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Preview: Comments on Crossings: Robert Gundry on the physicality of Jesus' resurre...

Comments on Crossings: Robert Gundry on the physicality of Jesus' resurrection in earliest Christian proclamation

Updated: 2018-02-04T16:59:53.174-08:00


Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions guards at...


Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions guards at the tomb. John's Gospel says nothing about guards. If John was an eyewitness, as Christians claim, isn't that a pretty important detail to leave out of your story? The missing Roman guards in the Book of John raises an important issue. Christians often contend that it would have been impossible for anyone to have surreptitiously removed Jesus’ corpse from the tomb because there were guards posted at the tomb who would have prevented such an occurrence. Therefore, they argue, without any possibility for the body to have been quietly whisked away, the only other logical conclusion is that Jesus must have truly arisen from the dead. A stolen body hypothesis is impossible.

This argument completely collapses in John’s account, however, because according to the fourth Gospel, this is precisely what Mary thought had occurred! Mary clearly didn’t feel as though the scenario of Jesus’ body being removed was unlikely. In fact, according to John, that was her only logical conclusion. Clearly, Matthew’s guards didn’t dissuade John’s Mary from concluding that someone had taken Jesus’ body because Roman guards do not exist in John’s story.

To further compound the problem of the conflicting resurrection accounts, John’s Gospel continues to unfold with Mary returning to the tomb a second time, only to find two angels sitting inside the tomb. Mary is still unaware of any resurrection as she complains to the angels that someone had removed Jesus’ corpse. As far as John’s Mary is concerned, the only explanation for the missing body was that someone must have removed it, and she was determined to locate it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying12 , one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

(John 20:11-13)

Although in Matthew’s account the angel emphatically tells Mary about the resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7), in John’s Gospel the angels do not mention that anyone rose from the dead. The angels only ask Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary responds by inquiring whether the angels removed Jesus’ body. Then, Mary turns and sees Jesus standing before her, but mistakes him for the gardener. Mary is still completely unaware of any resurrection, and therefore asks the “gardener” if he was the one who carried away Jesus’ body. It is only then that Mary realizes that she was speaking to the resurrected Jesus.

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” which means Teacher.

(John 20:14-16)

It is at this final juncture of the narrative that the accounts of Matthew and John become hopelessly irreconcilable. The question every Christian must answer is the following: When Mary met Jesus for the first time after the resurrection, had the angel(s) already informed her that Jesus had arisen from the dead? According to Matthew, the angels did inform Mary of the resurrection, but in John’s account they did not. As we survey the divergent New Testament accounts of the resurrection, we see that we are not just looking at contradictory versions, we are reading two entirely different stories!

The only author in the Bible who mentions anything...


The only author in the Bible who mentions anything about guards being at the tomb, Matthew, says that the guards were not posted until the next day after Jesus body had been placed in the tomb, and, even though Joseph of Arimethea had rolled a great stone in front of the tomb, he had not sealed it. So, the tomb of Jesus was left unguarded and unsealed the entire first night, in the darkness, and probably part of the next day. That would provide ample time and ample opportunity for someone to have moved or stolen the body.

So even if the biblical account of the “guards at the tomb” story is correct, the fact that there is a time period when the tomb was left unguarded, blows a hole in the Christian claim that a resurrection is the best explanation for the empty tomb and the disciples’ belief that Jesus had been resurrected. For instance, if grave robbers had taken the body, the Jews would say that the disciples took the body and the disciples would say that Jesus had fulfilled his prophecy and had risen from the dead.

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Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Romans 1:3 and 1:4?Isn't that one of the early cre...


Romans 1:3 and 1:4?

Isn't that one of the early creeds that make no mention of any empty tomb or any Jesus walking the earth after death?

Paul believed Jesus was raised from the dead, and became a spirit.

'The last Adam became a life-giving spirit'.

Steven Carr,My apologies for such a late reponse.I...


Steven Carr,

My apologies for such a late reponse.

I'm not going into depth, but I saw no attempt on your part to deal with Romans 1:3f.

If you are going to re-interpret 'anastasis ek nekrwn' in Romans 1:4, I'd recommend you start with a lexicon, and show us how we've misconstrued the words.

