The Swoon Theory is the suggestion that Jesus did not die on the cross, but merely passed out or "swooned." At some point afterwards, Jesus then became conscious in the tomb and found a way to escape. Did Jesus really survive the crucifixion?
The Swoon Theory - What is it? Did Jesus survive His crucifixion?
Several lines of evidence show the unworthy merit of the Swoon Theory. First, Jesus had six-inch spikes driven into His feet and hands and was placed on a cross where His body would hang until He could no longer pull Himself up to breathe. If this did not take place, he would have eventually bled to death.
Second, His side was pierced and "blood and water" flowed (John 19:34). This was likely a reference to the spear piercing the heart of Jesus and a mix of blood and watery serum pouring out, a clear confirmation of His death.
Third, His Roman executioners did not break His legs because they saw He had already died (John 19:33). As professional executioners who would themselves face death if they made a mistake in this matter, these men would have made certain Jesus was dead.
Fourth, Pilate confirmed the death before allowing burial. He would not have allowed an error in this matter; the stakes were very high and public (Mark 15:44-45).
Fifth, Jesus was embalmed in about 75 pounds of spices and wrapped in bandages (John 19:39). Someone who had passed out would not have been able to endure such treatment and still survive.
Sixth, Jesus was sealed in a stone tomb behind a large rock that likely weighed more than 2,000 pounds. There was no possibility He could have physically moved the stone on His own.
Seventh, a team of Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. Even if Jesus could have revived and moved the heavy stone, how would he have escaped their power?
Eighth, at His resurrection appearances the disciples did not see Jesus as a bloody, injured man in need of medical attention. Instead, they were overjoyed. Jesus showed them the scars on His feet and hands, not His infected wounds.
In 1986, medical authorities examined the death accounts of Jesus and determined, "Clearly, the weight of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right rib, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge" (Journal of the American Medical Association, March 21, 1986, 1463).
The Swoon Theory is not only unlikely; it is simply impossible based on the available information. Jesus did not pass out on the cross; He died. Therefore, His appearances after His death are clear evidence of a physical, bodily resurrection.
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