Can nature’s laws be broken? The view of modern society and all of scientific investigation says “No.” So how could Jesus Christ have resurrected physically from the dead, a preposterous-sounding event when we look at the statistics of every man, woman, and child who has ever died: They have all died and not come back. And any reports of “people coming back from the dead” must, according to the modern view, have mistaken that the person was actually dead.


This strikes a crucial blow to the Christian faith, which views the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ as pivotal to its truth. Or is the physical resurrection really necessary? Some view the appearances of Jesus Christ to the disciples, the women, apostle Paul, and the five hundred witnesses (1 Corinthians 15) as only visions of a spiritual Christ. According to the spiritual resurrection theory, when Christ was laid in the tomb, His physical body did not rise, but only His Spirit. Thus, some Christians view this spiritual resurrection as a reconciliation of the Bible with science, history, and common experience.


However, a spiritual resurrection appears to seriously contradict many verses in the Bible, the account of Jesus’ life. In 1 Corinthians 15, an epistle by apostle Paul, Paul states in verse 3-4 that “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Now, does this mean that Christ began to appear to the disciples spiritually after the third day in the grave?


Consider verses 12-13,17, in which Paul tries to correct a misunderstanding of the readers in his day:


“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised . . . and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”


This sounds like Paul says that Christ really rose physically from the grave, “from the dead.” But verses 20-22 are even clearer:


“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep [figurative for dead]. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”


Basically, it’s saying that through Adam’s sin of disobedience toward God in the Garden of Eden, all men were subjected to the curse of death as punishment for their now-tainted natures from their original father. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down to earth, died as a payment for our sin, and then resurrected physically from the dead as a testament that we too who believe in Him will also be resurrected in the future. If Christ was only spiritually resurrected, then this emphasis on coming “from the dead” would not make sense, because Jesus’ body would still be in the grave, conquered by death!


These verses are only a few of those that show Jesus as physically coming back to life. The Gospels record that the resurrected Jesus ate cooked fish and let His disciples touch his scarred hands.


Jesus Christ told His disciples this: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:38-39; emphasis mine). Jesus Himself states that He was not a spirit, but a physically-alive person when He appeared from the dead.


This makes sense, because the Bible states repeatedly that the tomb was empty and that the religious and secular authorities were worried about explaining away this strange happening. If the resurrection was only spiritual, the tomb would still be full and the authorities would have crunched the fledgling religion right away when it started making outrageous claims and converting many people, if those claims could not be backed up. It does not make sense that three thousand Jews (Acts 2:41) would convert in one day just because someone saw a “dream” or “vision” of Jesus. Many of them died as martyrs for their faiths, and they were able to be brave against this death because they believed that they would be physically resurrected just like Jesus when He came back to earth as King and Lord. A spiritual resurrection does not explain these verses, events, or convictions.


So, how does Jesus’ physical resurrection square with our common experience that such things just don’t happen? Since this would go under the “miracle” category, how can miracles even take place in a world of unbroken scientific laws? This is a legitimate question, but one which has an all-powerful answer: God. You see, Jesus didn’t just regain life through a chance occurrence in the natural realm; He was supernaturally resurrected by a Supernatural Being, God. And since God created the rules of nature, He is perfectly capable of reaching His hand into the woodwork and changing the rules momentarily for His own purposes.


But hasn’t science shown that the laws of nature cannot be broken? Not really – science has only observed that the laws of nature, as far as we can see, are not broken. But what do we observe? We see finite energy and matter interacting with each other, obeying the laws of nature. But God is an infinite power who can work all things according to His own plan. Can we put God in a laboratory and tell Him, “We want to see if You can break the laws of nature.” First of all, we finite creatures could never do that, and second, He would never stoop down to be bossed around like a guinea pig! But seriously, this shows that just because we see finite, created matter and energy never disobeying nature’s rules does not mean that God cannot override the rules that He Himself placed upon the universe.


Then why don’t we see any other miracles happening? Well, they actually have happened: the creation of life, the worldwide flood, and all the miraculous happenings recorded in God’s Word, the Bible. The creation of the universe actually requires a miracle, or “supernatural” cause: Since both secular scientists and Christians maintain that the universe had a beginning (Big Bang or otherwise), a beginning required that “something” began the universe into existence. This something cannot be the universe or a part of it, since the universe wasn’t existing yet! So God supernaturally (not through natural means, since “nature” wasn’t invented yet) created the universe, which stands even today as the biggest miracle ever in the history of everything.


Just think about it: If talking snakes, floodwaters covering earth, and a man rising from the dead seem outrageous events, then the existence of everything is the most outrageous of them all. It is easy (relatively speaking) to raise a man from the dead rather than create him from only the dust of the earth. And everything else in existence ultimately came from nothing, brought about only because of the all-mighty power of God. If God can create everything from nothing, then I wouldn’t be worried that He physically resurrected Jesus from the dead. And if Jesus Christ, God Himself in human form, really rose from the dead, then it’s not so outrageous to believe that we too will be raised just like Him when we believe and trust in Him as truth.