The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most pivotal event in Christianity and human history. Christianity is founded upon it and human history is divided by it. This truth is central to the Christian creed, and, indeed, Christianity stands or falls on its historical authenticity. So, what happened almost two thousand years ago?
There is a difference in faith and blind faith. Do Christians believe, and ask others to believe, blindly in the Resurrection? Faith will always be a necessary element for the believer, but we have not been left totally in the dark. The evidence of the Resurrection is clearly seen in the lives of the apostles, and the faith that was founded on their eyewitness accounts.
In his book Why I Believe the late Dr. D. James Kennedy shares the following statement of Scottish theologian Dr. Principal Hill. Hill said, “But if notwithstanding every appearance of truth, you suppose their testimony to be false, then inexplicable circumstances of glaring absurdity crowd upon you. You must suppose that twelve men of mean birth, of no education, living in that humble station which placed ambitious views out of their reach and far from their thoughts, without any aid from the state, formed the noblest scheme which ever entered into the mind of man, adopted the most daring means of executing that scheme, and conducted it with such address as to conceal the imposture under the semblance of simplicity and virtue. You must suppose that men guilty of blasphemy and falsehood, united in an attempt the best contrived, and which has in fact proved the most successful, for making the world virtuous; that they formed this singular enterprise without seeking any advantage to themselves, with an avowed contempt of loss and profit, and with the certain expectation of scorn and persecution; that although conscious of one another’s villainy, none of them ever thought of providing for his own security by disclosing the fraud, but that amidst sufferings the most grievous to flesh and blood they persevered in their conspiracy to cheat the world into piety, honesty and benevolence. Truly, they who can swallow such suppositions have no title to object to miracles.”
History is inundated with accounts of those who have died for what they believed, but they did so believing them to be true. If the disciples stole the body of Christ and hid it, is it reasonable to believe they gave the remainder of their lives to suffer privations, persecutions and death knowing that the Resurrection was a lie?
The disciples did not profit preaching the Resurrection. On the contrary, they were disinherited by their families and ostracized by their countrymen. They were maligned as fools, arrested, tortured and martyred because they were faithful to declare the things they had witnessed.
This is the point Dr. Hill makes so cogently. Ours is not a blind faith. An empty tomb gives mute testimony to the angel’s words “He is not here, but He has risen” Luke 24:6.