Jesus - Resurrection Theories  
For many, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus remains an unsolved mystery
Since the crucifixion of Jesus', critics have tried to explain Jesus' empty tomb and his resurrection using various evidences. For many, the official Christian story lacks the credible evidence expected and so a number of resurrection theories have emerged since the event.

Today, Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on the cross as an historical fact. In reality, no one knows how, when or where Jesus died.

The table below lists fifteen Jesus Resurrection Theories. A few were actually believed by the Early Jewish-Christians and Jesus' immediate disciples.

1 THEORY | Christianity
Jesus was crucified on the cross. He died and rose up. The most popular, mainstream theory believed by all Christians

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the Christian religious belief that, after being put to death on the cross, Jesus rose again from the dead.

It is the central tenet of Christian theology without which the Christian religion would cease to exist.
2 THEORY | Swoon
Jesus was not completely dead when he was removed from the cross. He only swooned/fainted, therefore the disciples saw only a revived or resuscitated Jesus, not resurrected.

Christ was nailed to a cross and suffered from shock, pain and loss of blood. But instead of actually dying, He only fainted (swooned) from exhaustion. When he was placed in the tomb, he was still alive and the disciples, mistaking him for dead, buried him alive. After several hours, he revived in the coolness of the tomb, arose and departed.

In fact many people are mistakenly pronounced dead, even by modern doctors. In some cases breathing and heartbeat becomes so faint, they are difficult to detect. If modern doctors can be fooled, what about the Roman soldiers at the cross almost 2000 years ago.

Crucifixion was designed as a slow and painful means to death. People would die after many days of being nailed to a cross. Yet Jesus was on the cross for under 6 hours and died?

Jesus was speared by the soldier. It is suggested the early death was caused by the soldier who thrust a spear into Jesus side to finish him off, just before Jesus was removed from the cross.

Many Bible scholars consider the 'soldier spear thrust' a fabrication and lie, purposely invented by John to confirm the Jesus crucifixion/resurrection theory. Suprisingly, the earlier three 'synoptic' gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) written before John, say nothing about any 'soldier spear thrust' - which raises questions over this Christian doctrine.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:6

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
Mark 16:6

Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
Luke 24:12

Pontius Pilate was very surprised when he heard that Jesus was already dead

And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
Mark 15:44

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
John 19:34

3 THEORY | Impersonation
The Impersonation Theory suggests that Jesus was not put on the cross, but another person of similar physical appearance was crucified in his place.

The Impersonation Theory is the most accepted theory amongst Muslims, followers of Islam.

Alternative Muslim View
Some Muslims believe it is possible Jesus was put on the cross, but he did not actually die on it. Similar to the 'Swoon Theory' (2) above, it remains within the overall Islamic teachings, that Jesus did not die on the cross or as as a result of the crucifixion.
In Islam, Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified and in his place another person was crucified.

And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.
Quran 4:157
4 THEORY | Stolen Body
Some early opponents of Christianity claimed that Jesus' disciples secretly stole his body from the tomb and claimed that he rose from the dead, i.e. invented the whole story of the resurrection.

The Stolen Body Theory is one of the oldest and best-known resurrection theories.

It is evidenced from Matthews gospel which confirms the Jewish priests bribed the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb with 'a large sum of money', and claim they were sleeping and the disciples stole the body.
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept
Matthew 28:11-13

Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Matthew 27:64

Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
Matthew 28:13

5 THEORY | Twin (Crucifixion)
The Twin Theory (Crucifixion) is based on the idea that Jesus had a twin brother who died on the cross instead of Jesus.
Some early Gnostic writings say that Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried the cross, was also the man who died on it.

The Gospel of Barnabas claims that Judas Iscariot was the man who was actually crucified.
6 THEORY | Twin (Resurrection)
The Twin Theory (Resurrection) is based on the idea that Jesus had a twin brother who appears as an impostor after Jesus dies.
Following the crucifixion even the disciples failed to recognize Jesus on a few occasions.

Mary Magdalene did not recognise Jesus and mistook him for the gardener.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
John 20:15

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus
John 21:4

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus.

And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
Luke 24:18

7 THEORY | Missing Body
The Missing Body Theory suggests that someone took Jesus' body from the tomb without the disciples knowing about it.

This is what Mary Magdalene thought when she first discovered the tomb was empty. This explanation would probably occur to most people who found themselves in a similar situation. a missing body, just by itself, probably would not be enough to convince most people that Jesus had returned to life. Still, the evidence strongly suggests that Mary and the first visitors to the tomb did find it empty, and the resurrection narrative took effect.
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
John 20:1-2

8 THEORY | Spiritual Resurrection
This is the belief that Jesus' resurrection was not a real physical resurrection.

Proponents of this theory assert that Jesus body remained in the grave and his real resurrection was spiritual in nature. It was only told this way to illustrate the truth of spiritual resurrection. Jesus' human body either vanished or was removed by God, and he re-appeared in spiritual form.

