Expert Answer Forum
Proof of the Resurrection QUESTION from Mark L. Beyke February 4, 2001 Mrs. Fortin,
You recently posted a question asking for proof of Jesus' Resurrection. I think that the best proof is that from the time of Jesus' death, until AD 313 when Constintine issues the Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity, a person was risking a horible death if they became a Christian, but the Church grew from a handful of desciples to several million at the time of the edict. It would be hard to get that many people to believe in a hoax under such dire circumstances.
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on February 10, 2001 Dear Mark,
Thank you for your information. I think the best proof is not so much that later Christians were put to death, but that the apostles themselves all suffered for something they witnessed themselves.
If the apostles had not been totally certain of having seen the resurrected Christ, all they would have had to do to escape their troubles is err on the side of caution and continue practicing Judaism. Judaism was not an outlawed religion in the empire, even if the Jews did not worship the emperor. First because the Romans knew they would never get the Jews to submit; and second, the Jewish religion was an ancient and hereditary religion, and the Romans could understand, if not accept, that the Jews could not abandon the ways of their forefathers. For a Roman, a religion's antiquity was a sign of its authenticity. This is why they could not accept the Christian religion: for them it was a new religion proclaiming Christ as God. It was absolutely unthinkable that someone would invent a religion, which is what they perceived Christianity to be.
A critic will come back with the argument that martyrdom only signifies that a believer is sincere, not that what he believes is true. It must be emphasized that we are speaking of what was witnessed, not simply believed. If Jesus had not resurrected, and if he had not appeared to them, why would they die claiming he had? If they are sincere, then he must have appeared to them, otherwise they were mentally ill, but there's no other evidence to that effect. If Jesus had merely died and ended up in the tomb, they could not have died a martyr's death. Thomas was not ready to believe in Jesus' resurrection, and its only his appearance that convinced him of the truth. Yet according to circumstantial evidence, he died in India.
Thank you for your question.
God Bless, Suzanne Fortin
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