Friday, January 13, 2006

Was Jesus' Resurrection an Idea Stolen from Pagan Religions?

More and more lately I am bumping into comments online from skeptics of the Bible who are saying that the authors of the New Testament stole the idea of Jesus' resurrection from ancient pagan sources. This theory is interesting for tickling ears, but goes against the facts. As Dr. Norman Geisler writes, "The first real parallel of a dying and rising god does not appear until A.D. 150, more than a hundred years after the origin of Christianity. So if there was any influence of one on the other, it was the influence of the historical event of the New Testament [resurrection] on mythology, not the reverse. The only known account of a god surviving death that predates Christianity is the Egyptian cult god Osiris. In this myth, Osiris is cut into fourteen pieces, scattered around Egypt, then reassembled and brought back to life by the goddess Isis. However, Osiris does not actually come back to physical life but becomes a member of a shadowy underworld...This is far different than Jesus' resurrection account where he was the gloriously risen Prince of life who was seen by others on earth before his ascension into heaven....even if there are myths about dying and rising gods prior to Christianity, that doesn't mean the New Testaments writers copied from them. The fictional TV show Star Trek preceded the U.S. Space Shuttle program, but that doesn't mean that newspaper reports of space shuttle missions are influenced by Star Trek episodes!" [Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, p. 312]