When the apostle Peter addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost he quoted Psalm 16:8–11, declaring that the psalmist David prophesied of Jesus and his resurrection (see Acts 2:25–28). The Messiah, David’s promised Son, would not be abandoned to the grave nor see decay (see Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:29–32). Some skeptics, however, find believing in a bodily resurrection too difficult to accept and point to other theories to explain what happened to Jesus’ body.
“I think people who push these alternative theories would admit, ‘Yes, our theories are implausible, but they’re not as improbable as the idea that the resurrection actually occurred,’” says Dr. William Lane Craig, a philosopher and theologian. “However, at this point the matter is no longer a historical issue; instead it’s a philosophical question about whether miracles are possible.
“I would argue that the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead is not at all improbable. In fact, based on the evidence, it’s the best explanation for what happened. What is improbable is the hypothesis that Jesus rose naturally from the dead. That, I would agree, is outlandish. Any hypothesis would be more probable than saying the corpse of Jesus spontaneously came back to life.
“But the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead doesn’t contradict science or any known facts of experience. All it requires is the hypothesis that God exists, and I think there are good independent reasons for believing that he does. As long as the existence of God is even possible, it’s possible that he acted in history by raising Jesus from the dead.”
Adapted from interview with Dr. William Lane Craig