrection of Jesus here, I’m drawing from Burleigh Warren’s material, Thomas B, Warren, and a lot of us have followed suit and have taken that argument and run with it.
And I would encourage you to do that as well. This argument has six chaps. The first five steps constitute the evidence or premises that lead to the deductive conclusion. Therefore Jesus was raised from the dead and that argument quickly, as you recall from yesterday, premise, number one, if God exists and the Bible is the word of God, and the Bible teaches that the resurrection of Jesus happened,
then it would follow that indeed, he did rise from the dead. That would have to be a true statement because if in fact, a being exists, who knows everything and never lies. And if the Bible is his word, then whatever the Bible teaches when God is presenting his case would have to be true. And then I gave you some evidence,
I believe adequate evidence showing that God exists. I also summarize what I believe is adequate evidence indicating that the Bible is his word. And then it was quite easy to show, just citing a passage. I first Corinthians 15 that the Bible does indeed teach that Jesus was raised from the dead and putting all that together. We thus concluded using the top-down argument that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead.
Now to the bottom up argument, today’s presentation this where you might raise the question, well, why use this argument if I’ve already established from the top down, that, that he, that Jesus was raised from the dead? Well, this is a supplementary argument. It supplements the top-down argument. The top-down argument is deducted. As I presented it presented the demonstrate that Jesus was raised from the dead that is to give certainty.
The bottom opera argument also can be formulated as a deductive argument. I will not be formulating it that way, but understand that we could formulate it that way. If I may be a bit technical, the formulation of what I’m going to be presenting today in a deductive form would form a, what is called a, a disjunctive syllogism that is either a naturalistic explanation explains the resurrection of Jesus or his actual you having been raised from the dead explains the resurrection of Jesus.
And then we would deny all of the natural naturalistic explanations and thus conclude that the only alternative is true. So it could be formulated as a deductive argument. I’m not going to do that. I’ve already done that with the top down here, I’m going to present, develop this argument as an inference, to the best explanation, what logicians call an abductive argument,
which itself is a kind of induction. And so then presenting the top-down first in our series here was intended now. So then what does all of this mean? What is the bottom, our argument? How does it work? Well, the answer is that it has three steps. Let me go over these three steps with you. You can see these develop for you summarize,
I should say for you on the side, on the bottom left, you’ll see the number one. And now just above that, the number two, and then to the top, right? The number three, that’s the sequence that we’ll be following in this bottom, our argument in an objective manner. So step number one is to collect all the raw data that has to do with the resurrection of Jesus that has survived from the ancient world.
Now here, you would include the, the inflammation from the Bible that of course, as a candidate, as well as secular information, whatever it might be found, you also might have archeological discoveries that are, that are relevant to the resurrection of Jesus. Take all of these together. Whatever has been claimed from antiquity and has survived, put all these together.
So to speak in a pot here, this, at this point, we’re not interested in organizing it. We’re just collecting it all together, throwing it in the pot. And then we progressed to step number two. Now here we add filtering that information by means of historical criteria. That is by based on certain criteria of historical authentication. We want to divide this surviving data into the following three categories.
Number one, these are considered fiction. These are questionable. And then these, on the other hand, I considered to be facts. So we filter all of the raw data into these three categories by means of so-called criteria of historical authentication. Having done that, then we will find that these facts that have emerged using this criteria now, standing there, and then we moved to,
to step number three. Well, what explanation can be offered that accounts for these particular agreed to facts. And that is what we will then end with in this presentation, understand that we can spend a boat a course on this material and spend a lot more time digging in. But here I’m just summarizing and trying to summarize it pretty quickly in the what.
Now I have 25 minutes and we ended up, we’re going to be watching for walking for Mr. Brian when he gets up here, signaling me, I have five minutes. So I’m going to try to watch all of these things simultaneously. Let’s go back to this three step process again. Number one, raw data. Number two itself really has two sub steps.
The first is to identify what these criteria of authentication hire, and then having done that, then applying that to the data, the raw data, exactly what facts then do emerge that are agreed to across the liberal conservative spectrum of Bible study. And then having done that, then we’ll come to this best explanation. And in the best explanation, we’re going to have naturalistic theories that have been offered.
And then we’re going to have also of course, that Jesus actually was raised from the dead. So there we have the process that we’re going to try to develop. Let’s focus a bit more here on the, on step two, a this criteria for determining, trying to determine what is historical for this bottom up approach. The academic field in which such criteria are studied is called the philosophy of history.
