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Thread: Gary & Rhinestone's Thread on Burial and Resurrection of Christ

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    tWebber RhinestoneCowboy's Avatar
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    Gary & Rhinestone's Thread on Burial and Resurrection of Christ

    IP finally got around to addressing a common argument in critical scholarship about Christian origins.



    I have reproduced my reply on YouTube here on the forum for reference and critique. IP's quotes are in italics while my responses are in bold and I use a few scholars quotes in red.

    - 1:43 "Even if the appearance Paul received was just an internal vision, this doesn't necessitate the other appearances to the apostles were internal visions as well"

    Where's the evidence that Paul thought they were different? Where does he make a distinction?


    - 1:52 "Paul never actually says all the appearances were the same."

    He equates them with the same verb ὤφθη, Greek – ōphthē, which was a word commonly used for spiritual visions in the Septuagint. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. V, p. 358) points out that in this type of context the word is a technical term for being “in the presence of revelation as such, without reference to the nature of its perception.” In other words, the “seeing” may not refer to actual sensory or mental perception. “The dominant thought is that the appearances are revelations, an encounter with the risen Lord who reveals himself…they experienced his presence.” Paul uses his own appearance (which was a vision) to claim apostleship in 1 Cor 9:1, arguing that he saw the exact same thing the other apostles did. He's basically saying "I saw Jesus just like you guys did. Can I be an apostle now?" But if Paul claimed to see the same thing the others did (and Paul had a vision), then it follows that the rest were visions as well.


    - 2:19 "Just because Paul lists appearances that does not mean all the appearances happened the same way."

    If Paul makes no distinction then we have no reason to think they were any different.

    - 2:41 "They could have been different. Some could have been longer, more detailed, more physical interaction"

    Ok, well have you discovered another firsthand source from Peter or James? As far as the New Testament goes, only Paul's account is firsthand and he makes it clear that what he had was a vision which is equated without distinction to the other appearances in 1 Cor 15:5-8.

    - 2:57 "Skeptics are trying to tell us they are getting back to the earliest Christian beliefs."

    Yup. Paul's firsthand records indicate that the appearance to him was a vision or some type of spiritual appearance. In fact Paul admits to having *"visions"* and *"revelations"* (plural) of the Lord in 2 Cor 12:1. He nowhere indicates that the Risen Jesus was physically touched as a resuscitated corpse. Surely, Peter and James would have told him had that actually been the case.

    Gal 1:11-12
    "For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a *revelation* of Jesus Christ."


    Gal 1:16
    "But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to *reveal his Son in me* so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being,"


    1 Cor 15:8
    "Last of all, as to one untimely born, he *appeared* also to me."


    - 3:02 "But they are relying heavily on Acts which was not written by Paul."

    Oh, so are you saying Paul did not have a heavenly vision per Acts now? Lol! Actually, we don't need Acts because Paul on his own admits to having visions and the "appearance" to him was a spiritual revelation. The complete ignorance of the empty tomb type resurrection and physical encounters from Paul is enough to conclude that he had a different idea of the resurrection than the later gospels authors did.

    The bottom line is that you must accept the appearance to Paul was a vision *because* that's what Acts describes. You can't have it both ways by accepting the Acts vision report then try to claim the other appearances in 1 Cor 15:5-7 were more "physical." Paul makes no distinction. The other physical appearances to the disciples in Acts are not corroborated by Paul or any other firsthand source. Heck, they're not even mentioned by Mark or Matthew!

    - 3:35 "All we really have is Paul saying that Jesus appeared to him which doesn't teach Jesus appeared to him in a vision."

    Haha! Ok, so Paul's vision wasn't a vision? Got it. Have fun explaining that to all the evangelicals and changing 2,000 years of church Orthodox tradition.

    - 4:05 "This is nothing more than circular reasoning."

    1. Paul says Jesus "appeared" to him.
    2. The NT is unanimous in that the "appearance" of Jesus to Paul was a vision.
    3. Therefore, Jesus "appeared" to Paul in a vision.


    Not circular at all actually. The conclusion follows directly from the premises.

