“When did serious denial of Christ’s resurrection begin? When science began to flourish?”
“In the first century A.D.”
“How was this handled?”
For more use the DOOR.
Record of early denials occurs in several places in the Bible. Many fail to recognize this. And many Christians skim over–or simply don’t remember or take seriously–what the Bible says about the resurrection of Jesus.
Here’s one account about the conclusion drawn by the Christian intellectual, the highly educated–and former religious terrorist–the Apostle Paul. And yes, his religious turn-around began with a (Biblically reported) supernatural encounter with the resurrected Christ (Acts ch. 9) that left him blind for three days.
Here’s a report of what he said to (assumed-to-be) Christians in the city of Corinth (1 Cor. 12-19). As we often do, we’ll number his points. Where we quote directly from the Bible¹, we’ll use quotation marks. Our rewording of the text will not be so treated.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION (acc. to I. Cor. 12-19)
(1) Paul has previous preached to the Corinthians that Jesus was raised from the dead. (v. 12)
(2) Some (among the believers?) insist that there is no resurrection of the dead. (v. 12)
(3) “…if Christ has not been raised, then our [Paul’s] preaching is vain…” (v. 14)
(4) “…your faith also is vain.” (v. 14)
(5) “Moreover [if we say that Christ was raised from the dead] we are even found to be false witnesses.”
(6) “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (v. 17)
(7) “Then those who has fallen asleep [died] in Christ have perished.” (v. 18)
(8) “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (v. 19)
There are many other places throughout the New Testament that declare, or illustrate, a literal bodily resurrection of Jesus.
To advocate the resurrecting of some sort of “Jesus idea” or “Jesus ethic,” but no bodily resurrection, is to miss the whole point of what Christianity is all about. And it would deny the theme and purpose of what the New Testament, along with the Old Testament, is all about.
¹ Bible quotations from the New American Standard Bible.