Assumptions About the Resurrection
So, it would behoove us to examine our thinking about this most central historical event.
The people I’ve encountered who reject this event tend to do so out of hand — without really doing any research. They simply say, “Dead people stay dead, so there is no possibility of a resurrection.” That kind of thinking will do us no good; what is required here is some research, and that research must begin with an examination of our presuppositions.
Suppose you asked me, “John, did you really preach for an hour at New Vintage Church in San Diego, CA, a couple of months ago?”
There are several presuppositions built into that question. First, you’re assuming that I was in San Diego that Sunday instead of Sulphur Springs. Second, you’re assuming that I did the preaching instead of Tim Spivey (who normally preaches at New Vintage). Third, you’re assuming that New Vintage Church exists.
These things are taken for granted in your question and must be agreed upon by both of us before we get around to the discussion on the length of my sermon that weekend.
If someone walks up in the middle of our conversation and says, “I don’t believe John was in California, and I think Tim preached if there even is such a place as New Vintage Church” — well…we’ll have difficulty proving that I was only on the platform for about 35 or 40 minutes.
Now, it’s a lot easier to prove that I was speaking in San Diego at New Vintage than it is to prove how long I spoke. Some of the time I was speaking, I was actually praying. Does that count? But to prove whether or not I was there at all…well…that’s a bit easier.
We must approach the Resurrection the same way: There are certain presuppositions that we all carry into our investigation of the most significant event of human history.
For example, we must assume that there was an actual person called Jesus of Nazareth. There’s no potential for resurrecting a person who never lived in the first place!
What else? What other things must we assume if we’re going to meaningfully discuss the possibility of Jesus’ Resurrection as an actual historical event?