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To James Cameron: Jesus Is Not Here; He Is Risen

Who do we believe? Eyewitnesses of the resurrection, or a filmmaker 2000 years later who says he is not an archaeologist?

Despite all of the hype, all James Cameron has is a bunch of old bones. In "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," filmmaker James Cameron and author Simcha Jacobovici claim to have found the bones of Jesus and His family. You don't have to go very far to prove them wrong.

When we know what is real, we can easily spot the counterfeits.

People who work in banks are trained to spot counterfeit bills. In their training, they are not exposed to counterfeit bills, but to real money. If they know what real money looks and feels like, they will be able to spot counterfeits.

Similarly, this is how we spot counterfeit claims regarding tenets of the Christian faith. When we know what is real, we can easily spot the counterfeits. This is how we know James Cameron's claims are false, even before the archaeological artefacts are examined.

Central to the Christian faith is the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ascension into heaven. The Apostle Paul says, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). When writing to the early Christians, many of whom were alive during Jesus' life, Paul reminds them that Jesus was not only raised from the dead, but there were a lot of witnesses to these events. Jesus appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve and eventually to more than 500 people at the same time (most of whom were still alive at the time of Paul's writings) and then to James, again to all the apostles and, years later, even to Paul (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

Who do we believe? Eyewitnesses of the event or a filmmaker who comes along 2000 years later simultaneously making a claim that will generate money for his business and admitting he is not an archaeologist? Trying to discredit the resurrection of Jesus is nothing new. There were some other witnesses to Jesus' resurrection who were not nearly as enthusiastic as the early believers. Matthew records: " … some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, 'You are to say, His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep. If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.' So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day" (Mathew 28:11-28).

If Jesus has not risen from the dead, then Christianity is false. That would mean that more than two billion of the world's current population, and generations before going back to the very witnesses of the risen Christ, are deluded. The history of the world would have to be rewritten to show that whole civilizations were based on a lie. It would mean that some of the world's greatest thinkers simply got it all wrong.

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20). More than two billion people in the world do have it right. So do the generations before. The history of the world flows naturally from Jewish history to the beginning and continuity of the Christian faith. The great thinkers of the ages knew of what they were speaking.

In His final farewells to His disciples, Jesus enjoins them to believe in what He is saying, "or at least believe on the miracles themselves" (John 14:11). Belief in the miracle of the resurrection is central to our lives. James Cameron may be good at giving us fictional movies, but when we leave the reel world of the movie theatre, we return to the real world of the risen Christ!

Douglas Cryer is Director of Public Policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.




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