Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Was Lazarus Resurrected?


Recently, I enjoyed watching a debate between skeptic Dr. Richard Carrier and apologist Dr. Justin Bass titled, "Are There Reliable Sources for the Resurrection of Jesus?"  It was an interesting and thought-provoking exchange.  

One point that Dr. Bass made throughout the debate was that Jesus' resurrection was a unique event that the disciples did not expect.  During the Q and A, one questioner asserted that Lazarus was also "resurrected" in an apparent attempt to argue that Jesus' resurrection wasn't all that unique after all.  This is a mistake that I often hear skeptics make.  But if our desire is to be precise, it is important for both believers and unbelievers to understand that Lazarus was not resurrected.  As Dr. Bass pointed out in his reply, Lazarus will die again.  In other words, he did not experience a resurrection as Jesus did, but a revivification.  What is the difference?  Dr. William Lane Craig explains:

"Resurrection is the raising up of a dead man in the space-time universe to glory and immorality...Revivification is the return of a dead man to the mortal life...John 11:1-44 describes the revivification of Lazarus by Jesus."1

When one is revivified, they will die again.  However, when one is resurrected (Jesus being the first; 1 Cor. 15:20-23), they will receive a new, glorified body that will never perish.

And because of Jesus' resurrection, believers can look forward to His return and receiving their own immortal, resurrected body.  As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (NLT):

"But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.  He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.  So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man.  Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back." 

Thanks be to God!

Courage and Godspeed,

1. William Lane Craig, On Guard, Kindle. 

Related Posts

N.T. Wright on the Necessity of the Resurrection

Video - Learn to Make a Maximal Case for the Resurrection

Gary Habermas and Mike Licona Answer the Claim that, "There is a Huge Mountain of Probability Against an Event Ever Being an Act of God."

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Why was it all right for the Magi to follow the stars when the Bible condemns astrology (Matt. 2:2)?


In their helpful book Bringing Your Faith to Work, Randy Douglass and the late Norman L. Geisler, address the above question:

"The Bible condemns astrology (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10; Isa. 8:19), yet God blessed the wise men (Magi) and seemed to even guide them with the stars to show the birthplace of Christ.

First, astrology is a belief that the study of the arrangement and movement of the stars can foretell events whether they be good or bad.  Second, the star (singular) in the biblical story was to announce the birth of Christ, not to foretell it.  God gave the star to the Magi to let them know that the Christ child had already been born (Matt. 2:16).  Third, there are other instances in the Bible in which the stars and planets are used by God to reveal his desires.  The stars declare God's glory (Ps. 19:1-6); creation reveals his existence (Rom. 1:18-20) and will be affected at the return of Christ (Matt. 24:29-30).  So the star guiding the Magi was not used to predict, but to proclaim the birth of Christ."1

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Norman L. Geisler and Randy Douglass, Bringing Your Faith to Work, p. 169.

Related Posts

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True by J. Warner Wallace

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Theologian R.C. Sproul on Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Does Christmas have pagan origins or not?  Today's post features 3 short and concise articles by apologist and speaker Lenny Esposito that consider this question historically and with up-to-date scholarship.

Esposito writes:

"The claim that the roots of Christmas are pagan is one I hear over and over again, especially in December. The idea isn't even new. The New England Puritans, who valued work more than celebration, taught such.  Puritan preacher Increase Mather preached that "the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that 'Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian.'

When one digs into the actual history however, a much different picture arises. There are two ways to approach the question: one is to see how December 25 became associated with the Nativity, which is how the early church would have referred to the day of Christ's birth. The other one is to look at the celebrations of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. Either approach shows the dubious nature of the claim that Christmas has pagan roots."

The articles are as follows:

Pt. 1- No, Christmas Is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday

Pt. 2- The Date of Saturnalia Doesn't Line Up with Christmas

Pt. 3- Christmas, the Solstice, and December 25th

For more on the date of Christmas, see this article by Andrew McGowan, originally published in Bible Review, December 2002.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Courage and Godspeed,

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Paul Copan on the Driving Out of the Canaanites in the Old Testament


"The removal of the Canaanites from the land was not without justification (Canaanites were disobedient); it was not due to ethnicity or tribalism.  Nor was it extermination; it was more like disabling raids.  Many Canaanites remained in the land.  Indeed, the biblical text commonly uses exaggerated or hyperbolic language to express defeat: 'To read Joshua as extermination is to misread the text.'"1

To learn more about this topic, check out Dr. Copan's recent dialogue on Unbelievable with Justin Brierley here.