The view that Jesus returned in a spiritual form is also consistent with the various gospel stories in which he suddenly appears and disappears, or passes through walls, and with the stories in which his followers don't initially recognize him, or are told not to touch him.
Some scholars believe this was the original belief of the earliest Christians, and the idea of a bodily resurrection was a later invention.

Evidence for a spiritual resurrection can be found in some early writings including the letters of Paul and Gospel of Thomas.

Surviving writings of the early Christian gnostics show they too believed in a spiritual resurrection. The evidence suggests that different groups of early Christians disputed this very matter, and some scholars suspect that several passages in the gospels may have been invented to try to refute the idea that Jesus arose in spiritual form.
9 THEORY | Hallucination
The Hallucination Theory claims all of Jesus post-resurrection appearances were imagined appearances, as the people were hallucinating and seeing a ghost-like image of Jesus after his crucifixion. In this way, all of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances can be dismissed, and the apostles were deceived by a hallucination.

In ancient times many people believed that divine beings sometimes used visions as a method of communication. A person who had such a vision knew that it was a vision, but thought that a divine being had created it.

Thus, the belief in the resurrection could have originated when some followers of Jesus 'hallucinated' and imagined that he was using visions to communicate with them. Then later, as the message was carried to people in other communities, stories about visions could have gradually evolved into stories of a real physical resurrection.

It is possible the severe emotional stress and shock of Jesus' crucifixion would have made his followers susceptible to such visions. Their expectations for him had been so high, and his arrest and execution occurred so suddenly, that many of them could have found it difficult to accept the reality of what had happened.

After three days, his followers would have still been in a state of denial when Jesus' empty tomb is discovered. Immediately they would have hoped that he had somehow survived. Fervently believing that he actually had survived, they could have had hallucinations in which they saw his ghostly form trying to communicate with them. Others may have seen him in dreams, or simply "felt his presence."

Mary Magdalenes love, effection and attachment to Jesus was strong

Some scholars think that Mary Magdalene may have been the first believer in Jesus' resurrection. She plays the biggest role in the stories of the empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus - yet is rarely mentioned anywhere else in the gospels.

The Bible says that seven demons had to be expelled from Mary Magdalene; possibly she was a very emotional person. As already noted, she apparently had at least one vision of Jesus. It is possible, that Mary Magdalenes love, effection and attachment to Jesus was so strong that she was unable to accept the news of his death, and so began to vision him in a ghost-like state; suffice proof for her that he was still alive.
Paul was on the road to Damascus when a bright light flashed around him, then he fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus. The experience was so traumatic that he was left blind for three days.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Acts 9:3

On the resurrection, Paul never explicitly says that Jesus was resurrected in bodily form. It is possible, that Paul and the disciples witnessed a ghost-like image.

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Corinthians 15:4

In the recently discovered "Gospel of Mary", a surviving fragment of this work contains a passage in which Mary Magdalene tells the disciples that Jesus appeared to her in a vision and gave her a special revelation.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils
Luke 8:2

10 THEORY | Unknown Tomb
One of the earliest theories explains everything away in that the disciples did not know where Jesus tomb was located, and so could not have found the empty grave.

This theory depends on the belief that those who were crucified were tossed into a common pit and were not allowed to be buried.
No Evidence
11 THEORY | Wrong Tomb
The Wrong Tomb Theory suggests that the disciples went to the wrong tomb, which happened to be empty.
No Evidence
12 THEORY | Drugged-Body
The Drugged Body Theory is where death on the cross was induced by a drug. Such a possibility does have a scientific basis, because experiments have shown that a plant-derived drug called Reserpine can put mice into a temporary death-like state for several days. This, or some similar drug, might very well have the same effect on a human being.
The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfield

In his book, Hugh argues that a death-simulation drug was given to Jesus as part of a plot to allow him to survive the crucifixion.
13 THEORY | Hypnosis
It is suggested that visions of a risen Jesus could have been caused by hypnosis, an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep, characterized by heightened susceptibility to suggestion.

In line with the theory that Jesus used hypnosis to perform some of his miraculous cures. If he could use hypnosis to cure people, then perhaps he could have also used it to implant a post-hypnotic suggestion into the subconscious of his followers.
No Evidence
14 THEORY | Myth
The Myth Theory suggests that Jesus was crucified, but did not rise up. The entire resurrection story was invented by the disciples and a made up 'myth', not meaning it literally.
No Evidence
15 THEORY | Conspiracy
The Conspiracy Theory suggests the disciples were 'evil' deceivers who together conspired to fool the Christians by inventing the worlds most famous and successful lie in history.
No Evidence

CROSS - Was Jesus crucified on the cross?
DEATH - Did Jesus die on the cross?
RESURRECTION - After death, did Jesus come back to life?
- NO
14 hrs ago | 689 views   •   Author: Guest   •   Updated: 06 Oct 2017

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