Chapter 1

Why Look Back?

 Consider for a moment what mankind has accomplished. We’ve built spaceships that can leave our solar system. We’ve transplanted hearts into week-old babies. We’ve computerized everything from architecture to zoology. We’ve made tremendous progress in many areas of life.

Then why go backward? Why step 2,000 years into history to put our faith in an event that violates the laws of science? Why insist that the resurrection is anything more than a myth? After all, isn’t DEAD MAN COMES ALIVE the kind of headline we usually expect to find on those tabloids that litter the super market checkout lanes?

Can educated, refined people living in the 21st century be convinced that Jesus really did come back from the dead? Many say no. They feel we have progressed too far to consider the resurrection of Jesus to be an authentic historical event. These skeptics say:

“Miracles are not scientific.” To people of science, dead means dead. They have no evidence that anything that was dead ever came back to life spontaneously. Therefore, they aren’t easily convinced that in one special case the normal processes of decay were halted. It goes against their established data to believe that a dead man came back to life.
“It was spiritual, not physical, resurrection.” Some “enlightened” modern-day skeptics maintain that the disciples did not really see Jesus with their eyes; they “saw” Him with their hearts. They had a spiritual awakening because of Jesus’ great sacrifice, and that spurred them on to preach about Him. Thus, He could be “resurrected” in the heart of anyone who accepted His teachings. To those who hold this view, Jesus was a great teacher whose ministry ended on the cross but whose influence continues through His words and philosophies.

“The biblical accounts are too contradictory.” Some people think that if the Gospel writers could not agree on all the details, then we cannot be sure they got any part of the story straight. For instance, they point out that each of the four accounts of the morning scene at the tomb records a different number of women who were there. “A contemporary thinker,” they say, “could never accept as evidence a story with such discrepancies.”

“The historical accounts aren’t trustworthy.” Obviously, no reporters from the Jerusalem Star were at the garden on that resurrection morning to record the event. Therefore, the nonbiblical historical accounts we have concerning Jesus’ resurrection were written some time after the event. To people who have grown accustomed to instantaneous news, that alone makes those accounts undependable.

So, the question remains. Can a technologically advanced society that continues to open new vistas of scientific knowledge believe in a miracle that 20 centuries of research have not been able to duplicate?