Contradictions Part 9: The Resurrection

The first post in this series can be found here.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching a high school Bible class on the life of Christ. Throughout the study, I had trouble reconciling the different versions of some of the stories in the gospels, but nothing was more difficult to piece together than the accounts of Jesus’s resurrection. In fact, I wasn’t able to do it. At the time, I just assumed that problem lay with me and didn’t even imagine that it could mean a problem with the accounts. But I now see that I couldn’t reconcile them because they are contradictory.

In this post, we’ll look at the differences among the gospels’ versions of the resurrection. I do think that some of the differences can be explained satisfactorily, and I’ll mention that when we cover them. But I do still want to list the differences, just so you can see how many there are. Other differences are so severe, that I believe they are flat-out contradictions, and I’ll be sure to point that out as well.

It would be tedious to link each verse that we’ll cover, so I’ll go ahead and link the entire chapters under consideration right now. The resurrection is found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Who Visits the Tomb?
Matt: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
Mark: Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome
Luke: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, and others
John: Mary Magdalene
Explanation: Just because some writers left out some of the women doesn’t mean they weren’t there; they just weren’t mentioned.
Plausible? Yes, it’s plausible. I do think it’s suspicious that men who were all supposedly inspired by the same Holy Spirit list these women so differently, but this explanation is technically possible, in my mind.

What Time of Day Did They Arrive?
Matt: At dawn.
Mark: Just after sunrise.
Luke: Very early in the morning.
John: Early, while it was still dark.
Explanation: It was still dark when the women began their journey, and just after sunrise when they arrived. There’s also the possibility that John talks of a single trip made by Mary before dawn, and a later trip that she takes with the other women.
Plausible? It seems to me that when each gospel talks about the women going to the tomb, that they are implying arrival time. That would make this a discrepancy. However, I will admit that this explanation is possible. In other words, if this were the only problem within the Bible, I’d still be a Christian.

What Happened to the Stone Blocking the Tomb?
Matt: Once the women arrive, an angel rolls the stone away and sits on it.
Mark: Stone is already rolled away when women arrive.
Luke: Stone is already rolled away when women arrive.
John: Stone is already rolled away when Mary arrives.
Explanation: Matthew doesn’t actually specify that the women were there when this event happened; the events were just told slightly out of order.
Plausible? Let’s see. Here’s the passage:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women…
— Matt 28:1-5

To me, the implication is clear that the women witnessed this event. So I don’t find the explanation very plausible.

Were There Guards at the Tomb?
Matt: Yes.
Mark: No.
Luke: No.
John: No.
Explanation: Just because the other writers don’t mention them doesn’t mean they weren’t there.
Plausible? I suppose that’s plausible. But what I find interesting is the notion that the gospels are almost unanimous in saying that the disciples didn’t believe Jesus had actually risen from the dead when the women give them the message. In fact, they don’t even seem to realize it was a possibility. Yet according to Matthew, the chief priests and elders understand that completely. That just seems a little hard to believe…

Who Do They Meet There?
Matt: An angel sitting on the stone.
Mark: A man sitting inside the tomb.
Luke: Two men in clothes that gleam like lightning suddenly appear next to them while they’re looking around inside the tomb.
John: No one. Mary sees that the stone’s been rolled away and she runs off.
Explanation: Just like the first issue. Just because some accounts only list one being, doesn’t mean there weren’t two. And sometimes angels are said to look like men, so there’s no discrepancy there either. Each gospel portrays the angels in different places and positions, so they probably just moved around a lot.
Plausible? No, I don’t find those explanations very plausible. If it were simply a matter of some gospels saying “men” and others saying “angels,” that wouldn’t bother me. But we have different descriptions, different placement, and different arrival times for each one. In Matthew and Mark, the guy’s already there; however, in Matthew they see him right away outside the tomb. In Mark, they only see him once they’re inside. Luke says they appear once the women are already inside, and John says nothing about it at all. So no, I don’t find the “explanations” to be very plausible.

