Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. An if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised, (1 Corinithians 15:12-15, ESV – emphasis mine).
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 is one of the earliest Christian creeds, which has been proven to be a reliable source of historical information about Jesus. It is implicit in this passage that the tomb was empty.
- The site of Jesus’ tomb was well known at the time of His death. How could a movement begin based on the statement that Jesus’ tomb was empty in the very city where He was known to have been buried.
- The Gospel of Mark’s passion narrative comes from an earlier source (language, grammar and style points to this), and there is evidence that it was written before A.D. 37 (4-7 years after His death, burial and resurrection) which is much too early for it to have been corrupted by legend.
- Mark’s account of the story of the empty tomb is simple, there isn’t any theological reflection.
- The unanimous testimony that the empty tomb was found by women – this would have been embarassing to the disciples (due to Jewish culture) and would have been covered up if it were legend.
- The earliest Jewish argument against the resurrection presupposes the historicity of the empty tomb. Nobody was claiming that the tomb still contained Jesus’ body.
(Source: The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel, Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pgs. 220-221)