Posted by: rudyruddell | December 27, 2011

A More Plausible Explanation for the Empty Tomb

Below is table of the parallel reading of the New Testament Gospels. In Matthew, it says that Joseph laid the corpse of Jesus in his own tomb and rolled a stone in front of it. Matthew implies that the two Marys were there and saw him roll away the stone. Meanwhile, the Jews were meeting and decided they had better secure the tomb in case someone steals the corpse and says Jesus rose from dead. The other gospels do not mention the Jewish meeting. I think that it is much more plausible that someone stole the body of Jesus after Joseph laid it in the tomb, but before the Jews sealed and placed guards there. Since Joseph was able to move the stone there, a thief should have been able to remove the stone, take the body, and return the stone before the Jews came to seal it. Matthew does not say that they actually checked to see if the body was still there.

Someone may say that that is not plausible because no one would want to do that.  Well, we know that people do strange things based on inexplicable motivations. All one needs to do is to read the newspapers to find people doing things based on incomprehensible motivation. Mothers kill their kids, people mutilate themselves, and serial killers have sex with corpses. Do I need to go on with more examples?

So I think it would be safe to say that we all have heard confirmed reports of people doing things we don’t understand. However, we do not know for sure that miracles  happen. Even if I presuppose that the supernatural exists even though I have never seen one and there has never been a scientifically confirmed miracle, I would say that, because scientifically confirmed crazy human actions occur more frequently (very frequent) than scientifically confirmed miracles (never), I think it is much more plausible that some crazy person with misunderstood and inexplicable motivations stole the body of Jesus before the sealing of the tomb than it would be for the god of the bible to remove all of the bacteria decaying the corpse, replace the rotting flesh with new flesh, restart the heart and other bodily functions of Jesus, including his scars, and cause him to come back to life.
So because I have this opinion about a more plausible explanation for the empty tomb, no matter how good of a person I am,  am I to believe that I will spend trillions of years feeling my skin burn off and a serial killer who accepts Jesus as his savior in his last minutes of life will be up in heaven watching me.

MATTHEW

27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock,

and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 27:61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

27:62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, 27:63 saying, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 27:64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He is risen from the dead;’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

27:65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary

MARK

and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock.

He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was laid.

16:1 When the Sabbath was past,

Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome,

LUKE

and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid.

23:55 The women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid. 23:56 They returned, and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn,

they and some others

JOHN

place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. 19:42Then because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

20:1 Now on the first day of the week,

Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark,

MATTHEW

came to see the tomb.

28:2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it. 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 28:4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men.

28:5 The angel answered the women, “Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen,

just like he said.

MARK

bought spices, that they might come and anoint him. 16:2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

16:3 They were saying among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 16:4 for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back.

16:5 Entering into the tomb,

they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed.

16:6 He said to them, “Don’t be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here.

LUKE

came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

24:2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.

24:3 They entered in, and didn’t find the Lord Jesus’ body.

24:4 It happened, while they were greatly perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling clothing. 24:5 Becoming terrified, they bowed their faces down to the earth. They said to them,

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?  24:6 He isn’t here, but is risen.

Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee,  24:7 saying that

JOHN

to the tomb,

and saw the stone taken away from the tomb.

20:2 Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”


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