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What Does the Bible Say About..the Jesus Tomb?

What is to be made of the recent news that Jesus' bones were found along with his mother and sister? Seems like Religious scholars are split on the issue because it can't be proven either way do to all the ifs and maybes.

Answer

I take the view of most reputable archaeologists about this. There is no way to reasonably say that these bones belonged to the Jesus of the gospels. As one archaeologist here in Albuquerque put it, this is like finding a grave here in the Southwest that said "Miguel, son of Maria and Juan Gonzales" and insisting that it is the grave of a specific Miguel Gonzales out of the many that fit this description. (In Ohio, for instance, substitute "Michael, son of Mary and John Smith.") The names Miriam, Joseph, and Joshua were such common names among Jews of all centuries that it would be expected to find tombs with various combinations of these names. To say that this tomb has to be that of the Jesus of Nazareth of the gospels is laughable, from a merely scientific point of view.

There was also a claim of some sort of DNA match. That raises the question, to whose DNA did they match it? To identify a body as being even in a specific family requires that you have DNA from another close member of that family. The best they could possibly do would be to say that these bones were of the tribe of Judah. They could not tie them to a specific family (even Davidís) within that tribe without an absolute, unquestionable, uncontaminated sample of the DNA of a direct descendant of the family. Comparing it to a modern personís DNA would be so far distant that no reliable conclusion could be drawn about the paternity of these bones. The best they could prove, if anything, is that some of the bones in the grave were from the same family. They couldnít prove which family that was.

In other words, it is as reasonable to believe that Jesus raised from the dead bodily and ascended bodily into heaven as it is to believe that these bones are those of that very Jesus. There is as little physical evidence of either. The tomb has been known for several years, and the archaeologists who found it realized how ridiculous it would have been to propose it as the tomb of that particular Jesus. That just shows how far out on a limb those who now propose this theory find themselves.

The only religious scholars that have any doubts are those that are willing to suspend belief just to prove that Jesus was not resurrected and those who donít have enough archaeological background not to be taken in by someone who canít know what he claims to know. You are right that there is no way to prove that this was the tomb of the Jesus of the gospels. On the other hand, these people are trying to pit speculation 2000 years after the fact against eyewitness testimony at the time of the events.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Paul says he can call on almost five hundred eyewitnesses to the resurrection. And that is almost twenty years later. In a court of law, which would have more weightósomeone who is guessing that an artifact might possibly be believed to be something, or five hundred eye witnesses that can testify that it was impossible?