    - 4:27 "Then why are not the other accounts of Jesus' appearances early as well"

    Well, are they mentioned by any other early firsthand source? Nope. Okay well there's your answer. Each part of Acts must be examined on a case by case basis. It's not as simple as take all or nothing like you want to make it seem. When you have these amazing physical appearances pop out of nowhere with no early corroboration whatsoever then it's reasonable to conclude that these were likely later legendary embellishments. Since Luke contradicts Mark and Matthew by having the appearances in Jerusalem instead of Galilee, then right off the bat we must be skeptical of Luke's uncorroborated appearances. If he's ok with changing history to suit his needs then what's to keep him from making up new appearances of Jesus that didn't happen in reality?

    - 4:47 "If Luke/Acts have reliable parts...then why are all the parts which teach a very obvious physical resurrection not reliable?"

    It's very simple. It's clear that the author of Luke believed in the empty tomb and physical corpse revivification/resurrection. With Paul, that view is nowhere found within his preaching so you can't say it was his view without reading later Christian beliefs into Paul. This is anachronistic and leads to poor historical conclusions.

    - 5:05 "If you look at the actual descriptions of what Paul experienced in Acts it doesn't really imply Paul just experienced an internal vision."

    Since the companions don't see or hear the vision properly, this by definition, makes the full experience of the vision subjective to Paul. Which in turn actually supports an internal vision, unique to Paul, while the others experienced periphery elements. However, the only physical details mentioned are a bright light and a voice from Heaven. It says they "saw no one" Acts 9:7.

    - 5:36 "Acts also says Paul was blinded for 3 days afterwards."

    If Paul was blinded, how did he see Jesus? This actually backfires on you and supports an internal vision. Oops.

    - 6:16 "Luke/Acts narrative: then he ascended into heaven."

    Funny how there's no mention of this seemingly important event in Paul, Mark, or Matthew. Keep in Mind Luke narrates that the Risen Jesus was on earth for 40 days providing "many proofs." Why do none of the earliest sources make mention of this momentous occasion? Legendary growth perhaps? That does not seem improbable given the data. From reading the Pauline letters it's clear that Jesus was exalted straight to heaven without an intermediate period on earth - Rom. 8.34; 10.5-8; Eph. 1.19-23; 2.6-7; 4.7-10 Col. 3.1-4; Phil. 2.8-9; 1 Tim. 3.16. Those that want to argue otherwise must provide actual evidence that Paul thought Jesus was on earth for 40 days. Since this in nowhere found in Paul, Mark, or Matthew it seems the task will be quite difficult!


    - 7:04 "It is obvious that what was buried is also what was raised."

    Reading the text in literal English is fallacious. It helps to put Greek words with a wide range of meaning back into their diverse 1st century Hellenistic-Jewish context - http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/1453.html. Being "raised from the dead" or "recalling the dead to life" took more than one form in this time period. The beliefs on afterlife and resurrection were very diverse - https://books.google.com/books?id=z-...page&q&f=false
    Considering the diversity of the sources, being "raised from the dead" need not entail that a body literally left an empty grave behind. There was no necessary connection. Paul does not say Jesus' *physical corpse* was raised out of a tomb. He only says "Jesus was raised." It's important to understand the distinction and the plethora of meanings this could have had to a 1st century Hellenistic-Jewish audience. Moreover, if a literal "raising" of the body was meant by Paul or the earlier composers of the creed how do we know that they meant raised to earth as opposed to raised to heaven? According to Paul, an earthly resurrection isn't even spoken of. However, in its place is a simple one step resurrection/exaltation to heaven - Rom. 8.34; 10.5-8; Eph. 1.19-23; 2.6-7; 4.7-10 Col. 3.1-4; Phil. 2.8-9; 1 Tim. 3.16.


    - 7:26 "This Greek word for resurrection directly means a bodily event of coming back to life."

    A few problems with this. First, the meaning of anastasis in its 1st century context is disputed.

    "Resurrection terminology in these sources is diverse and inconsistent; it is not possible to claim that resurrection always meant embodied life after death, a second state after the sate of being dead. In the light of the available sources, resurrection may involve the body, but many texts remain ambivalent and at least some of them seem rather to depict resurrection of the spirit or soul. Moreover, bodily resurrection can be described by using expressions other than anastasis and the like. All this shows that there is no certainty that whenever we encounter the word anastasis in early Christian source, it means bodily resurrection." - Outi Lehtipuu, Debates Over the Resurrection of the Dead: Constructing Early Christian Identity, pg. 40.
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...page&q&f=false

    Second, the early creed in 1 Cor 15:3-5 does not use the word anastasis. It only says "he was raised" which, as I demonstrated above, is ambiguous.

