When Jesus’ opponents later crafted an explanation for the missing body of Jesus, why didn’t they claim that he only swooned? Why didn’t Jesus’ executors say that Jesus merely fainted? If there were any way to deny his death, they would have. Instead, they stated that his body was stolen. (Matthew 28:13) Their story admits that Jesus was actually dead. They did this because there were too many eyewitnesses, in close proximity, to Jesus’ death. There were too many that would know they were lying if they claimed Jesus had not died. The only defense they had was accuse the disciples of conspiracy. Even Jesus’ fiercest opponents could not maintain the swoon theory. The idea that Jesus merely fainted is weak speculation and isn’t based on any contextual information, only the idea that the resurrection is hard to believe.
William Lane Craig is one of the leading experts on the Resurrection of Christ. In his book Reasonable Faith, he has a brilliant chapter on the resurrection. He summarizes the research in this way.
“The stupefaction of contemporary scholarship, when confronted with the facts of the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and the origin of the Christian faith suggests that no better rival [theory] is anywhere on the horizon. Once one gives up the prejudice against miracles, it’s hard to deny that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the facts.”1
William Lane Craig, although one of the best known, is not the only person to recognize the compelling evidence from a historical point of view. Lee Stroble, an atheist who began a two-year process of investigating the facts about Jesus, writes at the end of his book.
“The atheism I had embraced for so long buckled under the weight of the historical truth. It was a stunning and radical outcome, certainly not what I had anticipated when I embarked on this investigative process. But it was, in my opinion, a decision compelled by the facts.”2
1 Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Rev. ed. ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1994: p. 297
2 Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998. p. 360