At this point in our evaluation we arrive at the crucial issue that brings us face to face with a miracle-claim. Again, it is not our purpose in this volume to make a judgment as to whether the resurrection is an actual miracle, as an act of God, but to evaluate whether it was an actual historical event. An examination of the details provides us with an affirmative answer—the facts demonstrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead according to the canons of history.
Of our 45 sources, 18 specifically record the resurrection, while an additional eleven more provide relevant facts surrounding this occurrence. Even if we were only to use the known facts that are accepted as historical by critical scholars, we still arrive at three major categories of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.
First, alternative theories that have been hypothesized by critics to explain the resurrection on naturalistic grounds have failed to explain the data and are refuted by the facts. Combinations of these theories also fail on these grounds. This is further illustrated by the refutation of David Hume’s thesis concerning miracles (as well as other related approaches), by the nineteenth century liberal critiques of each of these naturalistic theories, and by the twentieth century rejection of them as a whole.
6 For details on this message and its centrality, see Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic, chapters 4–5, Appendix 3, and Habermas and Moreland, chapter 9, for more on the confirmation of this theme.
7 Of the remaining sources on the death of Jesus, twelve are from creedal texts, including the important traditions in the book of Acts.
8 These sources include the early creeds in 1 Cor. 15:3ff. and Acts 13:29, as well as hostile sources such as Toledoth Jesuand the information implied in the Nazareth decree. The Shroud of Turin is perhaps helpful, even if it did not belong to Jesus, since it evidences post-crucifixion burial.