A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave -- By: Norman L. Geisler

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 05:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave
Author: Norman L. Geisler


A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb:
Jesus Beyond the Grave

(Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005)
ed. by Robert Price and Jeffrey Lowder

Norman L. Geisler, Ph.D.

Chapter One: “Is there Sufficient Historical Evidence to Establish the Resurrection of Jesus?” By Robert Greg Cavin

Summary of the Argument:

Cavin argues that even on the assumption of “complete historical reliability,” the New Testament does not “provide sufficient information to enable us to establish the historicity of the resurrection” (p. 19; hereafter just the page number) because: (1) Resurrection is not mere revivification but involves an imperishable supernatural body (23–24). (2) And there is no New Testament evidence that Jesus’ post-revivified

body was imperishable and supernatural. (3) Therefore, even if Jesus was revivified, there is no evidence of His resurrection (in this New Testament sense of the term).

Response to the Argument

First, even revivification is a miracle that supports Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh (Matt. 12:40; John 2:19–21; 10:18 cf. Mark 2:10). So, the objections really gain nothing by making this distinction. And if He is deity, then He will by nature be able to make his body immortal.

Second, there is evidence in the Gospels that Jesus’ post-revivified body was imperishable and that it was supernatural: (a) It was able to supernaturally appear and disappear (Luke 24; John 20). (b) It ascended into heaven (Acts 1:8–11; Luke 24:50–51). c) It appeared many years after it was in heaven to Paul. Even granting that both Steven’s (Acts 7) and John’s (Rev. 1) experiences were visions and not physical appearances of Christ, the one to Paul (Acts 9) was not a non-physical appearance because of several reasons: (1) There was physical light and sound that was seen and hear by others with him by their natural senses. (2) Paul said, “Have I not seen our Lord” (1 Cor. 9:1). This is perfect indicative active (heoraka from horao) which entails an active seeing with his own natural eyes. (3) Paul’s experience of seeing Christ is listed along with the appearan...

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