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Do the Resurrection Stories in the 4 Gospels Contradict Each Other?
in Religion

By kimmontojorealdealkimmontojorealdeal 24 Pts edited May 19

As I dissected each gospel, I found lots of contradictions and I’m fascinated with the resurrection contradictions between these 4 Gospels ( Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

Let’s start with Matthew, according to the Gospel of Matthew there were only 2 women who visited the tomb and they were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Not Jesus Mama lol) and when they reached the tomb they saw 1 angel  coming down from the sky and took away the stone and sat on it. The angel told the women about Jesus raising from the dead, then they ran away and along the way Jesus appeared in front of them and told them don’t be afraid and tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me. So in Matthew 1. There were 2 women, 2. 1 angel sitting on the stone and 3. they met Jesus along the way. 

What about in Mark? According to the Gospel of Mark, Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother of James and Salome went inside the tomb and saw a young man sitting on the right of the inside of the tomb, and the young man said don’t be alarmed and etc and he said Jesus is raised from the dead. He also told them to tell the disciples, but did they? No, they didn’t tell anybody because they were afraid. So in Mark 1. There are 3 women, 2. 1 angel inside the tomb 3. They didn’t see Jesus along the way 4. They didn’t tell anybody because they were scared. 

What about in Luke? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and the other women went to the tomb and they found that the tomb was empty and while they were perplexed about it two men appeared to them and told them Jesus was risen, so they ran and told the disciples. Because of this testimony, Peter went to the tomb and marvelled. So in Luke 1. There are more than 3 women, 2. 2 men inside tomb 3. They told the disciples 4. Jesus didn’t appear along the way to them. 

And then in the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone and found that the stone was rolled away so she ran back to tell Peter and John about it. And then Peter and John (Most Christians believe it was John who was with Peter) went to the tomb and confirmed it. They didn’t find any body nor angels there only a linen cloth, so they went back home, but Mary Magdalene stayed there and was weeping, and then when she looked inside the tomb she saw 2 angels. The 2 angels talked to her and said “why are you weeping?” And then she turned around and saw Jesus but she didn’t recognise him at first she thought he was just a gardener so she asked him where the body of Jesus was, but Jesus said “Mary” and then finally Mary Magdalene recognised Jesus. After that she ran back again and told the disciples that she saw Jesus. 

So how many angels? How many women? How many disciples? Were the angels inside or outside the tomb? Did Jesus appear on the road or not? But one thing is for sure its kinda funny for me that Mary Magdalene mistaken Jesus as a gardener in the Gospel of John. 

Happy_KillbotPlaffelvohfenDeeSkepticalOne



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  • SandSand 164 Pts

    This is my understanding, but I may be wrong.

    The first event is the women walking to the tomb.
    It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, Mary the mother of James, and other women.
    Just because all the writers do not mention them, doesn't mean they were not there.

    When all the women arrive, they see the stone is removed and the tomb is empty and Mary Magdalene runs off to tell Peter and John.
    The other women wait and two angels appear as if they were standing next to them, which frightens them.
    Only one Angel speaks and tells them to inform the disciples.
    So the remaining women run off to tell the disciples, those are the ones who run into Jesus. (Matthew)
    Meanwhile, Peter and John run off to the tomb, John being younger out runs Mary and Peter there.
    He waits outside until Peter and Mary arrive and they go in together and find nothing.
    Then after a while Peter and John head home, while Mary stays there.
    She begins to weep when Jesus appears before her.

    In Matthew, it is also mentioned what caused the bolder to be moved, from the watchmen's information, that the angel was sitting on the bolder, but doesn't say the women saw these things. Matthew jumps straight to the angel speaking to the group of women.

    I am not trying to say there are no contradictions because any two events told separately, would mention some details and exclude others.
    This event is told from four different perspectives.
    It seems logical that different ones arrived at different times and saw different things.
    But the consistent thread was Jesus' body was not there and angels were there.

    GlorfindelJernkimmontojorealdealPlaffelvohfen
  • NeopesdomNeopesdom 88 Pts
          There are many who consider the various discrepancies in the gospel accounts as proof that the narrative is false. On the contrary, if each gospel said exactly the same thing then the suspicion of collusion must be considered. It is only people who are trying to "get their story straight" who must be suspected of deceit. Therefore the slight differences in each gospel account actually add veracity to them, by showing the independence of the authorship, while maintaining the theological consistency. - Dave G. Becher

    Contradiction is and of itself is not an indication of error. Let's say you have a rock, one side red, the other blue. If one person is standing on the red side and another on the blue we will get two different contradictory accounts, one says the rock is red, the other blue. Both accounts though seemingly mutually opposed are both correct from their individual perspectives. When we add the perspectives together we get the complete picture or atleast a more comprehensive one. 

