Argument Against The Resurrection of Jesus – Part 2

In this post I respond to a question raised by Michael Gantt about my previous post on the resurrection of Jesus.

Factual/historical points made by Michael Gantt (blogforthelordjesus):

1. The writers of the New Testament…do not make concurrent claims about His having been God incarnate.
2. If you go back to the witnesses of the resurrection, you will see that the issue of Jesus being God incarnate was not part of their argument.
3. …contemporaries of Jesus – both the witnesses of His resurrection and those who accepted the testimony – were not concerned with something you’ve made a premise of your argument.
===============
Q1: Is it a ‘red herring’ to bring the incarnation into the question “Did God raise Jesus from the dead?” in view of historical points (1), (2), and (3)?


I’m uncertain about the truth of the historical points made by Michael. They seem dubious to me. However, I would have to get out my NT and do a fair amount of reading to fairly evaluate those claims, and I don’t think that is necessary, because I suspect that there is a problem of logic in Michael’s thinking.

So, I would prefer to set aside my historical doubts and simply assume, for the sake of argument, that points (1), (2), and (3) are all historically true and accurate. Given those assumptions, does it follow logically that it is a ‘red herring’ to bring in the incarnation into discussion/evaluation of the question “Did God raise Jesus from the dead?”

First of all, we need to be clear about the meaning of the phrase ‘red herring’. The term ‘red herring’ is the designation of a fallacy of informal logic.

I obtained my MA in Philosophy from the University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario. The reason I went to Ontario Canada to study philosophy, is that there were two professors there who are leading experts in the field of informal logic: Ralph Johnson and Tony Blair. They started the Journal of Informal Logic. I helped them teach a course in critical thinking at the University of Windsor. They have co-authored a very useful and readable textbook in this area, called Logical Self-Defense, which includes careful definitions of informal fallacies, including “Red Herring”.

So, it is with pleasure that I quote the following analysis of the term “Red Herring” from Ralph and Tony, my former professors:

1. In an adversary context, N has made a claim Q, that is or implies criticism of a position that M holds or identifies with.

2. M responds to Q by asserting R, which introduces an issue that is not relevant to the acceptability of Q, and thereby instigates in the exchange a shift of focus away from the question of Q‘s acceptability.
(Logical Self Defense, 2nd ed., p.89)

If I have committed the fallacy of Red Herring, then I am M in this analysis, and I would have been responding to N who has “made a claim Q“. Claim Q, in this case would be: ‘God raised Jesus from the dead.’ The first phrase of the second necessary condition in the analysis above reads: “M responds to Q by asserting R…” We can now fill in M and Q:

2. Brad Bowen responds to the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’ by asserting R…

The assertion of R is what “introduces an issue that is not relevant to the acceptability of Q“, Q being the claim that ‘God raised Jesus from the dead.’ So, in this case R would be my claim that ‘Jesus was not God incarnate.’ Thus, we can now spell out the second necessary condition for the occurrence of a Red Herring fallacy in this particular case:

2. Brad Bowen responded to the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’ by asserting that ‘Jesus was not God incarnate’, which introduced an issue that is not relevant to the acceptability of the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’…

This necessary condition is false, in my view, so no Red Herring fallacy has occurred as far as I can see.

In order to show that a Red Herring fallacy had occurred in this particular case, one would have to show that the claim ‘Jesus was not God incarnate’ was not relevant to the acceptability of the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead.’

What about the specific historical points made by Michael? Do those points show that the claim ‘Jesus was not God incarnate’ is irrelevant to the acceptability of the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’? I don’t see how those points, even if all three points are true and accurate, support the claim of irrelevance. The fact that early Christians did not bring up the alleged divinity of Jesus when they were trying to persuade others to believe that ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’ does not in any way show that the question of the incarnation is irrelevant to the claim they were making.

Here is an example to help make my point. First century Christians knew nothing about modern medical science. Does that mean that any considerations from modern medical science are irrelevant to the evaluation of the claim that ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’? Obviously not. In order to evaluate the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’ we must evaluate the claim ‘Jesus died on the cross.’ among other claims. Modern medical science does in fact have data and well-established theories that are relevant to evaluating the claim ‘Jesus died on the cross’ and thus to evaluating the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead.’ So, the fact that first century Christians knew nothing about modern medical science does not imply that modern medical science is irrelevant to the acceptability of the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead.’

