Philip Schaff, the great historian wrote, “the purpose of the historian is not to construct a history from preconceived notions and to adjust it to his own liking, but to reproduce it from the best evidence and to let it speak for itself.” Concerning the various theories of men who try to explain away the resurrection, Josh McDowell, who has done a tremendous amount of investigation on the resurrection and the uniqueness of the Bible, writes:
Many theories have been advanced, attempting to show that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fraud. I believe that many of the people who came up with these theories must have had two brains--one lost, and the other one out looking for it. Historians have to become anti-historical to invent some of their ideas (The Resurrection Factor, p. 76).
When considering the evidence and evaluating what happened that first Easter, we must be conscious to two principles:
- The theories or alternate explanations must take into account all the acts surrounding the resurrection of Christ.
- One must not force the evidence into a preconceived conclusion, but let the evidence speak for itself. (See McDowell, p. 76).
This study will cover only a few of the most popular theoretical explanations that have been set forth, generally by unbelievers or liberal theologians who very often operate out of a moral twist to explain away the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They reject the evidence not because it is insufficient, but because of its moral implications on their lives. An excellent work on the whole subject of the resurrection is The Resurrection Factor by Josh McDowell.