What do the men/angels say?
Matt: Jesus is risen; go into Galilee, and he’ll meet you there.
Mark: Jesus is risen; go into Galilee, and he’ll meet you there.
Luke: Jesus is risen; don’t you remember how he told you when he was in Galilee that he’d rise from the dead? **Notice that Luke’s messengers don’t say the disciples should go to Galilee. That will be significant later on.
John: John’s on a completely different path. We’ll check in with him later…
Explanation: The angels say pretty much the same thing. Syntax isn’t important here — just the message.
Plausible? I don’t know. It would be more plausible if Luke agreed with the others that Jesus wanted the disciples to go to Galilee. But we’ll see later that Luke did not want to express that at all. So that shakes my confidence in this explanation a bit…

What Do the Women Do?
Matt: The women are afraid but filled with joy and start to leave so they can tell the disciples. Jesus appears and repeats the message the angel gave. The women go tell the disciples.
Mark: The women are terrified. They leave and tell nothing to anyone because they’re afraid. Mark’s actual account ends here, at verse 8. The last 11 verses of Mark were added sometime later (we know this because those verses aren’t in our earliest copies of Mark). So Mark’s gospel apparently ends here, with the women saying nothing to anyone.
Luke: The women remembered that Jesus did say he would rise from the dead. So they leave the tomb and go tell the disciples.
John: We’ll just deal with John’s account later. It’s too different to compare it with the others in this manner.
Explanation: The women are terrified and happy. They start to leave, but Jesus appears to them first. When they finally reach the disciples, they are too afraid to say anything at first. But after a while, they tell them what happened.
Plausible? I don’t really think so. Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts can be put together easily. But the tone of Mark’s is very different, especially when you consider that our earliest manuscripts of Mark end there. And John’s account is also pretty different, but we’ll deal with it later.

How Do the Disciples React?
Matt: They go to Galilee. We don’t know what else might have happened in the meantime.
Luke: The disciples didn’t believe the women. Peter ran to the tomb and saw the burial clothes lying inside. Jesus later appears in their midst.
John: Peter and “the disciple Jesus loved” (possibly John?) ran to the tomb and saw the burial clothes inside. This caused the one commonly thought of as John to believe.
Explanation: Honestly, there’s not much to explain here. Nothing in the accounts is technically contradictory — Matthew just may not have recorded the events with Peter and the other disciple.
Plausible? Sure, it’s plausible. There are bigger fish to fry here.

The Problems with John
Okay, the issue with John’s gospel is this: he has Mary Magdalene go to the tomb, apparently by herself. She saw that the stone was rolled away (though Matthew seems to indicate that the women saw this happen), and she ran away. She told the disciples that Jesus’s body was missing and no one knew where it was. If this is the same event that the synoptic gospels recount, then she should have already spoken to the angels. So why say that she doesn’t know where Jesus is? Of course, that would actually fit somewhat with Mark’s account, when he says that the women told no one what happened.

Anyway, some people have suggested that Mary went to the tomb by herself first, saw the stone rolled away, ran back and told the disciples that she didn’t know where Jesus was, and then went back to the tomb that morning with the other women. But if this is so, it seems to contradict Matthew’s account, where the women appear to see the stone as it’s rolled away. It also creates a cumbersome difficulty in that Mary runs to and from the tomb twice, and so does Peter. After all, according to John, Peter and the “disciple Jesus loved” run to the tomb after Mary’s message that the body’s missing. According to Luke, Peter runs to the tomb after the women say that angels told them Jesus was risen. It just seems excessive to create all these extra trips.

According to John, Mary also seems to be alone when she encounters the angels, and when she encounters Jesus (thinking he’s a gardener). Yet Matthew and Luke say that she was with the other women when she encountered the angels and Jesus.

John’s gospel is different in so many areas, that it’s probably impossible to figure out how it fits with the others. I’ve just come to think that it doesn’t.

Do the Disciples Go to Galilee?
Matthew and Mark both state that the angels say the disciples should meet Jesus in Galilee. Matthew and John both say that this does happen. Luke is different. In his account, the messengers don’t tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Instead, they reference something Jesus said when he was with the disciples in Galilee sometime before his crucifixion. And as we follow Luke’s account of the resurrection and the subsequent events, we see that it’s still the day of his resurrection when he meets the disciples in Jerusalem. I’m not picky enough to say that causes a discrepancy. After all, they could still all travel to Galilee later. But notice what Jesus says to them beginning in verse 45:

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Most Christians would recognize that being “clothed with power from on high” references the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when the apostles spoke in tongues and delivered the first gospel sermon. This event happened after Christ’s ascension. So if Jesus is telling them to stay in Jerusalem until the Day of Pentecost, and he’s telling them this on the day of his resurrection, how in the world could they have gone to Galilee?
Explanation: Easy. Jesus did tell them not to leave Jerusalem, but only after they had already been to Galilee. This message wasn’t given on the day of his resurrection.
Plausible? Not to me. Go check out the end of Luke 24 and see if you can find a break somewhere between verses 40 and 45 to insert days and days of time. To me it appears to be a continuous narrative. And this creates an obvious contradiction in the gospels.