    Third, it depends on what you mean by "bodily" event. Paul thought the resurrection would involve a "body" but it was not a flesh and blood corpse on earth like the later gospels describe. He thought it was a spiritual/pneumatic body in heaven. This is made clear by Paul in 1 Cor 15:35-54 which actually argues against a physical corpse resurrection (he clearly distinguishes between two different type of bodies in 1 Cor 15:40, 44). This type of heavenly "two body exchange" is supported by what Josephus says of the Pharisees in Jewish War 2.162 and 3.374. He says they believed that the souls of good men are "removed into *other* bodies." The word "other" implies it is not the same one.

    At 9:26 your translation of 1 Cor 15:53 is misleading because σῶμα, the word for "body", is not even in the Greek there. http://qbible.com/greek-new-testamen...ans/15.html#53

    - 10:41 "Mike Licona documents 846 occurrences of psuchikos..."

    Okay but where does Licona demonstrate that a "spiritual body" was a resurrected flesh and blood corpse like the gospels describe? That's what you and Licona have to prove.


    - 10:54 "It is simply not a word that is meant to mean a material body."

    A better translation is "soulish" but it means the natural or earthly body, as mentioned previously in 1 Cor 15:40, which is distinguished from the spiritual/heavenly body. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...page&q&f=false

    - 12:19 "No author has ever used these words to contrast physical and immaterial."

    Strawman. We're not saying the spiritual body was "immaterial." We're just saying it was a different body in heaven, not a formerly dead revivified corpse on earth.


    "Flesh, blood, and pneuma are all parts of the body - or rather, different forms of substance that together make up a body. When Paul says that the resurrected body will be a pneumatic body rather than simply a psychic body or a flesh-and-blood body, he is saying that the immortal and incorruptible part of the human body will be resurrected- or, to put it more accurately, that the body will be raised, constituted (due to divine transformation) only by its immortal and incorruptible aspects, without its corruptible aspects such as sarx (flesh). No physical/spiritual dichotomy is involved here, much less a material/immaterial one...Paul would have thought of all of it as "material" - if, that is, he had been able to think in such a category without a material/immaterial dichotomy. At any rate, all the "stuff" here talked about is indeed stuff." - "Dale Martin's The Corinthian Body, pg. 128.

    - 12:44 "A small number of scholars believe "flesh and blood" means a physical body."

    There are more scholars than that who adhere to the literal rendering. Since Paul uses the literal Greek words for "flesh and blood", (not the words for "sinful mortal nature"), then the literal rendering cannot be ruled out. It doesn't matter if the phrase is used metaphorically in other passages. What matters is what Paul actually meant to say and literal "flesh and blood" makes perfect sense in the context in which he is speaking.

    13:59 Again, your translation of 1 Cor 15:53 is misleading. The word for "body" is not in the original Greek.

    15:05 Possible quote mine of Gerd Ludemann. What exactly does he mean by "symbolic interpretation?" Did you ask him?

    - 15:16 "You have to jump through some pretty crazy hoops to try to interpret Paul to be claiming he believed in a spiritual vision only."

    Lol! No you don't. All you have to do is read all the accounts that describe Paul's experience and it's clear that it was a vision. This isn't even controversial. It's what the New Testament actually says and has been the standard Orthodox position for around 2,000 years! Where does Paul indicate that he or the disciples experienced the Risen Jesus in a more physical way? That's your burden to prove.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    You did all that in Youtube comments?
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    Child of the One True King Raphael's Avatar
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    This looks to me to be the same argument some guy calling himself 'Debunked' used here
    a while back (was daft then as well) .
    Are you him? (if so we can merge your account)

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    tWebber
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    If you believe Paul's companions "experienced periphery elements" of his vision, doesn't this hurt your case as a non believer?

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    tWebber RhinestoneCowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael View Post
    This looks to me to be the same argument some guy calling himself 'Debunked' used here
    a while back (was daft then as well) .
    Are you him? (if so we can merge your account)
    I remember reading something similar to this argument a while back but I can't find the threads now. I did a bit of Googling and found that the argument is all
    over the internet. It seems a bunch of skeptics are making it. But, no i'm not the original poster.

