A "Twelve Facts" resurrection logic puzzle

Reposting with additions in red. Originally posted July 7, 2011.

I am studying “the twelve facts” and want to get down what I’ve got so far. After the facts are displayed, we’re going to turn the whole thing into a logic puzzle. Added: Scroll down to the red lettering to work on this puzzle yourself. Share this thread on Facebook.

WATCH: Craig Hazen: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

Here are the 12 Facts:

1. Jesus died by Roman crucifixion. [1]

2. He was buried, most likely in a private tomb.

3. Soon afterwards the disciples were discouraged, bereaved and despondent, having lost hope.

4. Jesus’ tomb was found empty very soon after his interment.

5. The disciples had experiences that they believed were the actual appearances of the risen Christ. [2]  [Note that this belief persisted despite Jews believing the resurrection does not happen to ‘one’ person in the ‘middle’ of history.]

6. Due to these experiences, the disciples’ lives were thoroughly transformed. They were even willing to die for their belief.

7. The proclamation of the Resurrection took place very early, from the beginning of church history.

8. The disciples’ public testimony and preaching of the Resurrection took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before.  [Jerusalem, filled with Jewish people; see number 5.]

9. The gospel message centered on the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

10. Sunday was the primary day of worshiping and gathering.

11. James, the brother of Jesus and a skeptic before this time, became a follower of Jesus when he believed he also saw the risen Jesus.

12. Just a few years later, Paul became a believer, due to an experience that he also believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.

More information on 5 of the 12 facts here.

Relevant books I really need to read about this:

Dr. Habermas’ book, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. College Press Publishing Company, Inc.; Subsequent edition (June 3, 1996).  [ Update:  I am now reading this. ]

Dr. Habermas’ book, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope. New York, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: 2003.

I am taking Biola’s distance certificate in apologetics [update:  I have now completed this], and my favorite part so far (I have only completed the first of three modules at the time of writing) is a hand-out to accompany Craig Hazen’s lecture “Evidence for the Resurrection”. It has a list of the twelve facts on one side, and on the reverse side a list of thirteen competing theories regarding the resurrection.

This is where the “logic puzzle” comes in. The question on the “resurrection theories” side of the hand-out reads “Which theory best fits the data about the resurrection claims?” and by ‘data’ it means the twelve facts on the reverse side of the hand-out. At this point you could do a logic puzzle and test each theory by seeing how well it accounts for each fact.

Here William Lane Craig touches on some of those theories briefly and shows that they are ruled out by only three of those twelve facts and utilizing methods accepted by historians. This logic puzzle only deals with the “explanatory scope” requirement used by Dr. Craig.

If you want to do this yourself, research these theories and test them with the facts: unknown tomb (body thrown in common pit grave unknown to disciples), wrong tomb (women went to wrong tomb), legend (resurrection a fabrication developed over many years), twin (Jesus’ long lost twin brother showed up after Jesus died), hallucination (all the post-resurrection ‘appearances’ were hallucinations), existential resurrection (Jesus rose, not in history, but in our hearts), spiritual resurrection (Jesus came back as a spirit), disciples stole the body (earliest Jewish polemic), authorities hid the body (to prevent problems), swoon (or ‘apparent death’ because Jesus didn’t actually die but revived in the tomb), passover plot (disciples made the whole thing up that Jesus resurrected), alien (Jesus was an alien), bodily resurrection (the orthodox view).

Worksheet & Answer sheet! Here is a Google drive doc for those who want to actually work on this puzzle.  These are rough drafts, so feel free to offer critique:

12 Facts Resurrection Logic Puzzle worksheet and answer sheet (see Puzzle & Answer tabs bottom left corner)

Narrowed down to FOUR FACTS:

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 3.55.40 PM

Thank you to Danielle Camorlinga for turning the above into the below!


Don’t keep reading unless you don’t want to do the logic puzzle on your own.

The hand-out provides the answers to the puzzle.

Occupied tomb theories:

The Unknown Tomb theory does not explain facts 4-12.

The Wrong Tomb theory does not explain 5-12.

The Legend theory does not explain any of them.

The Twin theory does not explain facts 4 or 11.

The Hallucination theory does not explain facts 5, 11 or 12.