     "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." (2 Cor. 13:1)

    “Different types of witnesses will provide evidence from different perspectives, and these perspectives need to be assessed by the investigator to establish the reliability of the evidence provided.” 

    Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) was one of the founders of Harvard Law School. He authored the authoritative three-volume text, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), which is still considered "the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure." Greenleaf literally wrote the rules of evidence for the U.S. legal system. He was certainly a man who knew how to weigh the facts. He was an atheist until he accepted a challenge by his students to investigate the case for Christ's resurrection. After personally collecting and examining the evidence based on rules of evidence that he helped establish, Greenleaf became a Christian and wrote the classic, Testimony of the Evangelists.

    Sir Lionel Luckhoo (1914-1997) is considered one of the greatest lawyers in British history. He's recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Most Successful Advocate," with 245 consecutive murder acquittals. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II -- twice. Luckhoo declared:
      I humbly add I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.
    Lee Strobel was a Yale-educated, award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune. As an atheist, he decided to compile a legal case against Jesus Christ and prove him to be a fraud by the weight of the evidence. As Legal Editor of the Tribune, Strobel's area of expertise was courtroom analysis. To make his case against Christ, Strobel cross-examined a number of Christian authorities, recognized experts in their own fields of study (including PhD's from such prestigious academic centers as Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis). He conducted his examination with no religious bias, other than his predisposition to atheism.

    Remarkably, after compiling and critically examining the evidence for himself, Strobel became a Christian. Stunned by his findings, he organized the evidence into a book entitled, The Case for Christ, which won the Gold Medallion Book Award for excellence. Strobel asks one thing of each reader - remain unbiased in your examination of the evidence. In the end, judge the evidence for yourself, acting as the lone juror in the case for Christ...
    GlorfindelHappy_KillbotkimmontojorealdealSandPlaffelvohfenDeeSkepticalOne
  • @Sand ;

    So the women who were running back from the tomb ignored Peter and John who were running to the tomb? And those women didn’t also encounter Mary Magdalene who had split up from them a lil while ago a? And then when Peter and John came back from the tomb the women who had returned didn’t tell them anything that they had seen? 

    Did Peter run to the tomb a second time after the women told him that Jesus had risen from the dead? 
  • @Neopesdom

    In the case of a rock were one side is red and the other side is blue, those two perspectives don’t contradict, but in the empty tomb narratives there are CLEAR  and EXPLICIT CONTRADICTIONS. 

    Did the angel talk to the women outside the tomb or inside the tomb? It’s impossible for it to have been both at the same time. 
  • @Neopesdom

    Consider this, if the gospels were perfectly consistent, would that be evidence for Jesus?
    If you consider the inconsistencies to be evidence that the gospel is true as well, then is there any way that you could determine the gospel to be false?

    Isn't this a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation where you are allowing no room for possible failure?

    kimmontojorealdealPlaffelvohfenDee
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • @Sand

    Did Jesus appear on the road or not?
  • @Sand

    The angel(s) are inside the tomb in some gospels and outside the tomb in other gospels.
  • @Sand

    There are different numbers of angels in each gospel.
  • @Sand

    There are different numbers of women who went to the tomb in each gospel.
  • SandSand 164 Pts

    >>>So the women who were running back from the tomb ignored Peter and John who was running to the tomb? And those women didn’t also encounter Mary Magdalene, who had split up from them a little while ago? And then when Peter and John came back from the tomb the women who had returned didn’t tell them anything that they had seen? <<<

    Are you sure they took the same route? How long did it take for Mary to reach Peter and John?
    I believe you are making assumptions not incongruent with the information.
    Let us say yes, they did see Peter and John. And they told them what they saw, would that change Mary, Peter, and John's reason for traveling to the tomb?
    Would their actions be different then what the writers wrote?



    >>>Did Peter run to the tomb a second time after the women told him that Jesus had risen from the dead?<<<

    I did not see where a group of disciples ran to the tomb.