Conclusion
Do these accounts really seem to be the work of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity? Even if some of these issues can be explained away, as I indicated, wouldn’t it have been simpler to avoid the appearance of contradictions altogether? It’s possible that I’ve overlooked some of the issues within the resurrection accounts, but I’ve provided the most significant ones to me. When I look at these issues, as well as the ones I’ve listed in previous posts, the conclusion seems obvious to me: there’s just no way any of this was inspired by God.

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20 thoughts on “Contradictions Part 9: The Resurrection”

  1. I’m a believer. I have read this and glanced through some of your other recent posts, and I appreciate your polite and courteous manner. Some people who post things like this are just vitriolic. Thanks for sharing your concerns in a rational and simply matter of fact way.

    This is a very general reply to the above post. I hope not so general that it is insulting. I don’t mean for it to be. You do raise valid concerns.

    For me, some of the differences in the resurrection accounts actually point to it being reliable and true. If all 4 accounts were identical, I’d actually suspect falsehood. If the police question several people about a crime and get identical, near word for word stories – the police suspect they are being given a pre-agreed upon false story to tell the cops. But if the cops get some differences, yet there is a vein of sameness with their stories- they usually know they are getting to the truth. Likewise, if the 4 Gospels told an identical story I’d be more likely to think that Jesus actually did not rise from the dead…But there was some type of cover-up and the Gospel writers wanted a unified front for their story. When Jesus rose from the dead, clearly there was a lot of confusion and excitement and shock…and each Gospel writer told it from their own unique perspective. And what would be the point of 4 Gospels if they were all identical anyhow? I think 4 Gospels and some of the differences lend credibility to the life of Christ on earth.

    Another interesting thing for me…. is that the women have such prominence in this story. This was an ancient patriarchal culture where women had little rights and their testimony was not even considered valid in a court. So, having women be the primary witnesses to this is just plain odd, and would not make the story more believable but would actually make it less believable for that culture and time. It seems that if women really were the first witnesses to the risen Lord, that they would have changed it to men to give the story more credibility. It seems to me that women really were the first witnesses and they left it that way because it was the truth, even though it would actually make it less credible.

    I am a believer, yet I have struggled with doubts in the past. Speaking generally of the Christian faith…Even though some things don’t make sense, other things do. Somethings about Christianity amaze me, yet others things leave me stumped. Yet, my faith has overpowered my doubts. I don’t think I have a blind faith as I like to think things through. My doubts are there, but my faith is stronger.

    I think faith comes first, then understanding (Hebrews 11:6). If we try to understand everything before we will believe, then we will never believe.

    Well, it is the middle of the night and I need to get to bed. Thanks for letting me ramble.

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  2. Thanks for the kind comment.

    I agree with you that if the gospels were word for word identical, it would lead to just as much skepticism, possibly more. But the problem I have is that some of these issues actually contradict one another — or at least they seem that way to me. And in a trial, there’s a fine line between a simple difference of perspective, and an actual contradiction. On most crime shows, the perpetrator is caught because details of their alibi start to unravel. When that happens, it points to a likely fabrication. I think that’s what we’re seeing in the gospels.

    When we add in the additional element that these writers were supposed to be inspired by God, then I think it makes the conditions even stricter. God should not contradict himself. This is why I feel so confident that these things weren’t inspired at all.

    Also, I would have to disagree with you that faith is supposed to come first, and then understanding. As a Christian, I’m sure you believe that all Muslims should come to Christ if they want salvation. But how could a Muslim have faith in the Bible before they understand it? And I don’t mean that they should understand all of it — I know there are theological issues that may be more complicated, etc. But the kinds of things I’ve been writing about are pretty simple — they’re just consistency issues. It’s hard for me to imagine a Muslim becoming a Christian after seeing these kinds of issues. So the only people who will have faith in it before they understand problems like these are people who were raised to be Christians. That makes me very doubtful that Christianity is somehow different from every other religion that man has developed throughout history.

