Eight days ago, we celebrated Easter. In the weeks prior, we examined the evidence for the Resurrection and culminated that series on Easter Sunday. Having concluded that the Resurrection is the best explanation of the evidence, we will here examine some of the implications of the resurrection of Jesus. They may seem obvious, but the implications of the Resurrection affect how we do apologetics.
Perhaps, the most obvious implication of the Resurrection is that God exists. In a universe where atheism is true, we do not expect to see any resurrections. If a resurrection has occurred, then we live in a theistic universe. The argument would go as follows.
- If Jesus rose from the dead, God exists.
- Jesus rose from the dead.
- God exists.
Again, this may seem obvious. However, I don’t know about you, but when I am asked how I know God exists, my mind doesn’t immediately tend toward the Resurrection. I usually reach for the cosmological, fine-tuning, or moral argument. If the Resurrection can be reasonably substantiated, shouldn’t it have level grounding with other arguments for the existence of God? What’s more, as the Resurrection is the central claim of Christianity, ought this argument take precedence? Obviously, I am not here saying that one should not use the cosmological, fine-tuning, or moral argument; I make these arguments frequent enough. The point here is to say that an apologetic for the Resurrection is a strong argument for the existence of God, namely that Jesus is God.
The Bible is God’s Word
This may seem less obvious than the first implication. However, if Jesus rose from the dead, his teaching is vindicated. Part of his teaching was that the Bible is the authoritative word of God (John 10:35, Matthew 15:3, Mark 7:13, Matthew 22:31). Jesus, who claimed to be God (John 10:30), and rose from the dead, also claimed that the Bible is God’s word. He vindicates the Old Testament directly by his words and the New Testament through His apostles.
Just like with the argument for God’s existence, when it comes to the argument for the Bible as God’s word, I don’t immediately think of the Resurrection. However, if Jesus rose from the dead, and taught that the Bible is God’s word, then we have a solid argument here, as well.
All other religions are false.
Today’s world does not like exclusive claims. However, every major religion is mutually exclusive when it comes to Jesus. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and any other religion cannot simultaneously be true. They make directly conflicting claims. In the three monotheistic religions just mentioned, Jesus is one of those conflicting claims. The early Jewish claim was that Jesus’ body was stolen by his disciples. We examined this claim in an earlier article. The Muslim claim is that Jesus did not actually die on the cross. We also examined this theory. If we can reasonably conclude that Jesus rose from the dead, then it follows that Judaism, Islam, and every other religion are false. Often an atheist will say, “Even if God exists, you have no way to know which God, if any of them, are the real God!” Unless Jesus rose from the dead…which is the central claim of Christianity. If the Resurrection can be reasonably defended, then we know which God is the real, and only God. We don’t need to dismantle every other religion internally, we need to show the truth of the Resurrection.
Jesus is the only way.
Earlier we said that Jesus taught that the Bible was God’s word and this teaching is vindicated by his resurrection. In the same vein, we can conclude from the resurrection that Jesus is the only way of salvation for humanity. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The only way to be reconciled to God from sin, is through Jesus. You can never do enough good deeds to arrive at reconciliation with God. The only work of salvation is the work that Jesus did on the cross. Through his resurrection, we can have a new life, not only in eternity, but in the here-and-now, also. The apostle Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Because Jesus, who was God in the flesh, paid the price for our sins on the cross, and rose from the dead, we can experience new life through faith in Him.
When we argue for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, we aren’t just making another apologetic. We are making the apologetic. The Resurrection is the central claim of Christianity, and many, if not all, of the other tenets of our faith can be substantiated based on its validity. Therefore, no matter the subject of our apologetic discourse, we should at least find our way to the Resurrection, if not, begin there.
What else can be implied by the Resurrection?