This has to do with what is history? How was it done? How do we decide what is factual and what is fiction? Ideally, philosophers of history work out their criteria. And then the professional historians use that criteria to determine what alleged events of the past historical, but in his 2010 book, Michael Eric Lacona collect several quotations from scholars that claim few historians give attention to these matters.
In other words, you don’t, this is ideally what would happen. The philosophers of history would identify the criteria of historical identity of historical authentication, and then having done that, then the friends over and on the historical historical side, the historians would use those and apply them to their particular specialty. And that’s why one would one would argue that’s where the way it should work.
In other words, though, not all historians pay attention to the criteria that they should in their own field. Nonetheless, there are such criteria worked out by philosophers of history that can be identified. And though, as you might expect, there is some disagreement among them. And there are historians that do use these. So it’s not realistic as we continue in this particular matter of historical criteria of authentication,
it’s not realistic to dismiss all knowledge of the past. Isn’t whether distant or near it all depends on the, upon the evidence that has survived. What has been attested to directly, what has been witnessed, what has been remembered, what has been documented and what has then survived from all of the above. We’re the testifiers near the event in time and place,
add their references to physical geography that they make mention of that is still there so that we can go over there and notice distances between them and whatever you have survived. Archeologically there, et cetera. The nonspecialist can recognize at least some criteria. For example, do you believe that George Washington existed and was the first president of the United States? Why now you’re trying to,
when you answer that you you’re coming up with criteria that you’re using or ask a friend who was convinced that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s theater in Washington, DC in 1865. Why you might ask you a friend, do you believe this what’s the basis upon which you make such a claim or your mother fixed breakfast breakfast for you last Monday? Well, that would be a historical event,
a past event. Why do you believe that? Oh, you’re basing that upon evidence. You’re basing upon Memorial evidence that is memory, et cetera. So these are events in the past and surely it is not realistic to dismiss all knowledge of the past. Think of the new Testament, the recorded in John chapter 20 verse 29, where Jesus said to him,
Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed blessed are those who have not seen in yes. Believed and yet believed. Notice what he’s saying here. What he’s telling, what, what he’s telling us is that direct sense experience does constitute adequate evidence for belief, but you’re not limited to that. There are other criteria also that may be appealed to other than direct sensory experience for you to conclude with justification that a particular event of the past happened.
As we continue, then we asked the question, well, just what criteria then do new Testament critics use to determine what is historical? Well, they use for example, a what is called sometimes the criterion of embarrassment or the criterion, I should say, not all, but end of the criteria of dissimilarity, the criteria of multiple at a station, the criteria of coherence and others now more can be set on that.
And I give a reference here on the slide. If you want to pursue that further, to read that article, let’s look at one of these and I’d say the criteria of embarrassment. Here’s how that’s described. Quote, focuses on actions or sayings of Jesus that would have embarrassed or created difficulty for the early church. The point of the criterion is that the early church would hardly have gone out of its way to create material that only embarrassed its creator or weakened its position in arguments with opponents unquote,
for example, they cite mark chapter one verses nine through 11. And here we have a reference to the baptism of Jesus by a repentance baptize, a repentance preacher, namely John, the baptizer. Well, if you’re gonna, if you’re going to make that up, then it’s not likely that you would put that in there because Jesus is portrayed as being sinless.
And according to mark chapter one, verse four, baptism John’s baptism two was for the purpose of remission of sins. So why would you put that in there? That causes a puzzle. And so then if you’re going to make all of this up, that would be one thing that you wouldn’t want to put in there. And thus, this would be evidence of something that was genuinely,
that genuinely happened. So the based upon the criterion of embarrassment. So let’s go on with a further here. You could see that we could spend another 30 minutes talking about the criteria of historical authentication that a CRA that critics will use, but we’re going to go on new Testament. Critics also only accept some of Paul’s letters as being authentic. Now, bear in mind quickly.
