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Top 100 Atheist Challenges

Aren’t naturalistic explanations for the resurrection stories more probable than the resurrection itself, since they appeal only to elements common to our experience, whereas the resurrection must appeal to God?

The question assumes that appealing to elements of which we do not have direct experience always serves to lower the probability of a particular hypothesis. This is false; for example, by their very nature, cosmological singularities are beyond our experience, and yet it is just such a singularity that lies at the heart of current physical theory. If none of the elements of which we have experience is sufficient to explain the phenomenon in question, elements beyond experience are the only alternative. And, of course, it is the entire point of the argument for Jesus’ resurrection that no natural cause is sufficient to adequately explain the conjunction of Christ’s death, his empty tomb, and the appearances his followers interpreted as Jesus himself.


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