Furthermore, relevance is a matter of logic, and cannot be determined by the subjective choices of individuals or groups. If the first generation of Christian believers had, for some odd reason, decided not to say anything in defense of the resurrection of Jesus, would that mean that NOTHING was relevant to determining the acceptability of the claim that ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’? Obviously not. The question of whether Jesus died on the cross would still be relevant to determining the acceptability of the claim ‘God raised Jesus from the dead’ even if every single first-generation Christian had chosen to say nothing in defense of their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Human choices don’t determine matters of logic and relevance.

Finally, relevance is a bi-directional logical relationship. If A is relevant to the truth of B, then B is relevant to the truth of A. Sometimes the relationship is stronger in one direction vs. the opposite direction, but if the truth of A makes B more probable than it would otherwise be, then the truth of B makes A more probable than it would otherwise be. That is the principle used by Richard Swinburne in his case for the existence of God. For example, if the existence of God makes it more likely that there would be a complex physical universe than if there were no God, then the existence of a complex physical universe makes it more likely that God exists than if there were no complex physical universe.

Michael has already agreed that the resurrection of Jesus is relevant to the question of whether Jesus was God incarnate, so that settles the issue. If the truth of the resurrection is relevant to the truth of the incarnation, then the truth of the incarnation must also be relevant to the truth of the resurrection. Case closed.

About Bradley Bowen
  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com/ blogforthelordjesus

    Response to Bradley Bowen:

    Why are you so opposed to streamlining your argument? It is inefficient with respect to its purpose.

    I was not accusing you of a formal logical fallacy. I'm not educated enough in formal logic to make such a judgment. I used "red herring" in its more pedestrian sense of "something that distracts from the chase."

    To correct one point, I did say the incarnation of God in Jesus was related to the resurrection, but it is not relevant to proving the resurrection.

    And, for the record, I think medical science is also irrelevant to proving the resurrection. The only known witnesses of the resurrection knew nothing of medical science. Unless you want to use medical science to establish that resurrection is impossible (which some have done, though I'm not impressed by it), it only distracts from the point at issue.

    The only reason that anyone today believes that Jesus was raised from the dead is that we have a collection of documents written by some first-century Jews who claim that they witnessed it. It seems to me that if you want to disprove the resurrection, you have to find a way to discredit their testimony. And if you don't discredit their testimony, no other argument you construct can be ever successful.

    I was trying to get you to see that by including the incarnation in your argument about the resurrection, that you complicate it. Such a complication 1) reduces the number of people who will wrestle with your argument, 2) weakens your argument by making it x steps instead of x-y steps, 3) renders your argument attractive only to those who already hold its conclusion.

    Therefore, if you want to merely preach to your choir, keep to the path you are on.

    As for me, Jesus is raised from the dead and He is God Almighty. Without the former, I could never have come to the latter. Therefore, know that all you had to do was disprove the former in order to disprove both. But since you insist on disproving both in one combined argument, you disprove neither.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01214435586629463058 Peter White

    blogforthelordjesus,
    if you want an atheist to accept the testimony of the resurrection witnesses you need to show that it would be a greater miracle that they were lying or mistaken than the miracle of the resurrection.

    What we have learned about eyewitness testimony in the past few decades demonstrates clearly that it is unreliable. We have eyewitness testimony of miracles performed by Sathya Sai Baba. Are we to accept his miracles based on their testimony?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Michael Gantt said…

    And, for the record, I think medical science is also irrelevant to proving the resurrection.
    ========
    Response:

    You are pretty much alone on this point, Michael.

    Most Christian apologists and Christian philosophers who defend the resurrection appeal to modern scientific medicine as part of their case. So, obviously they would firmly reject your odd view that modern medical science is irrelevant to a rational evaluation of the claim that 'God raised Jesus from the dead'.

    The Christian apologist Lee Strobel devotes an entire chapter in The Case for Christ to evidence from medical science as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus. (Chapter 11: The Medical Evidence).

    The Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaf in his book Resurrection, refers back to the evidence from medical science in Lee Strobel's book (above) as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus (see p.20)

    The Christian apologist Michael Green uses evidence from modern medical science as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus in his book Man Alive (see p.33).

