I have seen several atheists authors of both books and blogs state that the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ was not really a sacrifice at all since he came back from the dead. They state that after he allegedly rose from the dead that he went to his imaginary abode in the sky to live happily ever after in all power and glory. I want to state from the outset that I personally don’t believe that the story of the resurrection is an actual historical event. In fact, I don’t believe that Jesus Christ was actually an historical figure. It is my intention in this post to explain in the simplest way possible what was the intended meaning of the resurrection.
Anyone who has taken the time to read the various accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ can attest to the fact that the stories are full of holes and contradictions. But the intent behind the death and resurrection served several purposes. For this post I am going to let the apostle Paul clarify and make plain the actual reasoning behind this so called historical event. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this never happened and that if it was in fact a part of God’s plan then he is an idiot who didn’t quite think this plan through.
In the book of Romans 5:10 Paul explains that the death of Christ was necessary to reconcile man with God. And it ends by stating that through his life (resurrection) we are saved. “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more can we be sure that, being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The book of Hebrews chapter nine explains the purpose of the death of Christ and its necessity for believers. Hebrews 9:22 states the following “In fact, according to the Law, practically every purification takes place by means of blood; and if there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission." Comparing the system of redemption with the old Mosaic law Paul or Peter explain how and why the death of Christ was necessary. The shedding of blood was a requirement under God’s law. Hey it’s his game and his rules no matter how stupid they are.
The shedding of blood and subsequent death of Christ was the inauguration of a new covenant with God where Jesus was the high priest on behalf of man. “It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was merely a model of the real one; he entered heaven itself, so that he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24) In case you were wondering, this new covenant replaced the old covenant and covered all of humanity from Adam to the present and all future generations. This is clearly stated in Hebrews 9:15 “This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a death has occurred to redeem the sins committed under an earlier covenant, those who have been called to an eternal inheritance may receive the promise.” By the way the "promise" is eternal life (salvation).
According to the scriptures the fall of man introduced sin and death into the world and the only way to eradicate the effects of sin was with a perfect sacrifice requiring death and the shedding of blood. Now the meaning behind the resurrection is as easily explained as the death of Christ. Basically, death is one of the consequences of sin; this applies to both physical as well as spiritual death. So technically through his death he conquered sin and all its effects which include death.
Let’s see what explanation Paul gives us in 1Corinthians 15:21-22 “ As it was by one man that death came, so through one man has come the resurrection of the dead. Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life;” Remember Adam represents death and Christ represents life so Paul states that as he rose from the dead so will all those believers also have the same hopes of life in some future state. Remember Paul stated in 1Corinthians 15:14 “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith.”
The reason I wrote this article is to educate and inform some of my fellow atheists about the meaning of the resurrection. When you argue that the death of Christ was overshadowed by his resurrection and thus made his death pointless it just makes you appear ignorant about Christian doctrine. This argument is embarrassing for former believers who are now atheists like myself and who know what it is they are arguing against. If you have never been a believer then you should educate yourself on what it is you are debating, otherwise you are just embarrassing yourself.
Note: All quotes from the bible are taken from the New Jerusalem bible. An online version of the New Jerusalem bible can be found here.