False Theories of the Resurrection. Part #6: Why the Wrong Tomb Theory Comes Up Short

The Wrong Tomb Theory suggests that the women went to the wrong tomb in their grief and sorrow. Coming across an empty tomb, they left and falsely reported that Jesus had risen from the dead. This theory is disproven by the fact that the women were there at Jesus’ burial. Matthew wrote, “When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb (Matthew 27:59-61). It is hard to believe the women would so quickly forget Jesus’ burial place.

After they visited the empty tomb, the women quickly reported it to Peter and John, who were able to find the tomb, confirming the women correctly communicated its location. The most problematic piece of this theory is that if the women were wrong, the angel was as well. Upon arriving at the tomb, there was an earthquake, the stone was rolled away, and the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6).

Speaking on the totality of the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, Geisler concluded:

In light of the evidence, here’s the question we should ask skeptics: ‘What happened in Jerusalem two thousand years ago that so changed the disciples that they were willing to die for their belief in the resurrection?’ The only answer can be that they saw the risen Lord. They did not have a mass hallucination. They weren’t part of some grand plot. They saw the living Jesus Christ following His death on the cross.

Norman Geisler, Reasons to Believe

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