    The Christian apologist Josh McDowell makes use of evidence from modern medical science in his book The Resurrection Factor, as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus (see p. 48 & 49).

    In his more recent case for the resurrection, in the book Evidence for the Resurrection, co-authored with his son Sean McDowell, evidence from modern medical science is again used (see p.167-168).

    The Christian philosopher Norman Geisler uses evidence from modern medical science as part of his case for the resurrection in his book When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook of Christian Evidences (p. 122-123).

    The Christian philosopher Gary Habermas is one of the leading Christian defenders of the resurrection (he debated the issue of the resurrection with the prominent atheist philosopher Antony Flew – see the book Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? edited by Terry Miethe, and he uses evidence from modern medical science as part of his case for the resurrection of Jesus in his book, co-authored with Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (see p.100-101).

    Most Christian philosophers and apologists who defend the resurrection of Jesus use evidence from modern medical science as part of their case.

    But I will go one step further and make a stronger claim: I don't believe that there is one single solitary Christian philosopher or established Christian apologist who would agree with your view on this matter.

    Can you point me to just one single example of a book or a published article by a Christian philosopher or an established Christian apologist that states (or implies) that evidence from modern medical science is irrelevant to the question 'Did God raise Jesus from the dead?'

    If you cannot find any such book or article, then maybe you should give this matter a second look.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Michael -

    Here are six more Christian apologists who believe that evidence from modern medical science is relevant to a rational evaluation of the claim that 'God raised Jesus from the dead':

    Christian apologist Tim LaHaye in his book Jesus Who is He? (p. 271)

    Christian apologist Pat Zukeran of Probe Ministries in his article "The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?" in the book Evidence, Answers, & Christian Faith, edited by Jimmy Williams (p.179).

    Christian philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in Chapter 8 ("The Resurrection") of their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (p.183)

    Christian apologist Dan Story in his book Defending Your Faith (p.93)

    Evangelical Christian scholar Merrill C. Tenny in his book The Reality of the Resurrection, (p.107)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Michael,

    I have a few questions for you.

    1. Are you aware that one function of human lungs is to extract oxygen from the air for use by the human body?

    2. Are you aware that cells in the human body (for example, cells in the brain) require oxygen in order to stay alive?

    3. Are you aware that the human heart acts as a pump causing blood to circulate in our bodies through a system of arteries and veins?

    Most importantly-

    4. Do you think that one or more of the three points above might conceivably have some relevance in some instances to determining whether or not a person had died?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Just in case somebody out there slept through their high school biology class, here is a quick reminder of some basic scientific knowledge about human respiration:
    =========
    The design of the respiratory system

    The human gas exchanging organ, the lung, is located in the thorax, where its delicate tissues are protected by the bony and muscular thoracic cage. The lung provides the organism with a continuous flow of oxygen and clears the blood of the gaseous waste product, carbon dioxide. Atmospheric air is pumped in and out regularly through a system of pipes, called conducting airways, which join the gas exchange region with the outside of the body. The airways can be divided into upper and lower airway systems. The transition between the two systems is located where the pathways of the respiratory and digestive systems cross, just at the top of the larynx.

    [...]

    Interplay of respiration, circulation, and metabolism

    The interplay of respiration, circulation, and metabolism is the key to the functioning of the respiratory system as a whole. Cells set the demand for oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide discharge, that is, for gas exchange in the lungs. The circulation of the blood links the sites of oxygen utilization and uptake. The proper functioning of the respiratory system depends on both the ability of the system to make functional adjustments to varying needs and the design features of the sequence of structures involved, which set the limit for respiration.

    The main purpose of respiration is to provide oxygen to the cells at a rate adequate to satisfy their metabolic needs. This involves transport of oxygen from the lung to the tissues by means of the circulation of blood. In antiquity and the medieval period, the heart was regarded as a furnace where the “fire of life” kept the blood boiling. Modern cell biology has unveiled the truth behind the metaphor. Each cell maintains a set of furnaces, the mitochondria, where, through the oxidation of foodstuffs such as glucose, the energetic needs of the cells are supplied. The precise object of respiration therefore is the supply of oxygen to the mitochondria.
    ==============
    "respiration, human." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    I have previously mentioned a number of Christian philosophers and apologists who use evidence from modern medical science as part of their case for the resurrection of Jesus.