While I regret and am deeply shamed by the behavior of many Christians, I am no longer driven from my faith by it. Belief that one way or another God is self-revealed in Scripture SHOULD lead to a concern for justice, mercy, and personal humility. While these might be my concerns were I not a Christian, they are fed and re-enforced by my faith in Christ.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin
PS That last paragraph was partially an extremely late response to Paul (anonymous)

Joanie quotes Wright.Let me quote Paul.Does Paul t...


Joanie quotes Wright.

Let me quote Paul.

Does Paul think the body that goes in the ground will be saved?

When Paul said in Romans 6:6 'For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no
longer be slaves to sin' , Paul meant that our physical body would be done away with, because it was a body of sin.

I wonder why he said 'done away with' and not 'saved'.

Of course, the answer is easy. Paul never preached that corpses rise from the grave.

When Paul said in 2 Cor. 5 'We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.' , he meant that you will be away from the physical body that you have now, not that you return at the resurrection to the physical body that was buried.

When Paul said in 2 Cor. 5 'For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.', he meant the things done during the time you were in the physical body that was buried, and obviously at judgement, you will no longer be in the physical body that was buried.

Paul is pretty clear. The physical body that was buried will be destroyed, done away with, we will be away from it, and we will have to account for what we did during the time that we were in it.

What did Paul preach about our present bodies? Will they be restored from the dust that a corpse dissolves into?

No, they will be destroyed and done away with.

No wonder Paul thought of the Corinthians as fools for imagining that a resurrection had something to do with a corpse returning to life.

Hello, Steven, and others. We are having an intere...


Hello, Steven, and others. We are having an interesting little "debate" here, I see! But I will just post this last thing and let it go.

I went to your blog at and read what you wrote about N.T. Wright. I had never heard of him so I searched on the internet to read about him and found his 2002 writing at:
I will post some remarks that he makes that I foundto be the most interesting. He says about resurrection as seen by early Christians (and many OLD Christians, too!):

"It will involve transformation, the gift of a new body with different properties."

" ‘Heaven’ is not the Christian’s ultimate destination. For renewed bodies we need a renewed cosmos, including a renewed earth. That is what the New Testament promises."

"I have argued that the early Christians looked forward to a resurrection which was not a mere resuscitation, nor yet the abandonment of the body and the liberation of the soul, but a transformation, a new type of body living within a new type of world."

"If someone had been able to say ‘oh, don’t you understand? When I say “resurrection”, all I mean is that Jesus is in heaven and he is my Lord, that I’ve had a new sense of God’s love and forgiveness,’ the dangerous debate about tombs, guards, angels and bodies could have been abandoned with a sigh of relief all round."

(And about Jesus he writes that he was) "... transformed, so that, though in all sorts of ways still ‘bodily’, and certainly so as to leave an empty tomb behind him, his body was now significantly different, with new properties, in a way that nothing in the Jewish tradition had prepared him or his followers for. Indeed, the one new property which you would have expected them to include, had they been making these stories up on the basis of scripture, they do not. In none of the accounts is there the slightest suggestion that Jesus’ body was shining like a star."

"The historian’s task is not to force people to believe. It is to make it clear that the sort of reasoning historians characteristically employ — inference to the best explanation, tested rigorously in terms of the explanatory power of the hypothesis thus generated — points strongly towards the bodily resurrection of Jesus; and to make clear, too, that from that point on the historian alone cannot help. When you’re dealing with worldviews, every community and every person must make their choices in the dark, even if there is a persistent rumour of light around the next corner."

P.S. I had posted this message a few minutes ago and it wasn't showing the entire two URLs I posted in this message. I am trying again after having deleted the first message.


This comment has been removed by the author.

From Allen Ross's article 'In other words, the Cre...


From Allen Ross's article 'In other words, the Creed affirms what the Bible clearly teaches, that after the resurrection of Jesus..... he departed from his disciples from the top of the Mount of Olives. That is, he simply ascended from the earth in the clouds and entered into the heavenly court to be exalted.'

But we know now that if you go above the clouds you no more reach Heaven than if you go down into the ground.