Let me point out and stress. This is why I gave you the top down argument. We believe that the whole Bible is the word of God. And I gave you some argumentation for that. I believe adequate, but let’s shove that aside just for a moment, holding a suspension. And because we’re looking at what the critics have to say, and what we’re getting to here is that even if we use what the critics say,
the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is so powerful that it still is the case. That that is the best explanation of the agreed to facts, even from the critics. So that’s what we’re going here. Now, the critics, the liberal new Testament critics consider authentically Pauline only these seven books. First Thessalonians. They say, which they dated 50 Ady Galatians,
about 53 to 54 first Corinthians 53 to 54 second Corinthians, a D 55, Romans 57, 5 Leman 61, Philippians 62 critics consider the remaining books that are attributed to Paul to be post Paul though influenced by him. So, okay, we’re talking about the minimum collection. Even that the critics believe we refine ourselves therefore to these particular books, as we proceed given all of this,
what minimum facts regarding Jesus’ resurrection emerge, even if we use only such criteria and evidence that critics use that is even if we accept only the facts about Jesus, that critics accept what best explains these agreed to facts, some naturalistic explanation or a combination of them or that Jesus actually was raised from the dead. Well, let’s play the game, let’s play their own game and see,
and by the way, I am not hearing a lot of this data from brethren. I, I am hearing it from, I am seeing in awareness of this information from conservative Protestants quite a bit, but I’m not hearing preachers in the church aware of this. There is some awareness from time to time, but I encourage you to become aware of this material because it has power.
In addition to the top-down argument. Now, as we continue the bottom up approach, and this is sometimes called the minimal facts argument for the resurrection of Jesus. One can trace this thinking back a 1976 dissertation at Michigan state university titled the resurrection of Jesus, a rational inquiry by Gary R Habermas. He’s still with us. He teaches up at Liberty university in,
in Lynchburg, Virginia, much more has been written on the minimal facts argument since then, but having a mass and others by Habermas and others, for example, you might want to look at his book, the risen Jesus and future hope. Also that PhD dissertation is available as a PDF. This has caught on in the history of Jesus studies. But again,
I am not hearing a lot of this from our own church members and preachers Habermas points to 12 minimal events regarding historical Jesus studies with which new Testament scholars across the liberal conservative spectrum agree are factual commenting on these. He writes quote while scholars do not necessarily take the same approach to them. The near unanimity is simply amazing. Unquote. So again, both liberals and conservatives will affirm certain facts about the resurrection of Jesus.
Again, the point being made is that the evidence of a Jesus actual resurrection is so strong that it emerges as the best explanation when using just the minimal facts with which even critics agree. Now he starts with 12 minimal facts, but then he Habermas, but then he points out, well, how about if some, maybe I find a critic here and there that object to this one and that one,
all right, I’m going to boil it down to sex. And now I’ve got a maximum number of critics. Now you’re always going to find somebody away out in left field. We’re not talking about that. I’m talking about the general consensus among critics, whether a conservative or Protestant, and he boils it down to six. Here are the six. It is agreed that Jesus of Nazareth died by Roman crucifixion.
Number two, that the disciples believed that they saw the risen. Jesus. Number three, the disciples were transformed from despair to enthusiastic hope even to the point of death. Now we’ve raised the question. Do people die for a lie? What they believe is a lie. Number four, the resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed early in Jerusalem, early to the crucifixion.
When the church was in its infancy. It’s not as if we have legends decades later in the first century, a D but we can show and they agree. And scholars agree to this, that the proclamation that Jesus was raised from the dead is very early to the event that would place it very close to 30 to 33, a D number five, Saul of Tarsus,
Paul, a skeptic and persecutor of Christians became a Christian because he believed that he saw the risen Jesus. And then number six, the brother of Jesus and a former skeptic namely games, his brother became a Christian because he believed he saw the risen Jesus. Now step three, then what explanation best fits these agreed to minimal facts, one or a more naturalistic explanation,
or that it actually happened. Well, what are these naturalistic explanations? Let me give you a brief list here. One is the conspiracy theory also known as the theft or the fraud theory. That is the body of Jesus was stolen either by enemies of Jesus, namely the Romans or the Jews, or by some apathetic grave robbers, or maybe by Jesus’ disciples.
Another is the spoon theory also known as the Jesus did not really die very or the rest of the resuscitation theory. Another is the hallucination theory. Another is the went to the wrong tomb theory and other embellishments were related, were added the later theory that is the events, some events or these events took place early in the first century, a D but later they were embellished and added to and so forth,
retro projecting, back hope, wishful thinking. So the embellishments added later theory, myths, borrowed from other religions, legend, wishful thinking, retro rejected back. And then the another is the non bodily resurrection theory. People saw something, but did not actually see the, the resurrected physical body of Jesus. It was something non-physical an apparition or something. So I noticed in this electric ship that some of these naturalistic explanations are,
are addressed. So I’m going to back off on what I say about most of them and leave that to the other speakers coming up. So again, here we are, we’ve got raw data and then we’ve got these six minimal facts that he emerged out of step two. And then we want to know what is the best explanation then of these facts, one or more naturalistic explanation,
or that Jesus actually rose from the dead. There is an amazing state of affairs that has emerged in this research. The supporters of the naturalistic explanations have persuasively refuted. One another. Their heyday was in the 19th century. Habermas puts up by this quote, alternative theories, such as those alleging fraud, swooning, hallucination, or other subjective, psychological explanations and legend have all failed.
