The Convincing Evidence that Met a Cold-Case Investigator Who Turned to Science to Try to Disprove Christ's Resurrection
Paul Strand : Mar 30, 2018
"If Christ physically rose from the grave, then that proves His identity, message and credentials. What was His identity? God Incarnate. What was His message? Salvation by faith in what He did on the cross. His credentials? Virgin born, sinless life, rose from the dead, i.e.: He is the Savior." -Alex McFarland
(Greensboro, NC)—[CBN News] When atheists find evidence of Jesus' Resurrection and become Believers, you know there must be more than just faith that it happened. Two of the most famous former atheists came to a recent Truth for a New Generation conference outside this North Carolina city to talk about how they ended up strong defenders of the fact Christ really did rise from the dead. (Screengrab via CBN News)
As a successful cold case detective, J. Warner Wallace became so well-known at solving decades-old murders, he ended up as the foremost expert on national TV true crime shows.
Debunkers say Jesus in the Biblical accounts only showed up to His closest followers, those most likely to lie about His Resurrection. But McDowell said the opposite is true.
"He appeared to the Apostle Paul, Saul of Tarsus, who was anything but a follower of Christ. He despised Christ as a false Messiah," McDowell said.
He also pointed out Jesus appeared to James, saying, "You take James, His brother. James was not a follower of Jesus Christ. He was embarrassed by Christ, his brother, going out and doing these things and claiming these things. But James ended up coming to Christ and became a leader of the Jerusalem church."
No Two People—Much Less 500—Have the Same Hallucination
The Bible talks about Christ after His Resurrection showing up before 500 people. Some debunkers say that was likely just a mass hallucination. Neither Wallace nor McDowell buys that.
McDowell interviewed five experts and learned, "No two people ever have the same hallucination because there's no external reference to it. It's all internal."
Wallace added, "There's just no history of kind that of group hallucinations with the kind of detail that we see in the Gospels. So I was never fond of that explanation." (Image: Cold Case Christianity by J. WArner Wallace)
McDowell stated, "In my research to refute Christianity, I became convinced the Church would never have been founded without the Resurrection. Everything that they did pointed back to that."
One huge thing they did: break the Sabbath and worship Jesus as they did it. Remember: all the early Believers were fervent Jews who had believed they faced dire danger if they broke the Sabbath.
Alex McFarland—who organized this Truth for a New Generation conference—points out how that changed right after Jesus' Resurrection.
"Pious Jews whose very relationship with God is contingent on keeping a Sabbath that they've observed for centuries, suddenly overnight begin to worship on Sunday. Why? Something must have happened. Well, Sunday was Resurrection day."
"Now you have to understand what it meant to the Jew if they ever broke the Sabbath," McDowell explained. "It could mean death."
The Resurrection Proves It All
But the Resurrection on a Sunday had been the proof positive that Jesus was indeed the Risen Lord, worthy of worship on that day of the week.
"If Christ physically rose from the grave, then that proves His identity, message and credentials," McFarland pointed out. "What was His identity? God Incarnate. What was His message? Salvation by faith in what He did on the cross. His credentials? Virgin born, sinless life, rose from the dead, i.e.: He is the Savior."
McDowell told CBN News the meaning of it all is so powerful and overwhelming, it still touches him deeply more than half a century after he first came to believe Jesus was indeed the Resurrected Son of God, able to conquer death.
"It gives me hope that as Christ was raised from the dead, I shall be, too. Because of that," he stated.
McFarland added, "In the empty tomb, we have it all, ironclad, guaranteed. I tell people the tomb was left empty so that your life could be made full."