    But thanks again for your comment. I really enjoyed having your perspective. Hope you’ll stop back by sometime. 🙂

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  3. Let me add something else for clarification:

    I don’t think the gospel writers were trying to tell a bunch of lies. The names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were assigned to the gospels years after they were written. They were all anonymous, so I don’t really believe apostles wrote them. I think the Christians who did write them were believers — I think they believed at least the basics of what they were reporting. I imagine there was a little embellishment in what they wrote, but ultimately, I think they were each passing down the stories they had been told. It also appears that “Matthew” and “Luke” each had a copy of “Mark’s” gospel to use as a foundation.

    That’s why I don’t think the writers ever changed the first witnesses of the empty tomb to men — they really believed that women had first seen it. Plus, even if there was a stigma about relying on women’s testimony, 3 of the gospels follow up their claims with the witnesses of the male disciples. So there’s no real harm done by allowing women to go to the tomb first. That’s why I’m not swayed by that particular point.

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  4. Interesting comment about the way women were not viewed as credible witnesses at that time. If the gospel’s use of women as key witnesses is an indication that mere men would not have listed them, if they were making this up, then why doesn’t Luke just say that the genealogy is from Mary (people make this claim even though the bible does not) , even though men at that time wouldn’t like it? Why would the holy spirit dictate that Mary had to be excluded from her own genealogy because of the way people would have viewed it at that time, when the verses given above do not seem concerned at all with what people would have found credible or appropriate at that time?

    This really proves nothing, i just thought that it was interesting.

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  5. I don’t interact with those with differing viewpoints near as much as I should/could…and to my shame. So thanks for not eating me alive in my attempt. : )

    The women’s witness issue is a potent defense for me personally, but I can see how it does not work for others. Maybe since I am a woman and a Christian “egalitarian”, the counter-cultural treatment of women by Jesus in the Gospels really blows me away.

    I did want to try to clarify what I meant by faith first, then understanding. I just don’t want you to think I am some “blind faith” person. Someone does have to have an understanding of what they are placing their faith in. I don’t think or expect someone to place their faith in some “mysterious unknown” or in half the story. So, in this aspect, it is understanding first, then faith. Some Christians are indeed guilty of deceptively presenting the Gospel or sweeping problems under the rug. That is wrong. Tricking someone won’t create a genuine convert anyway.

    However, I still see “faith first, then understanding” as the essential pattern or norm. Once you have faith, it starts you on a path of growing in that faith and gaining deeper understanding of your beliefs. If a person wants complete evidence or understanding of all the issues before they will believe, then they will never believe. It is impossible. The very nature of faith requires less than 100% evidence or understanding. Faith and certainty are antithetical. If you have 100% certainty, then there is no need for faith, and you have moved into the realm of the scientific or empirical. But faith is not in that realm.

    Faith means you are believing even though you lack answers to some things. It’s not that you throw your brain out the door, but you accept the fact that there will not be an answer to every question. No religion in the world will work if you want “understanding, then faith” instead of “faith, then understanding”. The only options left would be atheism, agnosticism, naturalism or scientism.

    I hope I managed to present my view at least semi-coherently? Please feel free to respond. : )

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  6. Hey LLM,
    Thanks for checking back! I poked around your blog a little, and it looks very interesting. I admire people who are honestly seeking truth, and you seem to be one of them.

    I think I understand your “faith, then understanding” position a little better, and I do agree with it in a way. Like I said earlier, I think that theological issues, like the nature of God, etc, are things that we understand better as we grow in faith. Though I’ve also noticed that people’s understanding of those issues tends to differ from one person to the next. For instance, many people place emphasis on God’s grace and loving nature, whereas others place it more on his righteousness and purity. Sometimes those qualities conflict, and finding the balance is difficult.

    The ultimate reason why I think issues like the ones I’ve been posting about are important is because of Hell. If there really is an everlasting place of torment for those who aren’t the correct kind of Christian, then God’s message can’t afford to be murky, especially not if he really cares about each of us. If he didn’t really care, then sure, all bets are off. Or if he didn’t really plan to torture everyone who didn’t figure it out, then yes, misunderstanding some of these points wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Making it mysterious just for the fun of it would be more understandable. But I think the overriding message of the Bible is pretty strict, pretty eternal, and pretty exclusive. Only members of the club get in — everybody else is out of luck.

