Oddly enough, I find yourself in screaming agreement with many of my athiest friends on the nature of death and the state of the dead.Â Where we disagree, perhaps, is on the question of whether or not there is a God (or god) who can bring somebody back from the dead â€“ and whether or not there is historical evidence that he has done so at least once in the case of Jesus of Nazareth. Following on from that it is pertinent to ask, is there grounds for believing he can and will do the same for us some time in the future?
The evidences for the historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth have been debated back and forth over the centuries in more detail than I have time to go into here. I can think of at least 20 lines of argument worth pursuing.
Number #1:Â The Gospels Witness to the Resurrection of Christ.
Skeptics argue that the Gospels are late compositions that did not see the light of day until the second century of our era. If so, it is suggested, they do not in the least represent the testimony of eye-witnesses. The facts are against the skeptic in this instance. The internal evidence from within the Gospels themselves support a much earlier date (Some would argue that the entire New Testament was written before AD 70). The external evidence backs this up: The immediate successors of the apostles possessed these Gospels and considered them authoratative.Â
One can see differences of perspective among the Gospel writers, in matters of detail they do not always appear to agree with one another, but it is clear that each of the Gospels intends to put forward the belief that Jesus of Nazareth died, was buried, and rose again from the dead.Â
Given that these Gospels can be shown to be fair of face and to have been kept in reasonable custody they should be allowed to speak for themselves as evidence that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.