Perhaps that was not generally realised then.

Being that it is Easter tomorrow, I think this is ...


Being that it is Easter tomorrow, I think this is a great article to read by Allen Ross , Th.D., Ph.D. He titles it "The Ascension of the Lord" and you can read it at

At the bottom of that page you can go the page where he lists the eight articles that led up to this one.

I think Professor Ross has an intelligence similar to C.S. Lewis and also the ability to impart knowledge to others in a sensible manner. And of course, both Ross and Lewis inspire us to continue in hope and faith that this life is only the beginning of an eternal life we will live by and within the love of God, as shown to us and promised to us by Jesus.

Gundry is pretty much right in that Paul makes a s...


Gundry is pretty much right in that Paul makes a sharp dichotomy between 'spiritual' (pneuma), and fleshly.

But it doesn't get him where he wants.

Paul's point is that our present bodies are 'soma psyhcikon' (biological bodies) and these cannot become 'soma pneumatikon', (spiritual bodies) , because there is no hope in 'psyche' (biological life, in Paul's thought)

The 'carnal man' has put his hope in a 'carnal body', which is why he is a fool. The 'carnal body' will die.

The 'spiritual man' puts his hope in a 'spiritual body', which , in contrast to the 'carnal body' will survive.

This is why Paul asks to be rescued from his 'body of death' (Romans 1:24). He is trapped in a carnal body, which is doomed.

However, he knows that inside this carnal body, he has been given some spirit, which will form the basis of his future spiritual body.

This is why the Corinthians were such fools as to wonder how the carnal body could come back.

It simply won't , in Paul's view. It is doomed.

It is important to remember that Jesus said that G...


It is important to remember that Jesus said that God is a spirit and those that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth or something very similar to that. So, no, I don't think the Holy Spirit has vocal chords! Though, the Spirit may USE the vocal chords of people to get the message of love across to people. Plus, the God who is responsible for all that we see is likely "capaple" of using airwaves to create sound, even the sound of a voice, when needing or wanting to "communicate" with people. I really don't know, and all this stuff just makes it obvious why so many people dccide to stay right out of the religious arena completely and just raise their families and do their jobs. Religion can divide people so much. It's not of God if it is divisive, is my opinion. I just read something recently in the New Testament about God not being a God of confusion. (I am at work waiting for a client and don't have time to look it up.)

Take care, all.

Steven,It's important to distinguish the true God ...



It's important to distinguish the true God of the universe(s) that is spirit, from the OT male God in whose image we were supposedly made, who could wrestle with Jacob, travel in a sky chariot, and communicate with selected individuals. As I see it, this latter god or gods (Elohim then Yahweh) became equated with true God as monotheism evolved.


There is a nice blog at the above URL by a C Michael Patton called "Seven Benefits of Good Theology." He talks about why it is important to know more about God than just that we are supposed to love him and love people.

'It takes a body with vocal chords to produce voic...


'It takes a body with vocal chords to produce voice, and ears to hear Saul's response and respond to that.'

How does God hear prayers?

How did God say at the baptism 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased'?

The Holy Spirit must have vocal chords.

A point I feel needs some stress is the Acts 9 acc...


A point I feel needs some stress is the Acts 9 account of Saul's conversion encounter. Gundry records Tabor having written that Paul "claimed to hear a disembodied 'voice' he identified as 'words' of Jesus." The adjective "disembodied" was fed in by Tabor without justification. According to Acts 9:7 the men with Saul heard the voice also (even if it be assumed that only Saul understood it). It takes a body with vocal chords to produce voice, and ears to hear Saul's response and respond to that.

This account for that reason was a bit of an embarrassment, I'd say, to the writer of Luke/Acts as he was penning Acts. Why else would he add two more accounts (in Acts 22 & 26) that correct the first account by not having the men with Saul hear the voice, and adding in no uncertain terms that the encounter had occurred at midday, and not at night when a fully embodied voice could have spoken out but not be seen while a very bright light half blinded Saul and his men? The corrected account of Acts 26 then leaves the impression, as must have been intended, that Saul had had only a personal vision, and that the men had not even seen the light.