Even critical scholars. Seldom propose these theses on quote, and we can give you some documentation on that. So here is a truth seeking exercise, a truth seeking exercise. He’s about ready to come up here another minute or two, I guess. Right? So let’s take up eat natural. I mean, theoretically, ideally we could take up each naturalistic explanation one at a time and as well as the explanation that Jesus actually rose from the dead.
And then one by one ask, does this explain the six agreed to the minimal facts, crucifixion appearances transformation, early proclamation conversion of Paul conversion of James. How does each explanation fair and which explanation fits the six, agreed to facts best. So we could look at the conspiracy series, a theory or the fraud theory. And I, and now we list these,
we say crucifixion appearances transformation, early proclamation conversion of Paul conversion of James does and go through the list. Does the fraud theory, the conspiracy theory does that account for the crucifixion? Let me just give you a little hint on now. And I would say the answer to that is yes, it does fit that one, but we’ll leave it up to you and other speakers.
Does it fit the appearances? Does it fit the transformation early proclamation conversion appall conversion of James. All right. We go to the second one. The Swoon theory, does that meet the Cruz crucifixion? Let me give you a hint on that one. I say, no. I believe that the, the historical information that we have pertaining to the Roman Romans and how they crucified,
they were very proficient at this in killing people by means of, of, of crucifixion. And this does not fit the Swoon theory, but we’ll leave that up to other speakers to pursue that with you today. What about the hallucination theory? Well, it does fit the crucifixion, but does it fit the others again? Another speaker will address that. What about the copycat legend theory after Jesus died?
Belief arose that he was spiritually exalted to heaven. And this later developed into a physical resurrection idea. Well, this conflicts with the evidence of the early proclamation, namely the creedal statements in first Corinthians 15, Stephen speak and act seven. What I’m getting at here is there is a wonderful study just on what I called the creedal statements in the new Testament.
Again, a six month, three months study in and of itself, but there is evidence where there were a certain sayings that re repeated and repeated from, by the disciples over the decades of the first century. And these are evident. For example, you can see some of these in first Corinthians 15 and other passages, several of, of the speeches in acts and,
and it takes time for these to have crystallized. And that therefore counteracts the claim that legends were developed over the decades of the first century, eventually retro injecting back into the actual historical events. So this claim, the legend claim does not. It does conflict with the study of so-called creedal statements. Also, if you were to make a close examination of Stephen speak in acts seven,
I believe also there is evidence there that the, that the, that the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus was done very early, not giving time for a copycat and legends is to develop. I’m going to have to skip. Now we could say more about the copycat legend theory, but I believe that we can show that there is a no attributed to all six of these agreed to facts with respect to that theory.
This does not nicely explain the six agreed to facts. And so then we’re still looking for what fits best, the resurrection of Jesus, the six minimal facts that across the conservative spirit liberal spectrum agree to, and the naturalistic theories do not fit, but Jesus actually was raised in appeared to the people that does fit that fits the crucifixion data that fits the appearances data that they,
that the disciples saw, the claim that they saw, the resurrected Jesus, that also explains nicely their transformation from despair to enthusiastic affirmation that also fits the early proclamation. Because the, if in fact, the disciples actually did witness the resurrected Jesus. They would be excited about that and would have trouble waiting and proclaiming it. They would proclaim that very early to the event.
It also explains the conversion of Paul and the conversion of James. And so then we kick all of those off, like off again, I believe that Jesus actually was raised and appeared is the best explanation. And I’m in agreement with NT Wright of Cambridge university, who said, quote, I shall argue that the best historical explanation is the tomb was indeed empty,
not just the tune, but these fixed facts. In addition to that, that Jesus of the tomb was indeed empty. And that Jesus was indeed seen alive because he was truly raised from the dead end of quote. And so then first Corinthian 15, if Christ is risen from the dead, then he has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Our preaching is not empty. Our faith is not empty. And so then Christ did indeed become the first fruits and therefore verse 58 of first Corinthians 15 rings. True, namely, therefore my beloved brethren be steadfast immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you’re a labor is not in vain in the Lord. Appreciate your attention.