    That’s why I think a clear message is so important. I know in one of your blog posts you said that if we all KNEW God existed, then unbelief would be impossible. And I suppose that’s true. But knowing God exists, doesn’t mean we’d all have to obey him. After all, unbelief wasn’t possible for Paul, Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Gideon, David — virtually everyone you can think of in the Bible. They all knew who God was and what he wanted. Yet they didn’t all live perfectly. And God didn’t seem to think it was a problem to take away their ability to not believe.

    So those are just things to consider. But I’m not trying to change your mind. We all make our own journey — this is where mine has led me. And I post this stuff because I know when I was a believer, I would have wanted to know about these things. In fact, I remained a believer for many years simply because I wasn’t aware of these issues. I’m not someone who can continue to believe in Christianity when the source text has so many problems. But other people can, and that’s fine. As long as people think about what they do and what they believe, then most everything else is just details.

    Thanks again for your comments. I’ve really enjoyed reading them. And I’m sure I’ll check out more of your blog as well. Feel free to comment here anytime!

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  7. I think you make some thoughtful points, so please do not take this as a criticism or as an implication that I feel you are acting on blind faith. I think that we all make the best decisions we can with what information we have at the time. I harbor no ill thoughts toward you or anyone who disagrees with me. In time they may see things as I do, and I may see things differently than I do now. Such is the evolution of rationality.

    Which is better, having faith despite the evidence, or doubting because of the evidence? It could also be asked, would you rather have faith because of evidence, or for lack of evidence? (if lacking evidence makes the faith better, then would all the wacky religions or non-religions be better examples of faith?)

    I am not saying that the bible is all wrong, bad, contradictory, etc. What I am saying is that there certainly appears to be some errors and contradictions in it. The presence of a single error or only a single contradiction would indicate that God was not the author – if God is indeed perfect (which i think we would all agree that he would be). I know that some will provide an explanation or a “bridge” to rationalize these contradictions, and then say that if you cannot disprove that “explanation”, however unlikely or improbable, then you should have faith and understand that we wont have the answers to everything and that we cannot understand everything. Perhaps that is correct.

    But perhaps, creating a bridge across contradictions, discrepancies, and errors in order to rectify them, would be the same as creating a chasm between things, or in this case bible passages, that are in harmony. Just as an example, let’s take the passages in the above blog, where Matthew and Mark both say that Jesus tells his disciples to meet him in Galilee. Both Matthew and Mark appear to be in harmony. Could someone come along and then claim that they only appear to be in harmony, but in actuality are really contradictions because the Galilee mentioned in Matthew is a different Galilee mentioned in Mark – therefore it’s really a contradiction? It doesn’t matter how improbable or unlikely if you cant disprove it.

    To me, creating a bridge over problems is the same as making a chasm in harmony. They are both just as problematic to me, and I suppose others as well. So the question is, what does the evidence point to? Anyone can make their own puzzle piece to fill in the gaps, but that doesn’t change the fact that the gap was there to begin with.

    Do you have faith in the bible despite the evidence, or doubt it because of the evidence?

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  8. You know, I should probably clarify something here. I think Christianity is benign when Christians can respect other points of view; when they don’t push others away just because they differ on beliefs. But too many times, Christians want to push their own beliefs onto others in schools and society. I don’t agree with that. And in those situations, I think the religion is unhealthy. Live and let live.

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  9. Hi Nate! Thanks for taking the time to consider my thoughts and my blog too. The exclusivity of the Gospel (and hell) is a troubling issue. At some point (soon?) I plan to blog on it.

    I agree that Christians should not push their views on others. Morality or religion can’t be legislated. Too many Christians have got this all mixed up and it makes us all look bad. Do you know the book “The Myth of the Christian nation” by Boyd? I agree with it! Christianity is about humility and submission and a kingdom NOT of this world. Politics are about pride and power and THIS world. Politics and power corrupt. Mixing it with Christianity only leads to trouble. The pages of history so clearly bear this out. Will Christians ever learn?!

    Something I ponder is how people of “equal” intelligence can go either way (to belief or unbelief) when it comes to analyzing source text and such. Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace are PhD’s who are believers and have written extensively in defense of the faith. But then you have individuals such as Bart Ehrman also an intelligent PhD who went the opposite direction.

    I believe (as a Christian) that the “supernatural” must be part of the picture…when it comes to belief or unbelief.

    That’s all for now….

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  10. William, thanks for re-framing the questions. Reminds me of a quote I saw years ago…to paraphrase, it was something like this: “Answers in life are a dime a dozen. Everyone has an answer. More importantly, are you asking the right questions?”