    Christian philosophers:

    Peter Kreeft, Ronald Tacelli, Norman Geisler, Gary Habermas.

    Other Christian apologists include:

    Michael Licona, Ron Brooks (co-author with Geisler), Josh & Sean McDowell, Lee Strobel, Tim LaHaye, Dan Story, Hank Hanegraaff, Merrill Tenney, Pat Zukeran.

    Of this list Gary Habermas does the best job of making a rational case for the resurrection of Jesus, and he is recognized as a leading Christian apologist on this issue.

    One more name can be added to the list: William Lane Craig. Craig, like Habermas, is recognized as a leading defender of the belief that God raised Jesus from the dead.

    Craig, unlike Habermas, has very little to say about the death of Jesus, and for that reason I view his case for the resurrection as a complete failure.

    However, in an early popular presentation of his case for the resurrection, Craig does say a bit more about the death of Jesus, and – this should be no great surprise now – he makes use of evidence from modern medical science. (see The Son Rises, p.38).

    So, not only is there a large number of Christian philosophers and apologists who make use of evidence from modern medical science in their cases for the resurrection, but two of the leading Christian defenders of the resurrection (Habermas & Craig) have used such evidence in making their cases for the claim that 'God raised Jesus from the dead.'

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Add five more Christian apologists to the list of those who use evidence from modern scientific medicine in their cases for the resurrection:

    Christian apologist D. James Kennedy in Who is Jesus: Is He Risen? (p.l2).

    Christian apologist Greg Laurie in Why the Resurrection? (p.22).

    Christian apologist Kenneth Samples in Without a Doubt (Chapter 10: Did Jesus Christ Actually Rise from the Dead?, p.144).

    Christian apologist Frank Harber in Reasons for Believing (Chapter 4: Jesus Rose from the Dead, p.127).

    Christian philosopher Winfried Corduan in No Doubt About It (Chapter 11: Who is Jesus, p.225)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    For those of you who don't read books, or who don't have access to books by Christian apologists, you can find many Christian apologetics websites on the internet to see examples of how Christian apologists use evidence from modern medical science as part of their cases for the resurrection.

    For example ChristianAnswers.net has some web pages on the death and resurrection of Jesus:

    ===========================

    How did Jesus Christ die?

    Medical experts, historians and archaeologists have examined in detail the execution that Jesus Christ voluntarily endured. All agree that he suffered one of the most gruelling and painful forms of capital punishment ever devised by man. Here is a brief summary of some of the things we know about his last hours from history, archaeology and medicine…
    [...]
    In Christ's severely stressed condition, these beatings were easily enough to kill him. His body was horribly bruised, cut and bleeding. Having had no nourishment for many hours, and having lost fluids through profuse sweating and much bleeding, Jesus would have been severely dehydrated. This brutal torture would certainly be sending him into what doctors call “shock,” and shock kills.
    [...]
    Medical examiner, Dr. Frederick Zugibe, believes Christ died from shock due to loss of blood and fluid, plus traumatic shock from his injuries, plus cardiogenic shock causing Christ's heart to fail.

    http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/jesusdeath.html
    ==================

    Is it possible that Jesus did not die, but only fainted on the cross, later recovering from His wounds?

    Crucifixion was an excruciating experience—indeed, these two words are clearly related. The cause of death by crucifixion was multifaceted and torturous! These factors included exhaustion asphyxia, dehydration, and congestive heart failure.[1]
    [...]

    The Roman soldiers pronounced Jesus dead, and He was dead. The mixture of blood and water that poured out of the wound they made in his side is clear evidence of this.
    [...]

    1. William Edwards, M.D., et.al., "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ," Journal of the American Medical Association (March 26, 1986), pp. 1455-1463.

    http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t013.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Another Christian philosopher to add to the list:

    Chad Meister in his book Building Belief (Chapter 8: The Resurrection of Jesus, p.159).

    Also, although they don't specifically mention the support from modern scientific medicine, the Christian apologetic duo John Ankerberg and John Weldon do in fact rely on such information to make their case for the resurrection (The Passion and the Empty Tomb: The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, p.185). The cite the occurrence of "a spear thrust into the heart" of Jesus.