Such an evolution of a story, to remove an embarrassment, supports the first story containing the worst embarrassment. So I see Acts 9 as supporting Gundry, not Tabor.

Greg still can't find any mention of a body in 1 C...


Greg still can't find any mention of a body in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, but claims it is about a body anyway, even though the last uses of the word 'body' was 11 verses earlier. Who can argue with such logic?

Paul doesn't say body, because he didn't mean body.

And Greg doesn't deal with any of the other points.

Paul uses the same language of 'aphthartos' and 'phartos' (as in 1 Cor. 15:54) and 'allaso' (to change, in 1 Cor. 15:52) in Romans 1:23 where God is changed from an imperishable being to a perishable idol.

Or perhaps Paul just doesn't use such language to describe things at two different stages of existence, just as he does not use the same language to describe how God was changed into an idol.

Perhaps he means that the pagans replaced God by an idol, and Paul's use of such language implies a replacement , not a transformation.

Just a thought...

And while Greg is considering that, there is always Paul's clear statement that Jesus became a spirit at his resurrection, and Paul's clear implications that the spirit of Jesus is not bound to a flesh-and-bones resurrected body, because the spirit can be found in our own bodies.

Little wonder the Jesus-worshippers in Corinth scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise corpses, when they were told that Jesus became a life-giving spirit, inhabiting their bodies.

Robert:I spent almost all of my 45 years of life e...



I spent almost all of my 45 years of life enmeshed in Christianity. I still regularly attend church with my wife and kids. But I want to understand more than just the fourth-grade Sunday School version, kind of get the big picture.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it, the more one learns the more difficult it became to believe in literal truth of Scripture. And then there is the bizarre thing in which believing in Christianity makes most people less like Christ, more hateful, unforgiving, warmongering and the like.

Why not give it up entirely? I can't say I'm done learning. One way to learn is to bounce around ideas with good people like you. Maybe here are good answers to my questions.

Anyway, I am aware that there are far more bizarre religions, but I don't see that as affirming Christianity in any way.


Adding words to Paul is a bad idea, even if Gundry...


Adding words to Paul is a bad idea, even if Gundry and Greg Delassus have to do it to try to make their point.

I don't need to add words to Paul.

Or say that there is something special about the word 'touto' which implies 'body'.

You are misunderstanding my point, Mr Carr. I conceded to you that Paul does not use the word "body" and deliberated avoided it in my post, using "[thing]" instead. Nor did I claim that "touto" implies "body." My point is simply that whatever the referent might be which is modified by "phtharton" and "thneton" in verse 55, it is apparently to be understood to be the same thing which takes on "aphtharsian" and "athanasian."

That said, what the heck else would you have us to understand to be the noun in question which is modified by "phtharton" and "thneton" in verse 55? "Soma" is really the only singular neuter noun floating around in the discussion at this point in the text. I do not think that it is, per se, critical to Dr Gundry's point to establish that "soma" is the assumed referent of "phtharton" and "thneton," but as long as you are going to make a big deal of it, I would have to say that grammatically you are on weak ground in opposing the claim.


The above URL is a discussion board that comes from a link off Charles Pellgrino's website. (He is one of the two authors about the alleged Jesus' family tomb.) He has mentioned various anomalies about the Jesus ossuary and at the above URL, near the bottom of that page, one of his posts includes, "The new anomalies are not in the book. The first anomaly was not doubly and triply confirmed as repeatable by the time of publication (the missing disintegrating bones ["nematode anomaly"] and/or the missing primary burial stage RE the Jesus ossuary fibers). The newest anomaly has come from the microbiology lab only during the past three weeks. It appears to have interesting biomedical implications. Stay tuned."

So I guess I will need to keep checking back there to see what THAT is about!

GREG writes 'The perishable and the imperishable t...


GREG writes 'The perishable and the imperishable things in question are the same object at two different stages.'

Agreed, but they are not the body we have now.

They are us.

At one stage in our existence, we wear the clothing of flesh and blood, and have a body animated by 'psyche' (which Paul uses to mean life.