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    tWebber RhinestoneCowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanD View Post
    If you believe Paul's companions "experienced periphery elements" of his vision, doesn't this hurt your case as a non believer?
    Nope. I am perfectly capable of making a distinction between what ancient texts say happened and what most likely happened in reality.
    The bottom line is that Christians must accept the Risen Christ's appearance to Paul was a vision because that's what the New Testament says.
    They can't have it both ways by accepting Paul's vision then try to claim the other "appearances" in 1 Cor 15:5-7 were more "physical" than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RhinestoneCowboy View Post
    Nope. I am perfectly capable of making a distinction between what ancient texts say happened and what most likely happened in reality.
    The bottom line is that Christians must accept the Risen Christ's appearance to Paul was a vision because that's what the New Testament says.
    They can't have it both ways by accepting Paul's vision then try to claim the other "appearances" in 1 Cor 15:5-7 were more "physical" than that.
    How do you come to terms with that as a non believer though? If you accept Luke's account of Paul's vision as authentic, and that the men that were with him "experienced periphery elements," then it wasn't just in Paul's mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RhinestoneCowboy View Post
    Nope. I am perfectly capable of making a distinction between what ancient texts say happened and what most likely happened in reality.
    The bottom line is that Christians must accept the Risen Christ's appearance to Paul was a vision because that's what the New Testament says.
    They can't have it both ways by accepting Paul's vision then try to claim the other "appearances" in 1 Cor 15:5-7 were more "physical" than that.
    The point is did Paul believe in a resurrection of the physical body:

    50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.
    So the mortal and perishable are not destroyed or lost but clothed with the imperishable and immortality. The physical is not lost.
    "Heaven offers nothing that the mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man's love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.” C.S. Lewis

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    tWebber RhinestoneCowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanD View Post
    How do you come to terms with that as a non believer though? If you accept Luke's account of Paul's vision as authentic, and that the men that were with him "experienced periphery elements," then it wasn't just in Paul's mind.
    I don't. I'm just pointing out the implications of Christian origins if you actually examine what the texts say and apply logic to them.

    My point in that post was to show that the vision is still subjective to Paul because only he "sees" Jesus (even though it doesn't actually
    say anyone saw Jesus, but rather it only details a bright light and a disembodied voice) but anyway, the others don't "see" Jesus and are
    not blinded (they don't hear or see the vision properly) so this by definition makes the full effect of the vision subjective to Paul.
    Last edited by RhinestoneCowboy; 05-09-2016 at 10:32 PM.

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    tWebber RhinestoneCowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    The point is did Paul believe in a resurrection of the physical body:



    So the mortal and perishable are not destroyed or lost but clothed with the imperishable and immortality. The physical is not lost.
    This is a possible interpretation but it is not necessitated by the text. Usually, people are guilty of reading into Paul the later accounts of the empty tomb and physical corpse
    revivification that appears in the gospels but is actually nowhere found in Paul's letters. They just assume it must be there because the texts must harmonize somehow.

    Paul makes it clear in the preceding verse 1 Cor 15:40 that there are two different types of bodies.

    "There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another."

    He then follows through with this same idea again in 1 Cor 15:44.

    "it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."

    So since Paul makes it clear that there are different types of bodies, this must be taken into account when analyzing the rest of the text.

    This heavenly exchange of bodies is further emphasized by Paul in 2 Cor 5:1-4.

    "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling—if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."


    "The conception of nakedness is a metaphor used with some frequency in Greek philosophical and quasi-philosophical literature for the state of the soul that has left the body at death." - David Aune, (with sources cited at bottom of page) https://books.google.com/books?id=XT...page&q&f=false

    In other words, when we are born we are "clothed" in a natural/earthly body. When we die, that body is left behind and we become “naked” only to be “further clothed” in a spiritual body in heaven.

    Josephus says of the Pharisees in Jewish War 2.162 and 3.374 that they believed the souls of good men are "removed into other bodies" in heaven.

    Hellenistic-Jewish resurrection beliefs were quite diverse in the 2nd Temple Period. The sources on pages 31-40 provide a background for the
    many ways resurrection was interpreted.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=z-...page&q&f=false

    The "spiritual body" was still "physical" in that it was made of material, but Paul definitely did not envision it as a formerly dead corpse that had returned to life and left an empty tomb. That view was a later development. The spiritual body was a body in heaven, not on earth.
    Last edited by RhinestoneCowboy; 05-09-2016 at 11:10 PM.

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