Is there another plausible theory for Jesus’ empty tomb?
Based on overwhelming historical evidence, Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in real time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties in belief may be great, but the problems inherent in disbelief are even greater.
Many people have advanced alternate theories to explain the Resurrection:
? The wrong-tomb theory.
Answer: If the wrong tomb were involved, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb and squashing any talk of a resurrection.
? The hallucination theory
Answer: It is not credible to think that five hundred people could have seen the same hallucination for forty days.
? The swoon theory
Answer: Jesus was pierced in the side by a soldier to prove that he was dead before they took him down from the cross. Even if he somehow survived that, it is impossible that someone half-dead, weak and ill could have rolled the heavy stone away, got past the Roman guards and then given the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave.
? The stolen-body theory
Answer: How did the depressed and cowardly disciples suddenly become so brave and daring as to face a detachment of select soldiers at the tomb to steal the body? And why would they do so? They didn't even understand that Jesus was going to rise from the dead.
? The moved-body theory
Answer: If the authorities moved the body, when the disciples started to talk about a resurrection, why didn't they recover the corpse, display it on a cart and wheel it through the centre of Jerusalem?
? The relocated-body theory
Answer: The Jews didn't relocate the bones to an ossuary until the body had been buried for a year. Even if it were true, all it accounts for is the empty tomb, which is not what convinced the disciples Jesus had risen - it was his appearances to them.
? the copycat theory (Christianity copies ancient myths)
Answer: Unlike the historical Jesus, there is no evidence for the reliability of any of the alleged parallel stories in the mystery religions. Jesus of Nazareth ate, slept, performed miracles, died, and returned to life. These accounts are supported by a reliable historical record. In contrast, the dying and rising gods of the mystery religions were timeless myths repeated annually with the changing seasons.
The greatest proof of Jesus' bodily resurrection is the change that came over his followers. They were transformed from terrified doubters, to bold, charismatic preachers who were prepared to die for what they had witnessed. And who would die for something they knew to be a lie? If the resurrection had not happened, they would have known it.?
These arguments are taken directly from More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, chapter 10.
For more in depth reasoning see, among others, More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell; Who moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison; or Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace.