Christian Beliefs About Life After Death by Paul Badham

By Paul Badham

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39 This suggests that Paul regarded the appearances of Jesus as visionary experiences rather than objective seeings. This would seem supported by the terminology he uses in Galatians 1/16 where he says, 'God revealed his Son to me', or in a literal translation 'in me', suggesting perhaps an inward experience. 40 Turning to the Gospels we find that in all the accounts there is something unusual about the appearances of Jesus. ' 42 This is perhaps the strongest evidence for the inward nature of Jesus' appearances, for a physical appearance, such as a camera might have recorded, would have left no room for this doubt.

LOS Such mythical elements seem to point to a period of reflection and militate against the idea that we are dealing with a primitive tradition. However, the fatal objection to the narratives is their internal incoherence. I do not mean by this the problem of whether the appearances were in Galilee or Jerusalem; nor do I refer to minor inconsistencies like the difference of opinion as to how many women went into the tomb/06 or whether the witness at the tomb was one or two young men or one, two, or a whole vision of angels.

Men never imagine Jesus manifesting himself naked to his disciples in the Upper Room, or to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus,. or to Mary Magdelene in the garden. Unless one is prepared to postulate 'spiritual clothes' or 'the resurrection of Jesus' robe', one is in real difficulties in accounting for many of Jesus' appearances except by the hypothesis of hallucination. One could of course postulate readily available gardener's clothes for the incident in the garden, but not for those appearances which involved appearances and exits through locked doors.

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