The Apostle Paul refers to Christ's death and resurrection using words that are translated "vain" in the King James. In I Corinthians 15:14 he says, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain(empty), and your faith is also vain(empty)." Then in verse :17 Paul uses a different word. "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain(profitless manipulation)." Paul uses yet a third word which is translated vain in Galatians 2:21. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (without cause)."

Christianity is grounded in the resurrection of Christ, and yet many Christians have never taken the time to look at the available evidence on the subject. Perhaps they are afraid they'll conclude there WAS no resurrection. Perhaps they are stuck in the frame of those who would argue the impossibility of the resurrection on the grounds that miraculous things like resurrections just don't occur. Following is a Study Outline of an argument for the resurrection of Christ. If a person professes to be a Christian, he or she should be able to defend the foundational fact of Christianity. And that's exactly what the resurrection is. It's not a myth. It's not a legend. It's a fact. You may find it helpful to view the presentation notes of the resurrection study. These notes are taken from Dr. Gene Scott's resurrection messages.


Jesus was a fraud,......a nut,.......or the Son of God.

I- Christianity proclaims the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, and hangs it's entire case on that fact.
Historical certainty can be defined as: when every logically available piece of evidence is in. Historical certainty of the resurrection of Christ cannot be obtained due to the lack of eye witnesses. Once the practical certainty of eye witnesses is unavailable, we must recognize the necessary move to logically available evidence, because of the loss of historic certainty.

Commonly, erroneous circular logic is used by skeptics to ground their refutation of the resurrection. It goes like this: miracles can't happen, so, Jesus didn't rise, so, the reporters lied, because, miracles don't happen, so, the resurrection couldn't occur, so, we can't believe the stories, because miracles can't happen, so, and on they (merry)go(round).

II-All facts presuppose other facts. Hence, any structured argument has basic assumptions. These can be argued also, but are usually of a kind that both sides can accept them as founding facts of the debate. The following basic assumptions must be taken into account before presenting the evidence of the resurrection. These assumptions are easily proved with initial research.

III-The historical personage of Jesus was recorded in a few places. From the widely accepted sources for information on Jesus' life, we will always be presented with impossible sayings and actions. NOTE: Those denying the resurrection will use the same sources for their arguement. Jesus was unique, whatever the source of his words and acts. Where ever you find Jesus, you'll find him saying things humanly impossible to experience. Crazy stuff!!

Here's an expansion on the Good and Wise idea.

IIIa-Skeptics, while allowing the historicity of Jesus, will not accept his Divinity. Wanting to give some credibility to Jesus, they will argue long and hard that he was a Good and Wise teacher. This argument is a diversion that cannot be logically demonstrated. At the second level of investigation, neither of these terms holds up.
  • If Jesus was Good, meant well, honestly tried to help people, then he must have been a deluded lunatic who didn't realize that no human being could do the things he said he did in numbers 1-5 in section III above.
  • If Jesus was wise, not a nut, then he knew that his claims were humanly impossible, and was defrauding the poor guilt-ridden people. Therefore he was not Good.
    Good. Wise. Good or Wise. Good and Wise. None of these terms mean anything unless Jesus was who he said he was, the Son of God.

    IV-Not wanting to give credence to the supernatural, skeptics have gone to great lengths to supply "rational" explanations for the basic facts of the resurrection; mainly that the tomb was empty. No where in any account do we hear of a full tomb. While some of these theories sound plausible initially, they don't hold up to the light of the Basic Assumptions. Although eight explanations follow, the matter really rests on the demonstration of only one: the disciples told the truth. If enough evidence can be presented to show the honesty of the disciples, those who preached the resurrection, the other theories are automatically discounted. The first seven theories follow:

    • 1-The disciples stole the body to fulfill Jesus' teaching that he would rise.
    • 2-The Romans took the body: it would be to their advantage with the Jews if they had the body, and so would have produced it.
    • 3-The Jewish leaders stole the body to keep watch so that someone wouldn't sneak the body away and say Jesus had raised.
    • 4-It was the wrong tomb. The women, in dawn's half-light got confused. The resurrection is easily disproved by the Jews simply going to the right tomb. They'd placed guards at the tomb by permission of the Romans. It was a known, accessible tomb.
    • 5-Hallucination, while an insult to the intelligent mind, has, however, been offered. No time will be spent on hallucination, as it seems unlikely that "above five hundred" people had the same vision.
    • 6-Resusitation. The theory that Jesus wasn't really dead has been given much attention. "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" has treated this concept in great detail. The scenario has Jesus practicing a "fake" death on Lazarus, then faking his own death. Being somewhat secluded, away from most of the crowd, Jesus performed his trick death, they took him down, and placed him in the tomb where he later revived. This theory conveniently sidesteps some of the known facts. One in ten survived a Roman scourging. Besides the nail wounds a spear was thrust into Jesus' side. Jesus actually experienced a Roman conducted crucifixion. How did Jesus get through the Stone at the tomb's entrance?
    • 7-The disciples lied about the resurrection. It isn't really necessary to elaborate on this explanation seeing that the preceding six theories result in the disciples fabricating most of the preached story. If any of the above theories is viable, the disciples lied. We are left with theory number eight.
    • 8-The disciples told the truth as they experienced it. Seeing Jesus. Touching him. Eating with him. Watching him ascend into heaven. Where will we get the evidence to found theory eight?

    V-There is much and varied evidence that can be brought to bear on demonstrating the disciples' truthfulness. Some of the evidence is "between" the lines, intrinsic evidence. Some is external evidence, historically accounted.