The Existential Resurrection and the Spiritual Resurrection theories do not explain facts 4, 5, 11 or 12.

So much for the ‘occupied tomb’ theories.

Natural empty tomb theories:

The Disciples Stole Body theory does not account for facts 5, 6, 11 or 12.

The Authorities Hid Body theory does not explain 5-12.

The Swoon theory leaves 1 and 6 unexplained.

The Passover Plot theory leaves 5, 6, 11 and 12 unexplained.

The Alien Jesus theory explains all the data.

Supernatural empty tomb theory:

The Bodily Resurrection theory explains all the data.

So–if you really value following where the evidence leads…you can conclude either that Jesus was an alien, or that he was bodily resurrected.

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3 Responses to A "Twelve Facts" resurrection logic puzzle

  1. It is doubtful you would know what a fact was if it came up to say “Hello”. Not one of your 12 “facts” is a fact!

    1) Not a fact, there is no proof that a person later named Jesus died by crucifixion? Please don't cite authorities; that is a logical fallacy; I am asking for proof. A non-biblical, non-Christian source for your contention would do.

    2) “He was buried,” that is an outright lie and therefore not a fact. If you believe the bible he was entombed in a cavern. Even if I excuse you your inaccuracy, do you have any non-biblical, non-Christian source for this?

    3) This is not a fact, it is a statement of belief about the mental state of the disciples. Please note the Gospels were not written by any disciples.

    4) Not a fact, just a claim about the emptiness of the tomb for which there might be many explanations, even assuming it occurred.

    5) Any non-biblical or non-Christian source? Mark does not even mention this event (please ignore the final 12 verses which were added at sometime after the completion of the codex Siniaticus). In other words not fact just a claim by later followers of the false prophet.

    6) Not fact, just a claim made within gospels written years after the event. In addition does the willingness of suicide bombers to die prove the holiness of the Koran?

    7) Again not fact, just a claim. Resurrection myths are very common in religions, for example the Egyptian religion claimed Horus, also called the anointed one, was resurrected.

    8) Just a claim not fact, please cite a non-biblical, non-Christian source.

    9) A statement about the beliefs of a religion is not a proof that the event, the resurrection, occurred. Using this logic Mohammad really was taken bodily into heaven from Temple Mount.

    10) Sunday was the primary day of worshiping and gathering for many faiths centred round sun gods, hence the name of the day, Sun day. It says nothing about the resurrection.

    11) Not a fact, just a statement of belief that James was a doubter sourced from the epistle of someone named James or Jacob. This epistle is dubious in origin and was certainly “improved upon” by later Christian scribes

    12) Not a fact, just a claim made by Paul.

    Facts are not, as you seem to believe, made by the belief of multitudes but must be supported by hard evidence. The millions of Japanese who believed that their Emperor had sexual intercourse with the Amerterasu did not make it a fact any more than Christian belief that their “saviour” was called Jesus makes that his true name.

    As to your faith in the nonsensical arguments of Mr Lane Craig, better men than I have gutted them both in print and on the internet.

  2. Maryann says:

    Hey Charles (Thrutch), are you familiar w/ 'why' the majority of (even atheist) historical scholars consider these facts to be historical? Can you argue why they are wrong, which takes their reasons into account?

  3. Wow, Thrutch, you sure are impressed with your own intellect (what there is of it).

    Do you believe that Alexander the Great was a real, historical figure? Why? What is your “hard evidence”? You are aware, of course, that there is less historical record of Alexander than of Jesus . . .

    For that matter, what is your “hard evidence” that South Carolina militia bombarded Ft Sumter in 1861. Sure, millions of people believe it, but so what?

    Just using your criteria…

    Finally, you reveal yourself as a pretender by this truly laughable claim:

    “10) Sunday was the primary day of worshiping and gathering for many faiths centred round sun gods, hence the name of the day, Sun day. It says nothing about the resurrection.”

    To which a truly historically-educated person can only reply, “Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha !”

    Name them – along with the “hard evidence” to back it up.

    Oh, also prove that the ancient cultures you claim worshiped on Sunday spoke English so they could call the day “Sunday,” an English word. Do't forget to accompany your answer with – yes, you guessed it – hard evidence.

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