    The Gospel accounts say nothing about a spear thrust "into the heart" of Jesus, but I recognize this claim from many other apologetics works, where the claim is based upon data from modern scientific medicine.

    Ankerberg and Weldon are just too sloppy and hasty to explain the factual assumptions supporting their claims. So, although they might not be fully aware of where their belief about the spear wound originated, it in fact was derived from modern scientific medical data.

    Add Ankerberg and Weldon to the list.

  • http://blogforthelordjesuscurrentevents.wordpress.com/ blogforthelordjesuscurrentevents

    Peter White,

    If you want an atheist to accept the testimony of the resurrection witnesses you need to show that it would be a greater miracle that they were lying or mistaken than the miracle of the resurrection.

    If someone is unwilling to believe, there is no amount of evidence you could put before him that would change his mind…until he dies. Then everyone sees the truth.

    What we have learned about eyewitness testimony in the past few decades demonstrates clearly that it is unreliable. We have eyewitness testimony of miracles performed by Sathya Sai Baba. Are we to accept his miracles based on their testimony?

    I think we've learned that eyewitness testimony is not infallible – not that it is unreliable. Otherwise, Mike McQuery would not be a notable name.

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com/ blogforthelordjesus

    Bradley Bowen,

    That's quite an impressive list of experts you have amassed. I still don't see how medical science is relevant to the discussion. It wasn't practiced in the 1st Century when Jesus was raised. Therefore, we have no medical evidence to examine. Moreover, Jesus' tomb has been empty since that first Sunday so there is no body to examine.

    The ancients might not have practiced medical science, but they knew when someone was dead. And while they might not have frame the issues with just the terms you used in your numbered questions, they knew when a person was no longer breathing ("For the body without the spirit is dead"). Common sense is what we need to decide about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Remember also that it wasn't just the testimony that Jesus was raised that convinced people, it was also that the Hebrew Bible could be shown to have prophesied just this outcome. When the apostles declared, "Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead," they were always adding "according to the Scriptures."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    From The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry web, another example of the use of evidence from modern medical science to make the case for the resurrection of Jesus (although no actual references to the supporting scientific data are given, but that is just because these people are intellectually lazy and their audience consists largely of uncritical thinkers):

    1. Crucifixion
    A. The arms are pulled apart and nails driven through the wrist into a cross beam which is raised in place. This dislocates the shoulders. The nails in the wrists sever the median nerve resulting in a burning pain as well as paralysis in the hand. To breathe Jesus had to press up on the nails in His feet, scraping His raw back on the wood. The body gradually drains of blood causing the heart to beat faster and faster. Dehydration is occurring. The breathing becomes more labored and intense as well as frequent, adding to the agony. The blood loss results in extreme thirst as the body craves water to restore the lost blood. Jesus said, "I thirst" (John 19:28). The heart beats so hard trying to compensate for the loss of oxygen (due to the lack of blood) in the body, that it eventually ruptures. At this point the chest cavity fills with fluid. The soldier pierced Jesus' side and out came blood and water, signifying that the heart had stopped beating and the blood was settling in the chest cavity. Jesus was dead.

    http://carm.org/swoon-theory

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Michael,

    I have a few questions for you.

    1. Are you aware that one function of human lungs is to extract oxygen from the air for use by the human body?

    2. Are you aware that cells in the human body (for example, cells in the brain) require oxygen in order to stay alive?

    3. Are you aware that the human heart acts as a pump causing blood to circulate in our bodies through a system of arteries and veins?

    Most importantly-

    4. Do you think that one or more of the three points above might conceivably have some relevance in some instances to determining whether or not a person had died?

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com/ blogforthelordjesus

    Bradley Bowen,

    I already addressed these questions above. Here is that section copied and pasted:

    The ancients might not have practiced medical science, but they knew when someone was dead. And while they might not have frame the issues with just the terms you used in your numbered questions, they knew when a person was no longer breathing ("For the body without the spirit is dead"). Common sense is what we need to decide about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Tangents are an effective device for obscuring the issue at hand and insuring that a successful conclusion of the issue is never reached.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Mike Gant said…

    The ancients might not have practiced medical science, but they knew when someone was dead. And while they might not have frame the issues with just the terms you used in your numbered questions, they knew when a person was no longer breathing ("For the body without the spirit is dead"). Common sense is what we need to decide about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    ============
    Response:

    Based on "Common sense" alone, how long can a person live without breathing?