    • 1-While Matthew was written to the Jews, and Luke was intended as a history, Mark, the first Gospel, was written to non-Jews; Gentiles. Mark uses the term "Son of Man" more than any other gospel writer. The term Son of Man, to the Jews with their background of the Messianic references of both Daniel and Enoch, was a reference to the son of God. This term had little meaning to gentiles beyond it's literal of "a human being." A liar wouldn't have Jesus calling himself Son of Man when trying to present the case the Jesus was the Son of God.

      Mark revealed his mentor Peter's weakness more than the other writers. When giving Mark the "story", wouldn't Peter downplay his failures. It doesn't enhance his image to have readers of Mark's Gospel find out his cowardice.

    • 2-It takes four accounts to fill out the story of the feeding of the 5000. These accounts, remember, were written at different times, by widely separated writers.
    • a-they were at Bethsaida: Luke 9:10; Mark 6:45
    • b-Jesus asks Philip where to buy bread: John 6:5-7
    • c-Philip was from Bethsaida: John 1:44; Matt 14:13(a desert place)

      Philip is the logical one to ask where to find food. He lived in this particular place. Intrinsically, the details fit like a true account. Why not just report an embellished story of the miracle itself, as in Matthew 14?

    • 3-For external evidence, the historic accounts of the Disciples' lives is illuminating. This evidence includes the great life-changes that occurred in the personalities of the Apostles. Changes for the better from cowards who ALL ran from the Garden when they came for Jesus.
    • a-Peter, a coward, impetuous, preaches to a mocking mob of thousands at Pentecost. He endured prison for preaching.
    • b-John and James were called the sons of thunder, wanting to call fire down from heaven. They were so selfish they got their mother to ask for the best seats in Jesus' kingdom. James accepted beheading, and John became the Great Lover of the New Testament. His is the Gospel of Love.
    • c-The Pragmatist, Thomas, was known as a doubter. His senses were his reality. Thomas challenged the vast philosophical frame of India.
    • d-James, the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem for twenty years, was so steeped in Legalism that he demanded circumcision of his parishioners. The Jewish leaders had enough confidence in James legal stance to finally ask him to denounce Jesus' Messiahship. To James' credit, he chose not to comply; a fact that meant his martyrdom.
    • e-Paul's life and change of outlook could be sited alone as proof of the resurrection. The physical evidence of Paul's actions are testimony enough. From one of the highest placed, most efficient persecutors of Christianity, Paul contributes a majority of the writings of the New Testament, and more books than any other Bible writer. Whipped, beat, imprisoned for years, enduring extreme physical stress, Paul spread the Gospel from Syria to England.

    What happened to these men that in a short time they so completely and irreversibly changed? But this change was only the beginning. The Apostles, as Paul, were persecuted for preaching their message. Here is a short list of martyrdom:

    Mark: dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria
    Bartholomew: skinned alive with a whip in Armenia
    Luke: hanged by idolatrous priests in Greece
    James(the Less): killed in Egypt
    James Zebedee: beheaded by Herod
    Thomas: killed with a sword in India
    Simon Zelotes: crucified
    Peter: crucified upside down in Rome
    Paul: is beheaded near Rome

    There has never been a record of any of the Apostles denying their stories. As liars, not knowing that their words would last two thousand years and become a worldwide movement, they only needed to save face for the moment; profit for themselves. Still unexplained is the reason why these frauds would wait SEVEN WEEKS to start telling their story. These were simple men, following orders to wait seven weeks for the Holy Spirit to descend; as Jesus had promised. But this descension must wait for God's appointed time, Pentecost.

    Thomas Aquinas points out that they all died alone. Distanced liars, without knowledge of each others' whereabouts, could have easily admitted the life-saving lie without the others knowing. There is no record of anyone denying their story at a later date. While some of them might have held on to their stories as a group, it defies reason to think that they would endure horrible tortures and death for a lie, by themselves, alone.

    As impossible or improbable as it may seem, the evidence forces the conclusion that the Apostles told the truth. This exposes the crux of this study. If Jesus died, rose and ascended, then the items listed in section III are more than recorded history. Those things are True, and Jesus was a supernatural being who was God and man, and has established a contact point between God and man.

    VII-What is the practical aspect of the Truth of Jesus? So what if he was divine? If all that Jesus said was true, then all the other promises of God are true, and we have a starting point for fainting on those promises.

    1. "I'll not forsake you." Heb 13:5
    2. "I'll never leave you." Heb 13:5
    3. "He that cometh to me, I'll in no wise cast out." John 6:37
    4. Nothing can separate us from God. Rom 8:38
    5. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed. John 8:36
    6. Let no one judge you. Col 2:16; Gal 6:17
    7. God's guidance; Prov 3:6
    8. God's strength: Deut 33:25
    9. God's blessing for tithing: Mal 3:10

    Colossians 2:13-18:" And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."

    VIII-We can be Free in Christ. Security can finally be ours. We don't need anyone but him. He is the only one we should try to please. We can feel free and strong enough to walk away from ANYTHING(ONE). We can demand it be done His way or not at all. The only check needed is pleasing him. And it'll never bother us what other people think. We can finally stop wasting energy avoiding others' disapproval.

    IX-If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36

    From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bare in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Gal 6:17

    Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Rom 8:33

    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 11:6

    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:17

    This study is mainly based on notes from Dr. Gene Scott.

    By the Grace of God and Anna, this page is now available in French here.

    I love mail.

    Come Home