    Your final sentence was : Do you have faith in the bible despite the evidence, or doubt it because of the evidence? I have faith despite some evidence. I have doubts because of some evidence. Note that I changed the word to “some”, from “the”.

    In a way, your question is really unfair. Its general wording, and saying “the” evidence insinuates that there is no evidence nor intelligent reasons to believe in the Bible or Christian faith. The choices are: have faith despite, or doubt because “the evidence”. Sordof like that proverbial question “are you still beating your wife?” – Whether the man answers yes or no, he is saying that he was beating his wife even if he never actually did! In a similar way, I find your question is like that.

    Yes, there is evidence that gives me doubts about the faith. But other evidence points to it being true. There are intelligent reasons to believe (and not believe for that matter). And I think your framing of the question makes it appear that there are no intelligent reasons to believe. If I say I have faith, it is “despite the evidence”. That insinuates I lack intelligence or just want to be like an ostrich with my head in the sand. And neither is accurate for myself at least.

    There are excellent apologetic works by PhD’s on BOTH sides of this issue, defending belief or unbelief. It is not fair (for either side) to imply that “the evidence” (their evidence) must be either ignored or accepted in order to have the same view. Either way, the opponent is made to look dumb or idiotic. And I don’t think that is fair or nice. Ya know?

    Hope I am not too blunt with this reply.

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  11. LLM, no I do not mind the bluntness and absolutely take no offense. I have been wrong many times and have no doubt that the only thing I know for certain is that I’ll make more mistakes.

    You may understand me perfectly and it may be me who is lacking understanding with you, so please bear with me.

    When I mention faith, I am not referring to a faith in a creator, in a God. In the comment I left regarding faith, I was referring to faith in the bible. I believe that faith in a God and faith that the Bible is his word are two different things.

    When I said “have faith despite the evidence,” I was referring to the evidence within the bible that points to it being a work of man. There are certainly a number of good things in the bible, and certainly a number of things that are in harmony with itself as well as in harmony with things outside the bible. I just dont think that those things, in and of themselves, are evidence of God – after all, it would not be impossible for men to write a collections of books that do the same. But, there are errors and discrepancies within the bible. Sure, people try to provide possible scenarios that would bridge over those issues, but those issues are still there. I just dont believe God would make mistakes or allow discrepancies in his word. And when people say that they’re really not discrepancies or errors because we just dont understand, then how is that any different than someone saying the things that appear to be in harmony are really discrepancies, you just dont understand how they are?

    The evidence is there, whether people want to overlook it, or bridge over it.

    two last questions for now, would you think that the bible is from god if it did not claim to be? Is your faith in the bible because of your faith in God, or because you have faith that the bible’s authors are telling the truth?

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  12. Wow, I don’t know how to do it. This is the most sincere post on Christianity I’ve ever read by an atheist trying to highlight Biblical contradictions…fantastic and very insightful!

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  13. It’s a difficult subject to talk about because you can’t explain these things easily. It’s terribly confusing to try and configure each thing in someone’s head and speak it in a way that makes sense.

    Thus, we can’t really have an apologetic’s discussion but a story. I took all four seemingly contradictory accounts and molded them in a way that (hopefully) makes sense. Sometimes it takes a story to explain something. Perhaps that’s why parables were preferred by Jesus!

    Here’s the url. I have taken the time to put the four gospels into one narrative as best I can:

    http://greatchristiandebate.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/sunday-30-a-d-2/

    Your points are good, but when you put the accounts together, all of the accounts are correct. It’s a matter of how you put the story together. Remember, the gospels aren’t necessarily a storybook!

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  14. @Garfieldh2 Codename: Lasagna

    Thanks for the link to your article. It was an enjoyable read. I don’t think it solves the problems that the different accounts create, but it made for a nice narrative. You might also be interested to know that someone in the 2nd century tried to do the same thing, but with the gospels in their entirety. It’s the Diatessaron, and it was really popular for quite a while.

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  15. @Nate
    I don’t know why, but I wasn’t informed that you had replied. Weird. Okay, well what I attempted to do was to point out the links between the gospels. While there are different versions to the gospels, they all have links putting the chronology of the resurrection together. You yourself say that it’s only John that fully makes the contradiction, but there are connections.

    John 20:11-12 points out the angel visit and when that took place. It’s all how you tell the story. Anyway, I hope that I did my best linking together these verses that connect the gospels together.

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