This body loses its life, loses its 'psyche', and we are then clothed in a new body , animated by 'pneuma' ( or spirit)

Paul is quite consistent about that.

Christians already have some 'psyche' in them, which Paul calls a deposit.

However, non-Christians only have a natural body, which was animated by 'psyche' in the way Adam's body was, and this natural body will perish and rot.

Christians don't have to worry about the present clothing rotting, because they will change clothes.

This is why the Corinthians were foolish to wonder how a corpse could be raised. It is a non-problem. Paul never has to answer questions of how God can reform a body from the dust and ash that corpses turn into. Paul doesn't answer that question because he does not believe bodies are reformed from dust and ash.

The Corinthians must still have been puzzled, because Paul has to write a second letter to them, explaining that the earthly body is just clothing which will be destroyed, and they will change clothes and get new clothing.

Not the same clothing at different stages of its existence:-)

2 Corinthians 5
1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life

The word for 'swallowed up' means to gulp down or devour so that no more remains and none is visible.

Can anybody really say that when Jesus was resurrected, what was 'mortal' about him had been 'swallowed up' , so that none remained to be seen?

People could still see the wounds!

Paul does not use 'body' in verses 51-55 , because...


Paul does not use 'body' in verses 51-55 , because he does not mean that this perishable body will put on imperishability (something which actually makes little sense, as I showed).

Adding words to Paul is a bad idea, even if Gundry and Greg Delassus have to do it to try to make their point.

I don't need to add words to Paul.

Or say that there is something special about the word 'touto' which implies 'body'.

If Paul was teaching the Jesus-worshippers in Corinthians that perishable bodies rise, he would have said so.

After all these Jesus-worshippers scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise a corpse, so Paul would not have hesitated to rub their noses in the fact that corpses do rise, *if he had believed that*

Corpses dissolve into dust, and Paul flat out denies that resurrected beings are made out of dust, and he denies that our flesh and blood will enter the kingdom of God.

However the Gospels try to prove that Jesus was not made of some strange material that , in itself, has the power to pass through walls.

The disiples think that it is the case, but Jesus 'proves' he is made of the same material he always was.

Being able to enter locked rooms was a miracle not a property of the material Jesus was made of. (Were Jesus clothes filled with the Holy Spirit, so that they could pass through walls with the rest of Jesus?)

Paul above responded to my post with, "...based on...


Paul above responded to my post with, "...based on history of the world, I think it is a lot more radical to try and love each other than to believe in a supernatural event. :) "

You are very correct, Paul. It would be the most miraculous thing of all if all the people in the whole world behaved lovingly. If we choose to believe the New Testament stories, Jesus would get exasperated with the people wanting to see him do miracles. He said the crowds were following him because he fed him with all those loaves and fishes, but he said they were not listening to the message of God and love that he was trying to get them to hear.

And I see Bob Griffin mentions "Autobiography of a Yogi" which is very interesting because I was just driving along today thinking I may mention that book here. I read that book at a time when my "intellectuality" was not allowing me to "believe" in a lot of the miraculous things mentioned in the New Testament. But here was this Hindu man, telling me that I could even believe that God could actually speak the words and be heard by people when he said, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased" (or something like that) when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. My intellectual side would surely say this was something perhaps Jesus heard inside of himself, but this Yogi believed the words were spoken by God and heard by human ears. He had much else to say about both Christian saints and other holy people. I should read that book again.

It may not sound it, but people who know me would say I am very much of the "mind" and not an emotional person at all. When all this gets too much to think about, I just remember that Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God and to love people. That covers a lot of ground. But it is DIFFICULT to love some people. That is when we need to allow the Spirit of God to work within us to do the loving.

That's it for me. I will now continue to read the interesting comments you folks are posting. I am enjoying it.

Dear Paul,Wow, you're an evangelist! Quoting:"Agai...


Dear Paul,

Wow, you're an evangelist! Quoting:
"Again, there is only one logical answer to all this ...."

All I can say, and you'll need to search out the meaning for yourself, is

Suki hotu,
Bob Griffin
PS If you think I'm insulting you, or praising you, you haven't figured out what I said.
PPS So why are you so hung up about Christianity? Why not simply let it go?