    >>>Did Jesus appear on the road or not?<<<

    Obviously he did, for Matthew wrote about it.



    >>>The angel(s) are inside the tomb in some gospels and outside the tomb in other gospels.<<<

    Every writer mentions inside the tomb in every gospel except Matthew and John.
    Only Matthew mentions the Angel on the stone from the watchmen's perspective.
    The watchmen were not there when the women arrived.
    Matthew doesn't say where the angel was when he made the statement to the women.
    So it is clear that Matthew is not providing details in his account.

    This is really simple.
    In John's account, Mary is not mentioned entering the tomb.
    She sees the stone is moved, runs off, tells Peter and John, and heads back.

    In Mark's account, he mentions "a young man".
    There is no Greek word for "a" so that is inputted for English clarification.
    In English "a car" means "one car", but it can also denote "no other cars".
    In greek this is not always the case, I can say "a person said", but it doesn't mean that no one else was there.
    You see this with John's account, him mentioning Mary was there did not mean no one else was there.
    Nevertheless, in English, it is proper to describe the room, unfortunately for our understanding, the information was written in Greek.

    In Luke's account, as you would know he is a physician, his account is usually more detailed with the numbers and ailments.
    He mentions two Angels.
    He says the women told the eleven and others the story. Were these people all sitting in one place for them to tell, the account doesn't say.
    It would seem odd that they were all sleeping together, so more or likely the women told them separately.
    This would make sense why only Peter and John headed there immediately.



    >>>There are different numbers of angels in each gospel.
    There are different numbers of women who went to the tomb in each gospel.<<<

    Just because someone is not mentioned doesn't mean they were there.
    In our history books, we do not mention the names of each soldier, or the amounts of each brigade, only the prominent ones needed to explain the story.
    It seems this was also done by some of the Bible writers.

  • NeopesdomNeopesdom 88 Pts
    @kimmontojorealdeal ;


    In classical logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility or incongruity between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical, usually opposite inversions of each other.

    >>those two perspectives don’t contradict

    The account of Red and Blue do contradict one another. Since that is clearly evident, it must then be concluded that your thinking is what is contradictory or confused. 

    The gospel accounts are perfectly consistent when you are able to discern the context and sense of the record as presented from different perspectives, is it being general or specific, is it a summary or an exhaustive account of every single detail. These are things you need to discern.

    >>Did the angel talk to the women outside the tomb or inside the tomb? It’s impossible for it to have been both at the same time.

    This is were you really have to have some discernment skills, where does it ANY OF THE GOSPELS SAY that the angels talked to women outside the tomb? I mean come on this is pure lunacy! In your introduction I see you had to butcher Matthew to fit your erroneously irreconcilable contradiction claims. I have to suspect your true motives at this point.

    >>“ there were only 2 women who visited the tomb and they were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Not Jesus Mama lol) and when they reached the tomb they saw 1 angel  coming down from the sky and took away the stone and sat on it.”

    The actual text reads that the soldiers saw the angel come down, roll back the stone and sit on it. In any attempt to harmonize the gospels, one has to at least get the basic facts in order. 

    >> It’s impossible for it to have been both at the same time.

    When you eliminate false information alleged contractions just disappear on their own. So let’s eliminate some more of your falsehoods.

    "...only 2 women who visited the tomb”, FALSE

    Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. (Luke 24:1)

    Just because Matthew does not mention certain others with them, does not mean that they were not present, you must know that the gospel writers are presenting a condensed summary of what happened, not every single detail is going to be recounted. Each is presenting certain information from their own perspective, logically they would mention different things in their own narrative. 

    I think you really have to take a step back to see the forest from the trees, re read all the accounts and try to refresh your perspective, you will find all the contractions can easily be explained if you actually put your mind to it. A simple google search will result in finding that this topic is also old news, explained many times over throughout the centuries over and over again. It is hard to believe that this is even a real issue for you now and in all likely hood you are just jumping in on the hate bang wagon with little to no knowledge of what you are talking about. Bad little monkey >:) Either way, you are way out of your depth.

