Was the resurrection of Jesus physical or just spiritual
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|A debate over the case for Christianity. What historical facts about Jesus’ life, agreed to by virtually all critical scholars, lead to the conclusion that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Did the disciples have hallucinations of Jesus rather than actually see Him? Was Jesus’ resurrection body merely a spiritual body (a ghost-like, wispy, see-through, non-material body) or a real physical body? Did Jesus claim to be God? What factual evidence today inclines us to believe miracles (like the resurrection) are possible?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 7, Cat. No. DJRD
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Keywords: Resurrection, Jesus, Physical resurrection, spiritual resurrection
- Ankerberg: There are some people, Gary, that would say that, “You know, the resurrection, as you go into a lot of churches across the country, the minister in that church would say this is not a physical literal resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is what they call a spiritual resurrection from the dead.” Why not? Why not just a spiritual resurrection?
- Habermas: Well, this is the earlier point that I was at odds with Tony. I would say today this is a statement whenever you try to tell us where scholars are today. But I’m currently studying 100 sources on the resurrection from 1975 to 2000 to see if I can get a feel for where critical scholars are. And by far most scholars today think something really happened; the disciples had real experiences. They believed they saw the risen Jesus. And most of these scholars think the disciples really saw something; they had real experiences. But the majority of scholars who will admit, some of them think even Jesus appeared there, they shy away from the physical body and they think, I don’t know, these are my words but maybe some kind of a shimmering hologram or something. So that’s probably the typical approach today from skeptics that are somewhere in between the two of us.
- Ankerberg: Another word that people would usually say is, “Hey, Paul uses the word spiritual in 1 Corinthians 15. Does he mean spiritual in the sense of some ethereal kind of wispy kind of see-through thing? Or is this a literal physical body?” What do the words mean there?
- Habermas: This is crucial for us because we believe that, and we’ve been playing around here with the Gospels a little bit, but we would both say Paul is by far the best evidence.
- Flew: Right.
- Habermas: He’s the only eyewitness and that’s what everybody says today. So what Paul thinks about the resurrection body is crucial. Now, just a note there, 1 Corinthians 15. There’s obviously a Greek word for spirit: pneuma. Paul doesn’t choose that word. He says “spiritual body.” So I assume there’s some change going on, but the idea is there’s a physical body there. Now to show my earlier comment, I would not think that Paul is saying Jesus appeared as a spirit. And if you want me to give that to you briefly in a Pauline book accepted by all critics, Philippians. By the way, critics almost always accept Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians. G. A. Wells, who is probably, I’m sure, to the left of Tony, he accepts eight of Paul’s. He accepts those five and three others. In Philippians 3….
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