    Based on "Common sense" alone, how long can a person stop breathing and yet be resuscitated without experiencing significant brain damage?

    Based on "Common sense" alone, what is the difference between death and cessation of breathing for 20 minutes?

    Based on "Common sense" alone did Jesus' heart stop beating before he was removed from the cross?

    I don't think that "Common sense" can give helpful or reliable answer to these questions, do you?

    We need modern medical facts and and theories in order to answer these questions.

    Aren't these questions relevant to the issue of whether Jesus died on the cross?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Michael Gant said…

    That's quite an impressive list of experts you have amassed. I still don't see how medical science is relevant to the discussion. It wasn't practiced in the 1st Century when Jesus was raised. Therefore, we have no medical evidence to examine. Moreover, Jesus' tomb has been empty since that first Sunday so there is no body to examine.

    ===============
    Response:

    You are right that we don't have EKG printouts, blood samples, or an autopsy report on the body of Jesus from after the crucifixion.

    But whatever facts we do have, or assumptions that have some historical basis, we need to understand those facts in view of modern medical knowledge.

    You have mentioned the alleged fact that Jesus stopped breathing.

    How do you know that is true? More importantly, what is the significance of this alleged fact?
    People stop breathing and appear to die, and then revive and are alive again, even when there is no reason to suspect a divine miracle has occurred. The cessation of breathing does not prove death.

    But, you will probably object, Jesus didn't just stop breathing for a few minutes; he stopped breathing for a couple of days.

    What is your evidence to prove that Jesus stopped breathing for a couple of days? More importantly, why do you think that stopping breathing for a couple of days is more significant than stopping breathing for, say, 20 minutes?

    You could appeal to "Common sense" here, but "Common sense" in the 21st century includes knowledge about oxygen, breathing, the function of the human lungs to remove oxygen from the air, and the need of brain cells for oxygen to survive, and the dependence of human life on the life of the cells in our brains.

    All of this is very recent knowledge, in relation to the centuries that have passed since the crucifixion of Jesus.

    Medical science has very recently uncovered new information about resuscitation that is relevant here.

    But you appear to be determined to remain blind to the obvious relevance of modern scientific data, even though virtually every Christian apologist that I know of uses modern medical data and theories in their cases for the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    If you wish to remain in a state of ignorance, I can do nothing to help you find the truth.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    You asked, "Aren't these questions relevant to the issue of whether Jesus died on the cross?"

    No, I don't see how they are. Are you saying that before the development of medical science and theories that human beings didn't know how to figure out whether or not someone was dead?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    You said, "You have mentioned the alleged fact that Jesus stopped breathing. How do you know that is true? More importantly, what is the significance of this alleged fact?
    People stop breathing and appear to die, and then revive and are alive again, even when there is no reason to suspect a divine miracle has occurred. The cessation of breathing does not prove death. But, you will probably object, Jesus didn't just stop breathing for a few minutes; he stopped breathing for a couple of days.
    What is your evidence to prove that Jesus stopped breathing for a couple of days? More importantly, why do you think that stopping breathing for a couple of days is more significant than stopping breathing for, say, 20 minutes?"

    I don't know how the Roman authorities determined Jesus was dead, but, as I understand it, they were not novices at crucifying people. Whatever means by which they measured death must have been met. The gospel accounts speak of breaking the legs of victims if they had not died from the crucifixion itself. Further, Jesus' disciples would not have buried their leader if they thought there was any chance He was alive.

    But, for discussion's sake, let's assume you are correct and Jesus only appeared to die and did not actually die. You have to then contend with the fact that the same people who said that He died also said that He appeared to them in various ways over the next 40 days and then ascended into heaven. What is there about ceasing to breathe for some period that you think would empower a man to rise from the earth into the clouds?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    If "Common sense" includes the following information, then it might be sufficient for making an intelligent evaluation of the claim 'Jesus died on the cross':

    1. The human heart is a pump that causes blood to circulate through the body of a human.

    2. An important fuction of human lungs is to remove oxygen from the air, and put the oxygen into blood cells.

    3. The circulation of blood in human bodies carries oxygen to cells throughout the body.

    4. Human cells require oxygen in order to remain alive.

    5. The life of a human depends on the life of the cells in his/her body, especially the cells of major vital organs, and particularly the cells of the brain.

