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Thread: Is the story of Lazarus a later Embellishment?

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    Is the story of Lazarus a later Embellishment?

    The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is probably Jesus' greatest (alleged) miracle. If you grew up a conservative Christian like me, you simply accepted this story as historical fact and never really investigated this claim. So let's take a look at it now.

    The story begins with Jesus being informed that Lazarus is gravely ill. However, instead of immediately rushing to Bethany to heal his friend (or just pronouncing "Lazarus you are healed" by telepathy from where he was, Jesus delays and states that the power of God will be demonstrated through Lazarus and his illness (and as we will soon find out, by his death). Lazarus dies. FOUR days later, Jesus arrives in Bethany. Lazarus has been wrapped in burial garments and placed in a tomb with a stone rolled in front to seal it. Lazarus' body stinks. It is decomposing. Lazarus has died and has been buried.

    The Bible says that many Jews have come from Jerusalem to mourn with Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. Bethany is a stone's throw from the capital Jerusalem, so anything BIG that happens in Bethany is going to be news not just in Bethany, but in Jerusalem and all of Judea. Lazarus was not buried in some obscure location such as in the backwaters of Galilee where no one but a few peasants would hear about his subsequent "raising".

    So what happens? You know the story. Jesus asks to be taken to the tomb, tells them to roll the stone away and commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb...which Lazarus does. Lazarus is alive! Jesus has raised other people from the dead before, but had he ever raised someone who was already wrapped in burial cloth and whose body had been decomposing for FOUR days; decomposing to the point that he or she stunk?? I don't think so. Jesus previous "raising from the dead miracles" give no indication that the people had been dead for very long, so skeptics such as the Pharisees could easily say that the "dead" person had simply been unconscious, faking, etc..

    NO ONE could deny this miracle! This miracle had multiple non-believers as witnesses. These non-believing Jews even went back and reported the details of this event to the Pharisees and the High Priest. The Pharisees had asked for a sign...and they just got one. A big one!

    How big of a deal was this miracle? Well, let's look at the Old Testament: How many Hebrew/Jewish prophets raised people from the dead in the entire OT? Answer: TWO. Elijah and Elisha. And they only did it once each...while they were alive. (Elisha's bones raised a man from the dead years after his death). How many times did a prophet of Baal or some other false god raise someone from the dead? I can't find any instance in the Bible where a false or pagan prophet raised someone from the dead. How about Satan? Do we have any instance in the Bible where Satan raised someone from the dead? Not that I know of. So if a prophet raised someone from the dead, that was absolute proof that the prophet was from God!

    Think about this: By publically and undeniably raising the stinking corpse of Lazarus from the dead, Jesus accomplished a miracle unparalleled in Jewish history EXCEPT by two of the greatest prophets in Jewish history: Elijah and Elisha! The news of this miracle should have sent shock waves through the Jewish community, not only in Palestine, but in every Jewish community on the face of the earth! No longer could the Pharisees get away with claiming that Jesus' powers were from Satan. Satan doesn't have the power to raise people from the dead! Jesus had to be the Messiah or a prophet equal in stature to Elijah! Every Jew on the face of the earth would have been shaken to the core by this miracle!

    Yet, after Jesus death and (alleged) resurrection...we never hear about Lazarus ever again!

    Paul, a devout Jew and Pharisee, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible, says NOT ONE WORD about Lazarus. Not one. Think about that for a minute. A miracle on the scale of Elijah and Elisha and Paul says nothing about it. Not in his epistles and not in the Book of Acts. Paul was crisscrossing the Mediterranean, preaching to Jewish communities in Asia Minor and Greece, trying to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God...yet he never once mentions Jesus' greatest miracle; a miracle that occurred in a suburb of the capital; a miracle witnessed by many non-believers; a miracle that had undeniable evidence of death---a stinking corpse...and yet Paul never seems to feel the need to use this evidence to convince Jews of the authenticity of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. Think of it. Paul could have said this: "My fellow Jews, this is the same Jesus that raised a stinking corpse from the dead. You remember hearing about it: the Raising of Lazarus of Bethany! That miracle proved that Jesus was from God. Now Jesus has raised himself from the dead proving that not only was he a great prophet, equal in power to Elijah, but proving that he is the Messiah. He is the Son of God. He is GOD!

    But no, Paul never uses Jesus' greatest miracle as proof of the authenticity of Jesus' claims. So what does Paul use? His uses is own self-reported VISION of seeing and hearing a talking bright light on the Damascus Road and a list of alleged witnesses, written in the form of a Creed, handed down to him from others; alleged witnesses of whom, very possibly, he had never met ANY OF THEM, other than Peter and James (second, third, fourth, etc. hand information).

    Odd. Very, very odd.

    And think about this: If Lazarus had been raised from the dead, he would be the perfect preacher of the Gospel. People would have flocked to hear his story! But we hear nothing of Lazarus preaching the Gospel after Jesus' death. ....but maybe he had died, right? (there is always a possible harmonization)

    But then there is this: How many Christians know that the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead only appears in ONE Gospel? Just one, folks. And that one gospel is the LAST gospel to have been written, the Gospel of John, written in the late first century or the early second century. And get this: most or at least many Bible scholars no longer believe that the Gospel of John was written by an eyewitness.

    So what do we have: We have the greatest miracle of Jesus appearing in just one Gospel, the last Gospel written, written by someone who was not an eyewitness to the miracle and most probably someone who had never met Jesus at all, and, Paul, who says NOTHING about this great miracle. Dear friends, what is the obvious explanation: This is a tall supernatural tale and nothing more! And even more disturbing: What does this embellished supernatural tall tale say about the fantastical, supernatural claim of Jesus' own "raising from the dead"; a story that grows with more and more fantastical elements with each Gospel written?? I suggest that the EVIDENCE strongly points to it ALL being one, big, tall tale!
    Last edited by Gary; 01-10-2016 at 05:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    Moderated By: Bill the Cat

    This forum is strictly for discussions and debates between nontheists and hard agnostics only. The topic range is for nontheist "in house" issues much like Theology201/Ecclesiology201 is for "in house" Christian/theist issues.

    This area is not to be used to unfairly substantively rebut/discuss/criticize specific other members who cannot respond or defend. It also is not be used as a platform to simply stack arguments against theism with the intent that they cannot be responded to here, but interactions between different nontheist viewpoints is highly encouraged. Arguments simply directed towards rebutting or disproving theism should be posted in Apologetics 301.

    ***If you wish to take issue with this notice DO NOT do so in this thread.***
    Contact the forum moderator or an administrator in Private Message or email instead. If you feel you must publicly complain or whine, please take it to the Padded Room unless told otherwise.

    Thank you for the clarification. I will copy and paste this comment to Apologetics 301 to start a thread there.

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    Closing this thread

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