Friday, April 22, 2011

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

Remember that old myth?  You know the one. "Jesus was not really dead; he just swooned or fainted or passed out from all the pain and later resuscitated in the tomb.  Then his disciples went around making up stories that he had risen from the dead."  That is malarky with a capital M! While it is true, as St. Paul says, that if Christ has not risen we (Christians) are most to be pitied, much worse, we are frauds, our faith is in vain and we are still in our sin (1 Corinthians 15) - it is definitely not accurate to say that Jesus was anything less than dead on the cross on Good Friday, a point the eye-witness accounts go at great lengths to make, accurately and lucidly, right down to the breaking of the legs and the spear that unleashed a cascade of blood and water.   There was no, "I'm not dead yet!" on Good Friday.  Jesus was most certainly dead.  And that is why this is Good for you Friday.  And just in case you need some good ammunition to take into the apologetic trenches, here's one good source to begin with, an article from the Journal of American Medical Association; that's right, not the penmanship of some bapticostalfundagelical religious nut, but a peer-review academic journal.  Take that swoon-theory; your kryptonite is powerless on this Superman.

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ
William D. Edwards, MD;
Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv;
Floyd E. Hosmer, MS, AMI
Here's the abstract:

Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.
(JAMA 1986;255:1455-1463)

And here's a link to the article that you can download/view in Word.

A Blessed Good Friday to you all.  It is finished!

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