    6. If most of the cells of a human brain die, then either the human to whom the brain belongs is dead or suffers serious brain damage.

    7. If all of the cells of a human brain are dead, then the human to whom the brain belongs also is dead.

    If "Common sense" includes this information, then an appeal to "Common sense" includes reference to modern medical information, and this also implies that this sort of "Common sense" did not exist in the first century.

    But if "Commmon sense" does not include such information, then "Common sense" is not sufficient for evaluating medical claims, such as 'Jesus died on the cross'.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Mike Gant:

    Are you saying that before the development of medical science and theories that human beings didn't know how to figure out whether or not someone was dead?
    ============
    Response:

    Before the development of modern medical science, they did not know what death was. They did not understand what was involved in death. Lacking that understanding, they were more subject to errors in determining death.

    Modern medical doctors still make errors in diagnosing death, so it is clearly possible that a person who does not understand even the basics of human biology (i.e. the function of the heart, the function of the lungs, the cellular nature of life, the need of oxygen by cells, etc.) could make determinations of death that were 100% reliable, when the basic cause of death is 'crucifixion'.

    Jesus was not beheaded, nor was he cut in half, nor was he burned at the stake. He was suspended from a cross for a few hours.

    Even with modern medical science, we still don't know how crucifixion causes death. So, given that the sort of execution Jesus faced is not one that clearly, quickly, and definitively kills people, and given that we still don't know how crucifixion causes death, the claim that Jesus died as a result of crucifixion requires additional evidence besides just that he was crucified and that some medically ignorant Roman soldiers thought he had died.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    In short, you need to make an airtight case for the death of Jesus, but if you base your case strictly on the evaluation made by medically ignorant Roman soldiers (or others present at the crucifixion), then you have no hope of making anything that comes anywhere near the strength of evidence required to prove the resurrection of Jesus.

    Plus, you would be ignoring obviously relevant evidence, thus making your already questionable conclusion even more doubtful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Mike Gantt said…

    But, for discussion's sake, let's assume you are correct and Jesus only appeared to die and did not actually die. You have to then contend with the fact that the same people who said that He died also said that He appeared to them in various ways over the next 40 days and then ascended into heaven. What is there about ceasing to breathe for some period that you think would empower a man to rise from the earth into the clouds?
    ===========

    Response:

    If I doubt that Jesus rose from the dead, I certainly don't believe he rose into the clouds. Trying to prove one miracle by appealling to another won't work.

    Also, I don't think it is up to skeptics to prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead. It is up to believers to prove that Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I have offered reasons for disbelief in the resurrection, but the main issue is whether there is adequate reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. In order for there to be adequate reason to believe Jesus rose from the dead, you will need to first prove that he died on the cross.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    Re: your December 5, 2011 6:12:00 PM CST comment

    Exactly which of your 7 points was known by people in the 1st Century, I do not know. I am confident, however, that they had some practical way or ways of distinguishing a dead person from a living person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    Re: your December 5, 2011 6:24:00 PM CST comment

    You said, "Before the development of modern medical science, they did not know what death was."

    Sure they did. It's when the spirit leaves the body. This was as true in ancient times as it is now.

    They may have had different means of coming to that conclusion than we do, but it's not possible to apply our means to their times.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    Re: your December 5, 2011 6:29:00 PM CST comment

    You said I need to have an airtight case for the death of Jesus. Actually, it's His resurrection on which I hang my hat.

    To conclude that the resurrection occurred (which, of course, implies that He had died, and, in this case, died on the cross), requires that either I witnessed it or I believe others who witnessed. Obviously, the first possibility is out of the question, so that takes us to the second.

    I believe the folks who said that He died, rose, and ascended into heaven. All three pieces hang together. To discredit the story, or any of those three elements, you have to discredit the witnesses. I don't see how disqualifying them on the basis of their inexperience with modern medical practices is going to get you there.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00053915240281421992 Mike Gantt

    Bradley Bowen,

    Re: your December 5, 2011 10:04:00 PM CST comment

    If you already disbelieve that Jesus rose from the dead, why are you trying to prove that He didn't die on the cross?


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