Philosopher William L Craig's thoughts on the Resurrection of Jesus

By Philosopher William Lane Craig

When I first began to study the historicity of Jesus' resurrection under the direction of Wolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich, I, as a Christian, believed in Jesus' resurrection, but I had no idea how really firm the historical foundations of that event are. When you reflect on it, an event so extraordinary as Jesus' resurrection isn't the sort of thing one would expect to have much evidence for. So I was quite surprised to find how well-established the central facts undergirding that event are. It seemed to me that they could be conveniently grouped together as three main facts:

(1) the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb,

(2) the post-mortem appearances of Jesus to various individuals and groups, and

(3) the origin of the earliest disciples' belief that God had raised Jesus.

It dawned on me only later that not only are these facts well-established but they are acknowledged by the wide majority of NT critics today who have written on these matters. This majority view can't be written off to bias, as some internet bloggers naively assert, since anyone familiar with NT scholarship knows how sceptical this discipline has been, and those who acknowledge these facts include not just evangelicals but liberal Christians, unbelievers, and Jewish scholars. It is really quite an amazing situation. I can't think of any better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave. HE IS RISEN!