Monday, February 26, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus: Why It Just Doesn't Add Up

Some of you have asked me to return to the blogosphere. This latest documentary from James Cameron and the Discovery Channel have provided the necessary motivation. For those of you who haven't heard about this yet, this documentary claims that the tomb of Jesus has been discovered along with the ossuary that would have held his remains, hence an attempt to refute the bodily resurrection. This is the evidence they provide:

1. In this particular tomb there are 6 names: Jesus, the son of Joseph; Mary, Mary, James, Matthew, and Judah.
2. It is claimed that Matthew is a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, that the other Mary is Mary Magdalene, that James is a brother of Jesus, and that Judah is the son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
3. They claim that this cluster of names in one tomb would have been very unlikely to be any thing other than the tomb of Jesus himself.
4. Also, DNA tests were done to "prove" that Mary and Jesus were married. (DNA samples were taken from these two tombs and they didn't show maternal relationship. Therefore, they concluded, that since they are buried together and their DNA doesn't match that they were married.)

Here are my reasons why this is shoddy science at best:

1. If this Mary was not a blood relative of the Jesus they found in this tomb, then neither is she the relative of any other male in the tomb. So, by their own reasoning she could be married to any of the males in that tomb. Simply showing that 2 sets of DNA do not match does not a marriage make.

2. If they wanted to prove their point then they would need to demonstrate that the brother of Jesus had matching DNA to Mary (the mother); or, they could simply see if Judah matched both Jesus and Mary (Magdalene) to prove that it was their son. Now, that would be closer to definitive proof that the Jesus in this tomb had a child with one of the Mary's in this tomb. The point is that there were plenty of other DNA tests that could have been done to bolster their position, but they claimed to have only found DNA in these two ossuaries (Jesus and Mary).

3. Isn't it convenient that the ONLY DNA they found was in the ossuaries supposedly of the two people that were in the DaVinci Code as a married couple. This reeks of capitalizing on what was already made recently popular by the best-selling book. The timing of the release in conjunction with Easter also reeks of monetary motivation, not scientific motivation.

4. I would love to know how they can scientifically prove that the DNA residue they found wasn't from a guy who smashed his finger when he was placing the bones in the ossuary. (they are not getting it from the bones, but from "residue").

5. I cannot find anywhere if the ossuary of this Jesus and this Mary were even found next to each other. They may have been, I just haven't heard anyone use this as further evidence. It will be interesting if they mention the location of the ossuaries in the tomb in the documentary.

6. Jesus was probably from a relatively poor family from Nazareth. So, it is strange that his family tomb would be a middle class one in Jerusalem. They claim that Jesus' followers certainly would have been able to afford such a tomb (as quoted by the archaeologist on Larry King). Here's the problem:

a. Jesus' followers claimed that he was alive, raised from the dead. Don't you think they would go to a little effort to not make his tomb quite so obvious if they were responsible for his burial?
b. Why would Jesus' faithful disciples bury him in a tomb like any other tomb with 9 other people? Wouldn't they either make an effort to hide the burial of his bones, or otherwise have a highly decorated memorial tomb for their fallen and heroic hero? Instead, this documentary has to claim that they didn't bother to hide his body, nor did they bother to distinguish his burial. They simply lackadaisically buried him in a ordinary middle class family tomb.

Well, this is drawing long, but the point is that this is not science at all, but just yet another attempt to avoid accountability before the living God. Jesus is the risen Savior. I pray that God would open the blinded eyes of the men who prepared this documentary that they may see the glories of the risen Savior.

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