about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, there are only a few possibilities, and the perpetrator(s) had to have BOTH a motive and the ability. The empty tomb is a HUGE logical problem for atheists and non-Christians!
First option: The disciples thrashed an elite Roman guard, moved a two-ton rock, broke into the tomb, and stole the body. Then they got rid of the body and told everyone Jesus was resurrected. And keep in mind, the elite Roman soldiers guarding the tomb faced death for leaving their post or allowing someone to take the body. And yet…
Well, the disciples certainly had the motive. But did they have the ability? I mean, none of the disciples had any military training or experience. And the guard would have been professional soldiers who were very motivated to not let this happen! And they were elite soldiers.
So, is it reasonable to speculate that the disciples were capable of subduing a crack unit of the Roman Legion, moving the stone likely weighing between one and two tons out of the way and taking Christ’s dead body to be reburied and never found?
Oh, and the disciples never breathed a word of their stupendous victory over the hated Romans to anyone. Even when faced with execution by torture. Riiiight.
Second option: The Sanhedrin (or other Jewish government leaders) overcame the guards, broke the seal of the tomb (again, punishable by death), and stole the body. They would certainly be able to muster the ability.
BUT, why do that? there was no motive for them to then hide the body. They knew that Jesus had foretold that he would be resurrected, and said that to the Romans–that’s why there was a guard detachment there in the first place! So if they had had the body, they would have rolled it through the streets of Jerusalem to prove to everyone that this guy was a liar and a fraud!
Finally, the Roman guards themselves could have broken into the tomb (remember, the penalty of breaking that seal was death, as was leaving their post) and hidden the body. Ah, they had the ability!
But… why? They certainly had no motive for stealing the body! And ALL the soldiers would have to be in on it. So yes, the theoretical ability, but no motive.
The only other option is to say that it just never happened at all. It’s all made up out of whole cloth. But, there are Roman historians (such as Josephus and Tacitus) that make mention of it. And we have other sources that talk about Pontius Pilate as the Roman Prefect being there at that time. So there is at least some historicity associated with the Biblical account.
The empty tomb is indeed a HUGE problem for non-believers!
As Easter comes, let us remember these things…
(Not all of these arguments are original with me, but I can’t for the life of me recall where I have seen this discussed).