J. Warner Wallace was an L.A. County homicide detective. He knows something about solving crimes with multiple suspects. He has experience in investigating conspiracies. He notes that while conspiracies are popular in movies and novels, they are actually very difficult to pull off in real life. Successful conspiracies have several traits in common:
- A small number of conspirators. Lies are difficult to maintain. The more people involved in the lie, the more likely the conspirators will be tripped up.
- Conspirators need thorough and immediate communication. That is why investigators separate suspects for interviews. Without knowing what others are revealing, it is more likely someone will confess the lie.
- Conspiracies operate best over a short time span. It is difficult to lie. It is increasing difficult to lie over a long time period. The tendency is for someone to break down and confess.
- Conspiracies work best when the conspirators have a close relationship bond like family members. It is tougher to convince someone to “give up” the other in such a situation.
- Conspirators are more likely to maintain the lie if they are under little or no pressure. Put pressure on a conspirator, and he will likely give up the truth to save himself.
But what does this have to do with the Bible? Wallace was an atheist until at the age of thirty-five he turned his investigative skills to examine the gospels and the Christian worldview. He knew how to examine a cold-case. He believed in the proper handling of evidence. His book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, tells of his journey into faith. Taking his experience with conspiracies, Wallace believes he knows the disciples didn’t conspire to fabricate the resurrection account of Jesus. He notes the following:
- There would have been too many apostles involved in the conspiracy.
- The apostles had little or no effective way to communicate with one another in a quick or thorough manner.
- The apostles would have been required to protect their conspiratorial lies for too long a period of time.
- While there were certainly pairs of family members in the group of apostolic eyewitnesses, many had no relationship to each other at all.
- The apostles were aggressively persecuted as they were scattered from Italy to India.1
Wallace states in the movie God’s Not Dead 2, “There are several common characteristics of successful conspiracies, and I don’t find any of these attributes were present in the first century for those who claimed to be witnesses of Jesus life, ministry, and resurrection.”
I believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that changes everything. But my belief is based on evidence. The above is just part of one person’s search for the evidence. If you want some books suggestions, I’d be glad to give them to you. My plea if you not certain is to examine the evidence.
1J. Warner Wallace, “Why I know the Disciples Didn’t Conspire to Fabricate the Resurrection of Jesus,” https://stream.org/know-disciples-didnt-conspire-fabricate-resurrection-jesus/