Thanks Christy, but I find this is a bad argument for a bodily resurrection because Paul saw a visitionary Christ, after Christ’s supposed assention!
Also, Paul in Galatians claims that his gospel (i.e the gospel he preaches) was not received from any man, but by a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul himself here contradicts the notion of tradition. He boasts in having directly received the Gospel from a revelation! To me, this is no different than Joseph Smith receiving a special revelations (difference in minor details) and starting a movement (Mornonism) that is thriving today.
Also, it’s not clear how contentious the issue of Christ’s bodily resurrection really was.
Galatians 5:11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
Also, there is the curious issue of the amnesia of the Pharisees in Acts
Acts 23: 6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the [Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” 7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
What? How quickly did these Pharisees forget that they had to pay the bribes to keep the news of Jesus’ resurrection a secret, and now they acknowledge the resurrection? To me, this all sounds as stories. These things were not considered by the authors but must now be dealt with by Christian apologists.
And, lastly, I feel that Jesus (if he is real) is very unfair. Paul, who lived very close to the time of Jesus, perhaps being a contemporary of Jesus, gets an appearance of the risen Jesus. For Paul, the resurrection is true because Jesus appeared to him. And yet, Jesus stopped appearing. Why did he appear to the guy who had much more historical data available to him (i.e. Paul could interview eyewitnesses of Jesus, interview guards, the centuriions, etc… He could visit the tomb, speak to the apostles who were alive and get their story. And interview Thomas as well). And yet, THIS guy gets a personal visit, while we, living thousands of years later, must comb through history with a fine tooth comb, learning the ancient languages few understand today. Why this inconsistency?
But this is the curious thing (to me). Jesus says to not tell this to anyone. With some instructions, he said to not tell this until such and such happens. This particular point (namely that he is the Christ, who is a special person and not the risen prophet) is to be kept a secret indefinitely. No conditions are specified (for us). And we never have quotes by the disciples to the effect of… “Hey, this guy was not the risen John the Baptist, he was his own person”.
The Gospel story is very weird (looking at it skeptically now). The people are flocking to see Jesus preach, but they don’t bother clarify his identity, thinking he is a risen prophet.
Also, they worship him as a king (Hosanna in the highest, etc…) and then want him killed just a few days later? It’s stories like these that give me pause. Someone was writing a narrative, perhaps intending this to be an allegory and nothing else.