There are four resurrection accounts, a fact that causes some considerable consternation. The differing details seem to be the problem, something I’ve never quite understood.
From an epistemological point of view, we expect great certainty and precision toward objects that are poor in donation. Objects, mathematics: these provide certainty, yet unlike persons, they are poor in donation. That which is given does not saturate to the degree that persons or events do. Of course, this is why persons are so difficult to get to know and why complete certainty between a husband and a wife is always a goal, but never quite a reality. Love and trust overcome this gap.
I often tell my students that we should not be suprised at the fact that there are so many religions in the world. An “object” of knowledge like God saturates to a degree that the human mind cannot fathom. For this reason, it must be — without the aid of revelation — that many cultures search in their own ways for this god. Yet, unlike in mathematics, no perfect formula can ever identify him. Our knowledge is always inadequate.
The same is true of the resurrection. It is an event that saturates to such a degree, that we should expect many renditions. In fact, if there were only one, that is what would make us suspicious. A judge who hears the same exact story from every witness begins to suspect a conspiracy. It is when the events mostly line up, yet diverge in their very attempt to describe the indescrible, that we know a truth is present.
Such with the resurrection. It leaves its shadow behind: a shroud, a face cover, an unrolled stone. Yet John arrives and must believe. Thomas sees and learns to believe. Belief alone is adequate so such saturation.