    Matthew records one angel, Luke and John record two. The answer is this. Where there are two there must be one. Get it? There were two angels at the tomb but Matthew only writes about one in his account. Is this a contradiction? No, because where there are two, there must be at least one. Luke includes two, but Matthew only includes the one that spoke with Mary. He keyed in on that one and left the other angel out. Luke and John include the other one. We do that in our reporting. If Clinton and Gore appear on the podium but only Clinton talks and Gore says nothing, some newspapers will say “Clinton appeared and said such and such” and not mention Gore. Other papers will say, “Clinton and Gore appeared and Clinton stated ….” Is there a contradiction? No, just some reporters mentioned one person while another chose not to. - Patrick Zukeran 

    That is what we have in the gospels. The writers include different, but not contradictory, details. Inspiration does not mean the four gospels must be identical in every way. That would be quite boring to read four accounts that are exactly the same. Each writer includes details he feels are necessary for the audience he is addressing. Matthew, writing to the Jews, must include all the Old Testament prophecies, while Mark, writing to the Greeks, does not include many prophecies but writes on the action of Jesus’ life. Is that a contradiction? No, it’s just that each writer included details he felt were necessary and left out others he felt would not be nesscesary for his audience. Alleged contradictions are explained when one studies the accounts and puts each event of Christ in its chronological order. - ditto
    ethang5MichaelElpers
  • @Sand

    “Are you sure they took the same route? How long did it take for Mary to reach Peter and John?”

    Are you assuming that Peter and John were not with the other disciples? This doesn’t square with Luke 24:9-12.

    “Let us say yes, they did see Peter and John. And they told them what they saw, would that change Mary, Peter, and John's reason for traveling to the tomb?”

    it would change Mary’s reason for going back to the tomb because she had already seen it empty. 

    “Matthew doesn't say where the angel was when he made the statement to the women.”

    Matthew said an angel sat on the rock, Matthew doesn’t say the angel ever moved anywhere else except for the rock, therefore to assume that the angel moved anywhere else except the rock is to read your own assumptions into the text. 



  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    Happy_KillbotSand
  • SandSand 164 Pts
    >>>Are you assuming that Peter and John were not with the other disciples? This doesn’t square with Luke 24:9-12.<<<

    Well, Luke says the women told the eleven and all the rest. But it doesn't say they told them together.
    They may have told them one at a time.
    They could have told them all together, and only Peter and John decided to see the tomb for themselves.



    >>>it would change Mary’s reason for going back to the tomb because she had already seen it empty. <<<

    It could have.
    Nevertheless, if they did tell her, according to the writers, she continued back to the tomb.
    So if she did hear more information from the other women, it didn't deter her from a second visit.



    >>>Matthew said an angel sat on the rock, Matthew doesn’t say the angel ever moved anywhere else except for the rock, therefore to assume that the angel moved anywhere else except the rock is to read your own assumptions into the text<<<

    Not necessarily.
    Especially when we have other information.
    Mary's report to Peter and John was not to meet Jesus in Galilee (John)
    Her report was "they taken the lord from the tomb"
    That is why Peter and John went to the tomb, instead of Galilee.

    This is also an indication that Mary did not hear the Angel words.
    Like the other women who reported differently.


    Because none of the writers were there, it is understandable they are documenting other person's reports.

    It seems your issue is mostly with Matthew's account.
    It is true Matthew did not say the Angel moved.
    He also did not say the Angel stayed there.
    Nevertheless, because we have four accounts.
    Three with angels giving instructions.
    One with an angel on the rock but two with the Angel inside the cave.

    Is it more logical to assume one of these is a false report or simply the Angel moved?



    I will give you an example:
    You have three eyewitnesses to an angry man.
    One says he was yelling on top of a car.
    The two say he was definitely on the street yelling.

    Are we to assume one of these reports was false or simply the man moved?


    So in a sense, you are right, to say what exactly happened would be my assumptions.
    Nevertheless, in another sense, to say that the accounts conflict would be your assumptions.
    When you are reporting from different eyewitnesses, you have different perspectives.
    When you have different writers, there are a million ways that you can convey a thought.

  • SandSkepticalOneNeopesdom
  • ethang5ethang5 227 Pts
    @Neopesdom

    Great post! I was about to make a post listing all the facts of the story that kimmontojorealdeal got wrong till I saw your excellent post doing just that. Good job.

    Sometimes I wonder though, if  some people expect the four accounts to be the same, why would we need the account repeated four times?
    Neopesdom
  • ethang5ethang5 227 Pts
    @Sand
    So in a sense, you are right, to say what exactly happened would be my assumptions. Nevertheless, in another sense, to say that the accounts conflict would be your assumptions.

    I could not have said it better. Very good post Sand.

    Sand
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