Does the hallucination theory explain the Resurrection? (Part 1)

A third theory to address Christ’s resurrection is the hallucination theory. It proposes that the disciples thought they saw Jesus alive; in other words, that it was all just an illusion or a figment of their imagination.

There are a number of problems with this theory. Normally, hallucinations are rare, and caused by drugs or bodily deprivation. Furthermore, they require a mind full of expectation or anticipation, not fear and anxiety. The apostles would not be good candidates for hallucinations.

Moreover, Dr. Gary Collins, professor and author of dozens of books on psychological issues, explains principles associated with hallucinations. “Hallucinations are individual occurrences. By their very nature only one person can see a given hallucination at a time. They certainly aren’t something which can be seen by a group of people. Neither is it possible that one person could somehow induce a hallucination in somebody else.” These psychological principles are major obstacles to this theory, since there are many accounts of Jesus appearing to numerous people who report seeing the same thing. Besides Jesus’ appearances to the disciples in the Gospels, take this record from 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

Paul not only lists individuals who saw Jesus alive such as himself, James, and Peter, but he also states that “the Twelve,” “all the apostles” and “more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time” saw Him. Dr. Collins noted that hallucinations aren’t something seen by a group of people.

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